2013年2月20日 星期三

A Filling Job for a B. A. 遠程實習的限制


A federal grant program in the works to help states jump-start kindergarten-entry assessments is renewing debate among early-childhood educators about the benefits and pitfalls of evaluating young children. The U.S. Department of Education aims to distribute $9.2 million for the readiness-to-learn initiative through an existing grant program intended to help states devise better tests at all grade levels. The proposal, for which the department is seeking comments through Feb. 25, comes at a time when the White House is paying increased attention to early education. In last week's State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama said he would make universal preschool a budget priority. And in 2011, the Education Department launched Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grants, awarding about $633 million to 14 states. The article is in Education Week.
The nation must act urgently to close the achievement gap between poor and privileged children by changing the way public schools are financed, improving teacher quality, investing in early-childhood education and demanding greater accountability down to the local school board level, according to a report issued Tuesday by an expert panel. Created by Congress in 2010 — with legislation sponsored by Reps. Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.) and Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) — the Equity and Excellence Commission aimed to propose ways to improve public education for poor American children. The 27-member panel included state and federal officials, civil rights activists and academics. The article is in The Washington Post.
Across Massachusetts, administrators are increasingly visting classrooms this year and amassing a stockpile of notes, lesson plans, and examples of student work as they carefully judge the effectiveness of more than 68,000 teachers statewide. The goal of the new ramped-up evaluation systems — developed under hard-fought state regulations — is to build a more skilled teaching force that can help students reach new heights. The regulations, which also apply to administrators and superintendents, encourage sharing successful teaching strategies, creating improvement plans for unsatisfactory educators, and terminating those repeatedly deemed ineffective. The article is in Boston.com.

Research has identified several ways for colleges that enroll lesser-prepared students to improve their graduation rates. But college leaders are often wary of those solutions, because they can take a whack at the bottom line and challenge a tradition of open doors. Klamath Community College recently went all in with several measures aimed at improving student retention, including mandatory orientation for students, mandatory advising and the elimination of late registration for courses. The college’s new president, Roberto Gutierrez, said he knew those policies could discourage or freeze out some students. He was right. Klamath saw its enrollment decline roughly 20 percent last fall, when compared to the previous year. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the lowest-level job. Consider the 45-person law firm of Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh here in Atlanta, a place that has seen tremendous growth in the college-educated population. Like other employers across the country, the firm hires only people with a bachelor’s degree, even for jobs that do not require college-level skills. This prerequisite applies to everyone, including the receptionist, paralegals, administrative assistants and file clerks. Even the office “runner” — the in-house courier who, for $10 an hour, ferries documents back and forth between the courthouse and the office — went to a four-year school. The article is in The New York Times.


We all know that confusion doesn’t feel good. Because it seems like an obstacle to learning, we try to arrange educational experiences and training sessions so that learners will encounter as little confusion as possible. But as is so often the case when it comes to learning, our intuitions here are exactly wrong. Scientists have been building a body of evidence over the past few years demonstrating that confusion can lead us to learn more efficiently, more deeply, more lastingly—as long as it’s properly managed. How can this be? The human brain is a pattern-recognition machine. It evolved to identify related events or artifacts and connect them into a meaningful whole. This capacity serves us well in many endeavors, from recognizing the underlying themes in literature, to understanding the deep structure of a scientific or mathematical problem, to anticipating hidden complications and seeing their solutions in our work. Over time, exposure to these problem-solving situations gives us a subconscious familiarity with their essential nature that we can hardly articulate in words, but which we can easily put into action. The article is in the MindShift blog.

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy announced Friday that as much as 30% of a teacher's evaluation will be based on student test scores, setting off more contention in the nation's second-largest school system in the weeks before a critical Board of Education election. Leaders of the teachers union have insisted that there should be no fixed percentage or expectation for how much standardized tests should count — and that test results should serve almost entirely as just one measure to improve instruction. Deasy, in contrast, has insisted that test scores should play a significant role in a teacher's evaluation and that poor scores could contribute directly to dismissal. In a Friday memo explaining the evaluation process, Deasy set 30% as the goal and the maximum for how much test scores and other data should count. The article is in the Los Angeles Times.
Ohio’s educators have been nervously watching the development of a new way to evaluate teachers. They’re nervous because half of their evaluations will be based on student test scores. Officials hope the higher stakes will improve teaching performance. But there could be ripple effects, like big changes in the way student teachers get classroom experience. The new teacher evaluations kick in next fall. “When that goes into place I will not give up my classroom for a student teacher,” says Barb Sole, an eighth grade language arts teacher at Utica Jr High School in rural central Ohio. Sole has a student teacher now. It’s the third she’s worked with, and she says probably her last. The piece is from StateImpact Ohio.

The growing crisis of students arriving at college unprepared to do college-level work has led to plenty of finger-pointing between high school and college educators. But two community colleges have learned that better collaboration with local high schools may be the best way to dramatically reduce the number of students who fall into the quagmire of remedial coursework. Long Beach City College has worked closely with the Long Beach Unified School District so it can experiment with using high school grades to help determine whether incoming students have remedial needs -- a shift from instead relying heavily on standardized placement tests. And according to newly available data from the college, an initial group of 1,000 students from Long Beach high schools who were placed with this new method were far more likely to take and pass credit-bearing, transfer-level courses at the college than their peers the previous year. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
Of all the efforts to show which teacher preparation programs are the most effective and which ones are the least, the one that could potentially have the biggest influence on the public is the Teacher Prep Review being produced by the National Council on Teacher Quality. A $5 million project in the works since early 2011, the review is set for release this April as one of the latest additions to the college rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. Creators of the Teacher Prep Review say the syllabi and other materials they are examining to produce the review are sufficient to determine if teacher prep programs are meeting a series of standards that NCTQ describes as the “nuts and bolts of building better teachers.” The article is in Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.
posted Feb 19, 2013 10:43 am

Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate Announces 2012 Dissertation in Practice Awardees [In the News]

Eleven nominations representing three CPED institutions (University of Louisville, Virginia Commonwealth University and Arizona State University) were received in 2012 for the first ever Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Dissertation in Practice Award. A Committee comprised of nine CPED faculty members representing eight CPED institutions was assembled to develop a set of criteria that would distinguish the dissertation of scholarly practitioners as work grounded in high quality research with the potential to impact practice in education. The Committee worked for almost a year developing the criteria that were used to judge submissions. This week, the Committee announced two winners and one Honorable Mention. Learn more from the CPED website.


費利西亞·菲茨帕特里克(Felicia Fitzpatrick)是Do Something的社交媒體實習生,這家位於紐約的非營利組織致力於青年運動。她每天開始工作前要向老闆通報情況。不同之處在於,她是在德克薩斯大學奧斯汀分校(University of Texas, Austin)的學生宿舍里,通過電子郵件或Skype通訊軟件彙報工作。
28歲的布里·韋爾策(Brie Welzer)是Green Seal的 市場助理,這家設立在華盛頓的非營利環境組織採用了遠程在線實習方式,他表示:“這個工作理念改變了很多人。遠程辦公的範圍更廣泛,成本更低廉,在很多方 面比在辦公室工作更富有成效。”Green Seal對虛擬實習職位的要求包括:能夠獨立工作,文筆清晰有條理,擁有Skype賬戶(配備網絡攝像頭者優先)。
遠程實習的優點很多。學生們有更多的實習機會,尤其是在學年期間,而且他們不需要支付通勤和租房費用。遠程實習生的工作時間很靈活,他們可以兼顧課 程安排甚至兼職工作。菲茨帕特里克每周工作12到15個小時,獲得大學學分,有時候她會獨自管理Do Something的Facebook頁面直到深夜。
作為賓夕法尼亞州立大學(Pennsylvania State University)的媒體效果研究實驗室(Media Effects Research Lab)主任,希亞姆·孫達爾(S. Shyam Sundar)主要研究人們的在線互動和行為,他表示:“儘管這些選擇可以為今天的學生提供寶貴的經驗,但是他們並沒有經過職業培訓,而這些培訓會教他們 如何成為優秀的員工。”他說道:“他們只能依靠自己,自己弄明白如何在職場上獲得成功。”他警告說,遠程實習生面臨被負擔過重的項目協調員遺忘的風險,成 功的實習生必須積極主動與僱主溝通,徵求反饋意見。
然而,她確實因為錯過了Do Something公司舉辦的節日聚會感到難過。她說:“我希望他們當時能安一個攝像頭,這樣我就好假裝在現場,除此以外,我覺得沒什麼不同。”

Virtually There: Working Remotely

 OR her social media internship at Do Something, a nonprofit organization in New York aimed at youth activism, Felicia Fitzpatrick checks in with her boss before getting started on the day’s tasks. The twist? She reports to work by e-mail or Skype from her dorm room at the University of Texas, Austin.
Ms. Fitzpatrick, 20, is among a growing number of students taking on virtual internships — positions that don’t require students ever to set foot in the office. Internships.com, which lists more than 8,000 virtual positions, reports a 20 percent increase over the last year. Its survey of 303 employers found that a third offer remote internships or plan to this year.

Remote internships often entail working on research projects or social media efforts, for which only a laptop and an Internet connection are needed. They make sense in a world of global companies and virtual work forces laboring from afar. Traditional companies, too, find in interns the youthful know-how to manage a Twitter feed or YouTube account.
“The idea of work is changing for a lot of people,” said Brie Welzer, 28, a marketing associate at Green Seal, an environmental nonprofit in Washington that uses virtual interns. “Telecommuting is becoming much bigger. It’s less expensive and in many ways more productive than working in an office.” Among requirements for Green Seal’s virtual intern: ability to work independently, clarity in writing and Skype account (webcam “preferred”).
The upsides are plentiful. Students have more opportunities, especially during the school year, and they don’t incur commuting and housing expenses. Remote interns enjoy flexible hours, allowing them to juggle class schedules and even part-time jobs. Ms. Fitzpatrick works 12 to 15 hours a week, for college credit, and sometimes finds herself managing Do Something’s Facebook page late into the evening.
But while the experience may well prepare students for the new workplace order that Ms. Welzer describes, remote internships don’t always provide the crucial lessons that can come from being in the thick of things, like insight into professional expectations, corporate culture and office etiquette.
“While these options can provide today’s students with valuable experience, they are not accompanied by a training component that teaches them how to become better workers,” said S. Shyam Sundar, a director of the Media Effects Research Lab at Pennsylvania State University, who studies how people interact and behave online. “They are on their own,” he said, “as they figure out how to succeed in the work force.” He warns that remote interns run the risk of being forgotten by overburdened program coordinators, and that successful interns must be proactive in communicating with an employer and soliciting feedback.
Also, before even signing on, students should vet the company. Some red flags: a gmail or hotmail address or an office operated out of a home.
Ms. Fitzpatrick, who hopes to someday have a job in digital marketing, says that she is learning how to run social media campaigns and juggle Web-oriented tasks, and doesn’t think she needs to be physically in the office (she spent last summer there in a traditional internship).
She did, however, have pangs over missing out on Do Something’s holiday party. “I wish they had a webcam so I could pretend I’m there,” she said. “Other than that, it feels the same.