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Contents contributed and discussions participated by Mr. Eason

Mr. Eason

Susan Linn: About That App Gap: Children, Technology and the Digital Divide - 53 views

  • children from low-income families spend more time handling technology -- across platforms -- than their wealthier counterparts, and across class, kids mainly use their "handling skills" for entertainment. They play games, watch videos, and visit social networking sites.
  • there's scant evidence that anyone but the companies who make, sell, and advertise on these new technologies benefit from the time young children spend with them, there's plenty of reason to be worried about it.
  • studies showing that the bells and whistles of electronic books actually detract from reading comprehension.
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  • I'm worried that screen-based reading, with omnipresent hyperlinks, interferes with comprehension and memory, and that heavy Internet use appears to encourage distractedness and discourage deep thinking, empathy, and emotion.
  • fast-paced video games trigger dopamine squirts in our brains -- kind of like cocaine.
  • here's what worries me most: We're turning to the companies that profit from these technologies to help parents manage their kids' relationship with screens. While it's great that the Federal Communications Commission is launching a campaign to promote digital literacy, the fact that companies like Best Buy and Microsoft are funding it make it unlikely that weaning kids from their products will be a priority.
  • the skills they will always need to thrive -- deep thinking, the ability to differentiate fact from hype, creativity, self-regulation, empathy, and self-reflection -- aren't learned in front of screens. They are learned through face-to-face communication, hands-on exploration of the world, opportunities for thoughtful reflection, and dreams.
Mr. Eason

Educational Leadership:Reading: The Core Skill:The Challenge of Challenging Text - 131 views

  • The new standards instead propose that teachers move students purposefully through increasingly complex text to build skill and stamina.
  • higher-order thinking in reading depends heavily on knowledge of word meanings.
  • Students' ability to comprehend a piece of text depends on the number of unfamiliar domain-specific words and new general academic terms they encounter.
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  • If students are to interpret the meanings such complex sentence structures convey, they need to learn how to make sense of the conventions of text—phrasing, word order, punctuation, and language.
  • Students who are aware of the patterns authors use to communicate complex information have an advantage in making sense of text.
  • A final determinant of text difficulty, however, depends on the reader's prior knowledge.
  • Students' background knowledge, including developmental, experiential, and cognitive factors, influences their ability to understand the explicit and inferential qualities of a text.
  • building skills, establishing purpose, and fostering motivation.
  • even students who have basic decoding skills sometimes struggle to deploy these skills easily and accurately enough to get a purchase on challenging text. To help these students develop reading fluency, teachers should give them lots of practice with reading the same text, as well as instruction to help them develop a stronger sense of where to pause in sentences, how to group words, and how their voices should rise or fall at various junctures when reading aloud.
  • maintaining understanding across a text.
  • pair repeated readings of the same text with questions that require the student to read closely for detail and key ideas.
  • Ongoing, solid vocabulary instruction
  • also on general academic words.
  • also explore the connections among words,
  • In contrast, in reading history and literature, readers need to be concerned with not just the causes of events, but also the human intentions behind these causes.
  • teachers should not convey so much information that it spoils the reading or enables students to participate in class without completing the reading; rather, they should let students know what learning to expect from the reading.
  • Teachers may be tempted to try to make it easier for students by avoiding difficult texts. The problem is, easier work is less likely to make readers stronger.
  • You need to create successive successes.
  • Students experience success in the company of their teacher, who combines complex texts with effective instruction.
Mr. Eason

Educational Leadership:Teaching for the 21st Century:21st Century Skills: The Challenge... - 119 views

  • the skills students need in the 21st century are not new.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving, for example, have been components of human progress throughout history
  • What's actually new is the extent to which changes in our economy and the world mean that collective and individual success depends on having such skills
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  • Many reform efforts, from reducing class size to improving reading instruction, have devolved into fads or been implemented with weak fidelity to their core intent. The 21st century skills movement faces the same risk.
  • some of the rhetoric we have heard surrounding this movement suggests that with so much new knowledge being created, content no longer matters; that ways of knowing information are now much more important than information itself. Such notions contradict what we know about teaching and learning and raise concerns that the 21st century skills movement will end up being a weak intervention for the very students—low-income students and students of color—who most need powerful schools as a matter of social equity.
  • First, educators and policymakers must ensure that the instructional program is complete and that content is not shortchanged for an ephemeral pursuit of skills
  • Second, states, school districts, and schools need to revamp how they think about human capital in education—in particular how teachers are trained
  • Skills and knowledge are not separate, however, but intertwined.
  • inally, we need new assessments that can accurately measure richer learning and more complex tasks
  • In some cases, knowledge helps us recognize the underlying structure of a problem.
  • At other times, we know that we have a particular thinking skill, but domain knowledge is necessary if we are to use it.
  • if skills are independent of content, we could reasonably conclude that we can develop these skills through the use of any content. For example, if students can learn how to think critically about science in the context of any scientific material, a teacher should select content that will engage students (for instance, the chemistry of candy), even if that content is not central to the field. But all content is not equally important to mathematics, or to science, or to literature. To think critically, students need the knowledge that is central to the domain.
  • The importance of content in the development of thinking creates several challenges
  • first is the temptation to emphasize advanced, conceptual thinking too early in training
  • Another curricular challenge is that we don't yet know how to teach self-direction, collaboration, creativity, and innovation the way we know how to teach long division.
  • We must plan to teach skills in the context of particular content knowledge and to treat both as equally important.
  • But experience is not the same thing as practice. Experience means only that you use a skill; practice means that you try to improve by noticing what you are doing wrong and formulating strategies to do better. Practice also requires feedback, usually from someone more skilled than you are.
  • education leaders must be realistic about which skills are teachable. If we deem that such skills as collaboration and self-direction are essential, we should launch a concerted effort to study how they can be taught effectively rather than blithely assume that mandating their teaching will result in students learning them.
  • teachers don't use them.
  • Even when class sizes are reduced, teachers do not change their teaching strategies or use these student-centered method
  • these methods pose classroom management problems for teachers.
  • These methods also demand that teachers be knowledgeable about a broad range of topics and are prepared to make in-the-moment decisions as the lesson plan progresses.
  • constant juggling act
  • measures that encourage greater creativity, show how students arrived at answers, and even allow for collaboration.
  • But where will schools find the release time for such collaboration?
  • professional development is a massive undertaking.
  • Unfortunately, there is a widespread belief that teachers already know how to do this if only we could unleash them from today's stifling standards and accountability metrics. This notion romanticizes student-centered methods, underestimates the challenge of implementing such methods, and ignores the lack of capacity in the field today.
  • The first challenge is the cost.
  • greater collaboration among teachers.
  • When students first encounter new ideas, their knowledge is shallow and their understanding is bound to specific examples. They need exposure to varied examples before their understanding of a concept becomes more abstract and they can successfully apply that understanding to novel situations.
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