How Inquiry Can Enable Students to Become Modern Day de Tocquevilles (Mind/Shift) By Katrina Schwartz
Some teachers are skeptical about “student-driven learning,” suspecting that it’s really just another chance for unfocused social time. It can often be hard to see behind the jargon the careful planning and teacher support necessary to ensure that students not only stay focused, but also produce high-level work. Educators often wonder how students can all be working on different projects but acquiring the same skills. It may seem challenging to keep track of 30 kids investigating 30 different issues, but when inquiry-based teaching is done well, that chaotic swirl of ideas and needs is based on a strong foundation of planning.
Fewer than half of teachers now covered by unions (USA Today) By Greg Toppo and Paul Overberg
For the first time since the rise of teachers unions in the 1980s, the percentage of USA teachers represented by unions in public and private schools has fallen below 50%, suggesting that the demographics of the teaching profession and the shift away from traditional schools are taking a toll on union membership.
‘Future Ready’ Ed-Tech Summits for District Leaders Set to Begin (Education Week) By Benjamin Herold
“The big picture of the summits is district teams coming together and saying, ‘Help us to leave with a good plan for how we can power teaching and learning with technology,'” said Zac Chase, a ConnectED fellow with the department, in an interview.
FCC’s plan to reclassify internet has big K-12 (eSchool News) By Bridget McCrea
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is proposing clear, sustainable, enforceable rules to preserve and protect the open Internet as a place for innovation and free expression. According to an FCC Fact Sheet the common-sense proposal would replace, strengthen, and supplement FCC rules struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit more than one year ago.
Education association demands moratorium on high-stakes testing (District Administration)
ASCD calls on policymakers to institute a two-year moratorium on using new state standardized assessments for accountability purposes. High-stakes decisions about student readiness, teacher performance, and school quality should never be based on a single assessment. The hiatus will allow time for policymakers and education leaders to design and implement a new accountability model that more accurately reflects the full range of student learning and school support. Read the full statement at www.ascd.org/moratorium.
Teachers Mixed on Common Core, Support Blended Learning (THE Journal) By Dian Schaffhauser
More than nine out of 10 teachers in America report using technology in the classroom. Two-thirds said they support the idea of a blended classroom, where students spend part of the school day working with a teacher and part working on a computer. A similar number of teachers said they like the idea of requiring students to take at least one online course before they graduate.
Nation’s High School Graduation Rate Ticks Up For Second Year in Row (Washington Post) By Emma Brown
The nation’s high school graduation rate ticked up for the second year in a row, according to new federal data released Thursday showing that 81 percent of the Class of 2013 graduated within four years.
Technology Takes Hold in the Early Grades (EdSource) By Susan Frey
Mixing academic software programs with traditional classroom instruction – often referred to as blended learning – is moving from high schools and middle schools to the early grades, even reaching some 4-year-olds in transitional kindergarten. Teachers say the programs they are using adapt to the young students’ needs and give teachers time to delve more deeply into the reading and math concepts required under the Common Core State Standards.
Girls Earning More STEM Credits Than Boys in Key Courses (Education Week) By Liana Heitin
By 12th grade, girls in 2009 were more likely than boys to have earned credit in advanced math and science, including Algebra II, chemistry, biology, and health sciences, though boys are significantly more likely to earn credit in computer science and engineering.
Digital Literacy Courses Gaining Popularity (eSchool News)
Today’s graduates need formal technology skills to be successful, whether pursuing higher education or entering the workforce after high school. Now available for district purchase and implementation, Project NextTech is a two-semester course that provides project-based instruction to help students develop the technology proficiency, information literacy and media literacy skills needed to thrive in an increasingly digital world.