Teacher admits helping students on FCAT

“Gemini Elementary School teacher Stacy Stinson told school officials she gave assistance to her fifth-grade students on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, citing the extreme pressure teachers and students are under to perform well on the test.” –Teacher admits helping students on FCAT Florida Today) When teachers cheat to help their students (and thus protect their job), what kind of messge are they sending about the value of an education?…

The Torment of Teaching Evaluations

A rather sobering response to a hard-working teacher’s request for advice for how she can increase her teaching evaluation scores:“Simplest of all, you can give higher grades, which do correlate with student ratings. You can use more hand gestures, modulate your voice more, and walk while you talk. Students give higher evaluations to teachers who are good-looking or very dramatic. This is called ‘the Dr. Fox effect,’ named for a…

Computer Idle in Public Schools

“Today, tens of thousands of underused computers, neglected Internet modems and turned-off TV sets gather dust in classrooms. Meanwhile, many teachers continue to rely on fill-in-the-blank workbooks, overhead projectors, chalkboards and 50-minute lectures. Electronic technology has revolutionized 21st-century work, but not 21st-century learning….Students seldom used modern, interactive instructional software. I did see teachers get e-mail during their breaks and a library aide watching afternoon soap operas on a big-screen TV.”…

New Technology Breeds the "Backpack Journalist"

“They file real-time reports with equipment that is a fraction of the cost and size of conventional, shoulder-mounted cameras and other gear. They file primarily for the Web, with images they’ve edited themselves at the scene, and occassionally contribute to television. | The technology has resulted in streaming video from the most remote places on earth. It has also enabled a new breed of reporter, known as a ‘backpack journalist,’…

Making a Statement, in Absentia

“Students rarely post the default away message that comes with the [instant messenger] program. (“I am away from my computer right now,” for example, comes with AOL Instant Messenger, the program of choice on college campuses.) Instead, they create their own, transforming the away message into a kind of personal bulletin board available to anyone who cruises by. | They post a little of everything: news, quotes, schedules, song lyrics,…

To End All Christian Films

“It was Milton’s Satan and Dante’s Inferno that made them two of the most powerful Christian artists of all time. Because they understood evil and did not shrink from it, their depictions of goodness had power. In order to be redemptive, art has to convince us there is something real from which we need redeeming. | Conversely, much secular art in the last half-century illustrates confusion and pain brilliantly but…

Richard Rorty for the Silver Screen: Waking Ned Devine

Waking Ned Divine is a charming movie about a tiny Irish community that schemes to support a plot involving impersonating the dead winner of a lottery. While surfing around to find context for a posting on Richard Rorty, I came across this surprising article by Crystal Downing. Here’s an exerpt: “Rorty’s neopragmatic ethic is grounded in “we-intentions”: immorality is “the sort of thing we don’t do”2?like defy the “intentions” of…