2012年8月29日 星期三

Some of the News Fit to Print

Some of the News Fit to Print
Most high school graduates from Chicago who attend the city's community colleges increase their odds of earning a bachelor's degree, according to a study that challenges a belief that two-year colleges are often dead ends for students who could have aimed higher. That argument draws from the book Crossing the Finish Line, which said social mobility is at risk if too many disadvantaged but otherwise qualified students are pushed toward community colleges. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
Naylea Omayra Villanueva Sanchez, 22, lives on the edge of the Amazon rain forest in Tarapoto, northern Peru. "Where I live, there's only jungle," Villanueva Sanchez says through an interpreter. "A university education is inaccessible." And that's true in more ways than one. Villanueva Sanchez is in a wheelchair, the result of a motorcycle accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. She is now enrolled in the University of the People, an online institution that claims it is "the world's first, tuition-free, nonprofit, online university." It's aimed at poor students around the globe who would otherwise not have access to higher education. The piece is on NPR’s All Things Considered.
Higher education is one of the hottest growing sectors in Silicon Valley, and with good reason. The college premium is enormous. College-educated men have seen their wages increase since the 1960s even as wages for men with some to no college education have dropped. College grads face much lower unemployment rates than other educational groups. The gains among advanced degree holders are even larger. So, unsurprisingly, demand for higher education is increasing. But despite being a great investment, the upfront cost to college in terms of tuition is as high as ever, with real costs increasing by a third over the 2000s. So companies like Minerva, Coursera, and Udemy that promise high-quality courses delivered online are attracting a lot of investor attention. The article is in The Washington Post.
Ed Crego, George Munoz and Frank Islam provide a Whitman's sampler of some of the approaches that are being discussed or are underway in the areas that they analyzed in prior posts: costs; graduation and placement rates, return on investment, career education and skill development, teacher preparation; technology and education; and the nation's primary and secondary education system. The piece is in the Huffington Post.

posted Aug 28, 2012 10:01 am

Tough’s Book Supports Carnegie Work in Productive Persistence [In the News]

Carnegie Senior Partner Tom Toch reviews Paul Tough’s book “How Children Succeed” in The Washington Monthly. Toch notes that Tough maintains that “efforts to engender resilience, persistence, and other character strengths in … students” are integral to student success. This is reinforced in a New York Times book review of the Tough book by Annie Murphy Paul. Paul writes that Tough replaces the assumption “that success today depends primarily on cognitive skills — the kind of intelligence that gets measured on I.Q. tests, including the abilities to recognize letters and words, to calculate, to detect patterns — and that the best way to develop these skills is to practice them as much as possible … with what might be called the character hypothesis: the notion that noncognitive skills, like persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence, are more crucial than sheer brainpower to achieving success.” Both the book and Toch’s and Paul’s reviews underscore research by Carnegie Fellow David Yeager that has shown (as Toch notes) “ that even modest interventions, like teachers writing encouraging notes on student’ essays, motivate children to persevere academically.” Yeager’s research is integral to Carnegie’s work in Productive Persistence, one of the key elements of the instructional system in Carnegie’s two mathematics pathways that aim to get students to and through a college credit math course in one year. Through a package consisting of targeted student interventions that support facul
While all 21 states require student learning to count in teacher evaluations, some states don't require such evaluations annually or don't specify how much weight student achievement should be given, according to a comprehensive report on teaching quality policies. In general, states have done less to prescribe how the evaluations will affect issues like tenure, seniority, and teacher preparation. The article is in Education Week’s Teacher Beat blog.
In remarks that elicited applause from 800 Baltimore County English teachers, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday that teachers should earn more and there should be more focus on educating the whole child. The article is in the Baltimore Sun.
Three big-city districts—Chicago, Milwaukee, and New York—have terminated federal grants aimed at promoting performance-based compensation plans and professional development for teachers and principals. Overall, the 2010 Teacher Incentive Fund grants to the three districts would have provided an $88 million payout over five years—nearly 20 percent of the federal program's five-year budget of $442 million. All three districts aimed to secure union support while meeting grant requirements during the yearlong planning period permitted by the grant, but none was ultimately able to accomplish that task. The article is in Education Week’s Teacher Beat blog.
A new brief from the Broad Foundation lists 75 ways that bureaucracy impedes student achievement. The brief identifies "numerous bureaucratic challenges" for urban-district central offices and state education systems that may explain why well-intentioned efforts to improve public schools have failed. Bureaucratic systems, policies, and practices that have built up over decades in inner-city districts have led to fewer resources actually reaching the classroom, preventing teachers from getting support to meet individual student needs, and disheartening people in and around these systems. No one is to blame, the authors write, but these challenges must be addressed to improve America's public schools. This information is from the PEN NewsBlast.
HetchingerEd is offering a rather radical proposal to increase the number of American students who graduate college: dump math. Specifically, the argument is that since many college students, a disproportionately large number of them of an African-American or Hispanic descent, are unprepared to tackle college-level mathematics courses, they might be stymied by a requirement that all those receiving a degree from a particular institution must pass the freshman version of the course. A fifth of students entering a four-year college don’t have the needed math skills to pass the course and are forced into remediation. Nearly half of community college freshmen find themselves in a similar situation. This delay makes it much less likely that they will be able to graduate on time — or graduate at all. Only a tenth of community college students who take remedial college courses finish their college programs in 3 years, and only a third of four-year students complete theirs in 6 years. The article is from EducationNews.org.
For-profit college representatives are fighting in federal court for the right to avoid telling students if they are likely to afford their debts after attending school. In a court filing last week, a key industry trade group pushed back against the Department of Education's attempts to make for-profit colleges disclose statistics that would indicate whether students are likely to take on huge debts they cannot repay. Preliminary data released by the department earlier this year indicates that many of the for-profit programs would be cast in a negative light by making the disclosures, which would reveal that students are shouldering massive debt burdens and are often unable to repay student loans. The article is in the Huffington Post.
Professors occasionally get lampooned as luddites responsible for the famously slow pace of change in higher education. But in truth the majority of professors are excited about various technology-driven trends in higher education, including the growth of e-textbooks and digital library collections, the increased use of data monitoring as a way to track student performance along with their own, and the increasingly popular idea of “flipping the classroom.” However, other technology trends are more likely to make professors break into a clammy sweat. These include the proliferation of scholarship outlets operating outside the traditional model for peer review, the growth of for-profit education, and the intensity of digital communications. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
ty to create more engaging classroom environments and organize meaningful instructional experiences for students, our network faculty have strengthened students’ interest in this subject matter, reduced their anxiety about learning math, and convinced many students that they too can actually come to learn this subject. The latter is what we call developing a growth mindset.

2012年8月24日 星期五

IBBY 2012年會倫敦: 台英教育交流

教育部長上任後首度訪英 促進教育交流合作
大成報 (2012-08-23) 原稿http://news.sina.com.tw/article/20120823/7706231.html

【記者黃俞珍/台北報導   hc刪過】教育部蔣偉寧部長於725日至82日赴英國倫敦出席2012年第30屆奧林匹克運動會,代表國人為我國奧運代表團參賽選手加油鼓勵。訪英期間,經由駐英國代表處文化組的安排,於731日分別與倫敦帝國學院校長 Sir Keith ONions及大倫敦地區留學生及學人31人會面,此行為蔣部長上任後首度訪英,對臺英雙方實質學術交流合作別具意義。

倫敦帝國學院 (Imperial College, London)成立於1907年,在理工生醫等領域創新成果卓著,共有14位諾貝爾獎得主,在英國及全歐洲大學排名第3(次於劍橋、牛津),全球排名亦佳。

該校校長Sir Keith ONions 為地球科學及地質專家,曾任英國國防部及貿易商業部主要科學諮詢顧問。他與蔣部長就目前全球高等及國際教育發展的重要趨勢、英國及我國大學面臨全球化的挑戰及雙方如何進一步合作人才培育的發展重點等重大議題充分交換意見。蔣部長並於會談中邀請校長偕教授來我國進行深度教育交流。ONions 校長表示非常樂意,並期待雙方能就能源領域合作培養未來所需的頂尖人才。蔣部長訪問該校期間,由副校長Simon Buckle教授、能源未來實驗室主任Nigel Brandon 教授及國際事務辦公室主管Felicity Scott等人陪同參觀該校重要的能源未來實驗室(Energy Futures Lab)與生物啟發科技中心(Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology)。

Tales from the Children’s Laureates

The first day of the IBBY Congress 2012 has kicked off what promises to be an exciting event. Sessions this afternoon included the official IBBY Congress 2012 Opening Ceremony and the introduction of three of Britain’s Children’s Laureates: Michael Morpurgo OBE, Anthony Browne and Julia Donaldson MBE.
These keynote speakers outlined their roles and achievements during their time as the UK’s Children’s Laureate, as well as reflecting on the theme of this year’s IBBY Congress, Crossing Boundaries. Michael Morpurgo’s anecdotes of his travels to schools in Scotland, Russia and South Africa as the Children’s Laureate 2003-2005 were entertaining and well received, as was his moving rendition of ‘Only Remembered’ from the theatre adaptation of his book War Horse (what a voice!). Anthony Browne gave a visual presentation of what he calls the ‘Shape Game’, using one of his own childhood drawings to demonstrate how pictures can evolve from a child’s – or talented artist’s – imagination, and went on to give examples of this from his own work. Natural entertainer and current Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson began with a rendition of ‘Basta Pasta’, a song that sprang from her love of silly song writing and a menu in Siena, and closed with a riotous performance of her celebrated picture book The Gruffalo in German, French and Scots.
Although all three speakers championed the role of Children’s Laureate for promoting and celebrating books for young people, their presentations highlighted the continued need for advocacy of children’s literature. Morpurgo stressed the importance of extending the visual and storytelling experience beyond the classroom and Browne lamented the increasing tendency to push children away from picture books in the British education system, in order that they read more “grown up” books. Julia Donaldson also announced her upcoming tour of 36 British libraries from John O’Groats to Land’s End, in celebration of all that libraries have to offer the community, following recent closures and staff cuts.
I thoroughly enjoyed this start to the Congress. The different delegates from each continent chosen to perform the roles of farmyard animals as part of Julia Donaldson’s audience participation slot and Anthony Browne’s own interpretation of his self-conscious paintings particularly stood out. I look forward to what the rest of the Congress will bring.

児童図書普及、2団体を表彰 ロンドンで授賞式

 「おばあちゃんの読み聞かせ計画」は、主に50~70代の失業中の女性を読み聞かせボランティアとして育成し、貧しい地域の子どもたちに文学に触れる機 会を与えてきた。「SIPAR」は、ポル・ポト政権下で失われた出版文化を再興する活動を続けている。約200にのぼる図書館をつくったほか、子どもの本 の作家や編集者を養成するワークショップを開いている。(ロンドン=見市紀世子)

2012年8月22日 星期三

News Roundup

Some of the News Fit to Print
Student performance on the ACT essentially held steady this year, with slight improvement shown in the math and science parts of the college-entrance exam. Still, 60 percent of the class of 2012 that took the test failed to meet benchmarks in two of the four subjects tested, putting them in jeopardy of failing in their pursuit of a college degree and careers. The article is in Education Week.
The largest public university system in the United States is finally realizing a vision of a centralized online hub -- but is doing so in a relatively contained way, at least at the start.
The California State University System is announcing today that Cal State Online will begin offering classes in January, in partnership with Pearson. The 23 campuses in the system have offered virtual courses for years, but unlike numerous other public university systems in the country -- see Penn State World Campus and UMass Online -- Cal State has been slow to coordinate those offerings in a centralized way. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
Community colleges should participate in the federal student loan programs and, when appropriate, encourage students to borrow -- as long as they counsel students against borrowing too much, according to "Making Loans Work,” a report released Tuesday by the Institute for College Access and Success and the California Community Colleges Student Financial Aid Administrators Association. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
Aspiring teachers who have a college degree and some nontraditional K-12 teaching experience may pursue a new track to become a licensed educator in Wisconsin. The new pathway allows an individual with three years of teaching experience—such as in a private school, workplace training center, child care center, or postsecondary institution—to apply for a teaching license by submitting a portfolio of work.  The article is in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Online teacher education programs have taken off in a big way, recently hitting a milestone that has them outnumbering teacher certification courses offered in a traditional academic setting. USA Today analyzed data collected by the U.S. Department of Education, and credits the growth to four universities operating mainly over the internet – three of them for-profit. These schools gave out nearly one in every 16 bachelor’s degrees in education last year and nearly one in eleven postgraduate degrees, which included master’s degrees and doctorates. The article is from EducationNews.org.
An annual poll on how Americans view public education shows divisions on vouchers, charter schools, evaluating teachers by standardized test scores of students and whether President Obama or  Mitt Romney would be better for public education. Yet Americans largely agree that they trust public school teachers but want them prepared more rigorously. As has been true in previous years, Americans give relatively high grades to the public schools in their own communities — this year 48 percent gave them a grade of an A or B, compared to 40 percent in 1992. But they give lower to grades to public schools in the nation as a whole. And a majority of Americans say that young people should be required to stay in school until they are 18 — not 16 or 17, as they are now. These are other issues were part of the 2012 Phi Delta Kappa//Gallup poll of American attitudes toward pubic education, which has been conducted for 44 years.  The post is from The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.

Remedial courses fail to prepare students for college-level work, but the remedial track may serve other purposes, according to a study newly released by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The research found that being placed into remediation is not as discouraging for students as conventional wisdom holds. And while remedial courses’ primary effect is as a sorting mechanism for students of differing academic abilities -- rather than as preparation or discouragement -- that purpose shouldn’t be overlooked, according to the researchers. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
Two new studies offer emphatic answers to much-discussed questions about higher education: Yes, a college degree is worth it, but yes, it's the middle-class that's getting particularly squeezed with student debt in the pursuit of one. Both the study by Georgetown University and new study by a University of Wisconsin professor make persuasive cases, though each could be misunderstood without important context. The article is from the Associated Press.
College enrollment has soared for Hispanic young adults in the last few years, by some measures reaching levels similar to those among young blacks, according to a study released Monday. Among Americans ages 18 to 24 with a high school diploma or equivalent, 46 percent of Hispanics were enrolled in college last year, up from 37 percent in 2008, according to the report by the Pew Hispanic Center. The report was based on data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Education. Black enrollment last year in the same age group stood at 45 percent, the first time the nation’s two largest minority groups were roughly even on that score in the decades that the information has been collected. Among whites, 51 percent of 18- to 24-year-old high school graduates were in college; 67 percent of Asians in that group were in college. The number of young Hispanics enrolled in college, which surpassed black enrollment for the first time in 2010, jumped to almost 2.1 million last year, from about 1.3 million in 2008. That is partly a product of a swelling Hispanic population, as well as the increased rate of college attendance. But it also reflects a fast-rising high school graduation rate. In the 1990s, fewer than 60 percent of Hispanics 18 to 24 had a high school diploma, but that figure hit 70 percent for the first time in 2009, and 76 percent last year. That high school completion rate, however, still remains below the national rate of 85 percent (81 percent for blacks), limiting the number of Hispanics who are eligible for college. In addition, Hispanic students, compared with other groups, are far more likely to attend community colleges and less likely to go to four-year colleges, according to the study. The article is in The New York Times.
As educational reform moves forward, who should be at the table? Should teachers, administrators, staff, parents, business leaders, foundations, students, etc. be involved in developing new systems? The answer is a resounding all of the above. Unless those impacted by change are involved in its development, the chances of success are greatly diminished. Good leaders know that people tend to support what they help develop and resist what is imposed upon them. The post is from Education Week’s Public Engagement and Ed Reform blog.
All but a few Massachusetts districts will probably miss a quickly approaching state deadline to implement a new teacher evaluation system that relies heavily on student achievement. Districts are required to meet the deadline as a condition of receiving funds under Race to the Top. Roughly a third of the state's districts are at odds with their unions in negotiating changes to teacher evaluations. The article is in the Boston Globe.
A grassroots movement of classroom teachers, parents, and educators protesting test-based education policies is facing the first true test of its mettle: whether it can make the leap from loosely affiliated network to coordinated political body. Last summer, the Save Our Schools organization held a conference and march in Washington that attracted some 3,000 people. Its second major event, a convention held here Aug. 3-5, attracted far fewer attendees—about 150—a step organizers said was deliberate as they make plans to ensure the group's long-term stability. The article is in Education Week.
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's selection as the Republican vice-presidential candidate could spark a national debate about the future of education spending, an issue that's gotten short shrift in the presidential campaign so far. As the two national party conventions approach, Democrats are already charging that the Wisconsin lawmaker's controversial budget blueprint, which presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has largely endorsed, would scale back college financial aid and slash other funding for education. The article is in Education Week.
Conventional textbooks for kindergarten through 12th grade are a $3 billion business in the United States, according to the Association of American Publishers, with an additional $4 billion spent on teacher guides, testing resources and reference materials. And almost all that printed material, educators say, will eventually be replaced by digital versions. The article is in The New York Times.
Why are so many cities waiting on federal funds to give a program like the Harlem Children’s Zone a try? The Zone is widely heralded as one of the most successful anti-poverty programs in the country, an honor it managed to achieve without the help of federal money. In fact, it started with a budget of just $6 million (slated to grow to $46 million over ten years). Additionally, much of the funding was private - about a third of the Zone's money comes directly from board members. The rest comes from foundations, private donors and government. The article is in The Atlantic.
Walt Gardner blogs in Education Week’s Reality Check: Reformers assert that competition is indispensable if public schools are to improve. They like to cite examples from the private sector, where companies that had once been written off did an about face when competition forced them to implement new performance criteria. But reformers suffer from selective amnesia, as a series of articles about Microsoft demonstrate.
DENVER -- At a time of rising public concern about student debt, sociologists are arguing that there is not a single pattern of borrowing, but that there are important distinctions in borrowing behavior by gender, class and other factors that illustrate how the lack of funds to pay for college is affecting particular groups in different ways. These patterns, scholars argued in sessions here at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, threaten to limit educational attainment, and the ability of the United States to meet goals for having a larger share of the population earn college degrees. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration weighed in on affirmative action for the first time at the Supreme Court last week, urging that university admissions preferences for qualified black and Latino students be upheld. "Race is one of many characteristics (including socioeconomic status, work experience and other factors) that admissions officials may consider in evaluating the contributions that an applicant would make to the university," U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. said in his brief, siding with the University of Texas. In October, the high court will hear the appeal of Abigail Fisher, a rejected white applicant who sued the Texas university alleging she was a victim of illegal racial discrimination. The article is in the L.A. Times.

2012年8月21日 星期二

Media Companies, Seeing Profit Slip, Push Into Education

Media Companies, Seeing Profit Slip, Push Into Education

Chris Keane for The New York Times
Last year, Discovery introduced its line of digital textbooks, called Techbooks. The manuals are used at Mooresville Middle School in North Carolina.
LOS ANGELES — As another academic year starts, about 500,000 children across the country will find themselves learning subjects like middle school history or high school biology from a new line of digital textbooks. These manuals, branded Techbooks, come with all the Internet frills: video, virtual labs, downloadable content.
Chris Keane for The New York Times
Two students using a Discovery Techbook at Mooresville Middle School in North Carolina.
A page from Discovery Education's biology lessons.
But the Techbook may be most notable for what it does not have — backing from a traditional educational publisher. Instead it has the support of Discovery, the cable TV company.
Discovery, which also sells an educational video service to school districts, is entering the digital textbook market largely because it sees a growth opportunity too good to pass up.
Conventional textbooks for kindergarten through 12th grade are a $3 billion business in the United States, according to the Association of American Publishers, with an additional $4 billion spent on teacher guides, testing resources and reference materials. And almost all that printed material, educators say, will eventually be replaced by digital versions.
“It’s kind of perfect for us,” said David M. Zaslav, chief executive of Discovery Communications, which owns networks like Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC. “Educational content is core to our DNA, and we’re unencumbered — unlike traditional textbook publishers, we’re not defending a dying business.”
Mr. Zaslav is not the only media executive talking grandly about education these days. Movies, television, newspapers and magazines are in decline or facing headwinds, putting pressure on media companies to find new areas of expansion.
Education is emerging as an answer, largely because executives see a way to capitalize on the changes that technology is bringing to classrooms — turnabout as fair play, given the way that the Web has upended major media’s own business models.
“We think the opportunity continues to be to use digital technologies to be disruptive to an enormous business stuck decades in the past,” Chase Carey, News Corporation’s chief operating officer, told analysts this year.
News Corporation is betting on just that. This month, the company said it would infuse its fledgling education division, Amplify, with $100 million.
Amplify, focused on digital teaching and assessment tools, is run by Joel I. Klein, the former New York City schools chancellor. Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corporation, has said he would be “thrilled” if education were to account for 10 percent of its revenue five years from now.
Old-line education companies, however, may be more difficult prey than Mr. Zaslav and Mr. Murdoch think. Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are introducing digital educational products of their own, and these stalwarts have a technology giant on their side: Apple, seeking to bolster iPad sales, recently started selling digital high school textbooks through its iBooks store, with those three publishers as partners.
“Over the last 10 years alone, we’ve invested $9.3 billion in digital innovations that are transforming education,” said Will Ethridge, chief executive of Pearson North America, part of Pearson P.L.C., the world’s largest education and learning company. “One way to describe it would be an act of ‘creative destruction.’ By this I mean we’re intentionally tearing down an outdated, industrial model of learning and replacing it with more personalized and connected experiences for each student.”
On a smaller scale, NBCUniversal has been building a service called NBC Learn, which digitizes and archives video and articles from NBC News to sell as a database and digital blackboard learning system; NBC Learn now operates in 5,000 schools in 43 states.
The Financial Times, owned by Pearson, is pushing MBA Newslines, a subscriber-only feature on its Web site that lets business students and professors create and share annotations on articles, allowing case studies to be built around real-time news events.
And then there is the Walt Disney Company. It is building a chain of language schools in China big enough to enroll more than 150,000 children annually. The schools, which weave Disney characters into the curriculum, are not going to move the profit needle at a company with $41 billion in annual revenue. But they could play a vital role in creating a consumer base as Disney builds a $4.4 billion theme park and resort in Shanghai.
Media companies have dipped their toes into education before, of course, only to find chilly waters. Discovery in 2006 promoted Cosmeo, an Internet-based service that offered children videos and other tools to help them with their homework; a year later, Discovery decided to stop marketing the product, which cost $99 a year, and laid off much of its staff. (Why pay for help when you can search Google at no cost?)
In 2007, Disney introduced a new position — senior vice president for learning — with the goal of moving into the North American education businesses. None of the company’s major efforts got off the ground, and Disney eventually pulled the plug, in part because it decided technology was changing the sector too rapidly.
News Corporation faces perception hurdles as it moves deeper into education — namely what some rivals refer to as the “Foxification” of schools, a pointed reference to Fox News Channel and its stable of conservative pundits. The company has said it has zero interest in inserting politics into schools, and notes that other assets, including the National Geographic Channel, which, like Discovery’s flagship channel, largely focuses on documentaries and educational programming, could play to the company’s advantage.
Last year, the New York State comptroller, citing News Corporation’s phone-hacking scandal in Britain, rejected a $27 million contract with its education division. The decision underscored one of the biggest hurdles faced by companies entering the education market: new products must typically gain state approval before schools even have the chance to decide to buy them.
Wall Street is skeptical that education holds as much promise as some media companies think. “When big conglomerates feel their core businesses have started to mature, they look for related synergistic businesses,” said David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. “You have to ask yourself, are those education businesses really related and synergistic in core?”
Bill Goodwyn, chief executive of Discovery’s education unit, says in his company’s case, the answer is an emphatic yes. He conceded that Cosmeo “lost a lot of money,” but said that Discovery’s business had centered on education since its earliest days. Discovery Channel’s original name was Cable Education Network, for instance, and the company used to make money by shipping VHS cassettes of documentaries to schools.
Discovery currently sells a popular subscription streaming service to schools, which comes with 50,500 video segments and 6,200 full-length videos on topics like math, social studies and language arts. The service costs $1,570 a year for a school that serves kindergarten through eighth grade; high schools pay $2,095.
Still, Discovery’s previous efforts pale in scope to its Techbook initiative.
Mr. Goodwyn’s 200-employee division introduced the line of digital textbooks last year. Their cloud-based technology works with whatever hardware a district has — iPads, laptops, desktops. Discovery tailors them to the particular curriculum needs of various states (or districts within states).
“As a 30-year veteran, it was not always easy giving up some of the more traditional ways of teaching,” said Roseann Burklow, a seventh-grade science teacher in Mooresville, N.C. “But I love the Techbook. Students are engaged and can work independently or collaboratively.” (She did suggest one improvement: more games to help students review material for tests.)
Traditional textbooks cost about $70 a student; Discovery’s Techbooks start at $38 a student for a six-year subscription and go up to $55, depending on the subject and grade level.
Discovery knows education will never pay its bills. Last year, the company’s learning products, for instance, generated adjusted operating income of $23 million, a 53 percent increase over a year earlier. In comparison, its United States cable networks delivered operating income of $1.5 billion, a 10 percent increase from a year earlier.
Still, Mr. Zaslav said the education unit’s small size did not dim his enthusiasm. “Television is always going to be our primary focus, but we’re incredibly excited about the business potential of the Techbook,” he said. “Education is an area of solid, sustainable growth.”

Brooks Barnes reported from Los Angeles, and Amy Chozick from New York. Christine Haughney contributed from New York.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: August 20, 2012

An earlier version of this article imprecisely described NBC Learn, a database and digital blackboard learning system being created by NBCUniversal. The service digitizes and archives video and articles from NBC News, not just articles.

2012年8月19日 星期日



Dear HC,



隔兩天,她分給我兩個。我把它們存到2-3天後Ken 來訪時分享。不料,Ken來訪的那時,我的還硬得像子彈劾。





This commentary is in The Washington Post: A comprehensive study three years ago by the New Teacher Project showed how U.S. schools generally fail to recognize teacher quality, instead treating all teachers the same. Now comes an even more devastating finding from the group: Even when schools know the difference between good and bad teachers, they make no special effort to retain the good ones. Just as the previous report spurred improvements in teacher evaluation systems, this study should prompt changes in how teachers are treated. The aptly named report, “The Irreplaceables,” concludes that the real teacher retention crisis in urban schools is not about the number of teachers who are leaving but the loss of really good ones. The two-year study identified the top 20 percent of teachers whose students consistently make the most progress on state exams. Not only do these teachers on average help students learn two to three additional months’ worth of math and reading compared to the average teacher (and five to six months more compared to low-performing teachers), but they also get high marks from students.
A key Senate committee approved a bill Thursday aimed at enhancing teacher evaluations that would effectively eliminate state requirements to use student standardized test scores to measure an instructor's effectiveness. AB 5, by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), would establish a statewide uniform teacher evaluation system that would increase performance reviews, classroom observations, training of evaluators and public input into the review process. The bill was approved, 5-2, by the Senate Appropriations Committee after Fuentes found $89 million to fund it and move it forward. But the bill would require negotiated agreement with unions, including United Teachers Los Angeles, which opposes the Los Angeles Unified School District's use of student test scores as one measure of teacher effectiveness. LAUSD Supt. John Deasy has said the bill, which the district opposes, would make it more difficult to push forward a new voluntary evaluation program. The article is in the Los Angeles Times.

Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, writes in The Tennessean: Political scientist and emeritus professor at City University of New York Andrew Hacker stirred controversy last month with an opinion piece questioning the place of algebra in the K-12 curriculum (“Is Algebra Necessary?” New York Times, July 28). The response to Hacker’s opinion has been swift and stern. From The Huffington Post to “Scientific American,” experts have been quick to defend the importance of algebra. Evelyn Lamb, in “Scientific American,” rightly noted that algebra is rooted in understanding relationships, solving problems, and developing logic skills. And she rightly observed that few of us can predict in high school the precise knowledge that will be required of us in our future careers. But we can predict that students able to persevere and solve problems are more likely to be successful than students who throw in the towel at the first sign of difficulty.
As mayor of Rancho Mirage, Calif., Scott Hines is in charge of a town of about 17,000 people in the Coachella Valley. As the chief operating officer of World Education University, a new company that says it “will forever alter the landscape of post-secondary education” by offering free courses online, Hines is now in charge of the personal information of about 50,000 prospective students and more than $1 million in seed funding. But as World Education University continues to raise money and populate its database with the personal information of curious students, some observers in the higher education community wonder whether the company, which is not authorized to award degrees and has no formalized academic program, may be a mirage -- an idyllic fantasy that is more likely to dissolve into the landscape than alter it.  The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

Julia Steiny writes in Education News: Recently, in The New York Times opinion section, Professor Andrew Hacker asked, Is Algebra Necessary? Surely he knew the educated, newspaper-reading public would revile him for such heresy. He states obvious truths, however. Algebra, and math requirements generally act as linebackers blocking “unqualified” kids from college altogether, and pushing large numbers of students who did manage to get in to drop out.  In high school and college, students fail math courses far more often than other subjects. Hacker suggests colleges ease their requirements so mathematically-challenged “poets and philosophers” can thrive. Naturally, the four zillion reader-comments passionately argue that algebra is necessary. For good reasons. Many howl that we’d be nuts to continue “dumbing down” the already-low bar that Americans set for most students. But I applaud Hacker for sparking the conversation. He’s right that math is a huge problem. It begs creative solutions.
Bryan C. Hassel and Celine Coggins write in Education Week: If you are a teacher who helps students learn exceptionally well, this is your moment—schools and policymakers must vastly expand your impact, now. Today, our nation is at a crossroads; we simply cannot fall short educationally for another decade as other countries surge. Why is this time unique? Two crucial trends are at play. First, the United States has begun to act on the compelling data showing great variation in teachers’ success in helping students learn, as well as the monumental impact this variation can have on the life chances of students. As states and districts work to build better teacher-evaluation systems, schools will have increasingly accurate and useful data to identify which teachers are exceptionally effective.
Great teaching, it is sometimes said, is one of those things where you know it when you see it. Now, teachers in Washington will be able to see a lot more of it. In deference to a world enthralled by shows like “Extreme Makeover” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the public school district in Washington has hired a reality television company to produce videos intended to improve the skills of its teachers. The 80 videos, 5 to 15 minutes in length, are peppered with quick jump cuts, slick screen labels and a jaunty soundtrack. In short interviews and classroom snippets, the district’s highest-performing teachers demonstrate how they teach a range of lessons, from adding decimal numbers to guiding students of differing ability levels through a close reading of the Marshall Plan. The article is in The New York Times.

The Saylor Foundation has nearly finished creating a full suite of free, online courses in a dozen popular undergraduate majors. And the foundation is now offering a path to college credit for its offerings by partnering with two nontraditional players in higher education – Excelsior College and StraighterLine. The project started three years ago, when the foundation began hiring faculty members on a contract basis to build courses within their subject areas. The professors scoured the web for free Open Education Resources (OER), but also created video lectures and tests. The foundation currently has more than 240 courses up on its website. They are self-paced and automated, and designed to cover all the requirements of an undergraduate major in disciplines ranging from chemistry and computer science to art history and English literature, as well as a general education major. The course material is roughly 95 percent complete, Saylor officials said, and should be finished this fall. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
Higher education is going to look much different in the future, with a greater reliance on teleconferencing and distance learning, according to a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Sixty percent of the 1,021 respondents, which included a variety of technology experts, education professionals, and venture capitalists, agree that hybrid learning, which combines online education with in-class instruction, and "individualized, just-in-time learning approaches" will be much more common by the year 2020. The article is in U.S. News & World Report.

John Jensen writes in Education News: “The Myth of ‘Practice Makes Perfect’” is a misleading title of a Time/Opinion article by Annie Murphy Paul published earlier this year. I bring it up even several months later because the issue it addresses is important. Practice is the only means of developing skill in either physical actions or knowledge, so discarding it is not a good idea. The title implies that the very notion of “practice makes perfect” is a myth, is false, though the article does not imply this nor refer to any “myth.” We might guess that a copy editor in the bowels of Time Magazine chose it to broaden the article’s appeal beyond psychologists. Practice not only “makes perfect,” but also “permanent,” “perseverant,” “persistent,” and  “productive” (as several comments on the article noted).  Aspects of practice provide a context.
Ariel Braunstein and Scott Kabat know a thing or two about building (and selling) a user-friendly mobile video experience, but can they do the same for the world of digital education? We’re going to find out. Braunstein and Kabat are the co-founder and former marketing executive, respectively, of Pure Digital Technologies, the makers of the popular Flip Video line of hand-held camcorders. Pure Digital was acquired by Cisco in 2009, which has since retired the production of the mini camcorders. In the meantime, Kabat and Braunstein have turned their attention to online education and the growing role video technology is assuming in the transformation of learning. Today, the co-founders launched a new venture called Knowmia — a crowdsourced video platform designed to help teachers find and create online video lessons while improving the learning experience for students. Knowmia has created software that organizes and curates video lessons from teachers all over the world to provide users (and students) with a more personalized, efficient and affordable alternative to online tutoring. Today, the platform offers more than 7,000 free lessons that cover a variety of subjects, including algebra, chemistry, history and American literature. The article is in TechCrunch.
If you want to know how long you will live, you might stop fretting over genetics and family history and instead look at your educational achievements. Education is certainly not the only variable associated with longer lives, but it may be the most powerful. Recent study findings published in the journal Health Affairs present a remarkable update to the already considerable research showing education to be a powerful predictor of longer life spans. The article is in U.S.News & World Report’s The Best Life blog.

Philip C. Williams, president of McNeese State University, writes in The Huffington Post: One of the seductive new tools available to policy makers these days is the statistical device known affectionately as the "teacher value added model." What makes this device so seductive is its promise to identify exactly which teachers are performing well in the classroom and which ones are performing poorly. Here's how the model is supposed to work: Demographic information about school children -- such as each student's age, gender, race, and socioeconomic background -- is fed into a software program. Similar demographic information is compiled about each classroom teacher. At the beginning of a school term each student takes a standardized test on a particular subject -- say American history -- and the results are saved. At the end of the school term the same set of students takes another standardized American history test and this score is compared to the student's initial score. The difference between these two scores would represent -- at least in theory -- each student's intellectual growth in the field of American history.
Danica McKellar, actress and author, talks with TODAY's Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb about her fourth book, "Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape." Much like how moms can model positive body image, we can influence our kids' outlook on math in healthy ways. Math is a crucially important subject that all too often gets rejected, especially by girls, and then they risk missing out on the brain-building, confidence-boosting gifts that tackling math has to offer. Here are some tips for how to start your kids off on the right foot, and keep math phobia away.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has terminated a high-profile college completion grant in Texas, a decision one community college leader in the state called abrupt and surprising. Dubbed Completion by Design, the $35-million grant encourages groups of two-year colleges in four states to work together to keep more low-income and young students from slipping through the cracks and to better help guide them on a pathway to graduation. Teams of colleges in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas beat out 27 teams in nine states to participate in the five-year project, which began in 2010. The Lone Star College System led the Texas cadre, which included the Dallas County Community College District, El Paso Community College and South Texas College. Completion initiatives have been popular in the state, including with lawmakers. Texas is a young, growing state, not to mention big, and will be a key cog in the achievement of any national college completion goals. The five Texas colleges participating in the Gates project enroll 289,000 students, accounting for one-third of the state’s community college students. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
posted Aug 14, 2012 09:43 am

The Era of Networked Science [What We're Reading]

By Corey Donahue
In Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science, physicist and essayist Michael Nielsen emphasizes how the internet has created the conditions for a completely open research field in which increased collaboration can help spur innovation. Using inventive examples from a wide range of fields, including chess, math, bird-watching, and astronomy, Nielsen outlines how online tools can accelerate the rate of scientific discovery. By allowing for many voices to contribute to the work of a large project, networked science can refocus expert attention and, with the condition of a standard body of knowledge and techniques, create data-driven intelligence.
Nielsen, a member of the open science movement, wants to restructure research such that scientists benefit from sharing their data and ideas, thus allowing for increased collaboration and innovation. In doing so, Nielsen believes that we can amplify collective intelligence and reinve... Read more...

In the past decade of national anxiety over the quality of American public education, no area in education reform has gotten more attention than teacher quality, and few reforms have encountered as much pushback as the efforts to change how to take the measure of a teacher. Spurred by Race to the Top, the competitive Obama administration grant program, numerous states are now rushing to implement intensive teacher evaluation systems that, in most cases, are heavily influenced by test-score gains, which can affect a teacher's employment status and pay. Done right, say advocates, strong evaluation systems could be a game changer for both teachers and their students, reshaping the profession and pushing teachers to improve. The article is in the Alaska Dispatch.
Marcy Singer-Gabella, professor of the practice of education and associate chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, writes in The Hechinger Report: Those of us who prepare teachers for the classroom find ourselves at the center of a national conversation about teacher preparation and “effectiveness,” as well as how to measure and improve student achievement. In each of these cases, students’ standardized test scores are the central metric. And now, federal and state policymakers have begun to use student test scores to evaluate teacher education programs. Without question, teacher education programs should be genuinely concerned with their graduates’ impact on student learning and achievement. However, using student test scores to measure program effectiveness is both inappropriate and unhelpful. There are significant challenges—substantive and logistical—to accurately linking student scores to preparing institutions and interpreting what they mean. And even if these were solved, it is extremely difficult to control for the variation in the K-12 schools where graduates end up teaching.
Scott Laidlaw’s math students just weren’t getting it. While teaching sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at the private Realms of Inquiry school in Salt Lake City three years ago, Laidlaw wracked his brain for ways to improve his students’ competency in math. Only 21 percent were testing proficient in the subject. He joined forces with Utahn Jennifer Lightwood and launched Imagine Education, a company that designs learning games. Titles such as "Ko’s Journey" and "Empires" have helped middle-school math concepts — ratios, graphing and geometry — click with students through interactive games. But Laidlaw hasn’t stopped creating new tools to help bolster student achievement in math. His and Lightwood’s new documentary, "The Biggest Story Problem: Why America’s Students Are Failing at Math.” The film is meant to start a conversation on what Laidlaw calls the country’s "middle school math crises." The article is in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Stories abound of college graduates working at Starbucks, living at home and facing an uncertain economic future. And many of these stories have led to increased questioning of the value of a college degree. But a report released today says that -- despite the current economic hardships faced by people at all levels of education -- the value of a college degree remains strong. The unemployment rate for recent four-year college graduates is 6.8 percent, higher than the rate for all four-year graduates of 4.5 percent. But the 6.8 percent is much, much better than the 24 percent rate for recent high school graduates. These figures, and a series of others, appear in "The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm," from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

2012年8月17日 星期五

教改的情感/ 自學策略管理 /談幾位不熟識的東海人

  Eric Yao 姚家兄弟and A President


昨天在書店看到 姚仁祿《星空之下永遠有路》。我與作者在東海同學過,不過他不認識我,我們不同系不同年級,不過當時東海師生數只近1500人。

前幾天羅時瑋與陳珍吾之子說起東海大學建築系兄弟檔似乎沒提到姚仁祿的哥哥姚仁喜 (他們提到6-7 ,我只聽得懂李安國兄弟) 姚仁喜看起來比較沉穩,我久無其消息。

姚仁祿則在80年代末的設計界小有名氣,我們公司杜邦的新辦公室,就是他們事務所設計的。當時,約1991年,他的事務所似乎人人一部Apple 電腦,當時這牌電腦在全世界PC 的佔有率只有約12 % (我的記憶)

7年前羅時瑋有次與東海的新校長到台北來訪問Eric Yao 等人,當時他們興致勃勃想成立「創意學院」之類的時髦東西,這我不喜歡,雖然在1972年我們在東海就成立「創意社」,因為我認為外國用” Art and Architecture”稱呼之比較恰當,而且建築物的工程層面的重要性並不亞於「形的設計」。後來,程校長沒魄力「破格」請Eric Yao 當新組合成的院之長
不過,Eric Yao 當上台灣的名人榜是沒問題的

我今天注意到Eric履歷表中的 「就學期間創辦校園地下報「矢」與「大師傅」」。
妙得很,「矢」我竟然不知道,而「大師傅」似乎是報紙型的雜誌,全彩,我看過Eric 拿到女生宿舍去「叫賣」過,此舉也頗不平凡。可惜,它也似乎只發行1-2期。然而,大學的志工不在量,而是質。我很喜歡Eric 當時的幹勁。
今天翻羅素寫於1905年的《科學與假設》的書評 (收入1910年的文集 Philosophical Essays ) 。羅素文末指出英譯本一些地方(四處)將「非否定」句錯譯為「否定」句。我查出版商,它在英國有兩印刷所,一處當然是倫敦,一處是 Newcastle-on-Tyne…

“Newcastle-on-Tyne” 讓我想起羅時瑋前幾天跟我說,他有一次到英國開會,之後還搭近2小時火車去那兒拜訪東海數學系的老師 羅時瑋對他的評價很高。幾年前,這位當上東海的副校長。他角逐下屆的校長失利。妙的是,程校長「因事」提前辭職去追求他的career,我們這位朋友有機會「大展鴻圖」6個月,這是教育部規定「代裡校長」的最長期限。我比較喜歡的是,據時瑋說,這位代校長有志向把握這半年。




教改的情感/ 自學策略管理

1994410張則周和黃武雄等教授發起的教育改革運動,可能改變某些人的一生。Google “410 教改可得pdf 10周年和15周年等慶祝文章。然而我比較欣賞昔日熱血青年們後來發展出來的情誼。
 2012.8.7 在宜蘭火車站候車往花蓮時巧遇"狗毛" (玉燕在410教改的同事,狗毛現在已是很美麗的老師了) 她帶著二位寶貝 (一男一女) 在等車 準備轉到南澳某農家打工32(換食宿) 體驗營。她們有聊不完的410 同事的近況。有些人現在都當起督學了呢。任職台大社會系的賴曉黎,還會介紹他們到坪林某茶農處,去親手做紅茶 (據說主人的手下的茶,都有點靈性)。狗毛當然會拿出一包她做的送玉燕 (幾年前,Justing 也送過親友做的烏龍茶送我,再謝)
玉燕馬上打電話給蕭一真,告訴他南澳的寶地。我想他們410應該出版年刊聚會。張則周著 {台灣,你要走向何方? 人,才是台灣的未來}


  • 2009-08-05
  • 中國時報
  • 【■張則周】

 日前全國近八十個團體為十二年國教走上凱道,並分別向府院遞出「我要十二年國教」陳情書與請願書。但七月二十一日我們接到教育部的覆函中竟寫著「在各先 導計畫逐步穩健推動後,十二年國民基本教育亦將水到渠成」。對全國家長團體聯盟的請求,並未做任何具體的回應,令孩子及家長們再一次失望!
 大家都知道推動免試的十二年國民基本教育,必須在全國各學區增設優質的公立高中職、改善已有的公私立高中職、以及聘任優秀教師,對分發到 私立高中職的學生也須給予補助,這些都需要額外的經費。遺憾的是歷任總統及行政院長,都是以拚經濟為第一要務,從未重視普及的現代國民基本教育,更未將十 二年國教列為施政的優先項目。歷任教育部長在缺乏財源的困境下,一直無法提供足夠的優質公立高中職,只得繼續利用基測或在校成績,作為篩選及分發入學的依 據。
 其實目前在少子化的狀況下,許多閒置的國中教室已可改為高中教室,十餘年來已培育了足夠的多元優質的高中職師資,許多國中除了經費外,已 有充分的條件改為完全中學或綜合中學,因此十二年國教所需經費已大幅減少,少到每年只需二百億而已。只要少買八架F16就夠了。由於這二百億是「每年的支 出」,必須修改「教育經費編列與管理法」,將教育經費由佔政府總收入的二一.五%調高到二二.五%。如果行政院長與馬總統都願意實現以往的諾言,以馬總統 目前的聲望,修法必能在立法院順利過關。
 在這樣扭曲的環境,孩子們如何能快樂地學習?又如何能培育出健康與「有品」的公民?如果掌握權力的大人們對孩子稍有愛心,一定會想盡辦 法,使其早日脫離苦海,怎麼會在即將上路的十二年國教還要採計國中在校成績呢?這樣使國中生從一年級起就陷入考試競爭的深淵,豈不是比基測更可怕!
 經建會預估,二○五○年國內高齡人口(六十五歲以上的人)將達三分之一以上。未來治理這詭異多變的社會,復育這失衡與嚴重汙染的生態環 境,填補這數兆負債的深淵,都要靠這群我們正在培育的孩子。今天我們不給孩子們一個理想的教育與成長環境,將來他們怎麼有能力、有信心、有熱情,擔負起這 樣的重擔,創造台灣的未來?
 行政院應盡速向立法院提案,調高教育預算的比例。教育經費增加後,優質且各俱特色的高中職必將遍布全國,相信三年內「免試且不採計在校成 績的十二年國教」必能水到渠成。教育部想用台灣有品運動轉移推動十二年國教的焦點,殊不知如果缺乏愛心的「有品運動」充其量只能是一場鬧劇;缺乏「反識」 與「行動」的「五識」很可能是一場悲劇。

官生平老師寄給我們: “北大经营方略EMBA”:
我想到的有兩人。一是約7-8年江玉國先生說他希望到北大讀EMBA 拉些關係
一是2012812 在沈春華主持的節目看到已取得新加坡籍的前聯電董事長曹興誠先生 主題是台灣的人才為問題….
我曾經將曹先生在1981年企畫的工研院電子所策略會議的行程,寫入近年2010出版的書中。它起迪我思考什麼是策略管理? 我翻譯一本G. E.公司主管寫的《前瞻策略思考法》(Putting It All Together)