I Can’t Breathe… I Can’t Code…and other Significant Modifers.. I Can’t Learn ??(What’s Going On?)


People around the world understand the simple sentence, ” I Can’t Breathe”. For most people no definition is required  to understand the significance of the quote. It has almost universal support in advocacy.

We know I can Code because of an intense media blitz and dedication to the skill.

What would happen if we targeted the other needed skills in the same way? Just saying…

 Maybe the easiest way is to share a powerful photo like this to get the message across.
But there are other messages that contribute to the problem.
One of them would be..
I  Can’t Read.
Superhero kid. Girl power concept
Those of us who have worked with struggling readers know the frustration and angst of their chore.
There is technology that can solve the reading problem. but teachers are limited to the vendor of choice of a school system or school, or of what they know about. Choice is not often given, but a vendored solution is. Skilled teachers can use technology to entice, entrance, involve and snare a reader who is struggling.. if they have time and permission to discover joy. Sesame Street gets it so right.
Often the solutions for struggling readers are more boring work that seems to never end. Students are taken out of class for skill and drill. Gamification helps. I know , I have used it. Here’s the thing about a game. It is ok to fail. It is ok to do it over. It is ok to race against your last score. There are solutions that modify the lack of reading fluency and these solutions provide entry into reading.
Award reading puts interest, ideas and skills into a package of individualization. There are other vendors that do the same. I am not sure why success is a problem. It make be the noise in the vendor space or the confusion in the learning landscape about what to do.
There are solutions. I post about Award reading because it works for me.
Man without identity programing in technology enviroment with cy
Older Struggling Readers ( a real problem)

If children receive instruction in phonological and alphabetic skills and learn to apply that knowledge to decoding words, they are very likely to succeed at reading. Once children fall behind, they seldom catch up, a reason that such states as California, Virginia, and Texas promote early intervention to prevent reading problems. Reading level in 1st grade, moreover, is an astonishingly good predictor of reading achievement into high school (Catts et al., 1999; Cunningham and Stanovich, 1997; Shaywitz et al, 1999; Fletcher et al. 1994). Reading failure begins early, takes root quickly, and affects students for life.

Improvements in reading education in the lower elementary grades, however, are coming too slowly to affect the huge numbers of students beyond third grade who have been the victims of misguided reading instruction and scarce resources. Many people know that about 42 percent of 4th graders score below basic in overall reading skill on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). In Washington, D.C., where I am currently studying reading intervention, the proportion of students beyond 3rd grade who cannot read well enough to participate in grade-level work is between 60 and 70 percent, depending on the grade and year of assessment. Too few children can compete in higher education and about half fail to complete high school. In this community, the rate of adult illiteracy — reading below 4th grade level — is 37%, the highest in the nation. Nationally, 25% of all adults are functionally illiterate. 

I Can’t Connect
Boost in Erate Program .. so needed.
 Students at KIPP Austin Obras in Austin, Texas, use their English Language Arts program. Students spend time on the computers working on different standards according to individual need.
What is the state of broadband in the US? 


In a recent survey we found that 15% of American adults do not use the internet. Those least likely to use the internet:

  • Senior citizens
  • Adults with less than a high school education
  • Those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year

Among adults who do not use the internet, almost half have told us that the main reason they don’t go online is because they don’t think the internet is relevant to them.

Those who are connected seem not to know that there are pockets of people who cannot connect or who do so only in school. Technology delivery to some  school is suspect. More than that the brosdbsnd footprint on a community is a problem in many cases. Too expense, too limited and unavailable in public spaces where children can easily go.
We suggested from the NIIAC, years ago, the school, the cultural centers, the community centers and other structures for access. In some cases this works. There are remote places all over the US
in spite of BYOD and mobile devices. I was there when the idea of E-rate was initiated but others claim the idea. That’s good. That means it is important.
Did I mention that the tool use, and ownership is a problem in urban, rural, distant and remote locations? In some cases ownership is limited to old technology, in some cases there is help but the people who need the tools don’t know how to connect to the resource.
I have been teaching STEM.. the use of science, technology , engineering and math since I started teaching years ago. At one time it was called SMET by NASA. At another time it was revised and brought out as something new. When a Nation at Risk came forward, some steps were taken to provide national policy but, foremost was the idea of testing, not the idea of creating resources, and teachers who were skilled in technology. the technology wagon was about tools and the investment in teacher proficiency was limited by the imagination of Sesame Street, the George Lucas Educational Foundation, The National Geographic… you can see where this is going. Well, school systems like to provide their own professional development, using vendors or their own personnel. So we got a new layer of administrators. The IT person became important even if connectivity was all they knew. Sigh. Education became a business , and conferences, webinars and meetings were
everywhere. Teachers were running to catch up with the latest pedagogy and technology use. Some of the efforts worked. NASA and NOAA and ESRI and the National Geographic and other groups
provided leadership.
Conferences grew into a huge synergy of tools, transition, workshops and speakers. We are still in that space, but with new additions. National ways of working, Common Core, New Science Standards… we have leapfrogged ” No Child Left Behind ” it is there and it is not there. Common Core is there and it is not there. It depends on your state and your state of mind and your ability to test using technology..
Remember the places that don’t have the technology? If there is limited technology well, the technology is used to test and children may lose access during the pretesting and testing times.
I CAN’T DO STEM !! Why Not?
My dad was an industrial arts teacher. There were also agronomy and career focused schools. There still are some of these places where one can go to learn things like plumbing, carpentry, industrial engineering, animal husbandry, but I fear many of these subjects have been thrown away to the dream of technology as a silver bullet. One of the problems with STEM is that a lot of people seriously , who teach do not have a STEM background, or one that is up to date.
I think the people who are connected do not remember that there are people struggling to learn the ways of technology with teachers and people who have limited knowledge. I am not even talking about coding. That’s next. I love the after school programs and CIRCL expanding technology and the games that make learning so different, but who knows these programs and even more interesting who has the skills to write the grants and  put good practices in the learning landscape of their own geographical space. There are gatekeepers, administrators who have choices to make and they don’t make informed choices. I finished a wonderful workshop on GIS and I am not new to GIS, but sharing what I learned seems impossible. I have been put into place by testing, or pushed aside by people who don’t know ESRI Connects and who have their own agenda ( being in power).
To attend, learn and have the skills to share is one thing. To be given permission to teach, to mentor is another thing.
Here is where the organizations come in to make a roadmap. But everyone is not on their radar. There are costs involved . So ESRI gave state licenses and mentors to help. Sadly , there are people who are unconscious to the facilitation of knowledge that ESRI has given in a national push.
This is my favorite picture, but it does not show community projects. The power of GIS is all over our
neighborhoods in meaningful ways.
Powerful , powerful community resource management. Some communities of color are suspect. That’s because they don’t know the job power, the career power of GIS. Understanding innovation should not take so long.

Don’t ignore this powerful message and initiative!



We will discuss coding in the next post. There are so many wonderful messages online this week, check them out.