Education is struggling. Families under great pressure. Digital
media is in the middle of everything. Kids still want to have fun.
As 21st Cent approaches these four facts are key to constructing ed
policy. They should all be considered and not worked on
This white paper argues for re-balancing of home-school policies and placing learning at the center of consideration. It wants to provide Internet delivered alternatives for learning in the home. It wants to connect home and school to culture on WWW. It wants to construct a curriculum which is constructivist in nature. It wants kids to ant to learn, to have access anytime anywhere, and to have fun.
The Power of the Family as Educator: Basic Dynamics speaks of James S Coleman's 1996 landmark analysis of schooling (570,000 pupils, 60,000 teachers, 4,000 school districts). To that point Feds anted to upgrade school buildings and target low income families. Generally run-down schools and poorly qualified teachers were considered the chief impediment to educational achievement. Instead Coleman found that family background had more effect than anything else. He found schools have little effect on kids as compared to family, home, culture, etc. School was not enough to compensate for other problems. Still reformers insisted on trying to fix education through the schools. Public policy makers ignored "home" as an educational source. Feds thought schools could "compensate" for low income folks by giving the cultural diversity not gotten from home. We need to look beyond school to educate.
The Learning Tools of Families: "Family Capital" discusses five studies which essentially agree that home is crucial in educating children. Coleman said schools were important but homes were more important. He declared at-home sources, called ;Family Capital" were the deciding elements. 1. Learning-related items in home: reading material. 2. parent's education. 3. Other items in home like TV, telephone, car. The family capital does not educate it is a proxy and demonstrates ability and reality of families involvement. Today the capita is seen as computer, study desk, dictionary, number of books, parent's education. Coleman continued to measure cultural groups. In 6 of 8 groups items in home were related to achievement. In 5 of 8 reading material was significant to achievement. But generally parents who have more education also have more resources and time is found to help kids and educate them. Another study Armor in 1972 concurred with Coleman's study in saying that schools were not enough, but still public policy folks continued with school reform ignoring home. In 1979 another group, Bridge, Judd, Moock, asked what makes a difference and which factors make a difference and why? Their study differed in only one respect that they saw the stud char as the most important input related to achievement. However, home was next. Once again family as educator was cited and yet it was still ignored by public policy makers. Curriculum enhancement is still considered the way to go to improve stud achievement. All studies arrived at:
A Question Never Asked: School Improvement or Home
Improvement? works with two roads: school and home. All data
proved home to be the more effective, yet all the funds went to the
schools, the less educating power. Reminds one of Frost's poem "The
Road Not Taken":
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves not step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Tow roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Power of the Family as Educator
Home Schooling: records 500,000 children are home-schooled,
which replicates curriculum goals.
At-home teaching happens intentionally or unintentionally. Parents ask, direct, and instruct. Expecting more is difficult. Parents have delegated teaching to schools.
At-home Learning suggests a more gentle, inferential expectation.
Information, Communication, and Success addresses the ease and difficulty with which we can achieve success. We know more and can do more and on the other hand there is so much more to do. Technology presents new economic opportunities. As access increases so does diversity. Managing info is becoming more difficult as knowledge acquisition is growing exponentially. Logical method of maintaining info is with computers. Managing social complexity is also a major consideration. With the world pop changing as white pop decreases and Hispanic and asian grows new methods of education are needed. Technology is changing the job skills market. Low skills jobs are disappearing. This increasing diversity requires new learning paradigms.
John Dewey and Progressive Education fostered participation of the learner. He forecast constructivism in a "closed" classroom. Implementing his progressive theories was hard and deemed impossible. But the computer has changed that.
Learning Theory for the 21st Century suggests that as society changes so should the way people are prepared. Constructivist learning theory is most appropriate.
Constructivist learning involves the student in his own learning through inquiry and inventing own ideas, internalizing info, modifying understanding, and developing complex ideas. The student constructs his own knowledge. Experimental play and collaboration are cornerstones. Play is mental exploration involving novel combos of ideas, creating situations, and constructing hypothetical outcomes. Collaboration means they share, have reciprocating ideas, peers are resources not competitors. Cooperation fosters:
Learning is an "authentic activity." Messiness prevails. There is a crisscrossing of knowledge, diversity demonstrates patterns.
Constructivist models Institute for Learning Technologies (ILT) and Visual Language Laboratory (VLL) Bank Street. ILT encourages "study support environment" SSE which promotes activity through Interpretation Construction ICON which has seven characteristics:
Curriculum in the 21st Century will see the an electronic school supporting cultural literacy with technology making lots of material available when not available before. Curriculum will change. Learner's reliance on acceptance moves to analytical. Learning how to learn.
Cumulative curriculum releases the learner from pre- conceived ideas, time, and space. Continuous and ubiquitous availability of knowledge erodes grades. Students should learn cumulatively. A computer-based curriculum should tolerate an infinite number of paths of inquiry with clear feedback. learning should not simply produce knowledge, it should elicit understanding. Questions which guide the production of cumulative curriculum:
Interactive, multi-modal learning is the integration of everything into one complex system for more efficient accessibility. In the multi-modal system students become more responsible for making sense of material and for exploring. In the multi-modal system students will face more material than they can learn so they will learn to manage. This means teamwork, division of work creating projects.
Project pedagogy CyberEnglish is such an example.
The Power of Instructional Technology in Schools shows ed tech has significant impact on achievement; has positive effects on student attitudes; is effective depending upon stud pop, teacher's role, how stud are grouped; stud access to tech.
The Power of Connecting Schools AND Homes speaks to schools which control inputs from forma teaching and learning AND home which controls "family capital." Achievement is a function of the interaction of these two. Schools are more effective for children of strong family backgrounds. Technology helps.
Elem Stud Who use a computer at Home and/or at School shows 48% only at school, 3% only at home, 18% at both, 25% at neither.
Technology for Social equity not realized yet. Minorities on wrong side of Digital Divide. Knowledge is power and its distribution isn't democratic yet. learners always travel to where education is dispensed. Technology may change that provided all can get wired. Digital is color blind etc. It takes learning to the learner.
The Power of Technological "Serious Play" Curriculum of the Home finds hw should be fun otherwise it won't get done. Parents wanted serious play opportunities. CD-ROM educational apps are great: Oregon Trail, etc. Home-school-technology partnerships offer parents and teachers ways to extend time and increase student achievement.
Is a curriculum of the home available today? Yes it is emerging. See Cyber Library and follow Teacher Internet Resources and Schools of Distinction to see examples.