Monday, December 1, 2014

Study finds digital learning less effective (and more expensive) than traditional teaching

Politicians from Jeb Bush to President Obama like to hype the revolutionary power and cost-effectiveness of digital learning, but a new study suggests, in many cases, it is neither more powerful nor cheaper than old-fashioned teaching.

Billions of public dollars have been directed toward digital learning initiatives in recent years, and the report from the National Education Policy Center, a research institute at the University of Colorado, found that they rarely improved outcomes. When they did, they cost more money, not less.

"On the whole, it is very difficult to have faith in the path we're going down," says Noel Enyedy, a researcher at UCLA who performed the analysis.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is classroom technology actually working?

School districts always roll out technology adoptions with a great deal of fanfare. But what happens a year later, when the new ipads are yesterday's news? It is perhaps too early to say, but classroom technology follow-up stories are few and far between. Here is one from the New York Times which paints a somewhat pessimistic picture about the effectiveness of digital technology in the classroom.
“This is such a dynamic class,” Ms. Furman says of her 21st-century classroom. “I really hope it works.”
Hope and enthusiasm are soaring here. But not test scores.
Since 2005, scores in reading and math have stagnated in Kyrene, even as statewide scores have risen. To be sure, test scores can go up or down for many reasons. But to many education experts, something is not adding up — here and across the country. In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.
This conundrum calls into question one of the most significant contemporary educational movements. Advocates for giving schools a major technological upgrade — which include powerful educators, Silicon Valley titans and White House appointees — say digital devices let students learn at their own pace, teach skills needed in a modern economy and hold the attention of a generation weaned on gadgets.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Experience the power of a bookbook™

This is simply great. Yes, it is done as a bit of a joke, but seriously folks - the benefits of books discussed in this video are real - especially for schools and students.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our 'Reading Informational Texts' is the "We Are Teachers" Pick of the Week connects teachers to the best resources in education.

Why we love it: Each book in the series includes four to five writings from historic figures like Frederick Douglass, speeches by leaders such as Winston Churchill, court opinions such as Brown v. Board of Education, scientific essays and more. Each text's introduction gives vital background information on historical context and short, side-margin annotations to help students unpack challenging ideas.

Terrific teacher editions: In addition to answer keys, analysis of each text's complexity is provided so you can gauge when your students are ready for each section. Meaty, instruction-packed teaching tips are provided at the beginning of each book relevant to teaching informational texts for the appropriate grade level.
Click here for the complete review. 

For more information on the series visit

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Nonprofit Will Review Common Core Materials

 This may be a bit of public relations management, or it could be really helpful.  Time will tell. 
A new nonprofit organization called has announced that it will provide free, web-based reviews of instructional materials series (including technology-enabled products). Reviews will focus on alignment to the Common Core and other indicators of high quality as recommended by educators, including usability, teacher support, and differentiation. 

Funded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will release its first round of Consumer Reports-like reviews later this year or early in 2015, focusing on K-8 mathematics materials. Subsequent reviews will include high school mathematics and K-12 English Language Arts. For further information, including a list of the 21 K-8 math instructional materials to be reviewed in the first round, read this article from Education Week.

You can sign up to get email updates on the project by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Are you thinking about teaching "The Giver" by Lois Lowry? students will love reading about a utopian society that seems perfect to outsiders but actually contains many flaws, but they may have problems with the book's open-ended, ambiguous ending.

For a complete Teacher's Guide to The Giver visit

Robin Williams' Hilarious Shakespeare Improvisation, Johnny Carson's Ton...

Monday, August 11, 2014

In honor of Ernest Hemingway...make this week absurdly manly


On this day in 1937, Ernest Hemingway bared his hairy chest,  then pulled open the shirt of critic,  Max Eastman, to expose his unhairy one.  Hemingway demanded "What do you mean accusing me of impotence?" and then wrestled Eastman to the floor in the Scribner's office of their mutual editor, Max Perkins.  Being a gentleman, Perkins then exposed his chest as well. 

But wait. You don't have to beat anyone up to get 30 copies of The Old Man and the Sea complete with teaching materials, you only need to visit