Sixth-grade teacher Kerstin Westcott held back tears as she explained why she was leaving her dream job at a Green Bay middle school. Police were called to the middle school almost daily in the past school year. Read the rest
Former MIT physics professor Walter Lewin (who the university ultimately fired for sexual harassment) was a master of the chalkboard. Video below. Inspired by Lewin's skills, Mike Boyd explains how to draw dotted lines on a chalkboard.
This month's Mother Jones examines a shocking statistic: "According to the Albert Shanker Institute, which is funded in part by the American Federation of Teachers, the number of black educators has declined sharply in some of the largest urban school districts in the nation. In Philadelphia, the number of black teachers declined by 18.5 percent between 2001 and 2012. In Chicago, the black teacher population dropped by nearly 40 percent. And in New Orleans, there was a 62 percent drop in the number of black teachers." Read the rest
Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence.
In this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially intelligent TA, folks who build learning apps, and critics who wonder if all the promises being made are too good to be true. What do we gain when we let students choose their own paths? What do we lose when we get rid of schools?
Illustration by Matt Lubchansky.
Meet The Finch, a $100 robot from Carnegie Mellon university designed to make computer science education more fun. From the press release:
A white plastic, two-wheeled robot with bird-like features, Finch can quickly be programmed by a novice to say "Hello, World," or do a little dance, or make its beak glow blue in response to cold temperature or some other stimulus. But the simple look of the tabletop robot is deceptive. Based on four years of educational research sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Finch includes a number of features that could keep students busy for a semester or more thinking up new things to do with it.
"Students are more interested and more motivated when they can work with something interactive and create programs that operate in the real world," said Tom Lauwers, who earned his Ph.D. in robotics at CMU in 2010 and is now an instructor in the Robotics Institute's CREATE Lab. "We packed Finch with sensors and mechanisms that engage the eyes, the ears -- as many senses as possible."
"Our vision is to make Finch affordable enough that every student can have one to take home for assignments," said Lauwers, who developed the robot with Illah Nourbakhsh, associate professor of robotics and director of the CREATE Lab. Less than a foot long, Finch easily fits in a backpack and is rugged enough to survive being hauled around and occasionally dropped.