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“I’m not black, I’m not white, not foreign … just different in the mind. Different brains, that’s all. I walk alone like a lonely soul, …”
Technology access to youth in underserved areas has long been a concern for those seeking to bridge the digital divide. An organization in San Diego teaches "technoliteracy" so that youth can use media in ways that are meaningful to their lives. While youth express themselves by authoring online magazines and producing visual art for gallery exhibits, they are empowered and connected to global issues.For my day on, I plan to go to the Technology Lab and work on building our capacity to sustain our efforts in service-learning.
In Chicago''s West Town community, the NTRC will launch the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Technology Scholars Program (MLK Tech Scholars) for students in grades 8 - 12. To bridge the "digital divide", this program will link 25 local students with area businesses, churches and organizations to increase awareness and lend their technology expertise in areas that include web site development, database creation, and word processing. Participating youth will attend an eight-week pre-service training that will refine their technology experience, and orient them to the significance of service-learning. After the eight weeks, each youth will complete a four-week, on-site technology project with a partner organization.
Since Cerf's declaration that it's fun to read, we've hung "Reading is Fun" banners in libraries and classrooms and promoted reading fun on educational television. The idea, perfectly well meaning, is to hook children on a lifelong skill without letting them know they're being taught.
But in making this bargain, perhaps we've inadvertently conditioned new generations of Americans to think of reading as a literary amusement park, full of thrills, chills, and a few pleasant gags that indulge us without asking anything in return.
It may be that fewer young Americans today read in their spare time because the reading-is-fun philosophy has taught them to regard books as just another species of popular entertainment, blithely interchangeable with the latest sitcom or movie blockbuster. It's a comparison in which the quieter medium of literature seems ill suited to compete.
Heitman goes on to contrast "reading is fun" with "reading can be much more" by reminding us about a scene in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird:
In Harper Lee's famous novel, small-town lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man wrongly accused of rape in Depression-era Alabama. In a sentence meant to deride her father's wallflower personality, Finch's daughter flatly observes: "He sat in his livingroom and read."
But what we slowly discover is that Finch's reading isn't just passive play, but a vital wellspring.
As he waits for an inevitable confrontation with a gang of vigilantes, Finch reads in the dark, lonely night by the light of a single bulb.
Struggling against a town that despises his principles, Finch routinely reads to widen his worldview and deepen his soul. He is reading, in a very real way, as if his life depends on it.
That sense of daring and risk, of deep emotional and spiritual discovery, is what gets lost when we think of books only as avenues to pleasure. As the NEA report makes clear, reading can also be a source of civic and social renewal.
The video trailer for the film version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" does not include that scene but it does implicitly convey the civic and social impact that books and their film adaptations can have on a nation learning to live up to its ideals in the 1960s.
Kate or I read to Sarah and Rosa for 20 minutes or more nearly every night until well after they could read well for themselves. I even remember lines from some of those books- "Big A, little a, what begins with A? Aunt Annie's alligator ... I do! I'm a Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz as you can plainly see." (Dr. Suess' ABC) Some phrases from those books have become literary allusions for our family life- "What? Forget? No, I never forget!" (Rice, E. Sam who never forgets)
One of the reasons Atticus is a great father, in my opinion, is the way he treats his children like reasonable human beings. For instance, when Scout balks at going to school, fearing that her beloved reading time with her father will be pushed out due to lack of time.
Atticus, in his lawyerly, loving way makes a deal with her. A compromise:
"Do you know what a compromise is?" he asked.
"Bending the law?"
"No, an agreement reached by mutual concessions. It works this way," he said. "if you'll concede the necessity of going to school, we'll go on reading every night just as we always have. Is it a bargain?"
Although not every educator needs to have the skills addressed by these tutorials, every school organization needs to have a critical mass of personnel who can work with raw data and provide assistance and/or data analyses to other staff. If educators are to truly realize the power of data-driven decision-making, these "data managers" should be in every school building, not just the district central office. This is true even in school districts that already have a comprehensive data management and analysis (i.e., data warehouse) or instructional management and assessment system, since educators in those districts often find that they still have a need to work with raw data outside of those software systems.They provide School Data Tutorials, a series of tutorials in using intermediate to advanced spreadsheet analysis in the context of school issues. Anyone who has the combination of classroom experience and these analytical skills should have an edge. Developments in new technologies may change the way we collect and manage data but the need for analysis will grow.
They even provide a snippet of code that makes it easy to acknowledge their contributions to shared resources:
We want you to use our resources for teaching and learning! That's why we publish them. To make it easy for you, we now license most of our content under a Creative Commons BY/NC/SA license, version 2.5. When you see this icon:
you know that you are absolutely free to use the resources on that page in your classroom. In fact, you can use the resource for any non-commercial purpose whatsoever, so long as you attribute it to its creator.