Showing posts from March, 2017

The Debate Over Grading and Ranking Public Schools

For more than the past decade, states have published grades and ranks of their schools as part of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), a federal mandate first signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002. Since that time, many states have developed a system that uses common measures such as  standardized-test scores and graduation rates to generate letter-grade report cards for schools, similar to the ones that students are issued. Over the years this practice has raised questions and generated a national debate on its effectiveness in the overall national mission to support a quality education for all students. Late in 2015, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), replacing NCLB. While ESSA wasn’t designed to eliminate standardized testing and ranking measures, it does pave the way for states to think differently about the practice of grading and ranking schools as it relates to accountability, which has only served to fuel th…

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

I made the mistake of bringing Brady and Cameron, my eleven and nine year old boys, with me last month to the store when it was time to upgrade my phone. Much to the dismay of my wife Erica, in addition to getting a new phone the salesperson also sweet talked me into buying a virtual reality (VR) headset like one of these. If you haven’t yet tried one, they are quite the experience. Within minutes, my boys were sailing through the air on hand gliders and riding roller coasters through mystical caves and magical forests. These headsets generally work with a cell phone, amplifying the visual and audio experience of a game or video, stimulating multiple senses, and making the user feel like they are truly a part of the experience that they are in.
As with any new technology, innovators are looking for ways to make VR an effective classroom tool. Edtech companies like foundry10 are exploring this topic further by asking questions like this:
How might VR be valuable and/or enhance the learn…

Is Too Much Technology a Bad Thing for Kids?