Tag Archives: education

online tutoring

“Roam schooling” & online tutoring: learning without barriers?

globe_learningIs online tutoring & digital learning really going to work?

Fluff or substance? Revolution or fad? Where is online tutoring and digital learning going to take us?

When I was in K-12 school in the 1970s, mostly, education was being turned over. The students had no idea, as it was just happening to us. But what is education today was largely defined by the research, theories, experiments, and, mostly, fads of that period. Continue reading

No B.S. from J.P.: what makes a good teacher?

st-johns_brother-martinNo B.S. from J.P.: what makes a good teacher?

Student Success Podcast No. 8, Nov. 13, 2013

Today’s Guest: J.P. Cassagnol

Now that he’s about to graduate from college, JP discusses his experiences in K-12 and college and how it all fits together to make him the student and person he is. J.P. cuts through the B.S. with excellent critiques of his K-8 and 9th-12 Catholic education, and what worked, what didn’t and, most importantly, what makes a great teacher.  In J.P.’s case, those teachers are Brother Martin and Prof. Carlander, teachers who inspired, pushed, and turned JP into a real student with real learning.

An important challenge J.P. brings to education is his K-8 experience, which he found entirely lacking once he came upon Brother Martin’s 9th grade Honors English class. Are we underserving our K-8 children? And what of those kids who didn’t get into Brother Martin’s class?

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or find us on iTunes

 

Guest Biography

J.P. Cassignol is a senior at Salisbury University, Eastern Shore, MD, with a concentration in History. J.P. Graduated from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., and prior to that was enrolled in a Catholic school K-8 program. J.P. loves history and literature, and he works as a tutor in those and other subjects.

Topics Discussed

  • St. Johns College High School: what’s the “college” thing about?
  • JP was not prepared for 9th grade
    • his K-8 did not prepare him
    • never had written anything more than a few paragraphs
    •  9th grade: what do kids bring to it?
    • why are elementary schools all so different?
    • why should 9th grade be so much harder?
    • Elementary: seeking universal standards
    • JPs 9th grade was challenging
    • Big gap between elementary and high school
    • are we pushing kids hard enough in K-8?
    •  “Excellence Gap” study by Dr. Jonathan Plucker
  • J.P.’s school competitive?
    • Catholic school admissions: an incestual orgy? (lol)
  •  Public school kids more prepared?
    • depends on the demographic
    • are outcomes defined by zip codes?
    • Rte 50 / Univ Blvd: the dividing lines
    •  do charter schools drain talent?
    • lowest common denominator v. the cream of the crop
  • Was his high school worth the money? maybe not
    • Would rather have gone to college twice
    • But he did go there, it is who he is
    • What if he had gone to public school?
    • would have lost all the expereinces of a catholic school
  • Brother Martin: English teacher
    • heavy workload
    • read a book a week
    • not reading in class… taking turns lol
    • depth of analysis that he had never encountered
    • English class was no longer about structure, was about literature
    • then next year, teacher was back to reading out loud in class
  • so teachers matter?
    • should any teacher be able to teach anything?
    • JPs definition of a good teacher?  Hope Brother Martin is listenng to this
    • the difference between a teacher who knows everything but can’t teach and a teacher who may not know everything but can teach and lead you to where you need to go
    • why do some kids like certain teachers and others not?
    • kids look for easy teachers = business major etiquette
    • but they won’t remember those teachers
  • a good assignment is powerful
    • has assignments from high school that he still thinks about
  • Bromley’s best teacher: Prof Wright who threatened to fail him Senior year of college: 1st teacher who ever “kicked my ass”
  • Dr. Carlander at Salisbury: they’d get into for 3 hours .. he’d rip up his paper … they’d argue with each other.. inspiring!
    • always read the prof’s book!
    • knows his stuff: and “a real teacher”
    • Prof got JP to write a grant application: got it & went to a national conference >> all because of a real teacher
  • What make a good teacher:
    • learning is supposed to be rigorous
    • “no pressure no diamond”
    • teachers who earned respect, who mentor, who respect kids
    • unlike teachers who just put notes on the board
    • good teachers: challenge, drag, empower
    • learning is a fight! “I’m a 13 year old kid, what do I give a shit about Julius Caesar?”
    • You could see it in Brother Martin’s brow lines … but patient and caring … loved his students

Resources

Credits

Host: Michael L. Bromley
Original Music by Christopher Bromley (copyright 2011, 2013)
Background snoring: by Stella
Best Dogs Ever: by Puck & Stella

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Happy dogs with new beds!

 

 

 

 
Here for Puck & Stella slideshow

 

The A+ Club from School4Schools.com LLC, based in Arlington, VA, is dedicated to helping students across the U.S.A. meet their goals and find the academic success the want and deserve. Contact us here or call now  to (703) 271-5334 to see how we can help.

Talent on the Sidelines: the Excellence Gap with Dr. Jonathan Plucker

Excellence-Gap-10-18-13Talent on the Sidelines: the Excellence Gap with Dr. Jonathan Plucker

Show Notes
Student Success Podcast No. 5, Oct 24, 2013

** Please also listen to the follow-up interview with Prof. Plucker, March 1, 2014:  Excellence Gaps and the national imperative for equity AND excellence **

Today’s Guest:  Prof. Jonathan Plucker, University of Connecticut

Prof. Jonathan Plucker discusses the just released study “Talent on the Sidelines:  Excellence Gaps and America’s Persistent Talent Underclass.” Prof Plucker shares his amazing insight on the need for educators and policy to address both equity and achievement for our students, as today’s focus on equity has left us with a tremendous “Excellence Gap” between socioeconomic and racial groups, and has left behind untapped talent among our lower performing groups.

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or find us on iTunes

 

Guest Biography: Dr. Plucker received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from The University of Connecticut in 1991, where he also received a master’s degree in educational psychology in 1992. After briefly serving as an elementary school teacher, he attended the University of Virginia, where he received his doctorate in educational psychology in 1995. After briefly teaching for two years at the University of Maine, he arrived at Indiana University in 1997 as a visiting assistant professor. He become a tenure-track assistant professor in 1998, with promotion to associate professor in 2001 and full professor in 2006.

Dr. Plucker has received a number of honors for his work. For his creativity work, he has received the Daniel E. Berlyne Award for outstanding research by a junior scholar (2001) and the Rudolf Arnheim Award for outstanding research by a senior scholar (2012) from Division 10 of the American Psychological Association, and the 2007 E. Paul Torrance Award for creativity research from the National Association of Gifted Children. For his gifted education research, he has received the NAGC Early Scholar Award (1998) and two awards from the Mensa Education & Research Foundation Award for Excellence in Research (1997 & 2000). For his education policy work, he was ranked in 2011 as one of the Top 100 most influential academics working in education policy.

Dr. Plucker is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (2009) and was named a Fellow of the American Associate for the Advancement of Science in 2011 “for distinguished contributions to the science of creativity and the creation of research-supported education policy.”

Topics Discussed

  • Achievement gaps: but minimum competency gaps
  • Minimal achievement is not helping — still losing talent
  • 2010 Report the product of these questions: is anyone really considering wasted potential?
  • 3 years work for this new report
  • Early years demonstrated excellence, but by 8th grade loses all advances
  • “Excellence gap” = measurement of differences in high level performance between
    across minority groups: 2% achieve excellences… unfathomable… yet, this was an increase over previous measurements
  • Means huge pool of wasted talent
  • Critics impugn that these studies claim that excellence gaps are more important to close than minimum competency gaps: not so! : moral and ethical requirement to assist the lowest levels, but minimal competency should not be the sole policy focus
  • “Free and reduced lunch” defined
  • Impact of poverty on education
  • Opportunity gaps v. achievement gaps
  • Untapped talent
  • Not equity v. excellence: this is equity AND excellence
  • Bias towards reporting or testing results towards minimum competency and avoiding excellence gaps
  • Laws of unintended consequence
  • Example of special education: can be followed for excellence gap in policy
  • How to get more students performing at the highest level?
  • Next study: looking at state k-12 accountability and how each treats excellence. Currently , they either ignore excellence or implicitly penalize it.  And these systems drive priorities for instruction
  • add straight forward-indicators on excellence to promote awareness and action on driving excellence.
  • Excellence is an American value, should be imnportant. We can achieve equity and excellence.
  • We don’t limit achievement in extracurricular activities so why in academics?

Additional Resources and Links

Credits

Host: Michael L. Bromley
Original Music by Christopher Bromley (copyright 2011, 2013)
Background snoring: by Stella
Best Dogs Ever: by Puck & Stella

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Stella and Bromley selfie

Here for Puck & Stella slideshow


The A+ Club from School4Schools.com LLC, based in Arlington, VA, is dedicated to helping students across the U.S.A. meet their goals and find the academic success the want and deserve. Contact us here or call now  to (703) 271-5334 to see how we can help.

College bound: desktop, laptop or tablet? PC or Mac?

laptop_MH900405386Another broken or stolen laptop? Are you sure about that?

Are you going to be that one who calls home begging for another computer because your laptop was stolen or it dropped out of your backpack. Mom may lose patience with that one after having forked over $2k for the MacBook Air. Besides, do you really need it?

Let’s think this through carefully. What do you really need?

Here’s my assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of your computer options (on Scale of 5):

Desktop PC Laptop PC Tablet Mac desktop Mac laptop
Ease of Use  5 4 2 5 4
Portability 1 4 5  1 4
Reliability 5 4 4 5 4
Capacity / Function 5 4 2  5 4
Cost 5 4 4 1 1
Risk of Loss or Breakage 5 2 2 5 2
Overall Score
(total ÷ 6 categories)
4.3 3.6 3.1 3.6 3.1

 


Here for updates on this topic:
The Best Computers for College: desktop, laptop or tablet? PC or Mac? pt 2
Laptop, Tablet, or Desktop? Google Docs or Office 365? Which technology is best for high school and college?


Desktops are old fashioned, you say?

Desktops have become, like cars, an afterthought: the average age of American cars is eleven years now, the highest it has ever been. That’s because they’re built better than ever and have all the functions consumers need. What hurt GM, Ford and Chrysler as much as anything over the last five years is that they’re products are very, very good, so people don’t need to buy new ones as often as before. A 2003 automobile is as good as a 2011, and there’s not much a 2013 offers that the ’03 can’t — other than the built-in Bluetooth or a few overly redundant safety features.

And these cars are lasting a long time now. Same goes with PCs: Microsoft’s biggest problem with Windows is that the Windows 7 program is very, very good, very very stable, and there’s little reason to upgrade it anymore (they tried for years to dump XP, which is still solid, useful and widely used). So desktop PCs aren’t so much old fashioned as they are, like a good car, just there.

Now, if you want a Mac, go for it. But you’re gonna pay for it, be it a desktop or a laptop. A Windows 7 PC will cost you less than your smartphone, and you will have a hard time breaking the screen or leaving it on your seat at the movies.

A Windows 7 laptop costs about the same as a desktop and has the added benefit of portability. But do you really, really need to carry your computer around? Some teachers will allow it in class, although I hear more and more about professors who ban them from classrooms because kids are on Facebook rather than focused on class. If I were in college, I’d have a laptop. The ability to take it with me is just that important.  BUT… I’d probably break it or lose it inside of the first semester.

Above all else is cost, which is why 82% of college students use a PC, i.e., Windows-based desktop or laptop. (I’m guessing that most of those are laptops.) As the expert is quoted in that article:

Another reason PCs are winning out with students: price. Desktop PCs are at their cheapest during September when students are going back to school… with prices starting at $200 for a dual-core desktop PC. (The iPad Mini
costs $329.) “The desktop PC is simply a wiser, more realistic investment for any student this fall”

I strongly recommend a decent new or lightly used Windows 7 PC or laptop. As the article points out, a decent PC will start around $200, and there’s no need to go much higher than that, even with a full desktop setup with monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers.

Used Equipment

We work with our students to make sure their equipment is available, proper, and functional. I can get a good Win 7 desktop (with monitor etc.) or laptop from anywhere between $100-$200, depending on the capacity, and with a 1 year warranty. Not bad. So let me know if you’re interested.

My Own Equipment

I use four computers, three laptops and a desktop, all PCs, and all HPs. My laptops can serve as a desktop when I plug it into a wireless keyboard, mouse, speakers, and external monitor setup. One laptop is for upstairs, one is for taking with me, and the other is my old workhorse, a seven year old HP that still goes and goes. I bought my desktop because I wanted a better 2nd monitor and higher overall performance, storage, speed, and so on.

So you know, I run Windows 7 on the old laptop and Windows 8 on the others. I also have a Windows Phone that syncs beautifully with my 8 machines and all my Office Programs, especially OneNote (organization) and Outlook (email). I’ll probably buy a Surface tablet, but I’m waiting for built-in mobile broadband, which is coming later or next year. I can wait. That’s me.

What about you, and what about for college?

What about cell phones?

You can do all that on a smart phone. But not very well.  And a little better on a tablet, but, again, not very well. A laptop does it all, with portability. But that, too, comes at a cost in functionality and risk of damage or loss. The best solution for that list is, I hate to say it – a desktop.

Next

I will next post my Computer Tool Kit list for you with essential programs, features and file management tools. Feel free to call or write with any questions.

Technology should not be a problem!

– Michael