The religious right touts homeschooling as a viable educational alternative. Parents, grads tell a different story
Recently in Texas, a court determined that home schoolers MUST prove that they are actually schooling their children. This is being appealed of course, but it does seem to indicate that someone is scared if they are asked to prove something and they cannot do so.
"Of course there are parents who are qualified to teach their children at home, and who do an excellent job of it. And there are children who excel in homeschooling environments. These families may well constitute a majority of homeschoolers. But this does not mean that all children do so well, and just as public schools are obligated to educate children who fall behind, so are parents who opt out of the system."
Right now there is no hard data outside of anecdotal evidence, to indicate that homeschooling is effective or not.
What lesson can we share with our students from this? I think for starters we can show them that not everything on the internet is as it seems. How you can be easily manipulated. Several great lessons come to mind after reading this.
From the article:
The backpack of lies was all part of her university graduation project, to show how social media does not always reflect reality.
She said: “My goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality.
"I did this to show people that we filter and manipulate what we show on social media."
Amazingly, pictures of the Dutch student snorkelling in turquoise water with tropical fish around her were taken at a local swimming pool and then digitally altered at home.
Ms Van Den Born even photoshopped herself onto tuk tuks, beautiful beaches and luxury resorts in the 42 days she spent hidden in her Amsterdam apartment with her boyfriend - the only person in the know.
We know this, but it is good when the media reiterates it:
From the article:
“In the most recent Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll, about 67 percent of public school parents said they would give their oldest child’s school a grade of “A” or “B.” But just 17 percent of the respondents would give “public schools nationally” the same score. This grading gap has widened in recent decades.”
Teaching kids to express themselves with visual as well as written information? Sometimes I wonder, especially when I see cool tools like Storehouse and wonder does the future of writing JUST involve the written word?
Are we doing our students a disservice by telling snd testing and saying that most communication has to be in written format?
Take Storehouse for instance. This is an awesome app that allows anyone to create visual stories. Are our students able to express themselves this way?
To read any of these 109 free art books, you will just need to follow these simple instructions. 1.) Select a text from the collection. 2.) Click the “Read Catalogue Online” button. 3.) Start reading the book in the pop-up browser, and use the controls at the very bottom of the pop-up browser to move through the book. 4.) If you have any problems accessing these texts, you can find alternate versions on Archive.org.
Click on link to go to Article
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the article to get even MORE free art books online.
Ever since the iPhone came out, folks have been looking at ways to make it do things it was never meant to do, and one of these is as a portable microscope.
$10, $2, now down to about $1.
Suppose you were a first responder, who got called out to investigate a suspicious substance found in a public place. Instead of having to transport that material back to the lab, wouldn’t it be better if you could just take a microscope image of it with your smartphone, email that image off to a remote lab, then receive the analysis within just a few minutes while you were still on location? Thanks to a very inexpensive new phone attachment developed at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), that could soon be possible.
Click on title to go to article.
Check out this video I made a few years ago, inspired by Hall Davidson:
Are schools set up to favor the way girls learn and trip up boys? I have been around long enough to remember the complete reverse argument: That schools favored boys over girls. Maybe if we wait around long enough a study will come out that says schools don’t favor anyone.
Anyway, this is a food for thought article that has some interesting information:
"As the new school year ramps up, teachers and parents need to be reminded of a well-kept secret: Across all grade levels and academic subjects, girls earn higher grades than boys. Not just in the United States, but across the globe, in countries as far afield as Norway and Hong Kong.
This finding is reflected in a recent study by psychology professors Daniel and Susan Voyer at the University of New Brunswick. The Voyers based their results on a meta-analysis of 369 studies involving the academic grades of over one million boys and girls from 30 different nations. The findings are unquestionably robust: Girls earn higher grades in every subject, including the science-related fields where boys are thought to surpass them.
Less of a secret is the gender disparity in college enrollment rates. The latest data from the Pew Research Center uses U.S. Census Bureau data to show that in 2012, 71 percent of female high school graduates went on to college, compared to 61 percent of their male counterparts. In 1994 the figures were 63 and 61 percent, respectively. In other words, college enrollment rates for young women are climbing while those of young men remain flat.”
There are tons of articles that list ways that campus administrators can improve their campuses. The five ways in this article certainly is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it is a nice starting list. I think we can easily add more to the list:
Here are the ones in the article:
Get Out of Your Office
Have Authentic Conversations
Encourage Student Voice
Engage with Parents
Flip Your Faculty Meetings
I would add, right off the top of my head:
Use social media to communicate with your entire school community
Be as Transparent as Possible
Don’t just Say you are the academic leader, lead by example
Don’t ask others to do what you would not do yourself
Accept that all people fail, but that if we learn from that, then failure can be acceptable
"In Prince William County, this school year marks the third for BYOD, and its use has been on the rise, said A.J. Phillips, supervisor of instructional technology services. The first year, high schools, for example, had an average of 45 active devices in use at any given time during the school day, and last year that average rose to 534.
“Every year I’ve seen an increase in the number of devices,” she said. Use varies by school and teacher, she said. “Like any tool in the classroom, some teachers are going to embrace it and some are not.”
The team behind the programming language SCRATCH have created a classroom user guide and website with creative computing as the focus:
Creative computing is…creativity.
Computer science and computing-related fields have long been introduced to young people in a way that is disconnected from their interests and values – emphasizing technical detail over creative potential. Creative computing supports the development of personal connections to computing, by drawing upon creativity, imagination, and interests.
Creative computing is…empowerment.
Many young people with access to computers participate as consumers, rather than designers or creators. Creative computing emphasizes the knowledge, practices, and fundamental literacies that young people need to create the types of dynamic and interactive computational media that they enjoy in their daily lives.
Creative computing is…computing.
Engaging in the creation of computational artifacts prepares young people for more than careers as computer scientists or programmers. It supports young people’s development as computational thinkers – individuals who can draw on computational concepts, practices, and perspectives in all aspects of their lives, across disciplines and contexts.
The guide can be used in a variety of settings (classrooms, clubs, museums, libraries, and more) with a variety of learners (K-12, college, and beyond). No prior experience with computer programming is required, only a sense of adventure!
If you are not reading the blog”Getting Smart” the website/blog/aggregator from Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart, you need to be It is insightful, cutting edge, and while it leans over towards the private over public sector in education, it does have lots of good information. I like it because Vander Ark is talking in a space that many public educators are not aware of and need to be: the side of education that attract the venture capitalists and the entrepreneurs. From my experience, the public education practitioners almost universally dismiss those that are making or trying to make a buck or two on education by changing the paradigms we are driving ourselves in. I think that this is wrong, because frankly, all of us can learn from each other.
With that in mind, I liked this entry from Tom’s blog “Leading the Shift to Digital: School, System & City.” In it, Vander Ark discusses seven components of what it takes to make a city a “smart city.” It is not an easy thing to do, and even large cities may or may not have these seven things in place.
Without the seven, a city cannot be expected to make significant changes to how the population is education, stays educated, or changes.
Want to change a city? You need to have the seven in place:
Innovation Mindset: a combination of growth, maker and team mindset—from classroom to city;
Sustained Leadership: building political capital to create a portfolio of options;
Talent Development: preparing and developing great teachers, leaders, and edupreneurs;
Collective Impact: partnerships and community engagements;
Aligned Investments: aligned public and private investment;
New Tools & Schools: incubation capacity for new tools schools and connecting teachers and technology; and
Advocacy & policy: a supportive environment for schools and startups.
Think about those seven: I would postulate that most cities DO NOT have these in place. I would also venture to say that if change happens in the cities where the seven are not in place, it takes place in fits and starts.
If I am reading this correctly, Vander Ark is saying that great schools cannot happen by themselves. There has to be a symbiotic relationship with the city and the businesses that they exist in. Got 6 of these? Un uh. You need all 7 in order for smart change to happen.
All seven of these are hard to come by in singular instances, and indeed I would suggest are almost impossible to come by in anything other than large metropolitan areas that have money, will power and the capital base to do this. I wonder how rural cities, towns or villages can even hope to succeed in a smart city way when these would be difficult for e much bigger, richer city to do the same?
Finally, Vander Ark and crew have seen the future and have a hopeful vision of innovation:
Every person, organization, and region needs to get smart—to skill up, learn more, and build new capacities faster and cheaper than ever;
Innovative new tools and schools are making that possible everywhere
Innovation starts with a mindset that can be developed in every classroom and every city
Innovation is scaled by leaders that develops talent, and align partnerships and investments for collective impact
Innovation is sustained by advocacy and policy
So, you know where you live.
Can your city become a smart city? An innovative city?
Blueprint for Tomorrow: Redesigning Schools for Student-Centered Learning
Everyone knows I am a big fan of Prakash Nair, world famous designer of schools and educational futurist. I was pleased to hear he has a new book out on school design, and I will have review shortly. Here is info about the new work:
From Harvard Education Press:
The United States has about $2 trillion tied up in aging school facilities. School districts throughout the country spend about $12 billion every year keeping this infrastructure going. Yet almost all of the new money we pour into school facilities reinforces an existing—and obsolete—model of schooling.
In Blueprint for Tomorrow, Prakash Nair—one of the world’s leading school designers—explores the hidden messages that our school facilities and classrooms convey and advocates for the “alignment” of the design of places in which we teach and learn with twenty-first-century learning goals.
Blueprint for Tomorrow provides simple, affordable, and versatile ideas for adapting or redesigning school spaces to support student-centered learning. In particular, the author focuses on ways to use current spending to modify existing spaces, and explains which kinds of adaptations offer the biggest return in terms of student learning. The book is organized by area—from classrooms to cafeterias—and is richly illustrated throughout, including “before and after” features, “smart idea” sidebars, and “do now” suggestions for practical first steps. It outlines key principles for designing spaces that support today’s learning needs and includes tools to help educators evaluate the educational effectiveness of their own spaces.
Blueprint for Tomorrow will open educators’ eyes to the ways that architecture and learning are entwined and will challenge them to rethink the ways they teach and work together.
I actually do not have a problem with this. We have been trusting “Silicon Valley” with computers and equipment for years. I guess the problems comes when the shift happens from just supplying equipment to supplying the actual teaching.
Who is vetting?
Who says this or that meets the standards?
I kinda am ok with this as long as there are monitors and safeguards in place.
From the article:
Venture capitalists are pouring funding into new technologies for a trillion-dollar industry in the US that could be ripe for disruption: education.
Education technology startups attracted $1.25 billion in funding in 2013, according to analysis by CB Insights, and the boom has grown in 2014, with ed tech companies attracting nearly half that amount ($559 million) during the first quarter alone.
It’s not just new startups that want a piece of the education pie. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has signaled a major push into education. Its Amplify division, run by the former New York City schools chancellor, Joel Klein, earlier this year launched an interactive digital curriculum aimed at middle school students, after releasing an education tablet last year. Pearson, which publishes the Financial Times, makes most of its money (pdf) in its education businesses. Yet the shift from print to digital (painful as it has already been for the news media) is only just beginning in education. States are in the process of shifting the billions in dollars they spend on textbooks into digital alternatives. It’s a similar story at the university level.
Report: USING TECHNOLOGY TO SUPPORT AT-RISK STUDENTS’ LEARNING
For many years, educators and policymakers looking for strategies to close the achievement gap and improve student learning have sought solutions involving new uses of technology, especially for students placed at-risk. Unfortunately, the results of technology initiatives have been mixed. Often, the introduction of technology into classrooms has failed to meet the grand expectations proponents anticipated. The educational landscape is replete with stories and studies about how at-risk students were unable to benefit from particular innovations seeking to use computers for teaching.
There are, however, successes among these efforts, and they reveal some common approaches to technology use. Based on a review of more than 70 recent studies, this brief describes these approaches, particularly as they apply to high school students who have been at risk of failing courses and exit examinations or dropping out because of a range of personal factors (such as pregnancy, necessary employment, mobility, and homelessness) and academic factors (special education needs, credit deficiencies, and lack of supports for learning English). The brief then outlines policy strategies that could expand the uses of technology for at-risk high school youth.
Kind of makes sense doesn’t it? The more you communicate with parents, the more parental engagement you will get in return.
In these days of social media, there really should not be a single campus administrator out there that is not using these tools for expanded conversations with their communities.
Of course, any administrator has to be cognizant of the rules, who they can put picture of on the net, what they can say and cannot. But in these days of open almost everything, transparency almost always trumps silence. I keep thinking of the Dembo / Shareski tag team presentation on Social Capital I posted a few years ago.
Here is a quote from the article:
"Principals and teachers have their smartphones out all the time so they can tweet pictures of student projects, record podcasts with them and share what’s happening with the hashtag "teamkid." Now the students ask Welcome to tweet out pictures of their projects, and he frequently tells them, "I’m going to make you famous!" as he captures their work.
At Parent Teacher Association meetings, he goes through what Twitter is and how to get the school’s feed, which is embedded on the school website. After using these tools over the last three years, PTA membership has gone through the roof because people feel connected to the school, Welcome said. They typically have more volunteers than they have positions to fill.
"I’d rather have parents be informed and know what’s going on than feel out of the loop," Welcome said. "Bringing them into their child’s education is important, especially because of Common Core. We need parent support, and they need to be on board and speak this new language of Common Core."
Not sure if this got past me or not, but I don’t recall posting about it. From 2013: An entire issue of Scientific American dedicated to digital learning. A lot of it is MOOC based, bt there are some interesting articles within the special edition.
Here are the articles in the special edition:
Big Data Makes Big Inroads into Schools
Introduction to a special report on the ways technology is remaking every aspect of education—bringing top-notch courses to the world’s poorest citizens and reshaping the way all students learn
Free Online Courses Bring “Magic” to Rwanda
An inside look at a daring global experiment: using freely available online courses to bring top-tier instruction to the neediest parts of the planet
How to Make Online Courses Massively Personal
How thousands of online students can get the effect of one-on-one tutoring
Take a Data-Driven Geography Lesson
Part exam, part tutorial, LearnSmart’s state-capitals quiz continuously adjusts to your performance.
How Big Data Is Taking Teachers Out of the Lecturing Business
Schools and universities are embracing technology that tailors content to students’ abilities and takes teachers out of the lecturing business. But is it an improvement?
The Founder of Khan Academy on How to Blend the Virtual with the Physical
Technology can humanize the classroom
Diane Ravitch: 3 Dubious Uses of Technology in Schools
Technology can inspire creativity or dehumanize learning
How MOOCs Can Help India
Online courses may help alleviate faculty shortages and improve education
Online Courses Can Improve Life on Campus
The future of on-campus learning lies in the right combination of digital and traditional tools
Arne Duncan: How Technology Will Revolutionize Testing and Learning
Greater broadband access will bring the latest digital tools to more teachers and students
Students Say Online Courses Enrich On-Campus Learning
One in five science students surveyed by Nature and Scientific American has participated in a MOOC—and most would do so again
I remember Steve Jobs once stating that Apple could not do what it does without the marriage of the technical with the beautiful. It was, I recall the “intersection of Technology and the Liberal Arts.”
In 2005, Fortune Magazine writer Peter Lewis had a profile about the late Apple CEO: “As his company moves deeper into music, video, consumer electronics, telephony, software, and services, Jobs is asked, How does he describe Apple Computer Inc. these days? He responds by picking up the new Apple remote control device and placing it against a giant, peanut-shaped remote that comes with a computer running Microsoft’s Windows XP Media Center Edition PC operating system. The Apple remote, sleek and white and smaller than an iPod, has six buttons. The Media Center PC remote is a handful, with more than 40 buttons. ‘Apple is a company that takes complex technology and makes it easier and simpler to use,’ he says, and seems satisfied with his answer. But moments later he smiles, and refines his definition: ‘Our goal is to stand at the intersection of technology and the humanities.’
As usual, Apple, even way back in 2005, was using their very clear crystal ball to see what is needed to make a successful company. It cannot always be about the circuits and the
I wonder sometimes, with the current emphasis on STEM, are we forgetting the importance of Liberal Arts?
Apparently, some CEOs are concerned as well.
Are you using visuals when you teach?
Are you using them correctly?
This is a nice graphic and article that explains why you need to incorporate more visuals in your teaching:
From the article:
HOW VISUALS HELP US LEARN
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
The brain can process 36,000 visual cues in an hour
The brain takes about 1/10th of a second to get the idea of a visual scene
Almost 50% of your brain is involved in visual processing
Black and white images garner your attention for about 2/3 of a second
Color images garner your attention for 2+ seconds
The average consumer’s attention span is only about 8 seconds
The brain processes visual cues 60,000 times faster than text
40% of nerve fibers are linked to the retina
The use of visuals improves learning outcomes by about 400%
If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you have realized that I am a big fan of the work of Prakash Nair and Peter C. Lippman. This article interests me because it shows how a teacher can make their classrooms more interesting work spaces for students. You don’t have to have the architects remake your building. All you have to do is remake your space.
Here is an example cited in the article, which you can get by clicking on the title above.
Surprise! The internet is not turning teenager's brains into mush.
I have been noticing a lot of gloom and doom articles (especially coming out of Great Britain) about how this or that technology is turning our kids into brainless automatons. (The heat is especially turned up on iPads for some reason.) I am old enough to remember almost the exact same phrasing being used about television back in the late 1960’s and 70’s. I even remember “studies” that said too much TV would rot your brain, make you cross-eyed, or heaven forbid, sterile.
Of course, critical thinkers and true educators would like to see actual research before they make their decisions and I haven’t yet seen the “iPad will make you sterile” article yet, I am sure that someone is working on it. So it is always nice when a real bit of research is done, such as a piece by Kathryn Mills at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in London who recently published some research in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Entitled “Effects of Internet use on the adolescent brain: despite popular claims, experimental evidence remains scarce” her research shows that, to no one’s surprise except maybe the Brits, tha the brain is a resilient little organ that can rewrite itself much more quickly than we thought it could, and the kid that is addicted to some video game today can probably learn how to code tomorrow if they wanted to. Ogh, and they can actually go outside and enjoy nature as well.
It is a complicated topic because there is no “one way” to use the internet, just as there is no :”one way” to use a pen or pencil r paper.
As a recent article in Wired stated:
"Part of the difficulty with discussing the effects of Internet use is that there are many ways to use the Internet, and there are many ways for it to have an effect – from how we conduct our relationships to how we think, to how our brains are wired up. Despite the fears spread by many commentators, there is actually a good deal of research suggesting positive psychological effects for teenagers from using the Internet. For example, a 2009 study found that online interaction boosted teens’ self-esteem after they’d been made to feel socially excluded. There’s also evidence that moderate Internet use by teens and youth goes hand in hand with participating in more physical activities and sports clubs, not less. There is some limited research on how Internet use may be changing how we think (for example, how we use our memories), but this is not specific to teens, and most research in the field is on the more general topic of “media multi-tasking” (which may have positive as well as negative effects), rather than Internet use specifically."
So stop freaking out about your kids using the internet. It will be alright.
Frequent readers of this blog know that I am an advocate of the SAMR model of technology integration. Here are 19 entries that have been done on this site about SAMR. Make this entry #20: A well done infogrpahic that demonstrates the how SAMR works, along with links to associated apps.
It is not just about economics, It is also about role models for young men, especially young men of color.
From the article:
And at a time when teachers are nowhere near to representing the racial diversity of America’s students, many educators argue that increasing the number of African-American and Latino teachers is a higher priority than simply bringing more men onto the job.
Both Teach for America, the group that places high-achieving college graduates in low-income schools for two-year stints, and Teach.org, a newly formed partnership between the Department of Education and several companies, teachers unions and other groups, have recently introduced initiatives aimed specifically at recruiting more racial minorities.
Still, some educators say that boys, who tend to struggle in school more than girls, could use more male role models, or simply people who understand them, in the classroom.
Some say the notion that boys need to be taught differently or by men simply underscores gender stereotypes.
Rafe Esquith, a 32-year veteran who teaches fifth grade at Hobart Boulevard Elementary School in Los Angeles and has written two books on teaching, hopes to show his students — a vast majority of whom come from poor families — “a guy who lives a different life than a lot of the male role models that they see.” Other than that, he said, the value of a man in the classroom “depends on the man, I think.”
Wouldn’t it be cool if a major TV network in the US would do the same? I know that BBC is government funded and all, but heck, how much cash do you need to do something like this ABC?
From the press release:
BBC Children’s and BBC Learning today announce a range of content across Bitesize, CBBC and CBeebies that will encourage children across the UK to get involved with computing and coding, with new education resources, lively television series, games and competitions.
These early examples form part of the BBC’s coding and digital creativity initiative for 2015, which aims to inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology. More detail on this initiative will be announced soon.
To support primary and secondary schools across the UK, and to coincide with the new computing curriculum in England, BBC Learning has introduced a new range of media-rich computer science content through Bitesize. These include curriculum-mapped guides using animation, graphics, video and interactive games
In Appsolute Genius on CBBC, Dick and Dom learn about the geniuses whose ideas, creations and discoveries have shaped the world of coding, computer programming and gaming. As part of this brand-new interactive series, Dick and Dom will also be challenging CBBC viewers to design and help build their very own game – giving a budding young designer the once in a lifetime opportunity for their idea to be released as an app that people across the UK can download and play. Competition details will be announced on CBBC and on the CBBC website later this month.
Also launching on CBBC this autumn is Technobabble, a fun new series delving into the exciting world of technology and taking children on a journey to discover how digital innovations may affect their lives in the future. Presenters Frankie Vu and Clara Amfo will be highlighting the latest apps, games and brilliant examples of digital creativity from around the world, from 3D printers to movie special effects and immersing themselves in the world of virtual reality.
For younger viewers super scientist Nina returns to CBeebies with a brand-new series, Nina And The Neurons: Go Digital, which sees Nina and her young experimenters travel the UK in search of wonders of computer technology. Nina and her experimenters have a go at computer code, find out how the internet works and even try some 3D printing of their own.
Sinéad Rocks Acting Head of BBC Learning, said: “We know that many children are genuinely interested in technology and we want to play our part in inspiring and empowering them to pursue their passions and to find out even more. Our new education resources are designed to give a hands on approach through a range of great animation, video and interactive games that we hope will really engage and entertain whilst also enabling our audiences to develop key digital skills. This combined with great television and online output from CBBC and CBeebies means that the BBC can inspire children to get creative digitally both within the formal setting of the classroom and at home through television, games and competitions.”
The new resources can be found at bbc.co.uk/schoolscomputing, which will link to all the new Computing content on Bitesize as well as to other BBC classroom resources, including content to support Dick and Dom’s Appsolute Genius.
Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Children’s, said: “It’s really important that BBC Children’s is at the forefront of digital creativity, because for millions of children CBeebies and CBBC are their first port of call for facts, information and inspiration. And with Dick and Dom and Nina and her Neurons leading the charge, we are sure it will be huge with our audiences.”
Free Ebook Offer from Curtis Bonk: Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online
From Curtis Bonk one of the people you need to be following:
When my book, “The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education" first appeared in the summer of 2009, people asked me two insightful questions: #1. If this truly is an open educational world, then why isn’t the book free?, and #2. What can educators actually do in this more free and open world? A couple years later, when Massive Open Online Courses or "MOOCs" first arrived on the scene, people around the globe were asking me a third question; namely, #3. how to increase MOOC retention rates. They read MOOC related articles in the New York Times, the Guardian, BBC News, CNN International, the Korea Times, and all of the other hype about the global transformation of higher education. But they also knew that there were a host of problems surrounding MOOCs.
It took more than five years, but I finally have responded to all three questions. Where? How? And when, you ask? Well, my latest book, "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online," provides a framework of 10 proven psychological principles of motivation (see visual below) and more than 100 activities for addressing the vast learner motivation and retention problems we all witness today. In responding to all those who joked with me that my next book should be free, this book, written with Elaine Khoo from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, not only is FREE as an e-book (all 367 pages), but you can download each chapter separately for free as well. Since the book release in May, over 20,000 people have already downloaded the entire book and thousands more have selected individual chapters. Chapters on curiosity, tone/climate, and relevance are among the most popular ones.
You too can download it all right now and share it with others. In addition, a Chinese version of the free e-book will be available soon. This free and open access book is my way of expressing my thanks for the opportunity to live in this vast and exciting open educational world.
Besides the free e-book, “Adding Some TEC-VARIETY” is also available from Amazon in paperback and for the Kindle. More specifics about the book can be found in a recent blog post of mine as well as at the book homepage.
This book is an experiment for me both in self-publishing as well as pushing the edges of the open educational world. I hope you enjoy my new free book and share it with others. Oh, by the way, my son Alex designed the cover. I hope you like it.
Curt Bonk, Ph.D. (in educational psychology), CPA
Professor, Instructional Systems Technology Department; Adjunct, School of Informatics
President, CourseShare, LLC
I have become interested in the idea that in order to get students engaged, we as educators need to make some kind of interest connection with them. I know, you say, that is what relevance is all about. Yeah yeah, I know. But to me, this idea goes way beyond relevance. It goes more towards how do you make a lesson RELEVANT AND INTERESTING?
To me, relevance and interest are two separate terms, and just because something is relevant, it does not mean it is of interest. And just because something is interesting, does not mean it is relevant. I can have a great interesting lesson that means nothing either to the standards that I need to teach, or to the kids I am teaching. On the other hand, I can have a lesson that kills it when it comes to relevance in my student’s lives but be boring as hell.
This goes back to that idea that there needs to be some kind of emotional attachment to learning, as I wrote about in “Remembering the Kiss.” We don’t have to be recreating the late Robin William’s manic routines in front of them in order to be engaging or to create that connection. I remember in the movie “Teachers” where Richard Mulligan plays a man that has escaped the asylum and was mistaken for a substitute teacher: He actually ended up being more interesting to the students than the regular teacher, reenacting historical theater of the absurd in the classroom:
Boring it certainly was not, but whether the students were actually learning, well, that is left up to the viewer.
We are now blessed with an overabundance of ways of teaching. Indeed, in my 27 or so years as an educator, I cannot recall a time when there ever was such an infusion of knowledge, techniques, sharing, and general just education-related material available as there is today.
Online, in class, at home, at the coffee house, listening while riding the bus or driving a car, there is now so many opportunities to learn that really someone must purposely avoid it.
Yet, I wonder if those opportunities are any better than they were before? Are we growing more crops in our larger fields or more weeds like in this picture:
Do we still produce low interest lessons?
We want to create a sweet spot where our lessons are both high in relevance and interest:
I was thinking about flipped classrooms the other day. I know, everyone is hot for flipped classrooms, where you take the lecture (READ THAT: BORING) part of the lesson and “flip it” so that the kids get the boring part of the class at home, and the actual stuff they would have done at home in class. (I have several entries about flipping the classroom here.) So are we flipping the boredom to home instead of in class? Is that such a good thing? I am not sure. Are we not just shifting stuff around instead of making it more engaging and more relevant in many flipped class examples? Afterall, boring is boring, whether it is presented in class or on a computer screen at home. Watching this on a computer screen does not make it more meaningful, relevant or interesting:
"There’s a lot more testing with the teacher-as-examiner going on than we probably think, and that’s a real negative to me because it’s such a limited kind of writing,” Melzer said. “It should make people think about how we can improve upon the situation and have student do richer kinds of writing.”
Professors are also “obsessed” with grammatical correctness, even when they claim to value critical thinking, the study says.
“Based on their discussions of grading criteria, instructors devote as much time to formal correctness as they do talking about content, and often grammatical correctness was a baseline for acceptability” – even when most syllabuses had typos or grammatical errors, Melzer says in the book; one of the “strongest patterns” in his research was the expectation of perfect grammar.
“At a minimum, your writing should be free of spelling errors and grammatical errors,” reads one sample assignment. Another business law professor’s assignment offers very specific guidance about how different grammatical and spelling errors will affect a student’s grade. Then, seemingly as an afterthought, the professor says: “Please offer analysis, also.”
Melzer argues that such an apparent emphasis on surface-level writing sends students “mixed messages” about the value of higher-order writing skills. It would also impede many students’ ability to “let things flow” to build writing fluency, he says.
This HAS to apply at all levels, not just post secondary AND it has to apply to assignments other than just writing. If we create boring ,single disciplinary, low cognitive ability assignments, we will get back from students exactly what we ask them to provide: Low level, low interest papers.
If we assign those types of problems, we should not complain that students cannot “think out of the box” or “lack creativity.” If the assignment is stuck in the box, don’t expect the students to exist anywhere but in that same box.
This certainly makes the case for programs such as Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) which has been around for quite a while, but is not used widely. Indeed, Melzer seems to be quite an advocate of WAC:
"The instructors in my research who assign the widest variety of purposes, audiences, and genres, who provide students with interesting and complex rhetorical situations rather than just the traditional lecture/exam format, and who teach writing as a process through peer response or responding to rough drafts are most often teaching in a course connected in some way to a Writing Across the Curriculum program. This may mean a writing-intensive course, a team-taught course with an English department faculty member, a learning community, or a course connected to a writing fellows program. Instructors from writing-intensive courses connected to established WAC programs at ￼institutions such as the University of Missouri, University of Pittsburgh, Cornell, University of Hawaii, Duke, University of Massachusetts, and Stanford assigned the most writing, asked students to write for the greatest variety of audiences in the greatest variety of genres, and adopted common WAC pedagogical tools such as journaling, freewriting, grading rubrics, and peer response."
"Boring is a boring does" to paraphrase Forrest Gump.
What is the difference between Notetaking and Notemaking? I am not sure i agree 100% with this, especially the longhand writing stuff, but I do think that there is a need to teach students to become something more than organic Xerox™ machines.
From the article:
“Do students know how to make their own notes? As veteran learners, we teachers often take things for granted, but if students are used to having notes given to them, they’ll need guidance. I observed a chemistry teacher who did this effectively. He projected the text on the board (the students had their own copies) as he read the text aloud. He paused and noted key words such as most important, three reasons for…, first. He underlined a few key phrases and annotated the margins with key terms or questions from the paragraph. After a page or two, he encouraged students to try this on their own as he circulated around the room and monitored their efforts. With a notemaking approach, teachers need to accept that students’ notes will not be uniform.”
Interesting take on something we hear a lot about.
Can we actually tach critical thinking if we are not critical thinners to begin with?
Here is the reprinted article:
Let’s stop trying to teach students critical thinking
Many teachers say they strive to teach their students to be critical thinkers. They even pride themselves on it; after all, who wants children to just take in knowledge passively?
But there is a problem with this widespread belief. The truth is that you can’t teach people to be critical unless you are critical yourself. This involves more than asking young people to “look critically” at something, as if criticism was a mechanical task.
As a teacher, you have to have a critical spirit. This does not mean moaning endlessly about education policies you dislike or telling students what they should think. It means first and foremost that you are capable of engaging in deep conversation. This means debate and discussion based on considerable knowledge – something that is almost entirely absent in the educational world. It also has to take place in public, with parents and others who are not teachers, not just in the classroom or staffroom.
The need for teachers to engage in this kind of deep conversation has been forgotten, because they think that being critical is a skill. But the philosopher John Passmore criticised this idea nearly half a century ago:
If being critical consisted simply in the application of a skill then it could in principle be taught by teachers who never engaged in it except as a game or defensive device, somewhat as a crack rifle shot who happened to be a pacifist might nevertheless be able to teach rifle-shooting to soldiers. But in fact being critical can be taught only by men who can themselves freely partake in critical discussion.
The misuses of ‘criticism’
The misuse of the idea of “criticism” first became clear to me when I gave a talk about critical thinking to a large group of first-year students. One student said that the lecturers she most disliked were the ones who banged on about the importance of being critical. She longed for one of them to assert or say something, so she could learn from them and perhaps challenge what they say.
The idea that critical thinking is a skill is the first of three popular, but false views that all do disservice to the idea of being critical. They also allow many teachers to believe they are critical thinkers when they are the opposite:
“Critical thinking” is a skill. No it is not. At best this view reduces criticism to second-rate or elementary instruction in informal and some formal logic. It is usually second-rate logic and poor philosophy offered in bite-sized nuggets. Seen as a skill, critical thinking can also mean subjection to the conformism of an ideological yoke. If a feminist or Marxist teacher demands a certain perspective be adopted this may seem like it is “criticism” or acquiring a “critical perspective”, but it is actually a training in feminism or Marxism which could be done through tick box techniques. It almost acquires the character of a mental drill.
“Critical thinking” means indoctrination. When teachers talk about the need to be “critical” they often mean instead that students must “conform”. It is often actually teaching students to be “critical” of their unacceptable ideas and adopt the right ones. Having to support multiculturalism and diversity are the most common of the “correct ideas” that everyone has to adopt. Professional programmes in education, nursing, social work and others often promote this sort of “criticism”. It used to be called “indoctrination”.
“Critical theories” are “uncritical theories”. When some theory has the prefix “critical” it requires the uncritical acceptance of a certain political perspective. Critical theory, critical race theory, critical race philosophy, critical realism, critical reflective practice all explicitly have political aims.
What is criticism?
Criticism, according to Victorian cultural critic Matthew Arnold, is a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world. We should all be as “bound” by that definition as he was. We need only to teach the best that is known and thought and “criticism” will take care of itself. That is a lesson from 100 years ago that every teacher should learn.
Critical thinking seen as Arnold defined it is more like a character trait – like having “a critical spirit”, or a willingness to engage in the “give and take of critical discussion”. Criticism is always about the world and not about you.
The philosopher most associated with the critical spirit is Socrates. In the 1930s, Australian philosopher John Anderson put the Socratic view of education most clearly when he wrote: “The Socratic education begins … with the awakening of the mind to the need for criticism, to the uncertainty of the principles by which it supposed itself to be guided.”
But when I discuss Socratic criticism with teachers and teacher trainers I miss out Anderson’s mention of the word “uncertainty”. This is because many teachers will assume that this “uncertainty” means questioning those bad ideas you have and conforming to an agreed version of events, or an agreed theory.
Becoming a truly critical thinker is more difficult today because so many people want to be a Socrates. But Socrates only sought knowledge and to be a Socrates today means putting knowledge first.
Dennis Hayes does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
Reflections on District Site Visits: Not Everything is About Money
This week, I have the privilege of traveling with a delegation from my school district to three Dallas Texas area districts: Plano, Lewisville and Coppell. The purpose of the trip was to meet with representatives of the districts and see first hand some of the interesting and innovative programs that they have instituted and to pick their brains on the good and bad of what they were doing.
Now I know that these three districts are in economically well-off areas of the state of Texas. There is no way around it, they have money. They are located in high SES bedroom communities outside of the Dallas-proper area. They don’t have many of the problems that property poor districts have. I understand that. But we were not there to feel sorry for ourselves and make a wish list of things we could never afford. We were there to see how innovation works in innovative districts. Innovation was easy to find there.
After a few hours, it became apparent that some major themes were common in these districts.
And it wasn’t about the money. It was about attitude.
Without exception, the employees we met with seemed to have a consistent set of attitudes:
They enjoyed working in the districts they worked in.
They believed that they could do interesting and awesome things if only they tried.
They were not afraid to fail at something if they learned, moved on and grew from the failure.
They had a spirit of cooperation. One district even called another their “sister school district.”
They understood the direction that the district was headed. They were familiar with the district’s plan.
They worked hard to incorporate the community into their decisions and to maintain a strong community relationship.
I noticed that many of things that they did were not as much to do with money but rather simply attitude. For instance, one district had a professional development center that had a snack area which included an area that looked like it came out of a 7-11: Hot Dogs, popcorn, nacho chips and sauce…serve yourself and clean up after yourself as well. When teachers were hungry during PD, go get a snack.
A very inexpensive thing, However, what that does is send the message that we value having you here and we value you enough that we will provide little things to make you more comfortable.
That attitude of valuing the employees, was evident everywhere and that does not require a lot of money. Employee input was not just something done as part of a yearly or quarterly survey, it actually was just the way business was conducted.
Having an enjoyable place to work. Is that a money thing? I don’t think so. I think it is a leadership thing. Indeed, almost all of the above points are leadership things.
Cooperation, no fear to try new things, communicating the district’s direction, community involvement. Are those money things or are they leadership things?
It is easy for us in the low SES districts to look at districts like these and say “Yeah, well if WE had money, we could do that too.” It is easy to have that attitude and it is easy to use that attitude to not try to excel. (It reminds me of the old story of the amateur photographer that owned a less expensive camera that told the professional photographer that they could take good pictures if they just had a “good camera.” Turns out it is not the camera, it is the photographers. Crappy photography comes from crappy photographers, not crappy cameras.) In districts with High SES, it might be easier to get the word out to parents for instance and that translates into better parental involvement. But really, that is just a logistics thing, not a money thing.
When I was leaving, one of the ladies I was with had an interesting story. “Tim, she said “When I got married , I really wanted to dress like celebrities that I saw on TV and in the movies. Of course we were poor and just starting out, so I couldn’t afford the fancy clothes. My husband said to me ‘You know how they look. You know where the cloth store is, you know how to sew. Why not try to replicate as best you can? It may not be the exact copy, but it would be pretty close.” She went on to tell me how she would make clothes that were pretty close. Good enough. (As Kevin Honeycutt once told me it was “China Good.”) Maybe, she said, we could duplicate what these districts are doing but on our terms, on our budgets (Much like this website tries to do with celebrity fashions.)
The point was, we may not be able to exactly duplicate what these districts are doing, but we can try, with the limitations we have, work to replicate other’s successful programs so that they fit in our needs , our community.
And if we aren’t afraid to fail, we can make magic.
They may not know who Steve Jobs was or even how to tie their own shoelaces, but the average six-year-old child understands more about digital technology than a 45-year-old adult, according to an authoritative new report published on Thursday.
The advent of broadband in the year 2000 has created a generation of digital natives, the communication watchdog Ofcom says in its annual study of British consumers. Born in the new millennium, these children have never known the dark ages of dial up internet, and the youngest are learning how to operate smartphones or tablets before they are able to talk.
"These younger people are shaping communications," said Jane Rumble, Ofcom’s media research head. "As a result of growing up in the digital age, they are developing fundamentally different communication habits from older generations, even compared to what we call the early adopters, the 16-to-24 age group."
The fact is of course, that the news rarely reports the planes that land safely. News is only news, it seems, when the unusual happens. Houses that DON’T burn down are never news, Houses that burn down? Always news. Marriages that last forever? Not News. Divorce rate goes up? News. You get the idea.
With that in mind, I am noticing a trend in the news of reporting when big ed tech initiatives crash and burn. The most famous of course is the Los Angeles Unified iPad rollout where the kids immediately found a way around the built-in security and the iPads had to be recalled. Amid all of that, the district’s $1 Billion program crashed and burned, and recently the district rebooted the initiative with Windows laptops. I won’t debate the merits or lack thereof of the program, but it made for great news: giant ed tech program crashes. Millions of dollars wasted!
Then just this week, we learned that another large scale 1:1 initiate was cut back by the Hoboken School district, which decided to pull back it’s large-scale laptop initiative:
Listen to the story here:
Of course, we could have a nice discussion about how these programs had some significant failures in implementation, not in goals. Poor logistics, bad training, poor communications. In the Hoboken case for instance the current Superintendent Toback “admits that teachers weren’t given enough training on how to use the computers for instruction. Teachers complained that their teenage students were too distracted by their computer screens to pay attention to the lesson in the classroom.”
The planes crashed in LA and Hoboken. Sigh.
The point however, is that there are 100s if not thousands of successful iPad and mobile device rollout programs across the country that the media does not report on. Both large scale and small scale. From chromebooks to laptops to tablets. From classroom implementations to district wide, to statewide programs. Consider the McAllen ISD in Texas who has had a wildly successful iPad 1:1 program. They are not alone. Remember the state of Maine? They still are going with laptops for all their kids in grade 7-12. Don’t hear too much about that anymore do you?
McAllen and the state of Maine: The planes are landing safely there. No one talks about them. Sigh again.
One major downside of all of this is that the average news watcher is going to see the plane crashes in Ed Tech and think that the NORM is for a bunch of money to be unwisely spent in times of budget cuts which it is not. Never seeing the positive or only tangentially by going to their kids school and seeing kids with technology.
We as ed tech proponents need to get the word out to our communities, not just report to ourselves about how wonderful we are, That is preaching to the choir. We need to preach to those that watch the bubble headed beach blondes for the evening news.
Dear Principals: Some Tips for Your First Back-to-School Meeting.
Dear New Campus Principal,
I know you have to do SOMETHING when all the we come back to school. I know that you are under the gun to be amusing, engaging, and informative. Some of us are a pretty hard audience. We have been through a whole lot of your kind over the years. It’s tough. Everyone is watching you and waiting for you to make a mistake so we can pounce on you like sharks on chum.
I thought I would make your life here a little easier by giving you a few pointers to make your new life here easier and to start the new year off on a good note. Believe me, I have been through a bunch of campus administrators over the years, and that old saying about never getting a second chance to make a first impression is true. Especially with us teachers.
So consider this a friendly welcome to the building letter. I hope you take it in the spirit that it is written.
Here goes nothing:
Please don’t show us a Ken Robinson video about how schools kill creativity and then in the next breath show us our test scores and tell us how we need to bring them up this year by sticking to the prescribed curriculum. Also any video that was made from cheesy sentimental slides telling us that all kids can learn while playing over some generic soft instrumental music is a no no. Oh, and we all saw that video of the guy that got everyone to dance on the hillside a couple of years ago.
Avoid giving us sports related platitudes about how we are all a team and that there is no “I” in team.
Don’t tell us that we need to use lots of technology in our classes if you are not willing to allow us time to learn how to use the technology and how we can incorporate it into our lessons. Allow us time to explore how we can use technology.
Don’t say you “plan” to do something. Either you are doing it or you are not. DO you PLAN to be walking the campus each morning or are you actually going to do it? Do you PLAN to be highly visible or are you actually going to do it? Do you PLAN on having lots of parental involvement, or are you actually going to have lots of parental involvement? We have seen lots of plans. We want to see lots of follow through.
Do not read a handout verbatim that you just gave out. We are all adults, We all have degrees. We can read. Really.
Do not say you want to have a culture of high expectations, and then are happy with test results that are the minimum expectation. Either we have high expectations or we don’t. But if we have high expectations, that means we also have high expectations for you.
On a side note, don’t tell us to not be afraid to fail, if you are going to get made if we fail at something. Set your rules for this, set your expectations, and let us know up front what you consider “acceptable failure” and what you do not.
Do not say you expect all of us to keep up with the latest trends in education, but then refuse to pay for any professional development opportunities. If it is within reason, then please send us to on going and meaningful professional development. And you can come along with us.
Do not read off your Powerpoint slides word for word.
Do not show a stupid Dilbert comic.
Do not treat teachers that have been in the system for 30 years the same as a new teacher. We know where the book room is, We know where the custodian hands out the keys. Meet with them separately to give them the lowdown on the basics.
Do not show us ANY video longer than 3 minutes.
Do not start a Book Study on the first day back.
Get to know the new staff BEFORE you introduce them at a meeting. Why are they here? Why did you hire them? Give us a little insight as to why you think they fit in here. Don’t just tell us that you think they will do a good job. Tell us WHY you think they will do a good job. Show us that you really thought about them when you hired them.
Don’t say you have an open door policy and then never be around. An open door is useless if no-one is there.
If you want us to use technology, then you use technology. Show us your blog. Show us you can walk the walk. And if you cannot, at least learn with us. Then use it.
We had BBQ for lunch last year. Try something different. Oh, and your secretary hates fajitas.
Tell us you are perfectly willing to take down every single motivational poster that has been hanging in the office for the last 10 years that no one has ever read.
Tell us that you will let all of us know when you will be out for the day. Don’t just tell your secretary.
Have you seen this meme going around Facebook? It is quite popular and has a gizillion “Likes.” I saw it on a few of my friends feeds, and it got me wondering if indeed the sentiment was true. Let’s think about it for a second:
The quote is: “In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in High School to teaching remedial English in college.” The quote is from a fellow named Joseph Sobran, a well known anti-Semitic conservative columnist who passed away in 2010. I suspect most people that pass these memes on have no idea who the person that made the quotes they agree with were like. They just like the quote and pass it on. No deep thought involved or needed to click “Send” or “Share.” The accompanying picture shows a kid wearing a Dunce hat sitting next to a computer, IMPLYING that computers make you a dunce.
These types of things show up almost on a weekly basis on the internet. Most of us have also seen the meme about the 8th grade test from 1895 or something, that most people today could not pass:
Such questions ask how many rods in an acre, and of course the scientifically inaccurate question asking students to explain why the Atlantic Coast is cooler than the Pacific Coast at a similar latitude (hmm..it isn’t actually, the water temperature is actually cooler on the US Pacific coast due to the way the ocean currents rotate..but I digress. Perhaps that is a trick question.)
The point of both of these memes is to demonstrate how poorly educated students today are compared to their counterparts 100 or so years ago. (I find it highly amusing that the people that are clicking “Like” probably could not pass that test, so what does that say about them?) By God, we are not teaching the Major Epochs in US History anymore! Dammit, my kids don’t know all the Republics of Europe! It is the Common Core’s fault! (Here is a list of them by the way. How many did you know?)
Of course those people that think kids today are just stupid, and that education is far inferior today than it was 100 years ago are totally wrong. Here is why:
Beginning with the Sobran quote, Latin and Greek, for the most part were taught in Prep schools, not your basic one room school house. For proof, look at the 1895 Kansas test and see how many questions ask about Greek or Latin? There are none. Frankly, Greek and Latin were part of a Rich White Male’s college prep education. The vast majority of students in school at the time, if they were even lucky enough to be in school because it was not mandatory, never took Latin, never took Greek, and almost certainly never took both together. If your Daddy was the owner of Standard Oil or your last name was Rockefeller, then you learned Latin and Greek. If your daddy was a dirt farmer, then you probably didn’t go to school at all.
As for remedial English college courses, there is some thought today that these courses are merely cash cows for cash-strapped universities and community colleges that are looking for any way possible to get students to pony up extra dough. Studies are now showing that remedial courses in post secondary schools are not needed in many cases, but still are offered or mandated. Many students in them do not need to be there, so for Sobran to say that remedial courses are bad is really saying that the system to get students enrolled in them is bad, not that the students or their education is lacking.
The people that make these memes are also ignoring basic US history. After WWII, there was a great number of returning vets that all of a sudden were placed back into the education system. Were they there to learn Latin and Greek? Of course not, They came back and wanted an education that would get them a job. As you can easily see from the graph below, the number of post secondary degrees awarded by accredited schools in the US has shot through the roof since the end of the Second World War. Latin and Greek were dropped out of most curricula because they were not needed to understand the jobs being offered, just as today. How many of you have had to pass a Greek test in order to get a job? Latin?
What the folks that decry how poorly our students are prepared ( do we really need to know such trivia as the feminine of Ox or the major rivers of South America?) rarely if ever turn the tables and ask if a student in 1895 Salina Kansas could pass a 2014 Eighth Grade standardized test? Consider the following question, taken off a pretty typical standardized science test:
How do you think those Kansas farm boys in 1895 would be up to answering that question? Probably not. The point is, tests are written for the times that the tests take place, not for 100 years after they were written. The other point is that education is designed to meet the needs of the CURRENT society, not the needs of society 10 decades past.
On a side note, the next time you come across the Kansas Test, you might want to point out that the Kansas Test was probably NOT an 8th grade test but rather a test for someone applying for a job TEACHING in Salina Kansas. There is nothing on the original document that says “Eighth Grade Test” and in fact there are questions about tax rates and school funding, knowledge probably even a 19th century farm kid in 8th grade didn’t need to know, then or now.
Now, if you REALLY want to know the state of education in the US from an historical perspective, you need to read Diane Ravitch’s book The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
Of course, it will take you a little more time than simply hitting the “Share” key on Facebook to actually learn the history of education.
Interesting survey on the current trends in educator employment. Good info for administrators and HR people.
From the report:
“To explore these questions, we used the largest and most comprehensive source of data on teachers available—the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) and its supplement, the Teacher Follow-Up Survey (TFS). These data are collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Education (for information on SASS, see NCES, 2005). NCES has administered seven cycles of SASS over a 25-year period—1987-88, 1990- 91, 1993-94, 1999-2000, 2003-04, 2007-08, and 2011-12. In each cycle, NCES administers questionnaires to a nationally representative sample of about 50,000 teachers, 11,000 school- level administrators, and 5,000 district-level officials, collecting an unusually rich array of information on teachers, their students, and their schools. We decided to take advantage of both the depth and duration of these data to explore what changes have taken place in the teaching force and teaching occupation over the two and a half decades from 1987 to 2012. Below, we summarize seven of the most prominent trends and changes; we found the teaching force to be:
5.More Diverse, by Race-ethnicity
6.Consistent in Academic Ability
Click on the link to go to the report. There is a download available from the site.