Friday Round Up 5/4/2012

Happy May! We hope to see some of you at EdCamp NYC tomorrow :)

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In Crown Heights, Getting Past Stereotypes Through Learning
Fours girls from the High School for Global Citizenship in Crown Heights, Brooklyn recently participated in a WNYC radio reporting workshop in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves. These four girls are all immigrants from the Caribbean, and until recently had no knowledge of the Crown Heights riot of 1991, the climax of long existing tensions between the black communies and the Lubavitch Jewish communities in Crown Heights. This tension still exists today, and these girls as recent immigrants had heard rumors about the Jewish community which made them wary. After doing some deep investigation and speaking to Lubavitch Jews themselves, the girls learned that the Jewish community valued its privacy, but the hurtful rumors they had heard were unjust. I love this video for a number of reasons, it is great to see students put in effort to learn about different members of their community, and I enjoyed watching these girls become so engaged in learning.

EdX: A Platform for More MOOCs and an Opportunity for More Research about Teaching and Learning Online
In a joint press conference on Wednesday, Harvard University president Drew Faust and MIT president Susan Hockfield announced the new nonprofit partnership between the two universities called edX. Together they will provide free, open, online courses and the opportunity to receive an online certification (but not college credit) after completion of the course. If these courses are successful it could be a “game changer” in the higher education field, with the top tier universities now offering free online courses.

Vendors: Villains or Visionaries?
I found this article especially interesting since ShowMe is an education company and I am not currently a teacher. Tom Whitby discusses how many educators feel about the education product vendors that appear at almost all education conferences. He explains that many educators don’t enjoy vendor directed workshops. The vendors may be experts on their product, but they are not experts on the classroom and there can be an visible disconnect. In addition, some educators are still quit hesitant to embrace technology, especially with the increased rumors that the tools could eventually replace teachers. I found it to be an interesting perspective and good to keep in mind. What is your opinion on education product vendors attending conferences and workshops?

It’s Time To Crowdsource Your School’s Social Media Policy
Instead of having every school district across the country create their own private social media policy, why not create a crowdsourced policy with input from the dedicated teachers already using social media as a valuable education tool in education. This policy can then be shared with administrators across the world. It also aims to be more than a list of rules and demands, but also a resource for best practices in social media and helpful tools for teachers. You can take part in creating the policy now, Edudemic has created a live google doc that can be edited here. 

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