Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Book Review and More

How has education changed seems to be a small thread running through my selections for this week.  From a podcast about becoming global citizens and a comparison of the education system to the manufacturing system it’s been a thoughtful week.
To start off with reading some of the LM_NET postings I found one I was surprised to see.  Michelle Levy had posted to the listserve looking for ideas for teaching Keyboarding to Middle School students (9/7).  I was surprised to see this come across my librarian listserve.  I’m used to seeing Keyboarding ideas coming across the business teacher listserve I belong to – but I expect it there.  Looking through the list I did see a couple of resources to save for when I need to work on keyboarding skills with my students. 
Next I read a list of resources for teaching about 9/11 posted by Linda Slacum (8/31).  This is such a big topic with the 10th anniversary of that date coming up so soon.  We were having a discussion at lunch today actually about what we remembered from that day.  All of the teachers can remember what it felt like and was to see and realize exactly what had happened that day.  Our students today have no clue – while they may have been alive on 9/11/2001, they were not old enough to really remember the day.    Because of this lack of knowledge it is important we teach kids what happened that day and how the world reacted. 
Then finally I came across a posting by Heidi Lewis which contained a list of Dystopian books similar to Hunger Games and Uglies (8/31) I have always liked Dystopian books and so do many of our high school students.  It handy to have a list put together right there on similar books.  It is good to see that many of the books are already in my school’s library.
How do you raise successful global citizens was the topic of a very thought provoking podcast I found.  The podcast was Bit by Bit: Show 125 from August 23, 2011 by Bob Sprankle.  In fact after an introduction this podcast is the recording of a discussion on the topic from the previous day with author Homa Sabet Tavangar, the author of Growing Up Global.  The focus was about everyone having a story which connects to the world.  No matter if you never leave the city you were born in, somehow with today’s society you are connected to the world.  Kids play video games with other kids from another country, it’s as easy as typing some words to find someone to chat with online.  Somehow we need to teach our children how very Global our society has become.  Again there was a connection to how society has changed our connection to the world since 9/11.  Just the act of flying someplace is radically different – body scans and taking off shoes.  One line from the podcast really stood out to me though:  “you can build the walls, but you can’t keep ideas out.”  This is so true – countries try to build walls and keep ideas out, but in this global society it is impossible.  Look at the revolutions which have been told in real-time through the use of mediums such as Facebook and Twitter.  The podcast really made me think about how you need to take a larger view than just yourself, we all leave a mark on the global society.
The blog A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy had a review written by Liz B. posted on 9/8/2011 of the book The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  After reading the review I’m really intrigued by the book.  I want to know more about Elise, the girl who is a princess and chosen.  This has provided her with a privileged existence to this point.  The book has strong themes of taking responsibility for ones actions and a healthy respect of religion.
The next two blogs I read can be looked at together.  The blog 2 cents Worth by David Warlick on 9/8 entitled “We Don’t Trust What We Can’t See . . .” and Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog posted on 9/7/2011 entitled “Mass Customization in Education” have a similar theme.  David Warlick approaches the topic of the decline in confidence of the education system.  When public schools are compare with other groups they come in 6th in confidence level.   Warlick’s theory is that we trust what we can see, we can see the military presence and our doctors, but it is more difficult to see the face of education.  Maybe the inability to see the face of education has something to do with Doug Johnson’s blog entry about customizing education.  Seth Godin and Ken Robinson believe the model we use to teach students is too industrial; they believe all children should have individualized education.  Johnson’s argument is that individualized education for all students would be ideal but is not an economic reality.  The individualized education of all students would be extremely costly and is not feasible.  This is not to say every teacher just ignores creativity and just teaches by route.  We are encouraged to use differentiated instruction, but with a room of 25 students, you can only differentiate so much.  So perhaps if Godin and Robinson were listened to and education became individualized for each and every student the confidence in the education system would increase because the shortage of teachers we already have would just multiply.

1 comment:

  1. It's great that you ran across something you could use for your business class on a library discussion list. I tell you, librarians are into EVERYTHING!

    Great discussion on the podcast. "You can't keep out ideas" is absolutely where we are today. The more schools try to filter and narrow our access to information the impossible it is to educate a student for a 2011 society. We have to teach students how to deal with the flood of information that is their world.

    I have to admit to liking dystopian material as well -- not books so much but movies in particular, "Blade Runner," "Minority Report," "AI," etc. Guess it is a sign of our uncertain times.

    Well, it certainly is discouraging that education is held in such low esteem. In so many ways, I believe that teachers are better educated and students are getting a better education than before. Unlike Warlick, I think the reason for that rating is because politicians have made such hay out of bashing teachers and education and the public has bought into it. And schools are going the absolutely WRONG direction to individualize student education. I was interviewing a librarian yesterday and she said class sizes are now 32-35 in elementary school.

    Since when do we start taking our economic problems out on our children?