Information Age Education Blog

The goal of IAE is to help improve education at all levels throughout the world. This work is done through the publication of the IAE Blog, the IAE-pedia, the IAE Newsletter, books, and other materials all available free on the Web. For more information, go to http://iae-pedia.org/.

What do Precollege Students Think About Computers in Education?

Those of us who routinely talk with precollege students have some insight into what these students think about schools. Project Tomorrow carries out a yearly survey to help capture some of these insights. Quoting from the Project Tomorrow website:  http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/pdfs/SU09NationalFindingsStudents&Parents.pdf.

For the past 7 years, the Speak Up National Research Project has provided the nation with a unique window into classrooms and homes all across America and given us a realistic view on how technology is currently being used (or not) to drive student achievement, teacher effectiveness and overall educational productivity. Most notably, the Speak Up data first documented and continues to reveal each year the increasingly significant digital disconnect between the values and aspirations of our nation’s students about how the use of technology can improve the learning process and student outcomes, and the values and aspirations of their less technology comfortable teachers and administrators. [Bold added for emphasis.]

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Learning Is Tied to the Situation in Which it Occurs and to Intrinsic Motivation

Situated learning is one of many different learning theories. In brief summary, it says that much learning is quite specific to the situation (activity, context, culture, environment) in which it occurs. See http://www.learning-theories.com/situated-learning-theory-lave.html. Quoting from  http://tip.psychology.org/lave.html:

Other researchers have further developed the theory of situated learning. Brown, Collins & Duguid (1989) emphasize the idea of cognitive apprenticeship: "Cognitive apprenticeship supports learning in a domain by enabling students to acquire, develop and use cognitive tools in authentic domain activity. Learning, both outside and inside school, advances through collaborative social interaction and the social construction of knowledge." Brown et al. also emphasize the need for a new epistemology for learning -- one that emphasizes active perception over concepts and representation. Suchman (1988) explores the situated learning framework in the context of artificial intelligence.

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Make It and Use It—An Approach to Improving Schools

I have just finished reading the following short article on a way to improve our schools:

Frauenfelder, M. (October, 2010). School for Hackers. The Atlantic. Retrieved 9/20/2010 from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/10/school-for-hackers/8218.

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In the United States, One in Seven (and Well Over 20% of Children) Live in Poverty

Poverty is perhaps the best single predictor of future lack of success in our school system. A good introduction to this topic is available at:

Berliner, D.C. (March, 2009). Poverty and potential: Out-of-school factors and school success. Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice. Retrieved 9/19/2010 from http://greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Berliner_NonSchool.pdf.

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You Load 16 Tons (or 1 Million Tons), What Do You Get?

Recently I read a business magazine article reporting that China is importing 1 million tons of iron ore from Australia per day. I tried to wrap my head around the meaning of a million tons (2 billion pounds) of iron ore. Well, that is a little less than 5 ounces per day for each person on earth. In a year, this is about 114 pounds for each person on earth. Hmm. The yearly weight of iron ore being moved from Australia to China is perhaps 2/3 weight of the entire world’s population. I try to imagine 4.4 billion people a year moving to China.

All of this deep thinking reminded me of the “Sixteen Tons” song. Quoting from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixteen_Tons:

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