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Pick Books You Like

I read an article by Motoko Rich in the August 29, 2009 issue of The New York Times that talks about the future of reading.  Rich writes about Lorrie McNeill, a middle school teacher in Jonesboro, Georgia who last fall turned over the reading assignments for her seventh and eighth graders to the students themselves.

Rich states that the approach, called reading workshop, is catching on throughout America’s public schools as a way to teach students how to enjoy reading rather than forcing them to read traditional tomes such as Toni Morrison’s  Beloved or Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird, a selection that McNeill used to require her students to read. 

Characteristics of the Class of 2020

Whenever I can find a good book or research paper on the topic of distance education, I will usually obtain a copy in order to see if there’s a trend or idea that is worth noting or pursuing.  For a few weeks, I had noted the ad in The Chronicle of Higher Education touting their new report, “The College of 2020:  Students.” 

The Economic Benefits of Closing the Achievement Gap in American Schools

McKinsey & Company released a report in April of this year titled, “The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools.”  The report identifies four aspects of the achievement gap in American schools: the international achievement gap, the racial achievement gap, the income achievement gap, and system-based achievement gaps.  The findings in the report are striking in their sense of urgency and are worth discussing.

Department of Education Study Finds that Online Education is Beneficial to Student Learning

The U.S. Department of Education released the findings of a meta-analysis conducted by its Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development on Friday that confirm what online educators have known for years: “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.” 

Online education has gained tremendous momentum in the last several years. 

National Teacher Appreciation Week

This week represents National Teacher Appreciation Week and if there was ever an appropriate time to applaud the efforts of our nation’s teachers, it is now.  Considering the well-publicized and overwhelming reality of our nation’s fiscal concerns, there can be little doubt that the nation’s leadership faces an arduous task.  The nation’s teachers, however, have arguably an even greater and more daunting task: preparing our youngest minds for the uncertain future that lies ahead of them. 

FlashMaster

The other day, my wife and I were at a friend’s house and he showed us an electronic device called FlashMaster.  His daughter was having trouble with her math facts and her fifth grade teacher recommended that her parents purchase one of these devices.  I liked it as well and purchased one for my daughters.

Chuck Resor of Jackson Hole, Wyoming invented FlashMaster after becoming frustrated with other educational technologies.  

Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

Clayton Christensen, the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, and Michael Horn and Curtis Johnson team up on this recently published book.  In Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, Christensen and his co-authors apply sound theory, research, and practicality to a subject that no one wants to tackle: reforming K-12 education in America.

Online Programs in K-12 Education

Our programs and courses have been online since 1996.  There are several organizations that track the progress of online post-secondary enrollments including Eduventures and the Sloan Consortium.  There’s no doubt that the convenience of online post-secondary programs is a major reason that more and more adults are continuing or furthering their college education through online degree programs.

Looming Teacher Shortage in K-12 Schools

Much has been written about the looming teacher shortage as the current generation of Baby Boomer Teachers nears retirement.  Teacher salaries versus the escalating cost of a college degree are an often-cited reason why many of today’s students do not choose a career in teaching.  USA Today estimated in February 2006 that the average college graduate would carry at least $19,000 in student debt upon graduation.