By Leslie Rule
Leslie Rule is studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Technology, Innovation, and Education (TIE) program.
Can mobile learning bring quality education to under-served communities? Research is pointing in that direction.
A recent report by Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that the mobile Internet may be the very technology that finally helps close the “digital divide.” Researcher Aaron Smith notes that access to the digital world is increasingly being untethered from the desktop, and this is especially true for people of color: African Americans and English-speaking Latinos are more likely to own a mobile phone, use non-voice data applications, and take advantage of a wider range of features compared with whites. Most interesting is the finding that minority populations’ attitude towards, and use of, the social web is different. For instance, minority populations are much more likely than whites to view government use of social media as helpful and informative.
A 2010 poll by Education Next found, “online learning is growing more acceptable to the public at large.” According to Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor Marty West, who conducted the survey, there was a 10-percent jump in support for the idea (from 42% to 52%). “In a single year, [that jump] is highly unusual,” he said. But what’s even more telling? That support for the idea of online learning is higher among minorities (African Americans: 61%; Hispanics: 65%). Continue reading
In the final post of the series of interviews, Department of Education’s Karen Cator discusses how the National Education Technology Plan addresses the achievement gap and how the plan squares with Race to the Top.
- How is the achievement gap addressed in the National Education Technology Plan? How can technology bring the best education for students of all races and cultures?
I believe learning technologies can be designed and developed to increase the opportunity for every student to learn. We can create a much more productive system so that every student is doing what’s much more productive for them on any given day. There’s a lot of research about learning that has to do with ensuring that content is personalized, that it takes into consideration prior experience and development of languages, for example. There are a lot of things we can do if we’re able to leverage digital technologies to personalize the learning environment. Continue reading
San Francisco Unified School District is putting more money into reducing the city’s 15.8% dropout rate with a $1 million federal grant that comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Part of the fund will go to a program called Plan Ahead, a mandatory ninth-grade class devised by the district along with Gap and Pearson Foundation, which builds college-readiness into the school curriculum. Beginning with the class of 2014, all students are required to complete the class.
“The curriculum in the class would deal with everything from, how are you going to select a college, how are you going to select a career, to what are good habits for you to develop to not only survive in high school but to do well in high school and to do well in college,” says Bill Sanderson, SFUSD’s executive director for 21st century learning and accountability.
In conjunction with Plan Ahead, the school will also pilot the new Dropout Prevention Early Warning System, which targets students as early as kindergarten, based on the premise that attendance behavior is borne very early. Continue reading
There’s so much fraught discussion over education reform, but at times, it all seems to become circular, undefinable, inconclusive.
Enter 28-year-old Emily Pilloton. The founder of Project H Design has harnessed her considerable talents as a designer to tackle the struggling public education system of Bertie County, North Carolina, a rural community with a population of 20,000, a third of whom live in poverty. When she embarked on the ambitious project last year, only 27% of third-through-eighth graders were passing state standards in reading and math.
At the behest of the school’s superintendent, Dr. Chip Zullinger, Pilloton and her partner Matt Miller, moved to Bertie County to apply their design principles to repair the ailing school district and struggling community. Continue reading