In the Digital Age, Digital Equity is an Essential

Excerpt by Larry Irving /Fast Forward by Bonnie Sutton

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The day America married the Internet

In 1993, the Internet was the province almost exclusively of scientists and hobbyists, with only about 2 million users worldwide. U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore saw huge potential in connecting all of the United States to the Internet.

They believed that a robust Internet would provide immeasurable benefits to the U.S. economy, would create jobs and would improve the provision of critical services to the American public, including education, healthcare, library services, public safety and government information and data.

As importantly, they believed that the Internet could spur needed private-sector investment and innovation in both the underlying infrastructure and in the platforms, applications and services that would ride on that infrastructure.

They were right on all counts.

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The vision

“Imagine you had a device that combined a telephone, a TV, a camcorder and a personal computer. No matter where you went or what time it was, your child could see you and talk to you, you could watch a replay of your team’s last game, you could browse the latest additions to the library, or you could find the best prices in town on groceries, furniture, clothes — whatever you needed.”

The above paragraph was the opening paragraph of the Agenda for Action — 20 years ago. It was an eerily accurate vision of a then-distant future. Sometimes having a coherent vision helps propel progress. The administration knew where it wanted to go and knew it needed a plan to drive the progress required to get there.

The plan

The Agenda for Action laid out a series of principles and proposed actions to support them. Virtually all of those principles remain the cornerstones of the United States’ domestic and international technology policies today.

The Agenda for Action stated a strong preference for private-sector development and deployment of the Internet. The administration felt it important to state that preference clearly and unequivocally because of fears that the government would attempt to build the Information Superhighway using public dollars.

In light of the U.S. government’s efforts at that time to encourage increased investment in our domestic infrastructure and to promote privatization of telecommunications networks abroad, the administration clarified its preference for private-sector investment to build the Internet, supported by tax and regulatory policies that would promote an investment-friendly environment.

The Agenda for Action presaged virtually every major policy debate surrounding the Internet and delineated a comprehensive policy approach that protected the rights of consumers while also providing increased certainty for industry and innovators by calling for the following: extending our historic commitment to universal service to the Internet; seamless, interactive user-driven operation of the Internet; information security and network reliability; improved management of wireless spectrum; protection of Intellectual property rights; and increased coordination with state and local governments and with other nations to ensure that the Internet would be fully global.

Looking back today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore got much right. Their vision for the Internet was realized more quickly and more completely than any of us had any right to expect.

Reading the Agenda for Action today, the administration accurately predicted the power of the Internet to increase access to information and to be a key economic driver. As importantly, the administration provided a forward looking and flexible policy template that would underscore the growth of the internet over the following decades.

The astonishing growth of the Internet in the mid-1990s was driven in large part by the innovation, talent, ingenuity and passion of many in the private sector, principally the Internet pioneers in Silicon Valley and other creative centers, as well as the Internet service providers who built the physical networks.

It is unlikely that the Internet’s growth would have been as explosive or that we would have seen as much early acceptance and adoption domestically and internationally without the administration’s leadership and use of the bully pulpit to drive policy prescriptions and procurement efforts designed to support and encourage private-sector investment and innovation.

At a time of increased skepticism about the role of government and widespread derision of visionary leaders, it’s important to note that sometimes the government and its leaders get it right. The United States and the world is at another inflection point today as wireless technology, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, social networks and data analytics become drivers of economic and societal changes.

Revisiting or restating fundamental policy principles to ensure that they provide an environment that will promote investment while also protecting the rights of consumers would seem to be as necessary today as it was 20 years ago.

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Advances in information technology (IT) are reshaped the U.S. labor market. The demand for workers who can read and understand complex material, think analytically, and use technology efficiently will continue to increase. Congress established the 21st Century Workforce Commission to assess current and future demand for IT workers and the education and training needed to fill IT jobs. By conducting field hearings and site visits and reviewing pertinent research, the commission identified nine keys to success that leaders at all levels can apply to build a highly skilled workforce prepared for high-technology job opportunities in the 21st century. The keys are as follows: (1) building 21st century literacy; (2) exercising leadership through partnerships; (3) forming learning linkages for youth; (4) identifying pathways to IT jobs; (5) increasing acquisition of IT skills; (6) expanding continuous learning; (7) shaping a flexible immigration policy for skilled IT workers; (8) raising student achievement; (9) and making technology access and Internet connectivity universal. During its work, the commission found many examples of how stakeholders at all levels exerted the leadership to put the keys into practice. (Ten tables/figures are included. Concluding the report are a list of the commission members and 85 endnotes.) (MN)

Fast Forward 2016   Are We A Nation of Opportunity for All? Not Yet!!

We still need a plan to engage, inform, educate and create possibilities for all communities.

In the Digital Age, Digital Equity is an Essential

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 NCDE  Puts forward an Action Plan

We are , in America still trying to solve the problem of the Digital Divide. EDC has allowed us to have a solution. Not to talk about the latest tool, or gadget or even coding.

HOW DO WE SOLVE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE?

Not in an hour to talk about problems, but a whole day to define, to work across communities , schools, libraries, businesses, teacher groups and government to find solutions and to learn from each other.

Dr. McLaughlin  shared thoughts as a framework for our discussions

 Principles for Designing and Evaluating Digital Equity Investments and Initiatives

They were well focused on achieving not only digital equity but also locally determined economic, educational and social impacts.  fostering digital equity not just for its own sake but for its critical contributions to other more fundamental locally determined priorities for equity, social justice, and well-being.

 

Systemic- providing equitable( free or low cost) access to the full array of essential resources for digital inclusi0n, lifelong learning, workforce development and economic opportunity including:

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-broadband

-computing devices with keyboard ( and assistive devices for those with disabilities}

-multilingual tech support

-librarians skilled in guiding learners to high quality content and tools, keyed to their learning priorities

-low interest financing (or full subsidies) for gamilies with weak or no credit so that when devices are not free they can afford to finance them and still support their families

-educational and productivity apps and software

-open and “Deep Web”educational resources that are universally designed.

The initiative will publish, share videos and the outcome ideas of our Digital Equity Symposium

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The National Coalition for Digital Equity will publish these in greater detail the outcomes of the symposium.

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Creating Opportunity for All

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 CS is a “new basic” skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility. By some estimates, just one quarter of all the K-12 schools in the United States offer CS with programming and coding, and only 28 states allow CS courses to count towards high-school graduation, even as other advanced economies are making CS available for all of their students. The White House aims to change that. There is a new initiative.

Why?

The Opportunity

Providing access to CS is a critical step for ensuring that our nation remains competitive in the global economy and strengthens its cybersecurity. Last year, there were over 600,000 tech jobs open across the United States, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in CS-related fields. The Federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector needs many more. CS is not only important for the tech sector, but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector.

How Do We Prepare Students? Teachers ? The Community?

One of the problems is the lack of access, interest and the knowledge of computational thinking and learning and math. There also has been a limited supply of well trained teachers for all. Most of us are aware that there are teachers in rural, urban, tribal, minority based poor communities who don’t have a computer teacher anywhere near a school. There may be teachers who are available in after school program. The Coding week also gives some impetus to making a change but sadly , it may be only for that week. It is an excellent start. It is a way to get things rolling.

Computational thinking and cyber learning and math… we must start at the lower levels to be able to graduate those with the skills that they will need to meet a high school computer teacher.

Coding?Coding in the Classroom: What is Coding and Why is it so Important?

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Computational Thinking?
“Computational Thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating problems and their solutions so that the solutions are represented in a form that can be effectively carried out by an information-processing agent.”

Cuny, Snyder, Wing

Say it again? What was that?

Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. To flourish in today’s world, computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people think and understand the world.

Computational thinking means creating and making use of different levels of abstraction, to understand and solve problems more effectively.

Computational thinking means thinking algorithmically and with the ability to apply mathematical concepts such as induction to develop more efficient, fair, and secure solutions.

Computational thinking means understanding the consequences of scale, not only for reasons of efficiency but also for economic and social reasons.

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There have been people working in this field for a very long time with limited success.  One must thank people like Henry Neeman, R.N. Panoff , Concord.org and those who sought to broaden engagement to all with limited resources. Scott Lathrop has certainly impacted broadening engagement.

Fortunately, there is a growing movement being led by parents, teachers, states, districts, and the private sector to expand CS education. The President’s Computer Science for All Initiative builds on these efforts by:

Providing $4 billion in funding for states, and $100 million directly for districts in his forthcoming Budget to increase access to K-12 CS by training teachers, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials, and building effective regional partnerships. The funding will allow more states and districts to offer hands-on CS courses across all of their public high schools, get students involved early by creating high-quality CS learning opportunities in elementary and middle schools, expand overall access to rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework, and ensure all students have the chance to participate, including girls and underrepresented minorities.
Starting the effort this year, with more than $135 million in investments by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support and train CS teachers, who are the most critical ingredient to offering CS education in schools. The agencies will make these investments over five years using existing funds.

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Early exposure and interest

Calling on even more Governors, Mayors, education leaders, CEOs, philanthropists, creative media and technology professionals, and others to get involved. Today, Delaware, Hawaii and more than 30 school districts are committing to expand CS opportunities; Cartoon Network, Google and Salesforce.org are announcing more than $60 million in new philanthropic investments, and Microsoft is announcing a fifty-state campaign to expand CS; and Code.org is announcing plans to offer CS training to an additional 25,000 teachers this year.

We still need parents and the communities to grasp the important of this project and to sign on. The initiatives mean nothing if schools don’t step up to the challenge. Has your school accepted Connect.Ed?IMG_0078

Invisible Students

 

Students at SITE

This article made me think of all of the people in education who have muted voices or no voices at all. It is probably because they don’t have technology, training, money, or time to make the difference that students need. They also can’t answer the experts , or share their sorrows in education. I think of them often. When I propose a workshop or a symposium, people start to tell me about the latest , hottest trend in education. Invisible students and teachers have no power. Even visible bad assed teachers can be shut out of the conversation and shut up.

Why are teachers cloaked in invisibility? Perhaps because we only ask the professors about research and not the working teachers. There are teachers and students in the world, in the US who are still not connected, and the way to get connected in their communities is difficult to find. We talk about the Internet of Things, and they have hardly the understanding of the uses of technology that are beneficial to them. I was told that sponsors don’t really care about digital equity, I don’t believe that.

I think it is difficult to walk in the shoes of those who work in rural, distant, urban, multilingual , and minority areas, but the work is necessary to lift all boats.

Teachers?

The public perception of the job is one thing. Being a good teacher is hard work.

The recent onslaught of attacks on teachers makes some of us like turtles. We withdraw and do our magic in the classroom as we can with what we have. The attacks make us insecure, and gives us feelings of unworthiness, sadness. Joy in the eyes of a child helps to take away the pain, or the discovery that some foundation, some credible agency understands how you feel makes for a quiet smile.

I like it that Richard Cullatta resigned and was not shy in his parting shots. The article is one that most people will never see or understand. But we in tribal. rural, distant, urban, and poor, the communities of those without the access, resources, savvy grant writers, technology trained teachers, and community support know exactly what he is talking about.

In his final public remarks as director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education, Richard Cullatta had a few requests.

Please don’t scan in the same old worksheets.

Please don’t record boring lectures and put them online.

Please don’t forget the needs of low-income and minority students, many of whom don’t have easy access to digital devices, speedy Internet service and advanced classes in computer science.

*I would add please don’t forget that there are many students with reading difficulty  who think problem solving is a pain.

Culatta delivered his plea last week at National Education Week, an annual conference that was held this year at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The outgoing federal leader spoke on a panel about teaching coding in schools, and he used most of his time in the spotlight to talk about equality. We must ensure that the rapid march of innovation does not leave certain groups of people behind, Culatta said.

He said    ‘Women and minorities are underrepresented in computer science courses in high school and college. For instance, girls make up 56 percent of all test-takers in Advanced Placement courses, but just 18 percent of students taking computer science tests, Culatta said. It doesn’t get much better in college, where women make up about 57 percent of all undergraduates, but just 14 percent of them major in computer science. ‘

“And the inequality is even more stunning for people of color. In 12 states, zero students of color took the computer science Advanced Placement exam, Culatta said. And a mere 10 percent of people majoring in computer science are black.

“That’s an incredible problem that we need to solve,” Culatta said.

There are a lot of us who are not computer science teachers. But we have had support from the Supercomputing Conference which had an education section and we learned what we could in that precious space. For a while we also learned in the conference and at Shodor.org.  Then I had a remarkable experience in the Atlas Institute , learning with Dr. Alex Repenning. We were learning scalable game design. He knows how to teach teachers who are NOT computer science teachers.  ”

Sadly in the infrastructure of boards, and meetings , and groups who decide what goes on in education and who present in education we are an invisible force if present at all in the education  groups.

ADVOCACY

 

IMG_0078I learned as many others did at NASA, with the National Geographic Education Institute and alliances, with Earthwatch and the Jason Project. We teachers got to meet  Bob Ballard, Bill Nye, and a number of astronauts and scientists .

 

I had the power of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. When people were talking about Star Wars , they did not know that Edutopia is and has been a force in education for all.

We teachers also had the power of the NEA and its advocacies for diversity. McAuliffe, selected from more than 11,000 applicants to participate in NASA’s The Teacher in Space Project, had made plans to provide lessons from the shuttle on the benefits of space travel. Christa McAuliffe was a gifted social science teacher who was dedicated to her students and to the teaching profession.

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Many of the projects in coding are absolutely wonderful. I loved weaving the Star Wars coding with reading of the books, and sharing science fiction, and NASA photographs and  art and the movies in a mashup that few children could not be attracted to.

I am pretty savvy, so I did not even break a sweat. I walked into a lab and sat down with children I had never seen. We had a great time coding. We did not limit our time to an hour. We did various things in about 4 hours, and the kids wanted to stay longer.

*I am not in a classroom because I am a very experienced in technology and was asked to leave or give up technology during NCLB. So I left and became a consultant.

 

And then there is Cyberlearning.   But, but.. without regular access how do we develop the skills, and deep learning. How sad it must be to understand the Internet of  Things and to not have a learning landscape that is even good access.

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Some of the teachers need their job so badly that they just go with the flow no matter how terrible it is. It is taken for granted that the experts in the silos of higher ed know the answers. Well, some of those experts are very isolated from the people who really teach.

 

 

YES , THEY CAN!! If….Minority Students Can Achieve….

A Teragrid Outreach , Jesse and I partidipated in and learned a lot

Most of the people who are writing about the assault on a student by a policeman, have little or no experience working in the places of need and judge by what they think. Those students are not lost causes. They can be taught..You can shape an attitude. You can make a student love learning.

Larry Irving said this:

“No issue is more important than ensuring that our communities, particularly our children, obtain access to new technologies and become technologically literate. Our nation’s problems can’t and won’t be solved entirely by new technology, but these new technologies are tools that we can use to make significant changes in our communities.”

I like what Allan Jones wrote on the Internet.

He said ,”There has been a lot of debate over the young student who was forcibly removed from her classroom by police. It should never have reached that point. There is an old leadership principle I learned at the Naval Academy that has always served me well. It says simply, “Praise publicly and criticize privately.” If you are having a problem with a student in a class, don’t make a spectacle of the situation by humiliating the student in front of the rest of the class. You have the authority to win any argument in a classroom, but when you do, there is a greater loss. You lose any chance you had of having a rational conversation with the student you just defeated. But that is the minor loss. The major loss is the respect of the class for using your authority instead of your intellect to solve the problem. There is another old quote that applies to this situation. “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (John Wooden) Asserting your authority to win an argument means you haven’t taken the time to care about why the student is apparently misbehaving. It’s very important for students to care how much you know, so your have to show them you care about each and every one of them. — — That’s how I would have and always did deal with the situation.”

You can’t learn these skills everywhere..but certainly policemen or counselors should have these skills. Lots of people who have been successful with minority kids have a helpful attitude.

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My dad taught in very difficult inner city schools and nothing like the assault ever happened. He did bring hungry kids home and one of the things that I remember is that he and another teacher bought a suit for the first black NBA player for his interview,and they were mentors to him. Earl Lloyd always remembered that and sometimes helped me when I was working the digital divide. He just needed that boost. Earl Lloyd remembered that and also helped students to conquer the various problems that they had to become literate.

Here is a funny thing. Once a student who happened to be white, committed a crime. Everyone was afraid of the student. He hid under my dad’s car and waited to ask my dad to take him to the police station. So it is not about color . It is about understanding…

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One class I worked with was a class of mostly Hispanic and Black kids who were only not in jail because they attended this class in the Career Center where I was a teacher in residence. Ok , their main teacher was a policeman, and he wore cop shoes, but he knew how to work with the students. I also worked with them. The only problem I ever had was that sometimes they would tell me how to wear my hair.. some wanted me to use gel and I did not. But that was not a big deal.He read their faces as they came in. They were checking out the shoes of the adults who came in. Everything was not always peaceful but, he would do aside time, and some kinds of counseling. We did not lose a single student back to jail. We gave them confidence, and assurance and skills that they could use. We sometimes let them use educational games. Wow did I have a hard time keeping my scores up to challenge them. That was a challenge that they liked. I stayed up nights to learn those games.

What can you teach them? What about everything? This is a group of students seining who had never been seaside , or to a beach. Did they love me. You betcha. Did they learn. YES!!! Ok I used their love of crabs to get them there, but that is fair. ” Eat a Crab Lab?

See the  SERC Lab
This was a teacher workshop
Art was mosaics, writing a play about the bay, drawing the animals of the bay, creating a workbook for people who loved the bay, and writing a grant, the kids did this, to be able to take field trips to photograph the bay.

                               Seining at the SERC Center, Edgewater , Maryland.4894_115870586326_2833140_n

Another approach to students, is that of Dr. Jesse Bemley. He takes the best and the brightest and teaches computer science to them. In the middle o the ghetto…Very rigid. Specialized practice on presenting and being on point in sharing information. When I worked with him I watched in amazement as he transformed students. Students went on to work with the BDPA and other groups. Attitudes were left at the door. Besides, Dr. Bemley came from Mississippi and he could tell long stories about not having things, and a difficult journey to education. He would talk a student to death about opportunity … literally. I think the students were amazed at what he knew and his dedication to their achievement. If a child had an attitude it was locked at the door.

Dc Parents and interested mentors teach ESRI at the computer center on Naylor Road. We had help from people at the National Geographic to get ESRI and to start our project.

Dc Parents and interested mentors teach ESRI at the computer center on Naylor Road. We had help from people at the National Geographic to get ESRI and to start our project.

We went to conferences, did Saturday study and worked with Supercomputing for a long time. Dr. Bemley is still doing this work in his Naylor Road office. His son and daughter are computer scientists. ( It takes a village). He was able to bring a lot of students to a specialized event that SC had in our Washington DC area. Any attitudes that students had were parked at the door.

I had another friend,Manorama Talaiver, who taught in rural schools in Virginia and she worked with students who were minorities. She wrote grants and got funding and connected teachers and students to learning . What she did every Saturday? She provided opportunity. She wrote grants and did Robotics First with kids .. that was something else to watch. All of her students achieved. All of them. She built their confidence and involved them in team building.

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My friend Mano works in areas of need in rural Virginia. There are lots of us who have the aptitude to teach students. Permission is something else.

My friend Mano worked in areas of need in rural Virginia. There are lots of us who have the aptitude to teach students. Permission is something else.

We need to make sure that all of our schools, not just those in affluent suburban communities, obtain computer technology., have access, and the teachers have professional development to fully use the tools . The tools are the first step.

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Larry Irving also said

“Additionally, we need to make sure that all of our schools, not just those in affluent suburban communities, obtain computer technology.” this is extracted from a speech he made a decade ago.. and so we must add computer coding to the list.

Larry Irving 1998 Speech

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/speechtestimony/1998/remarks-assistant-secretary-irving

Larry Irving 2015 Speech( It is awesome on it’s own)

Use technology to disrupt poverty!

]https://medium.com/@larry_irving/use-technology-to-disrupt-poverty-199877d54184

The New World.. the Old World met.. It was not all about Columbus!! How About those Spices

We are getting ready to “celebrate ?” Columbus Day.

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Most people have not been lucky enough to get a good perspective on what happened when the two worlds met. I was a teacher learner at the Smithsonian when the Quincentennial happened and in planning, they dug deeply into history that few of us were taught. Teachers in the Metropolitan DC area were involved in the workshops and the planning. We worked with Julie Margolis.

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The main book we used to form ideas was “The Columbian Exchange:Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. We had lots of other books, and activities and even a garden that was on the museum grounds and on the grounds of a school.(http://www.jstor.org/stable/3742188?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents) Some of the research papers we studied were included in the book that became the exhibit handbook..

What is Black History

This student is searching for home, which for her is South Africa

Dr. Herman J. Viola , a curator emeritus at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History also gave us several workshops. He , a specialist on the history of the American West,  served as director of the Museum’s National Anthropological Archives in addition to organizing two major exhibitions for the Smithsonian. “Magnificent Voyagers” told the story of the United State Exploring Expedition of 1838-42, and “Seeds of Change” exhibit which we are referencing here, he examined the exchange of plants, animals, and diseases between the Old and the New Worlds as a result of the Christopher Columbus voyages of discovery.

http://www.edgate.com/lewisandclark/BIOs/BIO_Herman_Bio.html

Columbus, we are told, was no heroic “discoverer” of a New World; as some now see it, he was a villain who pillaged and polluted another old one. At the very least, some say this was not a “discovery.” The approved word for the year of 1992 was “encounter.” There is a whole other discussion on the origins of the maps and the history of map making.

Also, strike the term “celebration.” Many Native Americans viewed the Columbus Quincentenary as more properly an occasion to mourn the destruction of their civilizations. The golden mean, that was taught by the Smithsonian Institution, was the neutral idea of “commemoration.”

The Smithsonian’s “Seeds of Change” exhibition was a marker to think differently about the two world coming together in – the largest ever mounted display by the National Museum of Natural History – it did not focus on Columbus himself, although it refers to his voyages and contained quotations from his journals.

Here is a different take on what Columbus was looking for. Can you say spices?

Do you know that this is a different way of thinking about why Columbus went to the “Indies”

http://education.nationalgeographic.com/video/price-of-pepper/

And here is a map0d0ae1e3-f061-4e7e-a9ee-348d1bdd6992

http://education.nationalgeographic.com/thisday/oct12/columbus-makes-landfall-caribbean/

The theme of the “Seeds of Change” at the Smithsonian was the biological and cultural exchanges that transformed two old worlds into one new one – a popularization of ideas introduced two decades ago by historian Alfred W. Crosby Jr. in his book.

There is a darker view of Columbus , presented here..http://www.understandingprejudice.org/nativeiq/weather.htm Everyone does not agree about the cultural exchange and encounter.

                                                Elements of Change

Often discussed were the horse, tomato, potato, corn and disease. ( tobacco was not mentioned, Slavery was inserted).

The five ``seeds`` that Columbus sowed on both sides of the Atlantic with his voyages to the new world that were presented were  sugar, corn, the potato, disease and the horse, Margolis told us.

“The transfer of these items changed the world,“ Corn, for example, was unknown to Columbus and the rest of the world.

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In 1493, when corn was first exported to Europe, people there fed it to livestock, thinking it unfit for human consumption. But by 1700, corn became a staple, especially in Africa, where it contributed to a population growth that in turn fed the slave trade to America. Think sugar cane, rum, and the triangle of slavery.

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The horse, too was depicted, as a seed of change when the Spanish used it to conquer the Americas. Horses roamed America in prehistoric times, but were killed off during the Ice Age; Columbus reintroduced them to the New World, to which they were well adapted.Horses, for example, are depicted as having increased Indian wealth and leisure time, while inspiring an array of crafts and clothing. But their use by Indian societies also is said by some to have promoted contact, competition and warfare among tribes.

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.The Tomato http://www.tomato-cages.com/tomato-history.html

Margolis pointed out to us that Italian cuisine with its tomato sauces could not have come into being without the American tomato brought back to Europe by Columbus. A 6- by 8-foot sculpture was in the exhibit, “Spaghetti Meets Tomato,“ by artist Roark Gourley of Laguna Beach, Calif., shows a whimsical, climbing tomato plant towering over a red-and-white checked tablecloth and an array of common Italian-American dishes.“`Spaghetti Meets Tomato

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“I had tried different things, none of which I liked,” Gourley said. “I had a food fight between Columbus and a kid that didn’t work out. I kept tinkering with it until the idea of spaghetti and tomato, which is so simple, hit me.”The finished piece looked to be constructed entirely of food, but is deceptively intricate in its design. The spaghetti noodles are made of a resin-glossed clothes line, the cheese of sliced-up rubberbands and rice made of real spaghetti noodles

When we visited we had a list of the foods from the New World and a list of Old World Food.

It was fun to make a menu using only foods from one list.

For other readings that cast a different light on the importance of the Columbian Voyages read this book ” Precious Cargo” The Author says

“The discovery of the Americas was a watershed event for food that forever changed history and triggered unforeseen advances in agriculture, enterprise, and commerce that allowed the development of the modern world. Admittedly, this progress came with horrendous problems, like slavery and the destruction of indigenous societies and species, but I don’t believe it serves any useful purpose to make moral judgments about historical events. The purpose of Precious Cargo, is simply to tell the many stories of how and why western hemisphere foods and crops conquered the rest of the world and saved it from not only culinary boredom, but mass starvation as well”

http://www.dave-dewitt.com/portfolio-item/precious-cargo-how-foods-from-the-americas-changed-the-world/

The Tomato History has origins traced back to the early Aztecs around 700 A.D; therefore it is believed that the tomato is native to the Americas. It was not until around the 16th century that Europeans were introduced to this fruit when the early explorers set sail to discover new lands. Throughout Southern Europe, the tomato was quickly accepted into the kitchen, yet as it moved north, more resistance was apparent. The British, for example, admired the tomato for its beauty, but believe that it was poisonous, as its appearance was similar to that of the wolf peach.

Sugar cane is viewed more harshly still. As visitors enter the darkened section devoted to this fifth “seed,” they suddenly find themselves in the simulated hold of a slave ship. Originally brought from Europe, sugar cane grew even better in the Caribbean, where its production for European use stimulated the slave trade and caused the ravaging of the native terrain, the exhibition argues.

From virgin rain forests to sugar cane plantations, a diorama re-creating a slave dwelling and narration of an account of slave life by actress Whoopi Goldberg.

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New World Foods: corn, potato, tomato, bell pepper, chili pepper, vanilla, tobacco, beans, pumpkin, cassava root, avocado, peanut, pecan , cashew, pineapple, blueberry, sunflower, petunia, black-eyed susan, dahlia, marigold, quinine, wild rice, cacao (chocolate), gourds, and squash.

Here is an indepth game to play to learn a lot more from the NMAI.

          http://www.nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/culturequest/

When Christopher Columbus arrived on the Bahamian Island of Guanahani (San Salvador) in 1492, he encountered the Taíno people, whom he described in letters as “naked as the day they were born.” The Taíno had complex hierarchical religious, political, and social systems. Skilled farmers and navigators, they wrote music and poetry and created powerfully expressive objects. At the time of Columbus’s exploration, the Taíno were the most numerous indigenous people of the Caribbean and inhabited what are now Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. By 1550, the Taíno were close to extinction, many having succumbed to diseases brought by the Spaniards. Taíno influences survived, however, and today appear in the beliefs, religions, language, and music of Caribbean cultures.

Had horses really been extinct in the Americas until Christopher Columbus shipped them there on his second voyage? they wanted to know.

And was it true that diseases imported by the explorers and conquistadors had decimated as much as 90 percent of the native population?

And why was tobacco not included I assume that it was not politically correct to tell about it.

TOBACCO: The Early History of a New World Crop
Hail thou inspiring plant! Thou balm of life,
Well might thy worth engage two nations’ strife;
Exhaustless fountain of Britannia’s wealth;
Thou friend of wisdom and thou source of health.
-from an early tobacco label

Tobacco, that outlandish weed
It spends the brain, and spoiles the seede
It dulls the spirite, it dims the sight
It robs a woman of her right.

-Dr. William Vaughn, 1617
As these two verses show, tobacco use has long been a controversial subject, considered by turns a vice, a panacea, an economic salvation and a foolish and dangerous habit. However, it was perceived, by the end of the seventeenth century tobacco had become the economic staple of Virginia, easily making her the wealthiest of the 13 colonies by the time of the American Revolution.

The Old World encountered tobacco at the dawn of the European Age of Exploration. On the morning of October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus set foot on a small island in the Bahamas. Believing himself to be off the coast of Asia, the Admiral dressed in his best to meet the local inhabitants. The Arawaks offered him some dried leaves as a token of friendship. Those leaves were tobacco. A few days later, a party from Columbus’ ship docked off the coast of Cuba and witnessed local peoples there smoking tobacco through Y-shaped tubes which they inserted in their noses, inhaling smoke until they lost consciousness.

Source? http://www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/tobacco-the-early-history-of-a-new-world-crop.htm

Disease– Controversial subject ….

The exhibition’s section on disease included fascinating pre-Columbian sculptures from Peru’s Moche culture, which for some reason (we never learn why) excelled in the depiction of medical deformities. There was a case devoted to the argument that, in an exception from the more common transfer of infections from East to West, syphilis may have been brought back to Europe by Columbus’ crew. No space, however, is allotted to countervailing theories, including the notion that Europeans might at one time have misdiagnosed syphilis as leprosy. Discussions continue about the effects of disease.

Wikipedia

European exploration of tropical areas was aided by the New World discovery of quinine, the first effective treatment for malaria. Europeans suffered from this disease, but some indigenous populations had developed at least partial resistance to it. In Africa, resistance to malaria has been associated with other genetic changes among sub-Saharan Africans and their descendants that can cause sickle cell anemia.[1]:164

Before regular communication had been established between the two hemispheres, the varieties of domesticated animals and infectious diseases that jumped to humans, such assmallpox, were strikingly more numerous in the Old World than in the New. Many had migrated west across Eurasia with animals or people, or were brought by traders from Asia, so diseases of two continents were suffered by all occupants. While Europeans and Asians were affected by the Eurasian diseases, their endemic status in those continents over centuries resulted in many people gaining acquired immunity.

By contrast, “Old World” diseases had a devastating effect when introduced to Native American populations via European carriers, as the people in the Americas had no naturalimmunity to the new diseases. Measles caused many deaths. The smallpox epidemics are believed to have caused the largest death tolls among Native Americans, surpassing any wars[13] and far exceeding the comparative loss of life in Europe due to the Black Death.[1]:164 It is estimated that upwards of 80–95 percent of the Native American population died in these epidemics within the first 100–150 years following 1492. Many regions in the Americas lost 100%.[1]:165

Similarly, yellow fever is thought to have been brought to the Americas from Africa via the Atlantic slave trade. Because it was endemic in Africa, many people there had acquired immunity. Europeans suffered higher rates of death than did African-descended persons when exposed to yellow fever in Africa and the Americas, where numerous epidemics swept the colonies beginning in the 17th century and continuing into the late 19th century.

Debate on the origins of syphilis has been raging for centuries. New genetic evidence supports the theory that Christopher Columbus brought syphilis to Europe from the New World. According to the study, genetic analysis of the syphilis family tree reveals that its closest relative was a South American disease that causes yaws, an infection caused by a sub-species of the same bacterium. [14]

But wait.. there is more.. There was gold, and silver and huge Emeralds… there were ships that took that treasure to Spain. I certainly remember the Emeralds. Probably not as important  as the cocoa bean which made chocolate a choice commodity.

How Do We Improve the State of Teacher Diversity and Assist with Professional Development?

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I am from a generation that was taught with 20 year old books and schools in a sad state of being. We could read, and write and do math but the subjects were limited and access to the best of teachers was not usual. Of course there was no technology, and sadly there was no science. Often science gets shoved to the back of the curriculum map for minority students and teachers.

HELP?

National Geographic Education , NASA , NOAA and NSF projects have shaped my knowledge. There is a gold mine of resources at Concord.org

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Most minority teachers do not have access to exemplary professional development even when it is for free because they don’t know about it or they cannot access and learn using technology. There is always the George Lucas Educational Foundation site, Edutopia.  It’s free. There are online assists, but a lot of the webinars are focused beyond beginners. Autodesk University has a series of webinars, as does ISTE, for teachers to learn how to use the technology. Autodesk Design Academy (http://academy.autodesk.com).

ISTE has a series of PLN’s which help teachers to explore, be involved, learn to innovate, and have mentors for learning.

The White House has initiatives too, http://www.esri.com/connected

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HISTORY

It is true that before my time Einstein visited Lincoln University to teach physic but few people know of that mentoring. I know it because my uncle taught at the University in Pennsylvania that he visited , there is a photo on line of Einstein in the classrooms there.

     Internet of Things? Or just plain access and contact?

Today we are talking about technology. Who has it? You really don’t think everyone even in the US has access ? Broadband? Tools and well trained teachers? If you think that you must be dreaming and you may not know how to measure broadband speed.

Professional development is an interesting puzzle. There is a mindset for involving the use of technology. It is called TPACK. You use it for ideational scaffolding and inclusion.http://tpack.org

Here’s the problem. Many teachers in rural , distant, urban, and difficult schools do not have access to technology in meaningful ways and do not have a mentor or technical help that is available to them . So there is fear. There is not a lot of time within the schedule and even though we know that digital pedagogy is important.

Some people cling to the tests as the anchor for finding out what our students know. Sadly in the places where the technology is limited there is a problem that few speak about and that is that the technology that is available is needed to give the tests, so teachers have to release the technology for testing. Certainly most of them will not complain.

Punya Mishra​ has a solution for the professional development. He got funding to link a University to teachers working in schools of need and they work through the summer to be involved, learn, create, innovate and share their learning as they earn a Master’s degree. Publications and lessons are shared. It is one of several ideas to change the skills of teachers working in places of need.

BPDA and LISTA too champion students and teachers. These organization help. They have chapters and mentors who make a difference. I mentioned NSF. There are projects that help to integrate new practices and ideas called CyberLearning.

They ask these questions.

  • How can cyberlearning help empower the next generation of diverse learners?
  • How can we create innovative technologies that draw upon sound theories of learning through productive collaborations among researchers, designers, learners, and formal and informal educators?
  • How can we foster an inclusive design community that balances real world problems and settings with promising cyberlearning approaches?
  • How can we integrate contributions from multiple research projects for broader impact (e.g., combining our theories or combining our tools into a common infrastructure)?
  • Approximately 150 leading researchers along with students, educators, designers, industry experts, and other stakeholders will work together for two days at Cyberlearning 2016 to accelerate the community’s collective work and impact. Here is the call for participation.

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The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education
Albert Shanker Institute
http://www.shankerinstitute.org/resource/state-teacher-diversity-executive-summary
Teacher Diversity in the U.S. is an area of concern. The teacher work force has gotten less ethnically and racially diverse and more female, a development which has had an adverse effect on students, particularly on males of color. It is an impediment to the broader goals of equity and social harmony. ASI is working to better understand teacher labor market trends and identify promising interventions aimed at increased teacher diversity in K-12 education.

This report shows that nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared to the need for more minority teachers. In the nine cities studied—Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—the picture is much more bleak, and there are only a few pockets of progress, surrounded by serious setbacks.
You can download the report at the link above.

There is a report that many are looking at the OECD report? what say you about that? http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/students-computers-and-learning_9789264239555-en#page8

Researchers remind us of this work

Ed Tech researchers would remind them about the field of Media effect research and the classic articles from Kozma and Clark.

Ahmed Mohamed is one student!!Why Not Support for Science and Math for All Minority Students?

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The story about the young student in Texas who made a clock lets us know that there is also a deficient in the knowledge of science within the teaching force.

What We Know About the Delivery of Science and Math for Minority Students

Bonnie Bracey-Sutton – September 19, 2015

We are not doing enough!!! Many of the initiatives that are coming from Industry are too short, too limited and do not bridge the gap. Teachers themselves may not have sufficient subject knowledge or appropriate skills because of poor quality, or lack of, teacher training.Preparing teachers with the right skills:  Teachers should be equipped with knowledge and teaching skills that can provide relevant guidance to promote effective practice and support improvement.There may be more community support for READING science than actually doing science.

Technology is an ever changing learning landscape and if one has only a little of the knowledge needed to be secure in the delivery of information, there is a problem.

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND DIGITAL EQUITY- SIG DE NOTES FOR NOVEMBER

First,  read the report from Pew on the state of science and math for minorities.
. The report was not a surprise to seasoned educators , legislators, and researchers who work with the minority groups. We have similar reports for each group.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/09/15/the-race-gap-in-science-knowledge/

Not much interest has been shown in the Pew Report that tells us
here is a significant gap in knowledge about scientific concepts along racial and ethnic lines in the U.S., according to a new Pew Research Center report released last week.

The Report states that ”When asked a series of 12 science-related questions, whites, on average, fared better than blacks or Hispanics. While the average number of questions whites answer correctly is 8.4, for Hispanics that number is lower – 7.1 – and drops to 5.9 for blacks. (There were not enough Asian respondents in the sample to be broken out into a separate analysis.)”

“Our latest findings are consistent with previous Pew Research surveys and with data from the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center. These differences tend to span multiple scientific disciplines, from life and earth sciences to physics and energy-related questions.”

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In the two separate weeks before and during the report we have learned much about the needs of Hispanic learners.  http://www.edexcelencia.org/research/2015-factbook

Those of us in education know that there is a terrible gap in learning math and science and seemingly the technology has advanced the gap. While many are seeking the Internet of Things. IoT, there are rural, distant, urban and tribal students who cannot advance to the level necessary to do basic use because of factors that impede their learning. Access is a problem as noted by the FCC. Tool access and ownership are a problem, as well as the support needed to successfully use the tool or tools. Well trained teachers? We know that the best of teachers are not necessarily teaching in the areas of difficulty.Inequitable distribution of well-trained teachers is a problem and even in the groups doing broadening engagement there are few minorities involved as mentors.

 The right to education that stimulates active learning and inspires imaginations can only be a reality when the transformative power of education is fully realized, however too many children and young people – especially the disadvantaged – are leaving school without learning anything of value . 

Many of them just leave school. The dropout problem is a reality in education .

There is consistent evidence that teachers are the most important school-based factor in determining learning outcomes, second only to what children bring to school. There remains a marked deficit in both teacher numbers and teaching quality, which has an extreme impact on learning outcomes for children.

The Pew Report shares some of the problems which are not unknown in the learning communities of these children of America.

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Most American Indian children attend public schools where disparities occur both at the k-12th educational level, and at post-secondary levels. During the 2010-11 school year, there were 378,000 AI/AN (alone) students in the U.S. public school system, comprising 0.7% of the total public school population (Aud, Hussar, Johnson, et al., 2012). In comparison, during this same time period, there were 49,152 students in Bureau of Indian Education Schools (Bureau of Indian Education, 2011). The high school dropout rate for Native American students is alarming and in previous years has reflected a rate as high as 50% (Herring, 1992). More recent research indicates that American Indian enrollment, retention, and graduation rates are lower than any other ethnic group (Harrington & Harrington, 2012). While estimates show some improvement for American Indians/Alaskan Natives having earned a high school diploma or equivalent, the figures still speak to their trailing behind their Euro-American counterparts by 12% (NIA, 2011). An awareness of the constant tension for American Indians children’s experience in public schools must be acknowledged in order to address it. There is more. You can find it here.

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Lots of group are doing broadening engagement to try to reach the students. Some groups even work within the community.  But schools are another story. There are school boards, administrators, supervisors, and experts and technology teachers.. Regular teachers are at the bottom of of the pyramid. In the event at Microsoft, the presenter from DC suggested that teachers did not have TIME to be technology literate.

We know that time, exposure, knowhow and practice are important to the excellent use of technology. We know that mobile technology makes a difference but if you do your work on a phone there are restrictions. We know that many students can’t do Make Fairs because of the cost. I don’t care if the students do STEAM, Maker Faire or Hands on Science. There are many ways to make a difference in student lives. The initiatives of the White House have been wonderful. The problem is in getting the schools to adopt them and make them an important part of minority student learning.