Mark Barnes

Education Is Coming Full Circle

Posted in Classroom strategies, Impact on Education, Recent Events by Mark Barnes on March 8, 2010

According to eSchool News, the government has released its National Educational Technology Plan, which calls for sweeping edtech reform. Or does it?

As eSchool News reports:

“The plan, called “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” calls for engaging and empowering learning experiences for all students; standards and assessments that measure key 21st-century skills and expertise; a shift to a model of “connected teaching,” in which teams of interconnected educators replace solo classroom practitioners; always-on connectivity that is available to students and teachers both inside and outside of school; and a rethinking of basic assumptions, such as seat time, that limit schools’ ability to innovate.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but when I started teaching 18 years ago, we worked in academic teams that functioned  precisely as the plan outlines above.

We used interdisciplinary learning, team- and co-teaching and used the connectivity mentioned above.

Granted, our technology was not what it is today, but we did have technology and used it.

“Reform” may be the wrong word

None of this is to suggest that the plan is not important and that this is not what we should be doing in education. It just seems to me that rather than reforming, we may just be coming back full circle.

Widgets add spice to classroom web site

Posted in applications, Classroom strategies, classroom web site, Gadgets, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 10, 2010
A widget is an Internet feature that allows users to interact with a web-based application. Sounds technical, I know, but widgets are actually very easy to use and can add nice spice to a classroom web site.

With a wiki like EditMe.com, the widget is modular and added with a simple “include” code. So, in this classroom web site example, the html from the eSchool News widget was copied and placed in the module. Then, the code, [[include:eschoolnews]], places the widget on the page.

A site like widgetbox contains the widget codes for  hundreds of educational widgets.

Try a widget on your classroom web site today; your students and parents will love it.