INDT 501-01 21st Century Skills vs. Core Knowledge

January 27, 2013

Does being a digital-immigrant mean that I am incapable of learning how to use technology efficiently? Certainly not, I use several web sites proficiently and frequently, however it does not mean that I am adept in all technology. I think that when I am introduced to a new web site that there is definitely a learning curve that needs to be applied. Take blogging for example, I hope that each week blogging will be easier and better. I am sure the jury is still out on that. I wish that when I was going to school that all of these wonder advances had been available to me. I think I would have benefitted greatly from them. How much better would have typing have been, book reports would have taken half the time. Now we can just go onto databases and pull up as many articles or journals that we want. I do accept that not everyone appreciates technology as much as others do. Sometimes I think that we are on information overload, but I enjoy it nonetheless. What would I do without my ereader or cellphone?


Using technology in education is the present and future of education. While reading the USA Today article about the argument between Core Knowledge or Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) I could not grasp the reasoning of Core Knowledge in that technology is “an ineffectual use of school time” (Toppo). It is not financially possible for school districts to take children on enough field trips to expose them to the world around them, a book does not paint a picture the way that an artist can, but through the internet people are able to see the world and the beautiful things that come from the magic of creation and investigation. Granted it is not the same as seeing it in person, but it is all that some people can afford.


Not every student learns the same way and the approach of Core Knowledge’ in my opinion does not address all learners. I think that students need a more a varied approach. I know that since going back to school I have seen professors in some of my classes use a variety of techniques and found that for me, when they used a variety of mediums I was able to stay focused longer and switching between lecture, media, and power points. The variety I feel holds students attention longer and offers a variety for students who learn differently. I think that mixing teaching techniques is something that I could incorporate into the classroom once I get a teaching position.


I really enjoyed the P21 website, I again have to come back to the argument that E.D. Hirsch Jr. made “most profoundly hurt disadvantaged children: At home, he says, they don’t get as much background as middle-class students in history, science, literature and the like” (Toppo), his argument is flawed. Going through the web site of P21, they read and illustrate books to children, which most disadvantaged students do not get at home. How is this taking away from their education? It’s not, they lean how to use a computer and get someone to read to them. Most of these kids would greatly benefit from this type of information.

Toppo, G. (2009, March 5). What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or ’21st-century skills’? Retrieved January 23, 2013, from

Categories: Technology in Education.

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EDCI 500-02 Reflecting on No Child Left Behind

January 27, 2013


I began thinking about how to approach the topic of No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), I immediately started on my thoughts of the matter. I am not especially happy with NCLB, I really do not feel that it is a true test of a teacher’s ability or of a child’s ability to learn. I know that the ultimate goal of NCLB was, “schools are expected to increase their performance for all “students on an annual basis.  The goal is to make sure that eventually 100 percent of their students score at least at the proficient level as measured by these annual tests” (Tavakolian, E., & Howell, N., 71). I think that you have to take into consideration all of the factors involved in education and the child’s life to understand the full measure of education and learning. I decided to ask my children about their feelings on the Standards of Learning tests (SOL) that they take every year, to help me understand the test and motivation of SOL test taking from their point of view.


I asked my son, who I will refer to from this point on as Male child, and my daughter who I will refer to as Female child several questions about the SOL’s and why they felt motivated to do well on the test. So that you have a better understanding of the children I will tell you that they are both exceptional learners who are in the gifted program at their school, they are both on Honor Roll every grading period and are both involved in community programs outside of school and involved in clubs after school. I asked them both the same questions and got somewhat different take from both of them.


When asked about how Male child felt the teacher’s handled teaching information regarding SOL’s he stated that they were “just pushing kids who don’t want to learn through” he eluded to the idea that they were not interested in the test and that it had become just another chore for them to complete. I then asked Male child how he felt other children approached studying and taking the SOL, he said that “some of the kids memorize things for the test, and then they don’t need it”. I asked Male child if he felt the SOL was a true judge of how he learned, what he had learned or why he feels motivated to learn, “no, it can’t possibly be! I learn for me, because I want to have a great job when I finish school and I know that I can’t have that if I don’t try hard”. When asked if he felt the test was effective in judging how well a teacher taught the information to the class his answer was, “no, not all of the kids care, they don’t care if how well they do”.


My interview with Female child was somewhat different, when asked about how she felt the teacher’s handled teaching information regarding SOL’s she stated “well it depends on the teacher, some of the teacher’s really care about the information and others well they don’t even like the kids”. So I asked her how she felt other children approached studying and taking the SOL, she said that “well that really depends on the kid, someone who gets all A’s is really going to try hard, the average kid will try a little, but doesn’t really care, and then the bad kids don’t care at all, they know that they will just get pushed through so the teachers can get rid of them”. I asked Female child if she felt the SOL was a true judge of how she learned, what she had learned or why she feels motivated to learn, “ no, the test is mildly challenging and I learn because I want to too! I don’t need a test to see if I learned the information, I want to learn so I try harder”. When

asked if she felt the test was effective in judging how well a teacher taught the information to the class her answer was, “ no, taking a test is a measure of how well I do with test taking, if you want to see how well a teacher is teaching then maybe they should put video cameras in the classroom and watch them”.


I was mildly surprised with the kids answers, I am happy that they realize that they are in-charge of their own success and that they have to motivate themselves, but it really disappoints me to know that a 14 year old and a 12 year old understand education better than Congress or the President of the United States.  I do realize that Congress and the President only wanted, “to close achievement gaps between all students by providing each child with fair and equal opportunities to receive quality elementary and secondary educations” (Tavakolian, E. & Howell, N., 72). When doing my research for the blog, there was not really anything that surprised me. Researchers have found that better teachers have very strong effects, a teacher who regularly have high test score gains in a classroom, and a poor teacher has low test score gains (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 134). Each individual state sets a standard for what a highly qualifying teacher is, for most states they have determined that a quality teachers require no additional education or testing achievements (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 135). Before NCLB was implemented new teachers were mostly required to have a bachelor’s degree, pass certification testing, and demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter in which they are instructing (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 135). Does this make teachers better educators? No, the standard really wasn’t raised, I feel that it truly comes back to the educator and what motivates them to teach, whether it is intrinsic or extrinsic motivation.


The entire problem with education does not solely lie with the educator, some of it should fall on the administration. Does the administration do anything to teachers who fail to perform? How is the information handled, are they punished, do they continue in their position regardless of performance? Do teacher’s unions protect their position? Our textbook tells us that a poor teacher tends to have a poor relationship with their students with “evidence mounting for a strong association between the quality of teacher-child relationships and school performance” (Woolfolk, 7). It also shows that “students who had the least effective teachers three years in a row averaged 29th percentile in math achievement in one district and 44th percentile in the other” (Woolfolk, 7).  So what is administration doing about poor teachers? The data appears to be very limited, we know how to identify, “the extent to which principals can distinguish less-effective and more-effective teachers and are willing to act on that knowledge constitutes a crucial determinant of the benefits of accountability” (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 146). Hanushek and Rivkin found that it is relatively unclear what school administration is doing with this information (Hanushek E., Rivkin, S., 146). So where does this leave us, if we do not use the information to move poor teachers out of education, then the NCLB act is ineffective.

All in all I think that the intent was pure when coming up with NCLB, I do however think that it is a failure. I think children who are either unmotivated at home or at school will never perform to a set standard if they decide that there is no reason for them to put for the effort. Teachers who are not interest in the overall well being of the classroom, will never be able to excite or motivate a classroom of hungry minds, and finally an administration that has no intention or lack of ability to weed out poor teachers and poor teaching methods is never going to meet or accomplish the goals set before them. However, I don’t think that a federally mandated education act is going to solve all of the problems, especially when it fails to meet the financial demands that it places upon school system.




Hanushek, E. A., & Rivkin, S. G. (2010). The Quality and Distribution of Teachers under the No Child Left Behind Act. Journal of Economic Perspectives24(3), 133-150. doi: 10.1257/jep.24.3.133



Hoy, A. W. (2013). Educational psychology (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.


No Child Left Behind: A Decade of Failure [Video]. (2012). United States of America: The Cato Institure. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from



Tavakolian, H., & Howell, N. (2012). The Impact of No Child Left Behind Act.Franklin Business & Law Journal2012(1), 70-77. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from



Categories: Educational Psychology.

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January 20, 2013

Well for the first time in my life I have a blog! All of this technology in one weekend is quite the experience. I only wish that I could have had more experience with technology while I was in High School. It was practically non-existent in High School, we thought we were something else with the electric typewriters and using Word Perfect 7. When I went back to college four years ago I was shocked with everything that students were using for assignments, wow if we could have had easybib, what a life saver. I think that I have adjusted fairly well over the last four years, I would have loved to have gone through a school system that was as advanced as the ones shown in these videos, I think I would have benefited greatly from an experience like that.

I watched the videos for High School students, because I want to teach Special Education General Curriculum and work with High School students. There weren’t any videos specifically for Special Education, but I would be working with them in all areas of education and would need to be familiar with all subjects. I was shocked at all of the new techniques and approaches that are available to teachers today. I think that it is great that teachers are able to tap into these resources and expand upon their lesson plans. I think that it creates a change of pace for students and offers a variety so they are not stuck in their seats listening to a lecture and not able to apply the information they are receiving to a real world application. It helps hold their attention, especially for students have attention deficit disorders, and keeps them more actively engaged in the lesson.

I can see the benefit for school systems in utilizing new technology. It would cut down on expenses in the long run and create more opportunity for the community as a whole. The community would benefit from a better trained work force and have a greater potential of bringing in businesses that are looking to relocate. The school that my kids are attending utilizes some technology by using white boards, video projection systems, SCORE, PASS, Drop box, and Destiny. Watching these videos about learning Matrices made me really excited for the future of education and the added benefits that technology is providing, while there are new problems with language skills that children today are developing while immersing themselves in cell phones and mobile devices. I think only great things are to come for education and I think that by utilizing technology with will continue to advance as a nation and hopefully begin to catch our children up with some of the more advanced nations.


Information on the Technology Integration Matrix is located on a website produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Quality, College of Education, University of South Florida      (

Categories: Uncategorized.

Hello world!

January 20, 2013

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Categories: Uncategorized.