The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk
“Four years of English and three years of math, science and social studies. That sounds like a fairly solid high school career, but not one that demands a super amount of effort. In fact, that’s what Wisconsin’s graduation requirements call for, starting with the Class of 2017, which is to say, this year’s seniors. Until this year, requirements under state law were actually lighter, including only two years of math and science. So it got me wondering when the annual report on the performance of Wisconsin students on the ACT college entrance test came out recently. Included was this: Only 55% of students in the Class of 2016 said they were taking what ACT defines as a “core curriculum” in high school. And the ACT definition is: four years of English and three years of math, science and social studies, the same thing Wisconsin is now requiring as a matter of law.”(more)
Education Next – Thomas Arnett
“When I use the term “personalized learning,” I do not picture a form of education that sets aside core knowledge and rigorous content standards for the sake of allowing students to pursue personal interests. Catering to students’ interests and passions can be a powerful means for engaging and motivating students. But that form of personalization should not compromise students’ mastery of core knowledge. Rather, I see personalized learning as a powerful means for enabling students to master core knowledge. In any given class, different students have different learning needs, if for no other reason than the fact that they all start the class with different levels of mastery of prerequisite core knowledge. Blended learning—the technology enabler of many forms of personalized learning—leverages the flexibility of online learning to break the constraints of the traditional whole-class, single-pace instructional model to differentiate instruction more effectively to students’ needs. As Hansel stated last year in a different post, ‘If personalized learning means personalized pathways to mastering a well-rounded curriculum, it could radically improve education.'”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
“You have probably heard the claim, “If you choose to educate your child online, he/she will be a social misfit.” To analyze this assertion, it is important to understand online education.
There are two basic types of online education: real-time and self-paced. In real-time online courses, students attend class on a computer. Classes are held at specified times and students participate in discussions during class periods. Each real-time online class is slightly different, because students participate in the instruction.
Self-paced courses are prepared in advance. Students progress through the material at their own pace. There is no real-time class interaction. Proficiency is sometimes tested with quizzes or tests that are integrated into the learning material. In this case, students must pass a quiz/test before they move on to future lessons. In other cases, students are required to go to proctored test centers to take exams.
In general, self-paced courses work well for material that requires little discussion. Real-time classes are more effective when most of the student learning occurs during classroom dialog.
Online education is appealing, because there is less wasted time. There is no need to drive to a physical location, worry about disruptions that occur in physical classrooms, or waste time dressing for school. In addition, students and parents have the ability to work school around other things in their lives.
Self-paced instruction is more cost effective than traditional classroom teaching, because lectures are prepared in advance and are used many times. In addition, this type of course delivery can be of higher quality than traditional classroom instruction, because the best teachers can present the content and there are no interruptions.
Some students find self-paced online instruction challenging, because they can procrastinate to the point that it is nearly impossible to learn the material. As a result, there is a reasonable argument that self-paced instruction is only appropriate for highly motivated and disciplined university and high school students.
Also, it is possible for students to succeed in an online environment without learning how to interact with others. As a result, it is imperative that online students have other avenues for developing social, leadership, and team skills.
Online education is not for everyone, but is an attractive alternative for motivated, self-disciplined students who have a strong social network and opportunities to build leadership skills and learn how to work on a team outside of school.
The U.S. News and World Report – Alexandra Pannoni
“Science, technology, engineering and math, better known as the STEM fields, need to be integrated throughout a child’s education to be most effective. That was the the key takeaway at the “Shattering Silos: Implementing Interdisciplinary Learning” breakout session at the U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference. Panelists included Doug Moore, vice president of digital education strategy and business development at the New York Hall of Science; Greg Pearson, scholar at the National Academy of Engineering; Amy Sabarre, PK-12 STEM coordinator at Harrisonburg City Public Schoools; and William Wolfe, chair of the engineering department at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.”(more)
The Huffington Post – Jim Conwell
“As engineering and other STEM degrees become more fashionable due to the benefits they provide – good jobs and starting salaries – more colleges and universities find themselves developing programs to serve this need. The reason is simple economics – students want to leave college with jobs, and STEM majors—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—continue to be in demand. Colleges want to build pipelines of students. Students, however, shouldn’t be misled. Not all STEM is equal…There is a difference between a STEM curriculum and a college that “now offers an engineering degree.” So what tend to be the differences?”(more)
Education Post – Kayla Patrick
“…the growing college debt crisis is a critical issue that should be addressed through policy change, but I also know that the real barriers keeping students from being successful in college begin much earlier than their first day on campus. Schools across the country are inadequately serving many of their students long before they get to college. ACT recently reported that 76 percent of high school graduates were not adequately prepared for first-year college courses…What can be done to enable students to feel better prepared to accomplish their goals? Schools need more rigorous curriculum…”(more)