Odds & Ends

I’ve taken some time off from the Odds & Ends posts, as well as with reading my RSS feeds. Hey, I deserve some time off for summer vacation, too! However, I’m ready to get back to sharing. Here are some articles and blog posts I’ve found interesting:

Washington Post - “Travelers’ Laptops May Be Detained At Border” – “Big Brother Is Watching”. Just another reason to ensure our students are reading 1984, and discussing the implications of these types of policies to the average citizen. “No, Mr. Smith, I don’t have to give you a reason why I’m taking your laptop/cellphone/iPod. Nor do I have to give it back anytime soon or at all. Just another way we’re stomping all over your civil liberties keeping America safe from terrorists.”

Endgadget – “Local public school students get assigned Zunes” – Students in Missouri are getting Zunes to assist them with their learning. It will be interesting to see the results of the study.

NYT.com – “Holding Back Young Students: Is Program a Gift or a Stigma?” – Thoughts anyone? Getting students up to grade level is important, but at what cost? What concerned me is this statement: “The special classes, which are limited to 15 students and follow a pared-down curriculum of reading, writing and arithmetic, are called the Gift of Time and come with extras like tutoring and field trips to a local farm.” Eliminating arts (again!) as a sacrifice to “the basics” – what student would look forward to that every day?

Washington Post – “The Odd World of E-School Teachers” – an interesting article about virtual schools and teachers who teach them. I’m all for providing opportunities for students to learn at their own pace and environment, but what is the cost to their education? If all of the “classes” are via computers, you’ve lost that face to face interaction that, for me, seem vital to connecting with your students. Maybe they do some Skype type interaction?

Steve Dembo – Teach42 blog – “Aaahhh, the joys of being a teacher” – Just for fun, take a look at these examples of student answers on tests. Boy, I wish I was as creative as these kids when I was in school – who am I kidding, I wish I was this creative now!

Odds & Ends (06/20/08)

Odds & Ends is back! I took a little time off and my RSS Reader is slam full of articles for me to read. I’m slowly getting through them. I’m not ready to declare RSS bankruptcy as I would hate to miss something good! Anyhoo, here are some nuggets of information, technology, or news I’ve found so far…

Pat Hensley over at the Successful Teaching Blog posted “Just Doing What’s Right” that brought me to tears over the compassion of those teens! Boy, I’m sure getting emotional in my old age. Be sure to read the comments and follow the link to another example of kids doing what’s right! Now if news reports had more of these types of stories to share, I might just watch the news again!

Edutopia: Young Minds, Fast Times: The Twenty-First-Century Digital Learner” by Mark Prensky

A little math humor “I Will Derive” video from College Humor brought to my attention by FrancyLibrarian at the Gargoyles Loose in the Library blog. Too funny!

CNN.com:School defends drunken driving hoax” – Okay, I find this disturbing. I can see where the authorities were coming from to want to “scare kids straight,” but I think this went overboard. This probably did more damage to the kids than deterred teens from driving drunk.

And lastly, a few news articles I found interesting from BBC.com:

  • Spain treats child phone addicts” – Guess it was bound to happen sooner or later, but I figured it would start with computer games before phones! My question, what do 12 & 13 year olds need with cell phones? Shouldn’t the parents have been monitoring their usage BEFORE things got so out of hand?
  • “‘Non-planet’ Pluto gets new class” – “Sorry, Pluto, you’ve been demoted, but to sooth your feelings, we’re going to call all masses like you “plutoids,” what do you think?” Come on, couldn’t they come up with a better name than that?
  • The changing face of Africa” – visual proof that man is destroying the planet faster than nature ever could.
  • Sudoku-playing jurors halt trial” – What! How could the jurors be so rude! This is life and future you’re going to be deciding! I realize lawyers tend to love the sound of their own voice, and you may have been a bit bored, but please, show some respect!