Government education are debacles doubling down


Posted on 13th July 2010 by Judy Breck in Findability | Mobiles | Nurture | Obamaschool | Schools we now have


Education is a deeply entrenched sector of liberal, government, progressive, public — whatever word you like — control and management. Federal control of this sector is increasing, and that is doubling down on debacles in the sector. The preceding statement is not speculation. An article in today’s Political gives background and details: The Democrats’ education debacle. It begins:

Education for Democrats these days is an education itself — a lesson in how dysfunctional this White House and Congress can be on domestic policy. [Lots of details follow.]

So if you are a kid now school age, what do you do as schooling debacles bring chaos to your education? Increasingly, there is a really good answer to that question. What you do is take your schooling into your own hands. Get what you can from the school you are in, but do not expect a good education to be forced on you. Learn to be a consumer of the useful debris instead of folding your arms and demanding an entitlement from the dysfunctional folks in government.

In your hands schooling

If you are in preschool or the early grades, learn the 3Rs on your own from computer toys and children’s mobile computers. Get yourself a reading device into which you can download books — and read, read, read!

Once you are into learning subjects like history, sciences, arts, and the rest, get your own mobile browser for the internet. You can learn anything you want to online, either by connecting directly to knowledge itself, or working with subject tutorials.

Education powered by government will fizzle during your school years. Take schooling into your own hands where you can double down on true learning.

What to do for kids while education roils


Posted on 21st June 2010 by Judy Breck in Mobiles | Next | Obamaschool | Schools we now have

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These are great words, with definitions from Merriam-Webster:

Roil means: to make turbid by stirring up the sediment or dregs

These are the origins of turbid: Latin turbidus confused, disordered, turbid, from turba confusion, tumult, crowd; akin to Latin turbare to throw into disorder, disturb, make turbid

Turbulence means: wild unruly disorderly commotion : disposition to stormy unruliness : violent agitation or disturbance : great perturbation : disorderly or tumultuous conduct

In many ways, education is roiling. Money is running out, teachers unions picket, textbook committees argue through the night, politicians promise, parents anguish, pundits prattle — and the goal of elevating learning for yet another generation eludes us.

This disorder and commotion are forcing consideration of what children do all day while they are growing up. Under the umbrella term “education,” issues of culture and nurture loom larger and larger. In a Politico article today, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Calif) sketches turbulence in the life of kids who are prevented from focusing on learning.

How long will education be turbidus? Who and what can fix it? Or will education fix itself, with the sediment and dregs that have been stirred up settling into a new pattern in a changing world. I think the latter is true: education will reconfigure itself around the network of what is known by humankind that is emergent on the internet. The world will become a far better place because all the young global generation will connect to the same virtual pages online to learn their knowledge. Separately, and largely locally, what kids do all day will be resolved in many different ways.

Already we can put individual students into the calming future.

While education roils on, we can snatch one mind at a time out of the turbulence. The action is simple: provide the youngster a mobile device and connection that provide him with his own web browser. We may not soon replace the turbid schools Judy Cho describes, but this very day, she could provide a student there with his own connection to what is known by humankind.

The fun part is engaging knowledge


Posted on 29th March 2010 by Judy Breck in Findability | Mobiles | Next


My six-year-old grand nephew is deeply into gorillas. He wants to know everything about them: how big they really are, how strong, what kind of noise they make. He begs for stories about gorillas, and spins stories about gorillas that he makes up for himself. His parents and grandparents give him books and toys along the gorilla theme, and tell him what they know on the subject. His teacher at school may even take the time to talk with him on his favorite subject: gorillas. Yet at school, he is unlikely to get to focus more than briefly, if at all, on his the subject that has captured his interest.

Learning is a major part of what kids quite naturally do. When my grand nephew is at school, he becomes a member of a class, not an individual engager of knowledge. His current gorilla obsession is necessarily curtailed.

Today at Howard Rheingold’s, where I am lead blogger, I wrote that the demise of Big Brother is what was once inconceivably good news for the future: a gift of the cellphone barely yet appreciated.

I really think that even more transformationally wonderful for the future is the fact that the knowledge a youngster is learning is being placed bountifully in his hand. The captivating gorilla cupcake video above is an example of just how very much fun it is today to engage knowledge about gorillas. Below is text from an email I sent my grand nephew with some more gorilla knowledge to engage now, while that is the focus of his interest.

Big Brother will now never control the world because the internet has opened individual communication. Learning is entering a global golden age because the internet has opened individual engagement of knowledge. The new knowledge gorilla is one beautiful cupcake!

Sent to my six-year-old grand nephew:

This is a post on about a new baby gorilla. Her name is Kojolu. You can read more about Kojolu at these places online, where there are pictures.

One gorilla that interested me is Goma. There are pictures of Goma here. Goma was the very first gorilla ever born in a zoo. She is now 50 years old. The pictures you will see of her were taken way back when I was in high school.

Why focus on realigning schools when we can connect kids directly?


Posted on 13th February 2010 by Judy Breck in Mobiles | Schools we now have

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A major Carnegie Corporation report titled “Do school differently” was announced this week in eSchoolNews.

The left side portion of the illustration above is from a slide presentation that is part of the report’s The Opportunity Equation, described in an Executive Summary and attachments. The scope of the school realignment that is proposed is sketched in the excerpts at the end of this post.

On the right side of the above illustration is a little girl using her mobile to connect into the global online knowledge commons. She is learning from the Why Files, following her own curiosity. She is learning by using handschooling.

Like most of the goals set out in the Executive Summary this one is not doable before the little girl is past school age: For the United States, the “opportunity equation” means transforming American education so that our schools provide a high-quality mathematics and science education to every student.

Getting a mobile internet browser to every school age student is doable within a year or two. The global knowledge commons is online and begs for educators to engage it.

Focus people! Today’s student underclass is problem #1. How will all of our youngsters today actually be able to learn math and science? How can they have real and equal access to that math and science? The answer is in your hand. Click in your iPhone or Blackberry on and learn a bunch of new things about science in the next few minutes. That’s how.

Nonetheless, expensive, long-term planning continues to explore goals and options:

Excerpts from the Executive Summary of The Opportunity Equation:

Our nation needs an educated young citizenry with the capacity to contribute to and gain from the country’s future productivity, understand policy choices, and participate in building a sustainable future. Knowledge and skills from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—the so-called STEM fields—are crucial to virtually every endeavor of individual and community life. All young Americans should be educated to be “STEM-capable,” no matter where they live, what educational path they pursue, or in which field they choose to work.

For the United States, the “opportunity equation” means transforming American education so that our schools provide a high-quality mathematics and science education to every student. The Commission believes that change is necessary in classrooms, schools and school districts, and higher education. The world has shifted dramatically—and an equally dramatic shift is needed in educational expectations and the design of schooling. . . .

The Commission has crafted a comprehensive program of action—one that will require commitments from many quarters, including the federal government, states, schools and school districts, colleges and universities, unions, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropy. A detailed set of recommendations lays out a practical, coordinated plan, and describes what each constituency can do to raise mathematics and science achievement for all American students. [four priority areas are described]

Learning basic history, science, math in kids’ hands


Posted on 23rd January 2010 by Judy Breck in Mobiles | Nurture

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boysSchoolEvery boy in the picture above (by Griff Witte/the Washington Post) can learn basic history, science, math and more — in spite of what was reported last week in a front page Washington Post story:

“ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — With a curriculum that glorifies violence in the name of Islam and ignores basic history, science and math, Pakistan’s public education system has become a major barrier to U.S. efforts to defeat extremist groups here, U.S. and Pakistani officials say. . . .

“. . . according to education reform advocates here, any effort to improve the system faces the reality of intense institutional pressure to keep the schools exactly the way they are.”

How widespread is this intransigence toward changing schooling? This kind of stubbornness is not just found in Islamabad. Intense pressure to keep schools as they are ranges in different places and cultures from orthodoxy to tradition to profit issues by vested interests and control demands by unions and, most sadly, a panoply of corruption.

While we deal across the planet with the inertia and intransigence that promises to perpetuate failing schools for at least another generation or two of kids, why not let the kids trapped in these schools learn the basics with handschooling? To do that, we need to get a mobile that browses the internet to each kid, and focus more on sharpening the findability online of basic subjects. Every boy in the picture above could learn his algebra from a mobile friendly tutorial in Urdu, Punjabi – and one day the full range of local languages. My guess is that many Pakistanis of their generation are already doing some handschooling beyond their school walls — or when they have no school to attend.
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