Friday, September 24, 2004

Wikinfo - Science Education

Wikinfo - Science Education. This is an encyclopedia article dealing with science education from Wikinfo.

From the site:

Science education is the field interested in sharing science content and process with individuals not traditionally considered part of the science community. The target individuals may be children, college students, or general public adults. The field of science education contains some science content, some sociology, and some teaching pedagogy.

Science education standards

In many US states, K-12 educators must adhere to rigid standards or frameworks of what content is to be taught to which age groups. Unfortunately, this often means teachers rush to "cover" the material, without truly "teaching" it. In addition, the process of science is often overlooked, such as the scientific method, and critical thinking, producing students whom can pass multiple choice tests (such as the New York and California Regents exams and the Massachusetts MCAS), but cannot solve complex problems. Although at the college level American science education tends to be less regulated, it is by chance more rigorous, with teachers and professors putting even more content into the same time period.

Scientists vs. educators

On the one hand, the elitism of professional scientists and academia has prompted numbers of education specialists to take interest in science education and making it more accessible to individuals. These science educators take the point of view that many groups (such as women, non-Asian and non-Jewish ethnic minorities, and the disabled) have been traditionally marginalized and excluded from science, to the detriment of the field. Opposing the science educators, traditional scientists feel it is important to not dilute respectable science. Only by running the gauntlet of higher education, graduate school, and so on, does one prove their reliability. Allowing those less qualified to perform science will only result in the propagation of errors and less accurate science. Both groups wish to train future scientists, they differ on how to do so, and whom is qualified.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Computers and Young Children

Computers and Young Children. This is a fine essay on using computers with young children which also includes elementary school students.

From the site:

Whether we use technology with young children--and if so, how-are critical issues facing early childhood educators and parents. This Digest discusses questions about when children should start using computers; developmentally appropriate computer activities in preschool, kindergarten, and early primary classrooms; benefits of computer use; integration of computers into classrooms; and teacher training.

WHEN TO INTRODUCE CHILDREN TO COMPUTERS

Many researchers do not recommend that children under 3 years old use computers (e.g., Hohman, 1998). Computers simply do not match their learning style. Children younger than 3 learn through their bodies: their eyes, ears, mouths, hands, and legs. Although they may return over and over again to an activity, they are full of movement, changing focus frequently. Computers are not a good choice for the developmental skills these children are learning to master: crawling, walking, talking, and making friends.

DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE COMPUTER ACTIVITIES

Unfortunately, computers are used all too often in ways that are developmentally inappropriate. One study (U.S. Congress, 1995) found that while "schools are steadily increasing their access to new technologies . . . most teachers use these technologies in traditional ways, including drills in basic skills and instructional games" (p. 103). Clements (1994) makes a similar point, noting, "What we as early childhood educators are presently doing most often with computers is what research and NAEYC guidelines say we should be doing least often" (p. 33).

Monday, September 20, 2004

Let's Write a Newspaper Story

Let's Write a Newspaper Story . With this easy-to-follow course, you will help students write authentic newspaper stories based on training developed during an educational partnership between the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Hammond Elementary School in Laurel, MD.

From the site:

Imagine your students working cooperatively, motivated and staying focused on the task at hand. They're hooked on writing!They are writing real-world newspaper stories.With this easy-to-follow course, you will help students write authentic newspaper stories based on training developed during an educational partnership between the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Hammond Elementary School in Laurel, Md.

During this lesson students will:

Work cooperatively
Research and write stories
Learn valuable writing tips
Write a newspaper story
Edit articles
Add graphics and captions
Write a headline
Lay out and produce a newspaper.

Kids will love this stimulating and educational lesson in writing and so will you. The course also supports many of the Maryland State Department of Education Performance Standards in writing as well as the Howard County (Md.) Essential Curriculum.