Study: Teachers rely on technology, but don't trust students' savvy
High school teacher Maria Johnson isn't impressed by her students' Google and Wikipedia research.
February 28th, 2013
06:45 PM ET

Study: Teachers rely on technology, but don't trust students' savvy

By Sally Holland, CNN

Washington (CNN) - A new study from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found cell phones, tablets, Google and Wikipedia are at the center of how educators teach and how students learn - but they bring new challenges, too.

Almost three-quarters of teachers surveyed said cell phones are used in their classrooms to complete assignments, while 45% use e-readers and 43% use tablet computers.

Many teachers - 99% - themselves rely on online research, but they believe digital technologies make it harder for students to “find and use credible sources of information.”

The Pew study said 76% of teachers surveyed strongly agree that  “search engines have conditioned students to expect to be able to find information quickly and easily,” and 83% agree that the amount of information is overwhelming.

The survey of about 2,400 middle school and high school teachers from across the United States asked how they use technology in their classrooms and at home. The teachers were all Advanced Placement teachers or from the National Writing Project, so all their students are considered academically advanced.

“Several teachers noted that if a student looks for a particular piece of information online for a few minutes and can’t find it, they will often not interpret that to mean they have to search differently or go to a different resource,” said Kristen Purcell, the main author of the report.

Students will assume “that information is not out there to be found," she said. "If it were, the search engine would find it quickly."

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Filed under: Technology
February 28th, 2013
03:43 PM ET

Anderson Cooper: Enough is enough – say no to bullying

CNNBy Anderson Cooper, CNN

Editor's note: Don't miss the premiere of "The Bully Effect" on "AC360" at 10 p.m. ET tonight.

(CNN) - In the last few years, awareness about bullying has increased dramatically. Some adults may still think bullying is just a youthful rite of passage, but it seems worse than in previous generations for many parents, educators and kids.

It doesn't stop at the schoolyard or even a child's front door. Access to the Internet and social media websites mean kids can be bullied and tormented around the clock, even in the supposed safety of their own homes. The cruelty that can come with the strike of a button on a keyboard can hurt just as much as any punch or push in a playground.

We've produced a documentary called "The Bully Effect" which follows the stories of a number of people filmmaker Lee Hirsch introduced audiences to in his remarkable 2012 film "Bully." These are kids and parents who have taken their pain, their suffering, their grief and turned it into action. They are truly inspiring.

I first started reporting on the problem of bullying a few years ago when a rash of suicides of children propelled the issue into the national spotlight. Since then, I've interviewed far too many parents whose children took their own lives because they felt like it was the only way out of the pain. It's not just tragic, it's unacceptable.

Read Cooper's full column

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Filed under: AC360 • Bullying • Voices
The high-tech return of high school shop class
Analy High School students watch while a 3-D printer makes a tetrahedron die in their Project Make class.
February 28th, 2013
09:31 AM ET

The high-tech return of high school shop class

Editor's note: Check out CNN Living's story about a college program creating jobs by training students to revive a 'dying trade.'

By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) - You can almost hear the old shop teacher asking - so, how is this going to work?

In his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama talked about redesigning schools for a high-tech future. He gave a shout-out to a technical high school in Brooklyn, and to 3-D printing. In a moment of seeming agreement, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio mentioned incentives for schools to add vocational and career training.

But long gone are the days of shop class, or even "vocational training," said Stephen DeWitt, the senior director of public policy for the Association for Career and Technical Education. For many years, he saw career and technical education cut by shrunken budgets or "literally and figuratively left in the back of the school, separate from academics."

What's emerging in schools now is something tougher to pin down. In one district, it might be a fancy new school dedicated to teaching tech. In another, an apprenticeship program. Some schools design career and technical classes to line up with college-prep courses that guide students to become engineers, chefs, CEOs or doctors. Almost 80% of high school students who concentrated on career and technical studies pursued some type of postsecondary education within two years of finishing high school, the U.S. Department of Education reported in 2011.

"We’re hearing policy makers talk about it more often. Certain districts are looking at career and technical education as a way to reform schools," DeWitt said. "The focus on project-based learning, how to get students engaged more, is something that’s caught on."

That might mean more maker spaces sprouting up at schools, too.

Students helped build out the maker space at Analy High School.

They are exactly what they sound like - a space to make things. The workshops and warehouses have taken off in communities around the country during the last few years, but the push to add them to schools is still fresh.

"Maker spaces aren't in schools and they need to be," MAKE magazine founder Dale Dougherty told a crowd at Maker Faire in Michigan last summer. "Not just a summer camp, not just an after-school program."

MAKE secured a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to build the "hacker spaces" in schools - a move some criticized because of its military ties. The money helped to launch maker spaces at a handful of Northern California schools this school year.

The goal: more than 1,000 by 2015.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNschools

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Filed under: Hands-on learning • High school • Math • STEM
Survey: Teachers don't want to carry guns, do support armed guards
A survey of teachers revealed most teachers would not bring a weapon to their school but would feel safer with armed guards.
February 28th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

Survey: Teachers don't want to carry guns, do support armed guards

By Todd Sperry, CNN

(CNN) - Nearly three-fourths of the nation's teachers say they personally would not bring a firearm to their school if allowed, but most educators believe armed guards would improve campus safety, a new survey showed.

Since the December massacre by a lone gunman in Newtown, Connecticut, many schools have hastened to add safety measures in an effort to prevent similar violence.The most common step since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead has been ensuring that all doors are locked, teachers said.

Of the nearly 11,000 educators surveyed nationwide, most said they generally feel safe in their schools, but disagreed on whether their workplaces were safe from gun violence.

Nearly four in 10 school superintendents who responded said their schools were not safe from gun violence, slightly higher than the 31% of teachers who felt their schools were not safe.

January's online survey was conducted by School Improvement Network, a for-profit company that specializes in professional development for educators and partners with schools, districts, and educators.

Some 72.4% of educators said they would be unlikely to bring a firearm to school if allowed to do so.

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