Mobile learning devices at New Milford High School

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Posted on 26th July 2011 by Judy Breck in Mobiles | Schools we now have

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USA Today spotlights the future of mobile learning devices at school for students of the 21st century. This handschooling.com blog is focused on the knowledge to be learned from individual student connection to the internet. What USA calls “social media” is leading the way at New Milford High School in New Jersey. However it happens, the arrival of connectivity for today’s kids is hugely good news. From the USA article:

The principal of New Milford (N.J.) High School has nearly 12,300 Twitter followers (his handle: @NMHS_Principal). He and his teachers use Facebook to communicate with students and parents, and students use it to plan events. In class, teachers routinely ask kids to power up their cellphones to respond to classroom polls and quizzes. Rather than ban cellphones, Sheninger calls them “mobile learning devices.”

He replaced the school’s “static, boring” website with what has become a heavily used Facebook page, and his teachers encourage students to research, write, edit, perform and publish their work online.

Sheninger is one of a growing number of educators who don’t just tolerate social networking in school — he encourages it, often for educational purposes. He says sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — long banned and roundly derided by many peers — actually push kids to do better work and pay attention to important issues such as audience, quality research and copyright laws. . . .

“The Internet as we know it is the 21st century,” he says. “It is what these students have known their whole lives. They’re connected, they’re creating, they’re discussing, they’re collaborating.” . . .


Handschooling lifts civil rights struggle to enjoyed equal rights

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Posted on 16th March 2010 by Judy Breck in Equality | Mobiles | Obamaschool | Schools we now have

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The network out there informing a student through his or her mobile browser has no clue whom it is educating. (That is, of course, not completely true when students browse using computers owned and controlled by their school.)

Whether the inquiring student is white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American — or in a hut in Mongolia — is not known by the folks at the University of Oxford as a visitor is clicking around in its Interactive Organic Mechanisms. If it is a black middle schooler in Philadelphia, Oxford will not expect less of him than if it is an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon.

Contrast that marvelous equality of rights and expectations with this looming mess that spotlights differences among students and how they are treated:

For some background on just how difficult civil rights is becoming as federal reach is being extended into schooling, here are three descriptions:

PowerLine today, in a post The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations, Blackboard Jungle Edition, begins with this difficult problem: “The notion behind this initiative is that black students are disproportionately subjected to discipline they don’t deserve.”

Last week a Wall Street Journal article outlined a new push from Washington to scrutinize school for civil rights violations:  “The Obama administration plans to crack down on civil-rights infractions in school districts and university systems, including alleged disparities in the disciplining of white and black students.”

On Friday, The American explored just what this might mean in the context of lawsuit filed in Philadelphia by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) in the wake of serious black-on-Asian violence at South Philadelphia High School.

All of this bad chemistry makes learning chemistry tough — but your ability to focus and learn gets very much better when the chemistry is in your hand.

Watch a baby horse doing some hoofschooling

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Posted on 12th February 2010 by Judy Breck in Mobiles | Nurture

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This video shows a young colt learning to use his springy feet pretty much on his own. The video also illustrates the watchful eyes of Mom and a human mentor.

The colt doing the learning belongs to a friend of an old friend of mine in Texas who received an email sending the video saying:

Howdy,

Our son Ron and the new Grand-colt. The mare is the horse that lays down so Kirsty can mount.

Clearly, this colt has an exceptional parent and Grand-human – yet we see him discovering on his own, then learning and drilling himself. Education is about nurture, teaching, and mentoring, of course.

The video illustrates the aspect of education that is the matter of taking one’s learning into one’s own hooves. For 21st century human colts, a mobile internet browser is the new hoofschooling.