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Online schooling wave of the future or failed experiment?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

“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.

 

Science and languages ‘marginalised in primary schools’

BBC – Staff Writer

“Pupils are leaving primary school unprepared for the rigours of science and foreign languages at secondary level, Ofsted’s chief inspector says. Sir Michael Wilshaw said the focus on the “three Rs” had pushed other compulsory subjects “to the margins of the curriculum” in primary schools. Science and languages had become the “poor relations” of the primary curriculum as a result, he said. The government said more pupils were taking science and languages at GCSE. Sir Michael said, in his monthly commentary, that the government wanted most pupils who started secondary school last September to take the full suite of English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects, including science and a foreign language, when they sat their GCSEs, in 2020.”(more)

Educators Discuss Integrating STEM Education Throughout Curricula

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 Skills Schools Aren’t Teaching But Must

The Huffington Post – Michael R. Bloomberg & Jamie Dimon

“The U.S. presidential campaign has focused a great deal on the need to expand economic opportunity, but candidates in both parties have not said enough about how they would achieve it. While helping more students go to college has been a topic of discussion and is a vitally important goal, what about those who do not go — or who drop out of high school? They are largely being ignored…Long-term, broad-based economic growth depends on a strong and expanding middle class that is open to all Americans, not just college graduates. That is only possible if we reinvent vocational programs so that they are aligned with macroeconomic trends, growing local industries and jobs that offer opportunities for advancement.”(more)

Unpacking the Science: How Playing Music Changes the Learning Brain

KQED News Mind/Shift – Staff Writer

“A 1993 study of college students showed them performing better on spatial reasoning tests after listening to a Mozart sonata. That led to claims that listening to Mozart temporarily increases IQs — and to a raft of products purporting to provide all sorts of benefits to the brain. In 1998, Zell Miller, then the governor of Georgia, even proposed providing every newborn in his state with a CD of classical music. But subsequent research has cast doubt on the claims. Ani Patel, an associate professor of psychology at Tufts University and the author of “Music, Language, and the Brain,” says that while listening to music can be relaxing and contemplative, the idea that simply plugging in your iPod is going to make you more intelligent doesn’t quite hold up to scientific scrutiny.”(more)

How We Make Teaching Too Hard for Mere Mortals

Education Next – Robert Pondiscio

“If you caught your pediatrician Googling “upset stomach remedies” before deciding how to treat your child and home-brewing medications over an office sink, you might start looking for a new pediatrician. So how would you feel if you learned that Google and Pinterest are where your child’s teacher goes to look for instructional materials? Well, brace yourself, because that’s exactly what’s happening. And no, your child’s teacher is not an exception. A new study from the RAND Corporation finds that nearly every teacher in America—99 percent of elementary teachers, 96 percent of secondary school teachers—draws upon “materials I developed and/or selected myself” in teaching English language arts. And where do they find materials? The most common answer among elementary school teachers is Google (94 percent), followed by Pinterest (87 percent). The numbers are virtually the same for math.”(more)