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Education

Chromebooks take another bite out of the Apple, get official in New York City schools
November 19, 2014 | 12:25 pm

The recent news on strong K-12 takeup of Chromebooks for education received solid confirmation via the Google for Education official blog, where Hal Friedlander, Chief Information Officer at the New York City Department of Education, posted an item on the recent decision by the New York City Department of Education Division of Instructional and Informational Technology to approve the Google Apps for Education productivity suite as a supported tool for NYC public schools - and the Chromebooks to run it. Friedlander said of the decision: We saw that many schools wanted to use Chromebooks, and in our assessments, found them to be an...

Open Culture puts 110 free philosophy books online
November 13, 2014 | 6:25 pm

plato3.jpgThe website Open Culture, offering "the best free cultural and educational media on the web," has announced the release of a collection of 110 works of philosophy, "from Aristotle to Nietzsche & Wittgenstein," for free access online. And although, despite the wording of Open Culture's announcement, not all are available to download rather than to read online, this is still a collection worth browsing and, well, learning from. "The list will keep growing at a steady clip," writes Open Culture. "But if you see any crucial texts missing, please let us know, and we will try to get them added ASAP....

UK Education Secretary warns against arts, reading, thinking …
November 13, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Reading, speaking, and thinking in general apparently can damage your career choices, according to the UK Conservative-led government. Their Education Secretary, no less, has got up to warn British schoolkids that arts subjects "will hold them back for the rest of their lives." UK Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan was speaking at the launch of the Your Life campaign, which in itself has the laudable objective of encouraging British students to focus more on the STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering, maths. The campaign aims "to raise participation in science maths and physics A levels by 50 per cent...

Chromebook K-12 popularity implies changes for ereading?
November 12, 2014 | 4:25 pm

New figures from IDC and the UK's FutureSource Consulting, shared by Education Week and elsewhere, indicate that Chromebooks are getting a lock on the U.S. K-12 market, helped by the cheapness of the devices, the Chrome Os's suitability for cloud-based scalable deployments, and Google's free Apps for Education suite. "Schools tell us that Chromebooks fill three big needs: they’re easy for students and teachers to use, they’re easy to share, and they’re easy to manage," says the Google Official Blog. "That’s critical for schools that often want to give their students the best technology, but don’t have a large IT department...

Story time vs tablet time: the kids eBook debate
October 14, 2014 | 12:25 pm

ebookThe NY Times has a great article up which explores, yet again, the kids vs. technology debate. I feel like many of these articles lack a certain nuance on the issue. It's like those old 'is TV good or bad?' stories. Some television programs truly are educational, entertaining and worth watching. Others are trash. And of course, if watching television is ALL you or your child do, then that's not so good because you'll be missing out on other things. So it is with eBooks and kids. Some of them may be useful. I don't see any problem loading up a...

Scots wae hae as Oor Wullie teaches yz tae ken Scots
October 9, 2014 | 4:25 pm

For anyone wanting to comprehend the weird dialectical leanings of an Irvine Welsh novel (and no, I'm not talking Marxism), let alone Robert Burns, some kind of primer in the Scottish variant of English might be welcome. Luckily, the Scots Language Centre and Scottish publisher DC Thomson (based in my old home town of Dundee) have come to the rescue with the Oor Wullie site, a guide "tae Scots language" designed to teach the unique Caledonian version of English with the help of the iconic Scottish cartoon character Oor Wullie. According to the Wikipedia definition, Scots "is the Germanic language variety...

Why library e-book posters should go on the walls of check cashing stores
September 22, 2014 | 2:26 pm

What if the walls of check cashing stores and other establishments serving poor people did not just carry the usual commercial ballyhoo? Suppose colorful posters also promoted cell phones as a way for the poor to find books to read themselves---or read to their children....

Tablets, books and readers, oh my! Reflections on the first week of school
September 16, 2014 | 12:25 pm

technology in schoolI just finished my first full week of teaching for the new school year, and it's been so interesting to watch my students react to some of the changes I have implemented this year. In no particular order, here are some points of interest from my first teaching week. 1) God Bless the Internet Like many teachers, I use the internet heavily---be it Google Images clipart to illustrate a worksheet or Google Translate to double-check my grammar when I am writing notes or instructions in French. Two websites my school seems to be particularly relying on this year: Reading A-z.com, a scubscription...

Lego Mindstorms: How not to do technology in the classroom
September 4, 2014 | 12:26 pm

lego mindstormsIt pains me to write this, because I love the LEGO people so much. But I've wasted two hours of my life in possibly the worst teacher training I have ever attended, and I feel like all those pundits who wonder why teachers don't use eBooks and apps and iPads better in the classroom might wonder a little less if they went through what I did today. Want to get your new technology into the schools? Take note, and don't do it this way! The first problem was, the trainer had too much stuff with her, and none of it worked...

Why aren’t more teachers using technology in education?
August 15, 2014 | 4:25 pm

technology in educationThe excellent blog Teachers with Apps has a thought-provoking write-up on the timeless and eternal question of why teachers don't use technology in education better. The reasons they list, pulled from an Education Week survey, are varied, and true to my own experience: lack of time, lack of training, lack of access and so on. But when all is aid and done, they boil down to one thing: Technology is not an instant fix. That's it. That is the simple truth right there. People see the new and shiny and they get seduced by the idea that it's the better way which...

The roots of English stupidity
July 28, 2014 | 2:25 pm

dunce.jpgThe roots of English anti-intellectualism and willful ignorance are long, deep, and twisted. The consequences you can see all over, in terms of literacy levels, reading habits, social order, and even prison numbers, and many other metrics that TeleRead tracks, but the causes are buried in the English past. Just every so often, however, it helps to lay them bare to explain just what the hell is going on in England, and what kind of hope, if any, there is for the country. The odd thing is that most Protestant countries outside the Anglo-Saxon sphere are renowned for their high standards...

Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community
July 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

textgirl2A friend of mine in his 40s is about to start teaching in Houston, Texas, and he recently shared a discovery. Many teenagers in Houston tote cell phones, but don’t know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. This would jibe with a 2012 poll showing similar ignorance among Americans at large. A bigger issue also comes up. Just how much do young people care about books in the first place? Americans 15-19 spend only about four minutes reading for fun on a typical weekend day. Too bad. Students who love books are more likely to excel in school....