Friday, October 31, 2008

Technology and Science Achievement

I have been lamenting the use of technology for a while now...are we using it enough? Are we using too much? Are we allowing technology to replace skill development? Are we using technology just to use it?

Recently in my science classroom, I have begun using several on-line simulations from the University of Colorado at Boulder. I wrote activities to go along with these simulations that directed kids how to manipulate the action. Whether coincidence or not, the grades on these assignment have skyrocketed! Now as a science person, I understand validity and reliability. However, I still find these results rather intriguing.

What are your experiences with on line simulations? Are they similar to mine?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Technology illiteracy and responsibility

Will Richardson has suggested that schools bear some responsibility for technology illiteracy in school aged students. He advocates that schools should teach kids how to properly access and use social networks including facebook and others. He says that when kids are unprepared, it is the responsibility of the schools, not that of the parents. Never mind that we have assessments thanks to NCLB that have nothing to do with technology. Never mind that we have have filters that would block those types of sites anyway. Are we to take time out of an already croweded curriculum to teach how to use social network sites? Kids cannot even use academic sites properly. Why are we continuously allowing parents to abdicate their parental responsibility? What happened to parents being responsible for actions taken by thier kids? If I am going to raise your child, I need to have fewer of them, have greater latitude in doling out consequences and higher pay!

Should I warn my students about these kinds of sites? Yes. Should I advise them about use if asked? Yes. Should I model Internet responsibility? Yes. But teach them how to properly and safely use social networks? Not in the current educational climate of accountability.

Your thoughts?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Data and the US Elections

My wife has recently stated that she will not vote in the Presidential Election as our state (MD) is a democratic state and that her vote, one way or another, would not matter. I wonder if this is a result of data or the Electoral College? How many others are not going to vote this year because the polls say that their candidate is so far behind that their vote would not matter. Or, and perhaps worse, their candidate is so far ahead that their vote is not needed. I do not know about you, but I have NEVER been a participant in an exit poll (and I vote) nor have I ever been asked to participate in a poll either. So it begs to question the validity and reliability of these polls.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Data and technology

As a potential technology leader, I understand the importance of data. I understand how it is important to the decision making progress and how data is related to that data. What I do not understand is the data collection itself...where does the data come from? Who collected the data? How was the data collected?

I guess my point is this; if data is being used to drive decisions, education or otherwise, why would the sources, who collected it and other factors not included? Would these answers not make the data more important to stakeholders and also give the decisions based upon that data more relevant?

Your thoughts please...