We Should Be A Nation of Digital Opportunity for All

ISTE has a wonderful template of the digital age learner. It works for those students lucky enough to be in the right environment, the right school, and with a teacher who is looking toward the future with academic support of new technology.

standards-poster-500full Here is the template. It is gorgeous. Get it for your school, for your community and for those who are interested in helping to create digital age learners.
The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. The standards are designed for use by educators across the curriculum, with every age student, with a goal of cultivating these skills throughout a student’s academic career. Both students and teachers will be responsible for achieving foundational technology skills to fully apply the standards. The reward, however, will be educators who skillfully mentor and inspire students to amplify learning with technology and challenge them to be agents of their own learning.

This is an amazing document that should be shared and given to school boards, community activist, informal education teachers, and parents. I have a powerpoint that explains all of these. How do we make the change to help “all students ” to have these skills and qualities?

Many schools and communities are  in denial about their state of technology . I live in Washington DC, and I heard the CTO of the city say that all of our students are being well served. This was at an IoT conference with global citizens. I didn’t know what to do or say. I assume that what she said , is what she was told by the school system in DC.

We the people, we the public, we the teachers need to be confrontational about the lack of those who are digitally denied.

We the teachers ,need to be educated toward the transformative policies that ISTE has shared. There are too many people who misunderstand. They think that all students are being well served.

On December 13, Free Press published Digital Denied: The Impact of Systemic Racial Discrimination on Home-Internet Adoption. The report, written by Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner, examines the racial divide in home-internet adoption and exposes how structural racial discrimination contributes to it. Below is an edited summary of the report written by Dana Floberg — Free Press’ C. Edwin Baker fellow — and reprinted with permission.

Internet access is a necessity for engaging in our communities, searching for employment and seeking out educational opportunities — but too many people are still stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. And that divide disproportionately impacts people of color.

Indeed, the racial divide in home-internet adoption — including both wired and wireless service — leaves people of color behind the digital curve. People of color comprise 32 million of the 69 million people in the United States who lack any form of home-internet access. Free Press research exposes this undeniable gap and explains how structural racial discrimination contributes to it.

Systemic discrimination creates serious income inequality in this country. Whites have far higher average incomes than Blacks or Latinos. Low-income families are less able and willing to buy internet subscriptions. And many families who are willing to pay for service find they can’t due to racially biased barriers like credit scoring. Given how stark racial and ethnic income discrepancies are, it’s no surprise that people of color lag behind in internet adoption.

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Income differences explain some of the racial divide, but not all of it.

U.S. Census data on income and internet adoption paint a clear picture:

  • 49 percent of households with incomes below $20,000 have wired or wireless internet, but nearly 90 percent of households with incomes above $100,000 do.
  • 81 percent of Whites have home-internet access, compared to 70 percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of Blacks.

Free Press’ report demonstrates that the racial-adoption gap persists even after we account for differences in income and a host of other demographic factors. For example, there is a divide between people who are in the same income brackets but in different racial or ethnic groups. The gap is widest for people earning less than $20,000: Fifty-eight percent of Whites in this group have some form of home internet, compared to just 51 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of Blacks.web_header_3

There is research that tells us how to reach and teach the students. It is here.

There are students who are of tribal, rural, distant and urban areas who are affected. They are all kinds and all colors. Years ago, when the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council formed policy ( Kickstart) we acknowledged these areas of difficulty and sought to solve the problems. Politics has gotten in the way sometimes.

There are other sources , such as that of the George Lucas Educational Foundation that give examples of what helps and what hinders. Here is a special set of blogs on the topic.

Research and templates inform. We the public need to hold the school systems and communities to the standards so that all children benefit from the uses and skills enabling them to be digital citizens . But parents may not know or understand the uses of technology well.

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Common Sense Education
Common Sense Education provides digital literacy and citizenship programs to school communities to empower students to harness technology for learning and life.They just published a report “The Digital Lives of Minority Youth”. But this report, The Common Sense Census Plugged in Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016 matches nicely with the ISTE report.
Plan of Action?
Print out the template and take it to the next PTA meeting. Share copies of it with parents and have a speaker to access it online. Have a discussion about it and plan action for your school and community.
See if your school has an ISTE member. ISTE has a conference where these types of action and study of the topic is a part of how they serve their members. Hopefully, the school will sponsor a teacher to attend and be a part of ISTE and other technology minded groups. There are also state groups and regional groups that help in outreach.
Is there a low-cost provider who serves your community? If so get some community people working to help them with outreach. Make sure that the provider meets the needs of the community. There are many ways to do this.
 Query the school board and if possible involve people in a presentation about this topic. Use resources that fit your community.
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Kudos to Rafranz Davis.. Opening the Conversation

A must read if you are a minority in education is to read

The Missing Voices in EdTech: Bringing Diversity Into EdTech 

 

The real question is who is gating the inclusion of diverse educational leaders in technology?And why?

Martin Luther King Jr.
“But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. The large house in which we live demands that we transform this world-wide neighborhood into a world – wide brotherhood. Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools.

We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Man without identity programing in technology enviroment with cy

This is an important book. It may be that the struggle of those of us who are minorities and leaders in education has gone on without the knowledge of the general public. We are missing by design. On his resignation from the Dept. of Education, Dr. Richard Culatta shot a parting shot sharing his concern about digital equity. Some of what he said

“Yes, students can learn without them. Yes, it’s possible to do great teaching without a digital device. Yes, going overboard with computers is a real and pressing problem. But kids who are forced to make do with decade-old computers and slow Internet networks aren’t growing up in an environment that will spark an interest in computers. That matters.”

                                              Illustrating Now . and Then
Sadly, many children are left outside of the loop of Ed Tech. Many have never purposefully
used technology. Rural, urban, tribal, distant and poor groups including many types of minorities are not being included in the use of technology. Many of us who are minorities have tried to intervene to educate teachers and to involve communities.
There are advisory boards, and influencers, and politicians who can make things happen.
What would happen if we focused on content in education? Just a thought.

PIONEERING DIVERSITY

Early in the Ed Tech world, Dr. Frank Withrow and Jennelle Leonard helped teachers to explore the uses of technology. He spoke of inclusion for all.
Dr. Withrow was the Executive Director of Presidents Johnson and Nixon’s Presidential National Committee for the Handicapped and was the Chief Technologist for the US Department of Education for a number of years.

Frank Withrow asked ,”How can we change the educational system? What is the Challenge and Charge?

1. Enlist media as an agent of change.
2. Develop town meetings across the nation that explore and foster better learning environments.
3. Recruit corporate support for this campaign.
4. Create a public relations campaign for better learning environments
5. Develop a consortium of national associations
6. Establish in USED an Assistant Secretary for Reform in the Digital Age
The USA should lead the world in education. The greatest resource for peace in the world is an educated population.  In 1990 161 nations at Jomtiem, Thailand agreed to at least six years of education for all children around the world.
Why not make this a reality? ”

Education for All
”    We fall short of our mission if we fail to include all children in our universal learning systems. The United States of America pioneered the concept of universal education for all children.  In the late 1800s and early 1900s we opened a new high school almost every day across this nation.  Horace Mann established that public schools benefit all people within a society; therefore all people should share in the costs of public education.  Not only has the USA created a great K-12 education system we developed under the federal land grant college program a network of outstanding higher education opportunities for all that can qualify.  Too often we separate K-12 from higher education but in reality the system is one from preschool to graduate school. ”

“The struggle for universal education has not been easy. Each generation has had to fight for the right to enter the schoolhouse door.  For years many children of color were provided separate and unequal educations.  It was not until 1954 that the Supreme Court in its most important decision unanimously struck down segregated schools. Unfortunately, there are those who still fight this decision and send their children to charter, church and/or private schools.”

       We do not like to admit our racial biases but they remain. Dr. Frank Withrow

Here is a way to get there for teachers.

Tpack-contexts

Jennelle Leonard. Pioneer

Jenelle Leonard served nearly a year and a half (1997-1998) as an Expert Consultant at the U. S. Department of Education in the Office of Educational Technology. She consulted and advised on issues related to the development and implementation of technology initiatives and national goals, such as professional development, telecommunications technologies, curriculum integration, and instructional applications. She participated in developing long-range, short-term plans, and strategies for implementing Department programs and initiatives including the evaluation of the effect and impact of the use technology in instruction.

Jenelle Leonard has held supervisory and technology related positions in Prince William County Public Schools, Manassas, VA, at BDM Education Technologies Group, a K-12 systems integrator and consulting company, Center for Instructional Technology and Training in the District of Columbia Public Schools and at the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The TEA position provided her the opportunity to work with over a thousand school districts to implement the state’s Technology Initiatives as mandated by the Texas Legislature.

Jenelle Leonard has over twenty-five years of experience as an educator. She has been a public school teacher and administrator, technology implementation and training consultant, college professor, and a regional and state education department administrator.

Her background also includes designing and developing graduate-level instructional technology courses, technology and software procurement and installation oversight in over 400 hundred schools, and software development. Additionally, she has served on numerous technology advisory boards, and served as a contributing editor for an educational technology magazine. Her most important digital inclusion work in my eyes was this.

 

Jenelle Leonard served at the U.S. Department of Education as Leader of the Technology Innovation Challenge Grant Program (TICG). In addition to managing the TICG Program, which included developing national guideline materials and policies, reviewing and issuing grants, program monitoring, and program evaluation, she served as an agency expert and authoritative consultant, and provided leadership and guidance within Department of Education as well as to State, and local organizations, institutions, and agencies.

She was in a position to understand the challenge of providing for all.All together

“There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in the world today . . . that is, a technological revolution, with the impact of automation and cybernation . . . . Now, whenever anything new comes into history it brings with it new challenges and new opportunities. . . . [T]he geographical oneness of this age has come into being to a large extent through modern man’s scientific ingenuity. Modern man through his scientific genius has been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains. . . . Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this.”

That was Rev. Martin Luther King, March 31, 1968.

There has been great political change. The revolution in education for all is still to come.

 

 

digital age

 

Larry Irving  when at NTIA,helped us to understand this problem with the initiation of the idea of the E-rate.

That helps to provide the technology architecture and learning landscape that is needed.

He further said,” Our efforts are needed in at least three areas: what I call “access,” “aptitude,” and “attitude.” It’s a triple-A plan, and we need to begin work in each of these areas immediately if our students are going to win straight As in technological literacy.

 

No Child Left Behind in Coding In Anacostia

Coding Week was finished off in Anacostia. We were not at the White House, or a part of a one time initiative for a week. On December 12, 2015 Dr. Jesse Bemly and Joint Educational Facilities, did a workshop for those who were not served coding workshops as a part of their educational learning landscape.

We started with a mixture of students, teachers, college professors and students from JEF who are specialized in certain parts of the outreach that JEF offers to Anacostia, or any interested students in the Metropolitan Washington DC area.

We Instruct!! Year Round

The focus is more than on an hour of coding. One of the ways in which we contribute is by sponsoring classes and tutoring for students at JEF at 2528 Naylor Road, SE .  www.jef.org

We Connect Students and Broaden Engagement

Here you see a small student. We work with students of all ages and have been encouraged to do what the schools do not. Broaden engagement and provide opportunities for scaffolding to groups that are sharing  knowledge.

Of course this workshop involved the videos from coding outreach.

https://www.youtube.com/user/CodeOrg

Dr. Bemely gave an introduction of our work at JEF. Much of what we have done was learned with Supercomputing in Broadening Engagement and in the Education programs.  Some of what we learn and share was through the ESRI Education program. We participate with ESRI to share their outreach. http://www.esri.com/connected and one of our students now works with the Library of Congress demonstrating these skills.

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We learn from organizations that reach out to teachers and then share what we learned.  We curate information and share it on the Internet for parents and community. http://www.scoop.it/u/bonnie-bracey-sutton

Dr. Bemley and some of the participants work as adjunct staff at Bowie State. We have a couple of supercomputers,  one of which is Little Fe.

Many institutions and teaching environments do not have access to parallel platforms for parallel and distributed computing education. Teaching key concepts such as speedup, efficiency, and load balancing are much more effectively done on a parallel platform. LittleFe is a complete 6 node Beowulf style portable computational cluster which supports shared memory parallelism (OpenMP), distributed memory parallelism (MPI), and GPGPU parallelism.

LittleFe weighs less than 50 pounds, easily and safely travels via checked baggage on the airlines, and sets-up in 10 minutes wherever there is a 110/220 VAC outlet and a wall to project an image on.  It  is from the Bootable Cluster CD project,

During the rest of the year, we cooperate with Dr. Henry Neeman with his sharing of ” What in the Heck is Supercomputing?” Interview here. https://shareok.org/handle/11244/17336

Dr. Bemley is the architect of scaffolding and creating opportunities for students. He networks to create opportunities for students, gather resources and instruct students to excellence.IMG_8952

Sometimes , we wish those who are looking to involve minorities in technology would reach out to him as a person of interest, and information toward the inclusion of students in STEM.

We have been helped by Charlie Fitzpatrick of ESRI, Dr. Bob Panoff of Shodor.org, and we have used the resources of Alexander Repenning to introduce a new level of gamification in learning.

We shared Frozen, for Kindergarten and Elementary level.

We used StarWars the video for Middle and High School levels.

We shared Minecraft for Middle and High School levels.

We dared to share  http://circlcenter.org/  because we want to be involved in the new look at the Internet of Things and the worlds of Cyberlearning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Digital Citizenship ,Preservice Education Initiative

On SITE 2012 in Austin: So What Is Digital Citizenship?

Posted on March 7, 2012 by JimS in the ETCJournal

Report from SITE2012 AACE in Austin, Texas.

Social Justice and Digital Equity SIG has, with Mike Searson, created a project in Digital Citizenship that is funded by Facebook. We have had our initial planning meeting.. We were at the SITE.org Conference in Austin, Texas.

Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately. Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology. Too often we are seeing students as well as adults misusing and abusing technology but aren’t not sure what we can do. The issue is more than what the users do not know but what is considered appropriate technology usage.

You have probably heard about the parent who shot his child’s computer. There was an interview with the student and parent on NBC to explore the incident.

We know a lot of ways in which people have blocked the use of the Internet by cutting the cords, taking away the computer. We think education works better. We use the topic of social networking, but since Facebook is the elephant in the room, here are their resources from the Facebook page:

Facebook Resources for Educators
https://www.facebook.com/education?sk=app_4949752878

Why a PreService Initiative for Colleges and Universities?
We want to give knowledge to pre-service and inservice teachers to prepare for teaching in a digital world. We want to create a curriculum to explore the learning landscape.

Who Else is Interested in Education for the use of Social Media?
In the CyberLearning Conference held at the National Geographic which involved SRI, NGS, and NGS, they shared this information.on Social Media. http://cyberlearning.sri.com/w/index.php/Cyberlearning:Social_Media

 Some National Groups
http://wiredsafety.org/

Family Online Safety Institute

Net Family News

Childnet International

Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

Cyberbullying.org

Youth Safety on a Living Internet” NTIA
The Online Safety and Technology Working Group (OSTWG) reviewed and evaluated: 1. The status of industry efforts to promote online safety through educational efforts …

You may also have seen this headline. Lady Gaga Goes to Harvard:

Pop star Lady Gaga descended on Harvard University with some powerful friends Wednesday to launch her new foundation aimed at empowering young people. The singer was joined by Oprah Winfrey, spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to kick off the Born This Way Foundation that Gaga’s mother and inspiration will help steer. Gaga spoke to more than 1,100 students from several states, faculty and invited guests at Harvard, urging the young audience to “challenge meanness and cruelty.”

There was a Born this Way Foundation symposium of educators and groups at Harvard, funded by Lady GAGA who is intent on creating a difference using her connection with her audiences to fund an initiative by bringing together McArthur Foundation, Harvard law and education faculty, and Danah Boyd, a Microsoft researcher, as well as other people who have projects in this area. Students were also invited to the initiative, and they had their own meeting with Lady Gaga. Her foundation is BornThisWay.

So we talk about many subjects inclusively when we talk about Digital Citizenship.

The topic of digital citizenship is certainly gaining momentum. In June 2010, the Online Safety Working Group sent a report to Congress titled “Youth Safety on a Living Internet.” There are many organizations and individuals that are working on this topic.

Let us know if you are interested  helping with or being a part of our preservice initiative.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

Austin the Destination, Integrating Computational Thinking Into K-12, Sharing Supercomputing Resources and Education

Austin, Texas

Theme: Teaching in Exponential Times! K-12 to Teragrid  and the Future of Supercomputing!XSEDE

In case you are advanced .. go to https://www.xsede.org/education-outreach-blog

We Raise the Bar for K-12 and Preservice Candidates

Years ago, members of the Supercomputing Conference and the Teragrid allowed us as teachers  to create a window of interest into SC and computational thinking for the SITE members. We had involvement from Henry Neeman and Diane Baxter over the years and support to become a part of the SITE community and to do workshops over several years. We have had incredible support and exposure to the educational activities including the work of Shodor.org  and the resources at that site and their workshops.We learned from the Broadening Engagement community how to share the message.

We learned at the SC Education conference and then disseminated lessons and practices. Ray Rose, ManoTalaiver, Vic Sutton, and I have been quietly integrating the computational sciences and HPC into K-12 practices. Mano works in rural areas to bring the dreams of education into reality with NSF funding. Ray is now a college instructor in technology at an HBCU in Austin. Vic and I are working with a K-12 School, Tracy Learning Center to infuse computational thinking into the curriculum. Bob Plants is the researcher in our group and he has a STEM initiative in Mississippi. He shares resources on line as outreach to teachers too.

Dr. Paul Resta is about Broadening Engagement

Change takes a Visionary!

One of my best friends is Dr. Paul Resta who put ideas of education into reality. We were so proud of his accomplishments and his center that we planned a tour for participants at SITE, Austin. The resources are a great way to create change in the learning landscape. Dr. Resta is a leader in teacher education nationally and internationally. He has worked with tribal groups in the Four Corners Project and works Internationally in education as well.

Middle School

East Austin Academy College Prep
 – This middle school is designed to help low-income minority inner city students prepare for college and success in the future. All students participate in an innovate program known as Globaloria. Globaloria is a social network for learning, in which they learn to create educational web-games for social change. East Austin College Prep Academy is the first charter school to integrate the Globaloria network and curriculum as a school-wide teaching and learning opportunity, and offers required daily curriculum to all students starting at 6th grade.

Project on Games and Workforce Readiness. Globaloria.org

Idit Harel Caperton works in areas of need with her Globaloria project. Ray, Vic and I also encouraged her to share her project, Globaloria.org with the SITE membership. We , Ray, Vic and I also were involved with the group in training and research as learners in professional development.

We have come of age. Look at the tours and the participants of SITE who were involved in thinking , learning, planning, and being involved in a special resource for educators at UT. The university of Texas.

Highlights

Manor New Tech High School (NTHS) This high school is a technology-rich learning environment using a constructivist approach to learning. It has become a model NTHS site and educators from newly established NTHSs come to Manor for orientation and training. Participants will meet with the district superintendent and the director, faculty and students at the school. (Limit 30) Depart 9:30 AM, Return 1:30 PM

View the Student-Generated Video for a Preview of this tour!

Education Visualization Lab and Visualization Center, The University of Texas at Austin – The Learning Technology Center Educational Visualization Lab is focused on the use of visualization technologies to understand patterns and relationships in massive education data sets. The visit will include a tour of the Learning Technology Center and

also a visit to the TACC Visualization Center that includes, Stallion, the highest resolution tiled display in the world; Longhorn, the largest hardware accelerated, remote, interactive visualization cluster. Was used by NOAA in predicting path for Katrina. » Newsletter

The Learning Technology Center in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin supports the instructional and research activities of the College’s students and faculty by providing computer facilities, telecommunications services, and digital media production equipment. The LTC also participates in projects that advance the use of technology to meet the educational needs of learners throughout the state and nation, and around the world.

You can check equipment out to use.

You can take your laptop to be checked.

You can work in the lab.

You can sit with professionals who can help you plan your lessons to be technology integrative.

Teachers can plan to be in workshops to enhance their knowledge .

I have many photos , and I am sure that I am only sharing a bit of what is possible.

Learning at the University of Texas

There are links and resources that have been created for teachers in this center for national, regional and local learning on the website

The information here comes from the newsletter and information gathered during the tour.

Kelly Gaither, Director of Visualization for the Texas Advanced Computing Center, describes the information conveyed in a simple mapped visualization.

Kelly Gaither, Director of Visualization for TACC, led the workshop, which included an overview of information visualization and visual analytics concepts and how they apply to educational data. Attendees learned the basics of Processing, a popular visualization programming language, to develop information visualizations with their own data. They were later able to view their work on the EdVisLab’s large display.

A participant learns Processing, a visualization programming language.

Both Google Apps for Education and visualization techniques for educational research represent new directions for the College of Education and its use of technology in education. The LTC is constantly exploring new technologies and their benefit to education, and has led the way in bringing these new technologies to the College. The apps will be part of the online tools that are replacing TeachNet and will allow student groups to have increased online collaboration, including co-creation of documents, presentations, and Web sites. The EdVisLab will allow faculty to better analyze large and complex data sets, more easily seeing and understanding patterns, trends, and relationships. For more information about the Google Apps for Education pilot, contact Karen French. Contact Ken Tothero to learn more about the EdVisLab. ( If you live in Tcxas)

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The LTC equips teaching professionals with new knowledge.

 COE Education Visualization Lab

LTC Director Paul E. Resta speaks to those gathered for the EdVisLab grand opening.

The College of Education (COE) community, staff of the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), and many others interested in visualization on campus gathered Friday, in early February 3 to celebrate the Learning Technology Center’s grand opening of the COE Education Visualization Laboratory (EdVisLab). The event culminated more than a year of planning the lab and designing its equipment and software systems.

Brandt Westing, TACC Research Engineer, shows visitors how visualization can help researchers detect trends and patterns in large amounts of data.

The lab is a joint project with TACC, which provided technical assistance and will help run the lab. The new facility will allow COE researchers to use visualization techniques to better analyze large data sets. The lab features a 15-monitor high resolution tiled display, a 3-D visualization system and a workstation with specialized visualization software.

COE Dean Manuel Justiz spoke first during the opening, praising LTC Director Paul Resta for all his efforts over the years to make the LTC a top-notch, nationally recognized learning technology facility. Dr. Resta then spoke, thanking the Dean for the lab’s funding and thanking all the LTC and TACC staff for the long hours spent creating the lab. Finally, Jay Boisseau, TACC Director, described how the process of adapting TACC visualization programming for use in the EdVisLab led to the development of an improved version of the software.


Texas Advanced Computing Center – Texas Advanced Computing Center is a leading resource provider in the NSF TeraGrid and operates two of the most powerful high performance computing systems in the world, which are used by thousands of scientists and engineers each year to perform research in nearly every branch of knowledge. TACC’s largest supercomputer, Ranger, can perform 579.4 trillion operations per second (or teraflops), and is nearly 30,000 faster than today’s desktop computers. TACC’s newest system, Lonestar 4, which went online in Feb. 2011, clocks in at more than 302 teraflops and offers nearly 200 million computing hours per year to researchers around the world.

The Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education is an international association of individual teacher educators, and affiliated organizations of teacher educators in all disciplines, who are interested in the creation and dissemination of knowledge about the use of information technology in teacher education and faculty/staff development.

The Society seeks to promote research, scholarship, collaboration, exchange, and support among its membership, and to actively foster the development of new national organizations where a need emerges. SITE is the only organization that has as its sole focus the integration of instructional technologies into teacher education programs.

As the official blog of SITE, this website exists to promote dialog and interaction among SITE members as well as non-members about a variety of issues relating to our mission.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

Fixing the STEM Problem by Asking the Right Questions-Don’t ask “Who, What, When, Where”; ask, “Why, and How?”

Fixing the STEM Problem by Asking the Right Questions 

Essay by

Allan C. Jones, President

Emaginos Inc.- Engaging Every Child Through Customized Education

Don’t ask “Who, What, When, Where”; ask, “Why, and How?”

Education in the No Child Left Behind era is all about answering “who, what, when and where” (4W) questions. But the questions that really matter are why and how. In a European history class, students are asked, “Who fought at the battle of Hastings?”, “What armies fought in the battle?”, “When was it fought?”, and “Where is Hastings?”. I can still remember that the English fought the Normans led by William the Conqueror in 1066. I don’t remember where Hastings is, if I ever did know it. What I don’t know is why it was fought and how it affected history. In considering what I know and don’t know, it seems like the stuff I know doesn’t matter and the stuff I don’t know does matter. In general, what matters is the stuff you learn by asking why and how.

The country’s leaders constantly complain about today’s students not learning enough about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). STEM topics are boring if you focus on the 4W questions.  But if you focus on “why and how” they come to life. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in the southern US before the civil war. Boring! Why did he invent it? How did it work. How was it powered? Why was it important? What recent inventions have had a similar impact on a nation’s economy? The last is a “What” question, but not a recall question. These are the interesting questions about the cotton gin – and they lead to a rich discussion of STEM.

Let’s make the issue more contemporary.

We tell children to use soap when they wash their hands. When they ask why they need the soap, the typical response is that soap gets the hands cleaner. This is usually where inquiry stops and authority takes over – just do it! But any healthy, curious child is thinking, “How does soap work?” The answer is, “Soap makes water wetter.” What does that mean? Soap breaks down the surface tension bonds between the water molecules. So the next obvious question is, “Why does that matter?” Because it allows the water to penetrate the dirt better to float it away. It also emulsified the grease molecules; allowing them to detach from the object and rinse away. I like to give the students another use for this piece of knowledge so I tell them that the next time they find a tick and are trying to kill it, the easiest way is to drop the tick into a cup of tap water. Initially, the tick will appear to float. (The little suckers are really hard to kill.) But ticks are not buoyant. They are not floating. They are standing on the surface tension. Add a drop of dishwashing liquid to the water and the tick will sink like a stone and drown.

We were recently at yet another STEM meeting where the people were all excited about an excellent robotics activity that they were proposing to engage more girls and minorities in STEM. Robots are cool; and designing and playing with them can be engaging and instructional. But why go the expense of creating an artificial world for STEM learning? Students are surrounded by STEM every minute of their lives. Some questions they might enjoy answering could include:

  • How do they get stone-washed denim to look that way? Do they really stone-wash it?
  • Why do the tires on a mountain bike look so different from the tires on a racing bike? Do car and truck tires have the same or different tread designs? How do they decide what is the best tread design for different uses? How does changing the amount of air pressure affect the performance of the tires? When do you use low tire pressure and when do you use high pressure and why?
  • Why does it get easier or harder to pedal a 12-speed bike when you shift the gears? How does the Derailleur work? How is the Derailleur different from a manual transmission on a car? Why does a manual transmission need a clutch and an automatic transmission does not? How does the clutch work? Why does a clutch burn out?
  • How do iPods store all that music? What other options are available to store it? Why was the one they use chosen? What may be the next better storage mechanism?

If you want to tie it into history, ask how people 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1,000 years ago did what we do routinely today. What did tires and treads look like at those different time periods? How were vehicles propelled? How was music stored and enjoyed? How does communications technology affect social unrest? Which technologies that were originally invented for military uses have become everyday household products? Did you know that microwave ovens came from radar technologies developed for guiding missiles?

The list of fascinating STEM topics is endless. More importantly, they are an integral part of everybody’s world. All of the inventions and the underlying technologies were designed and built by engineers and technologists based on work by scientists and mathematicians. STEM is not some remote esoteric set of knowledge reserved for nerds. It’s a fascinating set of knowledge and skills that make up the world we live in. The 4W questions are only interesting if they are used in the context of why and how.

Dropout prevention is another big issue in education. Because understanding why and how something happened are much more interesting than the 4W questions, students get more engaged in their learning when seeking answers to why and how. We need to get away from the model where the teacher asks the 4W questions and students answer them. We need to pose problems that require the students to determine what the questions are that they need answered in order to solve the problem. If you put the students in small ability-level based groups and frame the questions as problems to be solved, every student is actively engaged in learning. This student-centered learning environment also allows the teachers to work individually with every student and customize the learning for each of them.

Going back to the battle of Hastings, knowing why and how it was fought and how the result of the battle impacted the subsequent history of England might be of use in looking at the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Can we learn any lessons from Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq that will enable us to make better decisions about the value of those strategies?

We need to change the questions we ask our students and the way we pose them, not only in class, but also on assessments. There is an old axiom that applies; “You get what you pay for.” Since educational institutions get ‘paid’ for good assessments, they will structure the teaching and learning activities to produce what is assessed. So we need to do less assessing of who, what, when, and where; and start doing a better job of assessing students’ mastery of why and how.

Passport to the World, Geography! Are you Up to Date?

On the Great Wall

No one has ever described the Great Wall in the media to my satisfaction

There are children who do not know the intersection of geography, history, story and maps.

Actually there are lots of people reporting the news to us from various media platforms who have little in the way of geography education or real knowledge. It is a national shane.

There is a tool that we can all use at http://www.mywonderfulworld.org.

There are resources for teachers that are incredibly wonderful at the National Geographic Society.

There are also alliances, that you can join in your state. The alliancesare here.. More resources are here. Resources

The Alliances

Geography Education Alliances connect K-12 teachers with university faculty, offering professional development opportunities and promoting improvements in geographic education at state and local levels.( http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/program/geography-alliances/) The alliances breakj the silos of education , you have the professors, researchers, professional photographers, teachers , all working for change in a state. The resources and the opportunities are many.. My principal joined the alliance and went to some conferences with me.  I love going to Geographic conferences. They are an experience to learn a LOT from.!!! Geography is an adventure.

Vendor solutions for Geography? Well there is a lot that is free on the National Geographic Education site.

Classroom materials have been developed by geographers and geographic educators to teach the field as a discipline rather than through fact and recall. I was lucky enough to be a geographic educator a teacher, before technology called me to national service with the White House for a long term initiative. NIIAC.

Cast the students as researchers who use geography to solve real world problems. Each activity:introduces a skill for analyzing data geographically provides information about a specific place employs a specific kind of map (isoline, choropleth, profile, etc., illustrates a useful explanatory theory of modern geography. What is geography? See this cartoon for a visual definition

The 21st Century Partnership has added geography to their skills bank.

Here is a philosophical discussion about geography. Title:

Reconceptualizing Geography as Democratic Global Citizenship Education

Find the reference here in a PDF

(Bednarz, 2002)

Teaching geography in this manner is far better than didactic traditions if one values critical thinking and the development of transferable student insight about spatiality. Yet this still falls short of what we have described as democratic citizenship education.

As a teacher, I was lucky enough to be involved in a National Summer Workshop from the National Geographic Society. I was teaching in Virginia and there was a great Alliance that I was able to learn from and work with. My mentor was killed in the (/11 crash at the Pentagon. They were taking students to a meeting in California. The Virginia Geographic Alliance was a rich resource for me and other teachers.

History can be boring, but not if you use the resources available to make it real. GIS, GPS, Stories and pictures , the Internet and You Tube, enhance a lot of what you THINK you know.

In reality do you know place geography? Interactive Maps?

What is Geography?

Children, parents and the media audience see the world without really knowing much about the cuture of the groups that we talk about. A real friend of mine has NO understanding of the cultures that are in the Middle East. He told me that “we” liberated Arab women? I was too challenged to peacefully explain that he did not know the culture to reply. I think that also such misconceptions are best solved by the person with the misunderstanding. But what would lead him to such a misunderstanding. What does he read? What did he learn? What is his guide to the world? Perhaps some one of the many media minute mavens. Those reading the scripts on TV. often have no geographical idea of where the place is that they are talking about.

Maps. Maps. Maps. are here.

I like the articles that talk about geography education. Many school systems do not use geography as a subject of interest, because it is not tested. It may be offered after the fact. That is because of the politics of education, and the lack of knowledge of those with the power to make a difference in real world education.

My husband and I have traveled to many places in the world. Vic has lived in Africa, and started his career teaching English as a foreign language in Africa. His parents were missionaries to China,

I have lived in Greece. I thought I knew Greek History and the literature. I thought I did. I only touched the surface of the information available at the time. I loved living in Athens, and studying various elements of the Greek History. I particularly loved the  studying in the museum in Thessalonki, Greece.

All Roads Lead to Rome

I started my world ttravels late, on a Fulbright to India . Travel experiences, seeing your own country from afar are also quite an education. You can believe we have some very interesting discussions in our household about various elements of culture in the places we have lived and worked.

Earthwatch was a project related to something I was doing in the geographic. It was my first scientific study sponsored , to learn archaeology , of the Beaker people. But what little real history of the area of the Med did I have. Not much. That experience was eye opening to me.

But the definition geo-literacy probably is best for us in a media centric world. You will love the visualization of the topic on the page. You might also like the longer definition and explanations by Dr. Danny Edelson Photo: Daniel Edelson.

A geo-literate population can make far-reaching decisions about their health, their environment, and their community.

http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/geoliteracy/?ar_a=1&ar_r=1

National Geographic Society Education Network www.ngsednet.org 

For updates and newletters, sign up here.

This is a beta site

http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/programs/?ar_a=1&ar_r=1

Do you know Science on a Sphere. It is a transformative use of media to teach. It is awesome.

I was working with NTIA, NOAA, when I was pulled away from Geography as my main sphere of Interest.
NOAA is a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. It plays several distinct roles within the Department of Commerce with a broad mission. Some of NOAA’s more widely-known divisions include the National Weather Service, The National Hurricane Center, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Science On a Sphere (SOS)® is a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain what are sometimes complex environmental processes, in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.

Science On a Sphere® extends NOAA’s educational program goals, which are designed to increase public understanding of the environment. Using NOAA’s collective experience and knowledge of the Earth’s land, oceans, and atmosphere, NOAA uses Science On a Sphere® as an instrument to enhance informal educational programs in science centers, universities, and museums across the country. Science On a Sphere® is available to any institution and is currently in operation at a number of facilities in the US.

See if you can get a kid to move, when there is this exhibit to learn from. It is mostly in museums or may be coming to a conference near you.

FInally, the 21st Century Partnership now shares the ideas of geography, and they have involved schools in the blueprint. Here is their set of resources.

   Games in Education , yes, yes and yes,

Featured Games

  • Photo: A screen from the games Lost Chronicles-Fall of Caesar, showing Brutus walking through an ornate hall

    Lost Chronicles: Fall of Caesar

    Reveal the conspiracy behind Caesar’s murder in this hidden object investigation. Meet historical figures, including Marc Antony, and learn of their role in the conspiracy.  Explore historically-detailed locations in Rome and Greece, searching for clues, as you follow the path of Marcus Brutus after he murdered Caesar.  Play various mini-games, puzzles, and more, and access informative articles courtesy of National Geographic in this compelling game.

     

  • salem-game.jpg

    Lost Chronicles of Salem

    Help a mother and daughter who have been accused of witchcraft escape superstitious mobs in this captivating hidden object thriller. Explore 1692 Salem in richly detailed screens, and play mini-games like word jumbles, puzzles, and more.

     

  • Photo:  A photo montage of migrating animals--zebras, crabs, butterflies

    Great Migrations

    Based on the breathtaking National Geographic Channel miniseries Great Migrations, this game challenges you to protect and guide your animals on their dangerous migration journeys. Select a leader, collect your herd, evade predators, and heal all wounds!

     

  • Photo: Logo of the game Build It Green--Back to the Beach

    Build It Green: Back to the Beach

    You love this tropical island, and now it is up to you to protect it and everything around it. Build it green

    I cannot share everything that is of the National Geographic. Go to the home page, sign up, sign in and get working.

    Bonnie Bracey Sutton

    Victor Sutton

    PowerofUs