We at Ed Week have written about the potential for distance learning technologies to provide improved education to students in rural, remote, and impoverished areas of this country. Internet access, video feeds, and other technologies can provide students with access to courses their schools could otherwise not afford, or to teachers with expertise that isn't available in their local schools. Move beyond this nation's borders, and the need for those services are much greater. Next month, an effort to improve students' access to education in the developing world will be taking place in Dakar, Senegal. It's a conference run by ...


When I visited an award-winning middle school a while back, I was impressed with the collaborative spirit among the teachers, the deep relationships the principal and staff had developed with the students, and the payoff in student-achievement results the school was seeing as a result of an intense focus on relevance and rigor in the curriculum. Just one thing, or one student, marred my impressions of the school. Throughout the day, that student took every opportunity to interrupt teachers, distract classmates, and waste precious class time. There were outbursts, random movements, loud pencil sharpening, and tossed objects. While the student's ...


The ASCD Express is soliciting essays on the topic of what science education should look like in the 21st Century, or "Science on the Bleeding Edge," as they call it. Here's what they're looking for: Considering that the space age began with the launch of Sputnik just over 50 years ago, what should a 'post-space age' science curriculum look like? As students hone their 21st century skills of critical thinking, problem solving, and innovation, how are they being prepared to use them in the crucible where science, technology, society, and economics meet in the world beyond school? How are schools ...


The new edition of the Carnival of Education was posted today at Rayray's writing. You can read about everything from the pros and cons of holding a child back for a year from enrolling in kindergarten to how to make social studies "expressive." I participated this time with an item from Curriculum Matters about the push by the Library of Congress to get teachers and students to use online primary sources. There's one every week. The hosts change. It's a good way to find out who is blogging about education....


A couple of bills that take very different approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math ("STEM") education topics are in play on Capitol Hill. Here's a synopsis of both: —Yesterday, a sub-panel of the House Committee on Science and Technology approved a bill that seeks to improve coordination for science and math education programs across the federal government. Sponsored by Rep. Bart Gordon, a Tennessee Democrat who chairs the House science committee, HR 1709 would establish a White House committee with the responsibility of making various STEM programs work together. The committee would be housed in the White House's National...


I learned by reading the Core Knowledge Blog this morning that YouTube, which is owned by Google, has started an effort to put lectures by college professors online. It's called YouTube EDU. Robert Pondiscio suggests that Google should create something similar for K-12 teachers. Update: By the way, when you click on the link for Core Knowledge Blog above, you'll get a scary message saying you've reached an "attack site." You can click on "ignore this warning" and move on to the site. I've done that and my computer hasn't blown up or anything. Pondescio told me in an e-mail ...


Earth Day, an occasion promoted by environmental organizations and advocates to raise awareness of conservation issues, is April 22. It's an event that dates back to 1970. Teachers sometimes organize lessons and activities in the weeks leading up to that day on environmental themes. That doesn't mean they have to create lessons from any particular political or ideological perspective; a good science lesson can account for the environmental and economic complexities of issues such as climate change, for instance, renewable energy, and land conservation. Teachers looking for ideas for lessons have plenty of resources. Here are a few on the ...


It's rare to hear of a state that is decreasing its standardized testing in a particular subject. But that's exactly what Michigan is doing, according to an Associated Press article published today. Starting in the fall of 2010, instead of giving a short writing test to all students in grades 3 to 8, the state will give a longer and more comprehensive writing test only to students in grades 4 and 7....


Teachers of science, like teachers of other subjects, often wonder how much structure and guidance they need to provide students. A pair of researchers wondered the same thing. Robert Tai and Philip Sadler, in a new study, find that students with relatively weak mathematics skills who were given self-led, less-structured science instruction in high school were at a disadvantage in college biology and chemistry classes, compared with similarly skilled peers who had come from more-structured classes. They found that students from the more free-form high school classes received lower grades in their college courses than students who had been given ...


I've received more detail on the precise wording of changes made to the Texas science standards, which were approved by the state board of education yesterday. Since quite a few Ed Week readers are likely to have followed this debate closely, I'm providing an update on where things stand. The board approved new science standards yesterday by a 13-2 vote. As previously reported, its members voted to strip out language saying that students should be taught the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution. That wording was opposed by many scientists, who said it denigrated evolutionary theory. There's little doubt scientists are ...


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