An Informal Survey

In a previous post I wrote about an informal survey where I planned to ask my students their thoughts about technology in the classroom. So, I decided this post would be about the students’ responses to my question. I didn’t conduct this as a formal essay where they could score things on a Likert Scale or choose from an array of responses to a number of questions; so, there won’t be any spiffy-looking pie charts or bar diagrams. I basically just asked the students to write a journal entry in response to the following:

How would you like to use technology in your education? Think about daily tasks as well as larger projects. What other technology–software, apps, hardware, devices–is out there that could be used? What technology do we already have that may be underutilized?

I tried to keep the question as wide-open as possible just so…

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Putting eClicker and Socrative Through a Workout

As I have mentioned before, one of the things I immediately wanted to do in my classroom when we started our 1-1 Ipad pr0gram this past fall was find a way to have my students take quizzes and tests using their Ipads that gave them some immediate feedback and save me some time grading. While I still haven’t found that magical app that will do absolutely everything I want for absolutely free–or at least really cheap–I was presented an opportunity to take another stab at this particular wish this week.

An administrator at my school recently asked me if I was familiar with the eClicker app. I said that I had installed it back during the summer, but I hadn’t really tried to use it that much, but would be willing to give it a try because I wanted to try out…

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Humane Education

Read “What School Is Actually For” (to read this article visit: and revisit your approach to teaching pertinent critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

How do we help our students understand the world and its conflicts? Can our students determine and implement solutions that are peaceful and long-standing? One approach is through humane education as described below and through the Institute of Humane Education (

As presented on the website for IHE:

“Humane education not only instills the desire and capacity to live with compassion, integrity, and wisdom, but also provides the knowledge and tools to put our values into action in meaningful, far-reaching ways.  

Humane education enables us to find solutions that work for all by approaching human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection as interconnected and integral dimensions of a healthy, just society.

Humane education includes 4 elements:

Providing accurate information (so we have the knowledge to face challenges);

Fostering the 3C’s:  curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking (so we have the tools to meet challenges);

Instilling the 3R’s: reverence, respect, and responsibility (so we have the motivation to confront challenges);

Offering positive choices and tools for problem solving (so we will be able to solve challenges).

IHE recognizes that the key to creating a peaceful, sustainable, and humane world rests with citizens – young and old alike – understanding the pressing issues facing humans, animals, and the planet; having excellent critical and creative thinking capacities for solving problems; realizing the responsibility we each have for making a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others whom our decisions affect; and being inspired to make choices and career decisions that are positive for all. This is Humane Education – addressing all the challenges of our time through relevant, inspired teaching, and creating an aware, empowered, healthy citizenry.

IHE explores schooling itself, examining the kinds of educational approaches that prepare the next generation to be productive, contributing, joyful members of a peaceful society and that foster teaching which is ever more positive and successful for students, teachers, and the world.

Humane Education can be integrated directly and seamlessly into the existing school curricula, adding more meaning and relevancy to language arts, math, science, social studies, and the arts. It can also stand alone as its own subject, taught in courses at all levels, including college, graduate programs, and adult education. Humane Education can be offered in many other creative ways as well, through filmmaking, visual arts, music, socially conscious businesses, summer camps, religious education, personal growth classes, government, and much more. The ways that Humane Education can be integrated into society are limited only by the imagination of its practitioners.”

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education


In 1999, Sugata Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.

In the following years they replicated the experiment in other parts of India, urban and rural, with similar results, challenging some of the key assumptions of formal education. The “Hole in the Wall” project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls it “minimally invasive education.”

“Education-as-usual assumes that kids are empty vessels who need to be sat down in a room and filled with curricular content. Dr. Mitra’s experiments prove that wrong.”

Linux Journal


“In South Korean classrooms, digital textbook revolution meets some resistance”

From a Washington Post article:

By , Published: March 24

The Washington Post

SEOUL — Five years ago, South Korea mapped out a plan to transform its education system into the world’s most cutting-edge. The country would turn itself into a “knowledge powerhouse,” one government report declared, breeding students “equipped for the future.” These students would have little use for the bulky textbooks familiar to their parents. Their textbooks would be digital, accessible on any screen of their choosing. Their backpacks would be much lighter.By setting out to swap traditional textbooks for digital ones, the chief element of its plan for transformation, South Korea tried to anticipate the future — and its vision has largely taken shape with the global surge of tablets, smartphones and e-book readers.

But South Korea, among the world’s most wired nations, has also seen its plan to digitize elementary, middle and high school classrooms by 2015 collide with a trend it didn’t anticipate: Education leaders here worry that digital devices are too pervasive and that this young generation of tablet-carrying, smartphone-obsessed students might benefit from less exposure to gadgets, not more.For the rest of the article, go to: