Stop Bullying..Here’s How

This is a report from a conference

The most important skills that teachers have to communicate empathy and to share knowledge of this issue sadly might be intuitive for good teachers. But wait , there is help.

The Department of Education and other government agencies came together to serve schools, communities and children in a conference entitled StopBullying.gov.

The conference was research rich. It shared positive examples that work. Out children are deep in the uses of all kind of technology. Sadly , few people who teach reach out to gather the resources to help students establish a good digital footprint and understanding of the path to take in using technology in learning and home environments.iho

How many teachers or administrators know how to guide students, community and individual parents to best uses? We were given a ton of resources to explore, examine and to be aware of. You can find them here. Today I want to focus on Bullying. The resources here will be something to share in your educational community.

 

Bullying is no rite of passage.

An image of four schoolchildren wearing backpacks.

HRSA launched the first federal anti-bullying campaign in 2004.
Today, all 50 states have adopted anti-bullying policies or regulations.

The consequences of bullying extend into adulthood and can be more severe than physical violence and other forms of child mistreatment, Acting HRSA Administrator Jim Macrae said in a recent C-SPAN broadcast(at the conference)

Not only are bullied young people more likely to suffer low self-esteem, depression and loneliness, but entire classrooms, schools and communities can be affected — and children who bully others also are likely to experience emotional and mental health problems themselves, Macrae said.

“In particular, we know that some youth are disproportionately impacted by bullying: children with special health care needs, who may have cognitive challenges such as autism, as well as people in the LGBT community,” Macrae said at an August 12 Bullying Prevention Summit hosted by the U.S. Department of Education. “About one third of kids who are LGBT are still being bullied in school.”

A pre-conference initiative on August 11th at the White House was a focus on the problems in bullying that South Asia and students who are identified as Sikh, Muslim and Arab suffer.

Do you have definitions of these students and how do people identify them? Students shared their stories with us.

What kind of a community initiative do you have in your school and neighborhood?

Here is what we were offered to share with you.

Prevention at School

A teacher talks to a class of teens.Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. There are a number of things school staff can do to make schools safer and prevent bullying.

Getting Started

Assess school prevention and intervention efforts around student behavior, including substance use and violence. You may be able to build upon them or integrate bullying prevention strategies. Many programs help address the same protective and risk factors that bullying programs do.

Assess Bullying in Your School

Conduct assessments in your school to determine how often bullying occurs, where it happens, how students and adults intervene, and whether your prevention efforts are working.

Engage Parents and Youth

It is important for everyone in the community to work together to send a unified message against bullying. Launch an awareness campaign to make the objectives known to the school, parents, and community members. Establish a school safety committee or task force to plan, implement, and evaluate your school’s bullying prevention program.

Create Policies and Rules

Create a mission statement, code of conduct, school-wide rules, and a bullying reporting system. These establish a climate in which bullying is not acceptable. Disseminate and communicate widely.

Build a Safe Environment

Establish a school culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect. Use staff meetings, assemblies, class and parent meetings, newsletters to families, the school website, and the student handbook to establish a positive climate at school. Reinforce positive social interactions and inclusiveness.

Educate Students and School Staff

Build bullying prevention material into the curriculum and school activities. Train teachers and staff on the school’s rules and policies. Give them the skills to intervene consistently and appropriately.

 

In the next post I will share about Cyberbullying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Mummies? Egypt?What Can We Learn?

IMG_9840I have traveled to Egypt by thought, by reading, by books, by lectures in geography and by invitation of a friend. My quest was to visit the museum of antiquties in Cairo. Before the newest of technology, I had a laser disc of a mummy, and how they prepared it and like many others , I had done a lot of reading about Sir Howard Carter and his discovery. I also followed an archaeologist on television to see them examine new sites and try to identify new mummies, or tombs.  In school for students I had a remarkable book to use with various movies and videos , by David McCauley.

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Amazon.com Review
When children catch their first glimpse of a pyramid, a sea of questions inevitably tumbles forth. “Why are they shaped like that?” “How were they made?” “Who made them?” “What were they used for?” Perplexed adults can sigh with relief now that David Macaulay has found a way to thoroughly answer all those deserving questions. His exquisitely crosshatched pen-and-ink illustrations frame the engaging fictional story of an ancient pharaoh who commissions a pyramid to be built for him. With great patience and respect for minute detail (not unlike the creators of the early pyramids), Macaulay explains the sometimes backbreaking tasks of planning, hauling, chiseling, digging, and hoisting that went into the construction of this awe-inspiring monument. Just when the narrative teeters on the edge of textbook doldrums, Macaulay brings us back to the engaging human drama of death and superstition. This respectful blending of architecture, history, and mysticism will certainly satiate pyramid-passionate children as well as their obliging parents. ALA Notable Book. (Ages 9 and older) –Gail Hudson —

Talk about engineering!! STEM and STEAM

 

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A poor person’s mummy..

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The Egyptian and I.

Better than that I had large cardboard depictions of the things that Sir Howard Carter found. While in New York, a man in a fez bowed to me and called me a daughter of Egypt , handing me a rose. It may have been flattery but he was visiting a New York Museum and so we talked a bit . I have been studying about Egypt since I was eleven years old and heard about King Tut. Well let me revise that. I was often sent to the library in my Catholic school to read and I found these books about archaeology. They fasscinated me. He sent these huge , beautiful cardboard placards done in gold and blue. They were museum quality and I taught with them.

I was afraid of mummies, but there was a scientist who went ot Egypt who lived near my home. It was rumored that he had a mummy at the top of his apartment building and we kids went to see. It was a mummy. We were speechless and scared all at the same time. We never asked questions as we did not know him.

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The mummy  , or what I saw was I think the case of a mummy. My imagination set in and so my quest to learn about the geography of Egypt,the mummies and Hierogyphics began.

 

Definition of hieroglyphic
1
: hieroglyph
2
: a system of hieroglyphic writing; specifically : the picture script of the ancient Egyptian priesthood —often used in plural but singular or plural in construction
3
: something that resembles a hieroglyph especially in difficulty of decipherment

Source : Merriam- Webster ( online 2016)

There was in Old Town Alexandria, in an alley a shop of Egyptology. I went there and studied how to make papyrus, and ordered a gold hieroglyph , and studied astronomy using Egyptian science. You can convert your name to a hieroglyph here

WRITE LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

Write your name in a hieroglyh and make a cartouche.

EAT LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

Archeological discoveries have told us much about how ancient Egyptians worshiped, celebrated and mourned. But these scientific finds have also provided tantalizing clues about how–and what–this complex civilization ate. From grains like emmer and kamut to cloudy beer and honey-basted gazelle they dined sufficiently.

Bread and beer were the two staples of the Egyptian diet. Everyone from the highest priest to the lowliest laborer would eat these two foods every day, although the quality of the foods for the priest would undoubtedly be higher. The main grain cultivated in Egypt was emmer. Better known today as farro, emmer happens to be a fairly well balanced source of nutrition: it’s higher in minerals and fiber than similar grains. Breads and porridge were made from the grain, as well as a specially devised product that modern-day archeologists call “beer bread.”

Beer bread was made from dough that used more yeast than normal breads, and it was baked at a temperature that didn’t kill off the yeast cultures. Brewers crumbled the bread into vats and let it ferment naturally in water. This yielded a thick and cloudy brew that would probably disgust our modern palates. But it was also nourishing and healthy, and filled in many nutritive deficiencies of the lower-class diet.

But ancient Egyptians did not survive on carbohydrates alone: Hunters could capture a variety of wild game, including hippos, gazelles, cranes as well as smaller species such as hedgehogs. Fish were caught, then salted and preserved; in fact fish curing was so important to Egyptians that only temple officials were allowed to do it. Honey was prized as a sweetener, as were dates, raisins and other dried fruits. Wild vegetables abounded, like celery, papyrus stalks and onions.

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Although no recipes from the times remain, we have a fair idea of how the Egyptians prepared their food thanks to dioramas and other objects left in tombs. Laborers ate two meals a day: a morning meal of bread, beer and often onions, and a more hearty dinner with boiled vegetables, meat and more bread and beer.

Nobles ate well, with vegetables, meat and grains at every meal, plus wine and dairy products like butter and cheese. Priests and royalty ate even better. Tombs detail meals of honey-roasted wild gazelle, spit-roasted ducks, pomegranates and a berry-like fruit called jujubes with honey cakes for dessert. To top it all off, servant girls would circulate with jugs of wine to refill empty glasses: the perfect end to an Egyptian banquet.

It was fun to let children make their own hieroglyphs. To translate their name as a scribe might have done.

 

Today in Pennsylvania students and teachers can do a virtual field trip from the classroom. It is one of several that are offered to schools.

Mummy Makers: (Grades: 5 – 9)
Students will learn how and why ancient Egyptians mummified their dead by stepping into the role of apprentice to an ancient Egyptian embalmer! Using fabricated mummies, students will explore the artificial mummification process as they prepare Mr. Ulysses Penn for his journey to the afterlife. This workshop uses life-like mummies.

Here are some of the things we learned.

Ancient Egyptians believed in an afterlife, a real and beautiful place, where they played and lived after they died. To enjoy your afterlife, you couldn’t just die. You had to prepare. To achieve immortality, you had to satisfy some requirements.

Requirements:

(1) Your name had to be written down. You had to have your name written down somewhere, the more places the better. If it was not written down, you disappeared.

(2) You had to pass the Weighing of the Heart. You had to pass the weighing of the heart test in the Hall of Maat. Your heart was weighed against the weigh of a magic feather. If your heart was light, because you had lived a good, hard working, caring life, the scale would balance, and you would go to heaven. If it did not, well, that was another story.

(3) You had to have a preserved body. Another thing you needed to move on to the afterlife was a preserved body. One way to preserve the body of a person who had died was to dry them out and wrap them up with linen bandages. That process was called mummification.

You needed a preserved body so that your Ba and Ka, the two pieces of your soul, could find their way home at night back to your tomb. Without a body, the Ba and Ka would get lost. And they would no longer be able to reach the heavenly Land of Two Fields.

The poor placed the bodies of their dead relatives out in the desert sand. The bodies dried naturally in the sun. That was a perfectly good system. It assured the dead a place in the afterlife (provided their heart was light from doing lots of good deeds while they were alive, and their name was written down somewhere.) If they had a light heart, they would pass through the field of reeds and reach their afterlife. (The field of reeds is what the ancient Egyptians called death.)

The rich could afford to be more fussy. They hired professional mummy makers, to help them look their very best.

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These are from the British Museum.

 

The Kennedy Center had a booklet to tell us how to live, make music , make a flute, etc. and to make bread.

A teacher had an extensive website

We used it to do project based learning and thinking about Egypt.

He created a website for teachers to give them background

From The Smithsonian Anthronotes

The Egyptian Afterlife: What to Take with You and Why
Bryan, Betsy M. (2012)
Objects made for and placed in burials were a significant part of a proper Egyptian entombment and demonstrate the belief that life’s activities continued into eternity; for chronology of dynasties and dates mentioned in  this paper.

What Egyptians Took to the Afterlife
There are more than a few similarities between the ancient Egyptian religion, and our modern religions of today. However, a belief that you “could take it with you” is a prime difference. In fact, they thought the dead could take a considerable number of items with them.
What Egyptians Took to the Afterlife
In many cases, the king who were buried in the Valley of the Kings, as well as high officials and others began stocking their tombs with good long before their death. Our knowledge of what they attempted to take with them comes mostly from the intact tomb ofTutankhamun, but there is an abundance of other evidence, including remnants from the tombs of Tuthmosis III (KV 34),Amenophis II (KV 35), Tuthmosis IV (KV 43), andHoremheb (KV 55).

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Other tombs have provided a few items, and in some tombs such as Sethos II (KV 15), we even have wall illustrations of items placed in his tomb.
In many cases, the king who were buried in the Valley of the Kings, as well as high officials and others began stocking their tombs with good long before their death. Our knowledge of what they attempted to take with them comes mostly from the intact tomb of Tutankhamun, but there is an abundance of other evidence, including remnants from the tombs of Tuthmosis III (KV 34), Amenophis II (KV 35), Tuthmosis IV (KV 43), and Horemheb (KV 55). Other tombs have provided a few items, and in some tombs such as Sethos II (KV 15), we even have wall illustrations of items placed in his tomb.
In the Valley of the King, burials usually included the mummified body of the king, which was placed in a series of coffins nested one inside the other and placed in a stone sarcophagus. The sarcophagus was most often surrounded by gilded wooden shrines. But there were also many other items, including magical items to assist the dead king, and a variety of mundane objects for his use.
The mummy itself was prepared with various items to protect and sustain the king in the netherworld. While some funerary items were very beautiful, items such as the mask had specific purposes. The face mask, a sculpture of the king’s own face, allowed him to be recognized by the deities in his death. Other items found on the mummy included various amulets, such as heart amulets and vulture amulets placed around his neck, all of which were to protect the king from specific threats.
Read more: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/equip.htm#ixzz40XtAcxeX

 

 

 

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.

 

 

The Ugly Truth .. Education and the Digital Chasm

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You often wonder , if you are a professional, if the reporters who work in Washington know the ugly truth about education and the digital divide. You wait for someone to say things. But they don’t. Education in the Nation’s Capital is a horrible chasm. There are charter schools, some good , some bad. There are private and parochial schools. But the ugly truth about DC Schools has come out finally. Perhaps it took the death of NCLB to make people think?

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I am a teacher. I worked overseas in DODDS Schools. I thought, well I will go help Washington DC .. a decade or more ago. That did not work for me.The job was bigger than me in the school that I worked in. I went back , across the river to Arlington , Va. schools.There were many reasons.

Who runs DC Schools? The Congress has oversight.. and Rhee has come and gone and left people of her like mind here to carry on her legacy. Does the Mayor know education? Is big data fooling her and others?

In the Washington Post .

In D.C. schools, the racial gap is a chasm, not a crack

Opinion writer January 1

“The final page has been turned on D.C. Public Schools’ 2015 calendar. But 2016 begins with the same uncompromising problem: the school system’s huge racial achievement gap.” He writes.

“Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson called the results of last year’s standardized tests “sobering.” ”

How about painful? How about awful? How about inadequate? How about heartbreaking to parents?

How about .. sigh.. not serving the kids who need education the most.

Colbert goes on to say “The tests, known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams, or PARCC,showed that just 25 percent of D.C. students in the third through eighth grades met or exceeded expectations on new standardized tests in English.

Only 24 percent met a new math benchmark.”

And that was the good news.

Were it not for white test-takers in this majority-minority school system, the results would have been even worse.

 Overall English and math proficiency rates reached 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively, only because white students, who make up 12 percent of the school system, scored proficiency rates of 79 percent in English and 70 percent in math.

And that was the good news.

Were it not for white test-takers in this majority-minority school system, the results would have been even worse.

No matter which initiative I was prepared to help schools and teachers with I was told testing, is the most important thing and that there was NO time for inserting anything new.

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Overall English and math proficiency rates reached 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively, only because white students, who make up 12 percent of the school system, scored proficiency rates of 79 percent in English and 70 percent in math.

 

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Should we talk about STEM?  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math?

No, because the reading skills of most of the students are a main difficulty. Testing tethered technology except in a few schools.

Even the director of the projects for geography at National Geographic said to me, ” Our teachers have to worry about the tests, we don’t have time for ESRI Connects..

In 2014, There were some unsettling data points: Proficiency rates among students learning English as a second language declined in both subjects and in both traditional and charter schools. Latino students’ reading proficiency rates also dropped in both sectors, while the traditional school system saw reading proficiency fall among its economically disadvantaged students.

The Facts from Wikipedia

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) consists of 111[1][2] of the 238 public elementary and secondary schools and learning centers located in Washington, D.C. These schools have a grade span of prekindergarten to twelfth grade and, as of 2000, a kindergarten entrance age of 5 years old.[3] School is compulsory for DCPS students between the ages of 5 and 18.[4] DCPS schools typically start the last Monday in August. The school day is generally approximately six hours.[citation needed]

The ethnic breakdown of students enrolled in 2012 was 72% Black, 14% Hispanic (of any race), 10% non-Hispanic White, and 4% of other races. The District itself has a population that is 42% non-Hispanic White, 51% Black and 10% Hispanic (of any race).[5] Gentrification and demographic changes in many DC neighborhoods has increased the White and Hispanic populations in the city, while reducing the Black population. In 2008, DCPS was 84.4% Black, 9.4% Hispanic (of any race), 4.6% non-Hispanic White, and 1.6% of other races.[6]

Facilities reform legislation in DC has led to many school openings and closings.

Can you see where this is going?

Think of all the museums, the learning institutes, the teaching initiatives like. Connect Ed  … do you really think those programs were enacted?

https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/k-12/connected

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Every kid in a park? Did the schools respond to this program? I did go on a program with teachers from the National Geographic Alliance. We toured DC parks.

What do you think?Washington is full of parks and places to learn.Many of the students have never been to a lot of these places. There are wonderful teacher workshops.

When I was observing education in Russia,  I learned that there are after school initiatives that are a part of the school program.

CODING ?

Did the students code? I hope there were classes that did.

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A few groups of people who did coding and who do more every Saturday, but they are not allowed to work in the schools. Again, the basic skills levels and testing  may create a problem. One thing I was able to do was to work all day, and several Saturdays with groups that worked with Dr. Jesse Bemley. Dr.Bemley works with the support of Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) is the central technology organization of the District of Columbia Government. OCTO develops, implements, and maintains the District’s technology infrastructure; develops and implements major enterprise applications; establishes and oversees technology policies and standards for the District; provides technology services and support for District agencies, and develops technology solutions to improve services to businesses, residents and visitors in all areas of District government.

Dr. Bemley reaches out to the students. and provides supercomputer connectivity in a basement.

Bemley is  helping with those students to close the equity gap.

There should be more opportunities using technology to enhance the curriculum for students.

Culatta identified five opportunities to close the equity gap with technology. They include:

Opportunity #1: Equitable access to high-quality digital learning materials

The Learning Registry, which Culatta called “the human genome project” for open educational resources, is an online information network designed to organize and vet academic content for educators. It can be tapped into through various websites, such asfree.ed.gov, the Illinois shared learning resources site, or MyDigitalChalkboard from California.

Opportunity #2: Equitable access to expertise

“Too many of our students are disadvantaged purely based on the ZIP code they live in,” he said, referring to a community that had a math teacher opening for five years because it couldn’t attract anyone to the town for that job. Ed tech can fill the gap, he said.

Meanwhile, in Sunnyside, Ariz., a high school bioengineering class was able to capture the genomes of all indigenous plant life in their region, by using technology to work with a local university.

Opportunity #3: Personalized learning

“One of the least equitable things we do is to treat all students the same,” he said. Adjusting the pace and path of learning can be transformationall, he said.

Some schools are personalizing a student’s learning to the extent that his or her schedule changes each day based on what was achieved the day before, he said.

Opportunity #4 – Support planning for higher education

“There are very few tools to help [students] make that transition,” said Culatta, who touted the January Datapalooza sponsored by the White House and the Education Department, in which open data was provided to developers who created and showcased products to help with post-secondary education planning.

Opportunity #5 – Supporting accessibility

To illustrate this opportunity, Culatta showed a video of a student who is being treated for lymphoma, and attends school remotely via a robot. Students at David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie, Fla., raised money to buy a robot for Kyle, and produced a video explaining the experience.

http://”//www.youtube.com/embed/Dd-LMvkpjsM”

Tech Equity: A Civil Rights Issue

Culatta pointed out that equity in technology was part of a recent “Dear Colleague” letterfrom the Office for Civil Rights. This was the first guidance on the issue of resource equity released during the Obama administration, and it included references to equal access to laptops, tablets, the Internet, and instructional materials.

“We consider the number of devices, the type, and their age,” Culatta said.

He called technology an accelerator that can change the world.

 

 

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