Why music education? UCLA professor James Catterall led an analysis of a U.S. Department of Education database. Called NELLs88, the database was used to track more than 25,000 students over a period of 10 years. Catterall conducted a study and found that regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks on standardized tests. The study showed that students involved in music generally tested higher than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also reading proficiency exams. The study also noted that the student musicians scored higher, no matter what socioeconomic group was being studied. So why not music education?
Having visited several classrooms, it appeared to me that in many cases, music education tended to begin in the third grade, for those that were fortunate enough to have a music instructor. Even then, the instructor was often stretched thin, being shared by several classrooms, and even several schools within a given district. (read more…)
In January, SmartBlog on Education launched a monthly education content award, recognizing content written by educators, for educators that inspires readers to engage, innovate and discuss.
The SmartBrief Education team consists of editors and writers who sift through thousands of sources each day, reading a variety of content, including blogs and commentaries written by you and your peers.
In an effort to recognize some of the innovative voices in the field — quick disclaimer: there is so much wonderful content out there that I’m sure we’ll miss some — we’ve asked our team to nominate their favorite content each month from which we’ll choose two winners for the Editor’s Choice Content Award. Read about our January winners.
In an era of education where much buzz surrounds student-driven learning, this month’s winners offer practical guidance for educators to help students succeed with collaboration, teamwork, flexibility, project management and more.
SmartBrief on EdTech recently polled readers about the state of foreign-language education in their schools and districts, asking if they feel students are being adequately prepared to join today’s global workforce. While nearly 48% said their language program is in need of improvement, the remainder of respondents said their school or district had either an adequate or a robust foreign-language program.
Respondents were again divided about how well technology tools are integrated into foreign-language instruction, with just under 14% saying that technology is fully integrated in the foreign-language classroom and close to 17% saying that technology is not used at all in foreign-language learning.
For those respondents using technology to enhance foreign-language instruction, software programs were the top choice with about two-thirds saying such programs are in use, while just under one-third said online courses are part of the lessons. However, other tech-based activities such as blogging and videoconferencing with native speakers or students in other countries were reportedly little used by our readers. (read more…)
SmartBlog on Education recently interviewed Todd Brekhus, a leader in technology-enhanced literacy solutions for more than two decades, about challenges in literacy education, personalized literacy and future trends in the field. Brekhus spent eight years in the classroom as a teacher, department chair and technology director and now serves as president and creator of myON, a business unit of Capstone. Here are some of his insights, based on his work with educators and school administrators.
As someone who has worked as a classroom teacher and a school administrator and also spent many years designing digital literacy solutions, what do you see as the top three literacy challenges facing students today?
My experiences as an educator and working within the education industry have shown repeatedly that the top three literacy challenges facing students today are access, interest and engagement. There are still so many classroom libraries or even school-wide and community libraries that have just one or possibly a few copies of any given book. (read more…)
How do you get student scientists in Ohio and California talking to each other and sharing the cool science they are doing in fifth grade? Creating cartoons with storytelling app Toontastic is one way to make this happen. Storytelling is a great way for students to share experiences, and this is the story of our experiment.
Mike Harms and I connected our classrooms from California to Ohio through a long distance storytelling project. Project PenPal was all about sharing science investigations through stories, using the iPad app Toontastic. In our two-month collaboration, students in Mike’s class in California shared cartoons they built explaining collages they were developing from images they captured with their microscopes. Students in my class in Ohio shared how they were following NASA instructions for building robotic hands. The fact that the classrooms were working on different content made the learning so much more powerful. As teachers, we were doubling up on content exposure through the project. (read more…)