The “Magic” School Bus

The other night on NBC Nightly News was a story of a man with a plan – a plan to use that wasted time on the schoolbus in the morning and put some technology to better use. As it ran on TV.

But, online they have a somewhat extended video that talks a bit more with the kids about their experiences.
Sorry for the links and no embedded video, but apparently wordpress.com things MSNBC videos are dangerous and keeps stripping them from this post.

Billy Hudson, from Vanderbilt University deserves a gold star for his efforts in putting that time on the schoolbus to use through eLearning sites and podcasts. Hopefully school districts will take note of what is being done and decide to make some similar modifications on their own. This should serve as evidence of how feasible it is to get some sort of mLearning into use. Look closely and you can see some of OLPC’s XO machines.

By the way – TeacherJay was going to post on this earlier, but he was too casual in his conversations and he got beat to the punch. Thanks, Allan, really, thanks =P

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Safety Text Message

This afternoon a student entered the Queens campus of St. John’s University in New York City with a rifle in his bag. In order to alert staff, faculty and students of the dangerous situation campus officials used text messages. Inspired by the events at Virginia Tech this past Spring, the school implemented the program just this month. TeacherJay wanted to recognize the efforts of the institution for their progressive thinking and putting a common technology to a good use… and for that they receive a gold star.

Miss-Spellings

As an update to a previous post, TeacherJay wanted to take a moment to point out Thursday’s NY Times article in which Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings seems less than enthusiastic about the drafts of the re-authorization of the No Child Left Behind Act being passed around in the House of Representatives. Ms. Spellings is quite a fan of “increased accountability”. TeacherJay still thinks it is a bad idea to punish, or penalize, schools for not making “sufficient progress” when that progress is ill-defined in the first place. Today’s post looks briefly at how the head of all education systems in the country might spell disaster for immigrant students. Read the rest of this entry »

Spellings Test

While searching for some funny clips of politicians, TeacherJay found something a bit unexpected… to date, the only (active) member of the Bush administration to appear on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart was Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, on May 22, 2007 (Wikipedia). Although she is one of the evil architects authors of the No Child Left Behind Act, TeacherJay was interested in the interview and in today’s post gives his reactions to the clip. Read the rest of this entry »

School Breakfast

Coming to school and sitting in class with an empty stomach makes learning difficult. Many school districts around the country serve breakfast, and often it is free or at a reduced price for students who already receive free or reduced lunch. So why are many students not partaking of this offer and still going hungry in class? Notoriously bad cafeteria food may have something to do with it, but some recent reports and this recent NY Times article may also shed some light on the issue. Today’s post looks at some of the reasons this may be happening and also introduces the beginnings of a plan to correct the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Paying for An Education

Don’t be confused, this post is not about the differences between private and public schooling… TeacherJay has already put forth his opinions on that over at Karl Frank Jr.’s blog. This post is however about pilot programs that are paying students for good grades and test scores, as well as the high test scores on economics that are showing up nationwide. In a school near you, students may soon be paid actual cash just for coming to school and doing what they are supposed to be doing… learning. Is this an innovative method of getting kids interested in going to school or just a ploy to turn them into capitalist drones? Read the rest of this entry »

Failing Schools Pass Students

A recent NY Times article, shows the conflict that exists in the NYC public school system between what a good education should be and the desire to raise graduation rates. The unfortunate consequence is that although many students are receiving diplomas, they are not prepared for college or any world outside of high school. What was, perhaps, designed to be a benefit to students is actually a great disservice. Today’s post looks at some of the effects of such policies and makes some recommendations about what should be done in the future. Read the rest of this entry »