Tuesday, November 30, 2010

HE:ED Share : iPads as textbooks (in some cases)

Pike Peaks Prep, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Marymount School , New York City, NY
Independence Middle School, Pittsburgh, PA
4 School Districts, California

Friendship Tech Prep Academy, Washington D.C.

Above are multiple links (and the names of the corresponding schools) looking to implement iPads as educational tools. Sounds great!
But, a few questions that come to mind...

  • How will these iPads be implemented safely?
  • What plans will be put into place to maintain a focus on educational use?
  • Will the staff be routinely trained on new capabilities and best practices from across the country?
  • Will the iPads stay at the school?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

HE:ED Highlight : So why aren’t there more Acoustical Engineers?

There are various programs and organizations that exist to drive awareness around (and address) America’s lack of educational achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). But when asked, the student themselves don’t always know what STEM-related educational options and career possibilities there are. And when students are aware of them, STEM derivative careers don’t seem interesting to them.

Let’s take Acoustical Engineering for example, the word acoustical tells us that acoustical engineering has some to do with sound. In fact acoustics are the science of sound and vibration and acoustical engineering is the application of acoustics in technology. Since acoustical engineers are usually tasked with the control and/or manipulation of sound it stands to reason that they would need to understand and design sound absorbers, buffers, silencers and barriers in indoor and outdoor environments. These include working with medical personnel as it relates to ultrasound technology and/or architects on concert halls.

Since STEM has been mentioned it seems a given that one would have to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics to become an acoustical engineer. Start to finish that probably means attending middle and high schools that focus on achievement in science and mathematics, completing an engineering (and possibly physics) curriculum in undergrad and topping it all of with a masters or PhD in acoustics.

This is part where many parents (and students) would say, “Easier said than done.” One barrier to the education needed to create more acoustical engineers is public education in the U.S. The programs and organizations that exist to drive awareness around (and address) America’s lack of educational achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics have worked to bolster STEM programs in the current education system, recruit teachers, support students, encourage federal involvement and support local community partnerships. But the STEM stats are still lackluster. (This years STEM stats by state can be found at http://www.usinnovation.org/state-sheets.)

Many education reform advocates also agree that generating interest in STEM has to start at home. Moreover, parents need to be aware of options to get their children into schools with curricula focused on science, and mathematics and stress the importance of genuine academic achievement.

HE:ED Highlight : ED TV (Philadelphia)


When asked the question “Why are so many countries ahead of the US in Math and Science?” Americans’ answers will vary. In fact they did[1] vary. This question was posted on a discussion page at http://www.currenttv.com, one blogger posited, “…currently in America, we've got kids who aren't concerned with education…this generation has so many things going for it in terms of technology and communications that it SHOULD make getting a quality education easier than ever, but instead we see something else: distraction.”(Johnny)

To be clear, technology-based distraction probably is not the sole cause for the state of the education system in America today, especially since achievement in the American school system has remained stagnant for years (with or without current technological advances). That being said, technological distractions are a reality and some media organizations not only acknowledge this reality but; are also doing something about it.

Three organizations in particular are taking steps to reach American youth with worthwhile material. In fact, more and more often, responsible members of the media community have changed their format and/or production practice to include shorter programs and programming created by the community.

Exploring key attributes like programming format, community involvement, and educational applications at MiND, WHYY and Current TV will allow us to highlight key differences and similarities in the ways broadcast media is being used in the Philadelphia area to reach and maintain awareness in American youth.


MiND is the brainchild of Independence Media, the non-profit owner/operator of WYBE (channel 35 for those of you that watch local television in the greater Philadelphia area). If your familiar with WYBE you know it has changed in the last five years.

More specifically during the last five years the leadership at channel 35 or MiND changed the line-up from a traditional half an hour and/or one hour format to include a broadcast block where every showing is five minutes long. Although the content it’s self has not changed, the manner in which the content is produced has changed. The diverse cultural insights shown on MiND are no longer only produced by the channel employees but now also include productions created by the community. Plus, not only is the MiND team making sure diverse compositions make it on air; they are also offering the community a chance to learn to create their own works from start to finished product.

MiND also has a multi-faceted media offering. Its components include, three channels - MiND, Global MiND, and MiND Worldview - these channels offer 5 minute programming, half-hour / one-hour programming and online replay.

MiND coordinates monthly screening and discussion events invite the community to gather, investigate, and celebrate a specific topic. These events connect enthusiasts and advocates of meaningful issues through community produced screenings based on the focus of that month, recent topics have included violence awareness, mentoring & volunteerism, going green, outdoor activities and voices of veterans. These topics/events bring people from all over the region together and create lasting communities of practice. Event info can be found on MiNDs website: http://www.mindtv.org/styles/mind/www/news/ .

If you’re at all familiar with public programming in the Philadelphia area and online, this may sound a lot like another media organization called WHYY.


Originally called the Metropolitan Philadelphia Educational Radio and Television Corporation, WHYY has its roots in a community partnership lead by Dr. W. Laurence LePage, former president of The Franklin Institute. WHYY’s 1950s goal to culturally enrich and educate the greater Philadelphia area came to fruition after Westinghouse Radio Stations Inc. donated FM station WHYY 91FM in 1954 and the studios at 1622 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia were leased (and renovated) in 1957. Although WHYY was originally known as Channel 35 when it became the country’s 23rd public television station, it’s currently in most cable line-ups as channel 12 (the change over from channel 35 to channel 12 occurred in 1963).

WHYY also has a multi-faceted media offering. It’s components include, half-hour / one-hour programming, online replay, podcasts and radio.

WHYY has also recently added another extremely useful tool to its offering, Hamilton Public Media Commons. Previously referred to as the Learning Lab at WHYY, the Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons is located at 150 N. 6th Street, in Philadelphia, PA. Hamilton Public Media Commons is a regional digital technologies learning lab where people and organizations can learn, explore and create utilizing tools they may not otherwise have access to. The Hamilton Public Media Commons caters to learners of all types, including but not limited to students, career-seekers, recreational enthusiasts, those seeking public information, and WHYY members. Examples of this inventive facility’s uses include digital town meetings, digital art expos and technology-based field trips for k-12 learners. More information on the Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons can be found at http://www.whyy.org/hamiltoncommons/index.html.

Current TV

Created in 2005, Current TV has become a multiplatform company - based on viewer created media - purposed to explore and investigate aspects of life, globally. Current TV also has a multi-faceted media offering. Its fully integrated web and TV platform includes, short segments, half-hour / one-hour programming, online replay, community-style production (studio), and podcasts.

Both MiND and Current TV offer short programs (less than minutes long), and WHYY, MiND and Current TV offer the opportunity to watch programs both on television and online. But, unlike MiND and WHYY, Current TV is a for profit company with a myriad of resources and a powerhouse leadership team including former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt.

And although it’s not a local media organization; Current TV has highlighted issues on its discussion boards and amongst its broadcasted topics that focus on Philadelphians (or are written by them). Various examples including, Philadelphia native, Rosie Mashale’s Baphumelele Children's Home in Cape Town, South Africa (an orphanage that is home to about 120 children affected by HIV/AIDS) can be found online at www.current.com.

Current can also be used to highlight positive national/international developments in the use of social media/social broadcasting to promote student achievement. Examples being Anna Rodrigues’ Global Student Journalists project (a social media network connecting student journalists worldwide) and “Math, Science, And The Future Of Our Nation: A Global Online Town Hall Meeting” which was held on November 17, 2010. Local teachers using social media within in their curricula often use topics like “Why are so many countries ahead of the US in Math and Science?”(a question derived from the Global town hall meeting) to create awareness and head-off technological distraction.

[1] johnny, music. "untitled." Why are so many countries ahead of the US in Math and Science?. Current Tv, 11/18/10. Web. 25 Nov 2010. <http://current.com/bfd/92804057_why-are-so-many-countries-ahead-of-the-us-in-math-and-science.htm#92807576>.

HE:ED Highlight: STEM

HE:ED Highlights – STEM

Even though former vice president Al Gore has just recently focused on American youth’s lack of interest in STEM, it’s been an issue for a while. In fact organizations like ASTRA and STEM Education Coalition (www.stemedcoalition.org) have been posting STEM data for years. (By the way, this years STEM stats by state can be found at http://www.usinnovation.org/state-sheets.)

So, American kids aren’t opting (or prepared) to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics…Al Gore didn’t propose a solution during his global, online town hall meeting.
So…what do these groups propose we do?

Lets look at the STEM Education Coalition’s Core Objectives: (found at http://nstacommunities.org/stemedcoalition/objectives/)
1. Strengthen effective STEM education programs at all levels – K-12, undergraduate, graduate, continuing ed, vocational, informal – at the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and other federal agencies with STEM related programs.

2. Encourage national elected officials and key opinion leaders to recognize and bring attention to the critical role that STEM education plays in U.S. competitiveness and our future economic prosperity.

3. Support new and innovative initiatives that will help improve the content knowledge skills and professional development of the K-12 STEM teacher workforce and informal educators and improve the resources available in STEM classrooms and other learning environments.

4. Support new and innovative initiatives to recruit and retain highly-skilled STEM teachers.

5. Support new and innovative initiatives to encourage more of our best and brightest students, especially those from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, to study in STEM fields.

6. Support increased federal investment in educational research to determine effective STEM teaching and learning methods.

7. Encourage better coordination of efforts among federal agencies that provide STEM education programs.

8. Support new and innovative initiatives that encourage partnerships between state and local educators, colleges, universities, museums, science centers and the business, science, and technology communities that will improve STEM education.

...and those seem great but, where is the evidence that these “new and innovative initiatives” exist in the urban (and rural) school districts where many argue they are needed? And if they exist how are the parents - that  manage the earliest parts of education - being made aware?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HE:ED Highlights: November 2010 NAEP Report

NAEP Table (math scores up, gap remains)

NOTE: Accommodations were not permitted for the NAEP reading assessment in 1992.

So, although twelfth-grade public and private school students' mathematics scores were up across the board in 2009 versus 2005, reading scores were not up across the board. 

Quoted directly from NAEP report:

"Racial/ethnic and gender achievement gaps did not change significantly in either reading or mathematics."

"In comparison to 1992, reading scores were lower in 2009 overall and for both male and female students. There were no significant changes in the reading scores for any of the racial/ethnic groups with samples large enough to report results in both years, and no significant changes in the racial/ethnic or gender achievement gaps compared to 1992."

Click here to go to November 2010 NAEP data.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

HE:ED highlight: Teachers say "it's the parents"...but, is it?

After seeing Whitney Tilson's presentation 'A Right Denied' or Davis Guggenheim's documentary 'Waiting for Superman' its easy to become angry and/or depressed about the state of public education in America.

In fact, it seems to be that no matter how you look at public education in america, it's a fail. American students are not competitive internationally (and while other countries show growth american acheivement is stagnant).

Many students are still learning to read when should they should be reading to learn in or after the 4th grade. And these same students don't catch up to "where they should be" by graduation.

Now, teachers will say that it's not the schools that are the problem, "it's the parents". And since parents play a large part in a successful education, that may be partly true.

But, just a thought, if we ask ourselves what American children are actually learning in public school systems, can we say that active, involved parents would make all the difference? Are public school curricula addressing all the needs of american children in large cities?

And for argument's sake, if "it's the parents" than why isn't our President (an active, informed parent himself) sending his children to public school?

HE:ED Share : Ed-Reform food for thought...Whitney Tilson's Presentation

A Right Denied – The Critical Need for Genuine School Reform

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Snippet: EHR speeds up chlamydia treatment time...if you get tested.

Recently read this...

So, it seems there is evidence that EHR speeds up treatment of patients with chlamydia...Great, so all folks have to do is get tested!

Unfortunately, there still aren't as many teens and young adults getting tested as there should be.

What's so tough about being tested?
What are the non-testers afraid of?
Not to intentionally quote G.I.Joe but...knowing is half the battle!

Links for those of you reading this and saying "What's EHR?"

HE:ED Links on ed-options/ed-reform

Just in case you need more info on ed-options/ed-reform in your state.

American Federation for children : http://www.federationforchildren.com/
The Alliance for School Choice :
The Center for Education Reform : www.edreform.com/
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) : http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/
The America's Promise Alliance : www.americaspromise.org/

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Snippet: Does higher education equal better health?

It's been said before and it continues to be said that there is a correlation between good health and higher education.
So it's interesting that some school districts seem to have to choose between the two!

LINKS to past and not so past articles related to the HE:ED correlation:

Not sure I agree Das...

I recently read an article at http://youthonhealth.com/cell-phones-a-health-hazard-for-the-youth/ by Devkainya Samadrita Das. Das posits that cell phones are "A Health Hazard for the Youth".  The fact that Das uses terms like "fiddle with", "the cellphone" and "the youth" through this literary work, leads me to believe that this article was not written by "the youth". But, before I get onto my generation next soapbox, we must take a look at this picture of "destructive dependence" Das paints with phrases about young people "saying that they would rather go without food for a day than without their cellphones". You'd think that if someone was going to write an article about a "destructive dependence" they would have some proof of the destructive part. But, not Das. Instead Das disproves the articles title by stating "So far, there has been no conclusive evidence that electromagnetic radiations caused by cellphones cause cancer, tumors and other deadly diseases of the kind".  Das does go on to say that "there have been enough studies and researches that have been conducted to raise eyebrows" and that "prolonged usage has been shown by studies to cause extreme fatigue, high blood pressure, increase of heartbeats and warming of the brain cells" Sans the brain cell warming, sex has the same effects on some people...and sex ain't destructive.

Monday, November 15, 2010

HE:ED intro

Whats HE:ED?

HE:ED will convey a mere mortal's views on health and education. More specifically, health tech, health disparities and the state of education in the U.S. You may not always agree and that's cool. The goal is to ignite the intellect of anyone that has two minutes to read a post and add feedback...