Personalized Learning: Enabling Student Voice and Choice Through Projects

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Addressing four teenagers standing at the front of the classroom, Gary Hook, a history teacher at Nashville Big Picture High School, told them, “I’m going to give you $100,000 for 20 percent equity in the company. I need to know right now, though. I need to know whether you’re in or not.”

A panel of four additional 11th-grade teachers sat beside Hook, and each of them took turns making different investment offers based on the product, potential revenue, and investment request that the students initially pitched.

The power switched into the students’ hands when they chose an offer, and all of their classmates erupted in cheers. They were participating in a two-week Shark Tank project — based on the show of the same name — where entrepreneurs pitch investors to fund their company. Continue reading

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Public Opinion of Education Reports from EducationNext and Gallup

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Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Americans Like Their Schools Just Fine — But Not Yours

As a new school year gets underway, the Common Core remains a partisan flashpoint, while Americans overall have serious concerns about the direction of our public education system. That’s according to two new polls.

Education Next, a policy journal, released its 10th annual large national poll of public opinion on education today. And Gallup, the polling organization, has recently released new figures as well.

With results broken out along partisan lines, the polls also provide insight into trends that may affect the current presidential campaign. Continue reading

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SAU 19 Celebrates the completion of dark fiber WAN at Goffstown High School

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Photos by Carol Miller

Come on Baby Light my Fiber…and that’s what we did in New Hampshire this week.  SAU 19 hosted a celebration on the completion of a district wide dark fiber to the premise WAN at Goffstown High School. Pictured are (left to right) Vice President of Government and Education – Karen B Romano, FairPoint Communications,  Goffstown Techs Michael Engelsen, Mike Pica, Nick Smith, Steve Bourget and SAU#19 Director of Technology Gary Girolimon.  A model for all school districts on what can be done to enhance digital learning.

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Can testing save arts education?

Teachers hope exams will make arts matter as much as math and English

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High school art teacher Karen Ladd and her colleagues meet in Concord, N.H., to compare artwork created by their students for tests and to try to find common ground in scoring it. Photo: Sarah Butrymowicz

KINGSTON, N.H. — It sounded like an ordinary assignment for a visual arts class: Teacher Karen Ladd asked her freshmen at Sanborn Regional High School to research an artist, create a piece of art inspired by the artist’s work and then write a reflection about the experience.

Dressed in tank tops and shorts that heralded the arrival of summer weather, some students studied the assignment while others listened to headphones as they browsed for artists online. One girl begged to be allowed to use Bob Ross as her inspiration; another searched determinedly for paintings of bowling to use.

But this was no ordinary class project: It was a test.

This spring, with a six-district pilot, New Hampshire joined a small but growing list of at least a half-dozen states experimenting with large-scale arts testing. Educators prefer to call the new exams assessments, because they’re so different in form and format from traditional standardized tests. The goal, though, is to create a common “test” — often in the form of a project — that can be given to students in different classrooms across the state and used to help compare the performance of schools and districts. Continue reading

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How to Give Rural America Broadband? Look to the Early 1900s

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Rural Electrification Administration workers erecting power lines in the 1930s. Credit National Archives and Records Administration

ZENA, Okla. — From the sofa in his living room, Clinton Creason can see the electric pole outside that his father staked 70 years ago to bring power to this remote area of hilly cattle pastures.

Electricity came late here but transformed life on the farm. It provided bright light to study by and freed families from the tedium of washing clothes by hand and cutting wood for the cook stove.

Last December, Mr. Creason saw a new addition to the utility pole erected by his father that may be just as transformational — a subsidiary of his local electric cooperative, Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, hung a fiber optic cable on it. That enabled Mr. Creason and the 120 residents of Zena, Okla., to pump high-speed internet service into their homes for the first time.“The cooperative is doing it again, but now the light bulb is the internet,” said Mr. Creason, 82.

Mr. Creason’s experience with the electric co-op puts him at the leading edge of a trend unfolding in hard-to-reach rural spots nationwide. For years, such communities have largely been left out of the digital revolution because they had only intermittent internet access, often through a patchwork of satellite, dial-up or wireless service. Telecom and cable companies shunned the areas because it was too expensive to bring equipment and service over long distances to so few people.

Now high-speed internet is finally reaching these remote places, but not through the telecom and cable companies that have wired most of urban America. Instead, local power companies are more often the broadband suppliers — and to bring the service, they are borrowing techniques and infrastructure used to electrify the United States nearly a century ago. In some cases, rural municipalities are also using electrification laws from the early 1900s to obtain funds and regulatory permissions reserved for utilities, in order to offer broadband. Continue reading

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Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign

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Article by Kayla Delzer originally posted on Edutopia at http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flexible-seating-student-centered-classroom-kayla-delzer

I remember exactly where I was when I had a watershed moment that changed me as a teacher forever. In fact, it inspired my EdSurge column, Why the 21st-Century Classroom May Remind You of Starbucks. I was working on my TEDx presentation at my local Starbucks and, looking around, I realized that everyone seemed to be happy, engaged in their work, and relaxed. Some people chose the traditional chairs and tables while I opted for a big, comfy chair with my MacBook on my lap. The quiet music, perfect lighting, and overall aesthetics of the coffee shop were favorable for a variety of learners. And if I wanted to switch up my seat during my stay, I was free to do just that. That’s when I decided that our classroom in 2015-2016 was going to look radically different than anything I’d ever done before. Continue reading

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Education News Updates: August 2016

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Every Dollar Counts: In Defense of the Education Department’s ‘Supplement Not Supplant’ Proposal    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2811950

A new paper from two Columbia Law School scholars defends the Education Department’s proposed regulatory language implementing ESSA, Title I’s supplement, not supplant provisions.

Evidence compellingly demonstrates — as Congress famously recognized in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) — that, in order to succeed in school, low-income children require more educational resources than other students. Yet, a half century later, many school districts continue to spend dramatically less on their high-poverty schools than on those more privileged. Districts do this by permitting their most experienced and highly salaried teachers to opt into schools with more privileged students, then failing to count teacher salaries in school funding comparisons, disguising the fact that Title I schools with less experienced, lower salaried teachers spend less on instruction than schools with more advantaged populations. Continue reading

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