The state of US education

Everyone should read Education Spin from Looking into the President’s speech regarding the state of US education, the Annenberg folks found:

  • The high school dropout rate hasn’t “tripled in the past 30 years.” According to the DOE, it has declined by a third.
  • Eighth grade math scores haven’t “fallen” to ninth place compared to other countries. US scores have climbed to that ranking from 28th place in 1995.
  • Regarding the goal of “having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world” by 2020 … the US is currently second only to Norway in the percentage of adults with a 4-year bachelor’s degree – and trails by only 1 percentage point.

Worth reading.

Recent Links 03/31/2009

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

News from the front …

In The Guardian from March 26th:

Education unions plan 2010 Sats boycott

Teachers are threatening to bring the Sats system in England to a halt by boycotting next year’s tests.

Two of the biggest education unions will ask their members to refuse to take part in the tests, which they say have become “unacceptable for the future of children’s education.”

Would a boycott like this ever happen in the US? Probably not …

Rest of the article here.

Recent Links 03/27/2009

  • How engaged in learning are students in your school?
    The High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE, pronounced “hessie”) can help you find out. HSSSE is a new survey that offers teachers and administrators actionable information on school characteristics that shape the student experience.
    HSSSE was completed by nearly 300,000 students from high schools across 29 states in 2004,2005 and 2006. It’s a short, reliable, paper-based survey that is easy for students to complete.

    tags: engagement, research, high school

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recent Links 03/26/2009

  • OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you. OpenStreetMap allows you to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth.

    tags: maps, opensource, wiki, map, mapping, collaboration

  • Thirty sites where you can find completely free images, available for use on your blog or web site. All of these sites offer royalty free images for your use.

    tags: photos, image, photography, resources, design, clipart, stock

  • Image optimization is an art that not many people master. There are many good image editing tools that allow us to get the best visual result for a certain file size but “under the hood” a lot more optimization can be done. is a service that goes beyond the limitations of Photoshop, Fireworks & Co. It uses image format specific non-lossy image optimization tools to squeeze the last bytes out of your images – without changing their look or visual quality. You’ll get a report of how many bytes you can save by optimizing your images and all the changed images as a single zip for download.

    tags: tools, photos, image

  • is an applet from specifically tailored for real time collaboration and file sharing. Create a drop in one click and you are instantly in a rich media ‘chat’ feed. Invite participants (as many as you want), use all core settings, collaborate and exchange files at will in your browser, third party chat client, and mobile. Ideal for events, and with our free conference call function, teams working remotely. Pictures, video, audio, and documents all appear in-line and can be previewed and downloaded. Files can also be emailed in, and voicemail can be recorded on your’s private line. All files are stored (up to 100mb for free) and can be viewed in a variety of ways.

    tags: chat, collaboration, backchannel

  • Thousands of video lectures from the world’s top scholars.

    tags: learning, research, university, opencourseware

  • Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide – Save Money, Eat Better, Help The Environment: Keep It or Toss It? How long will your favorite food or beverage stay safe and tasty? What’s the best way to store it?

    tags: food, cooking, health, frugality

  • Use Yodio to add your stories to your photos or presentations, and share these narrated photos with your friends and colleagues.

    tags: digitalstorytelling, photos, audio

  • Create, publish, share your novel, comic, magazine, photo album, brochure, etc.

    tags: ebook, publishing, publications, books

  • MixedInk takes a fresh approach to collaborative writing. It’s a free, democratic and elegant way for people to weave their best ideas together. MixedInk is used by students, employees, fans, activists, political & community groups, unions, citizen journalists… pretty much any group with an opinion.Together, people write op-eds & letters to the editor, text for petitions, mission statements, questions & comments for politicians & starts, news articles, blog posts …

    tags: writing, collaborative, online, docs

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recent Links 03/25/2009

  • “Only 8 percent of U.S. college graduates now receive degrees in the humanities, about 110,000 students. Between 1970 and 2001, bachelor’s degrees in English declined from 7.6 percent to 4 percent, as did degrees in foreign languages (2.4 percent to 1 percent), mathematics (3 percent to 1 percent), social science and history (18.4 percent to 10 percent). Bachelor’s degrees in business, which promise the accumulation of wealth, have skyrocketed. Business majors since 1970-1971 have risen from 13.6 percent of the graduation population to 21.7 percent. Business has now replaced education, which has fallen from 21 percent to 8.2 percent, as the most popular major.

    The values that sustain an open society have been crushed …”

    tags: higher.ed, academia

  • fizy
  • An easy way to find songs and music videos.

    tags: search, music, videos

  • An interesting little tool. Type something in the box, click “vowel” and watch what happens.

    tags: literacy, word study, words, writing

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30PM … Earth Hour

From the Earth Hour website:

“This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming. For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009. This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.”

Recent Links 03/24/2009

  • Today’s Meet helps you embrace the backchannel and connect with your audience in real time. Encourage the room to use the live stream to make comments, ask questions, and use that feedback to tailor your presentation, sharpen your points, and address audience needs.

    tags: chat, collaboration, communication, social networking, backchannel

  • Create a chat room immediately – only for you and the people you invite. Chatzy is a good alternative to traditional chat sites as well as ICQ, Yahoo, MSN and AOL Messenger:
    -Chatzy has no registration steps – your friends can join instantly
    -Chatzy is free and has no popup ads
    -Chatzy does not require any installation on your computer (= no spyware)
    -Chatzy works on any PC, with any language and through corporate firewalls
    -Chatzy is simple and easy to use

    tags: chat, collaboration, communication, social networking, backchannel

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recent Links 03/23/2009

  • “… in the UCaPP world, the reframing of identity as being collaboratively constructed suggests that the foundation of our contemporary education system must similarly be reframed. In my view, this means replacing the 3 Rs of the modern education system with the 4 Cs of an education system that is consistent with living on this side of the break boundary. Those 4 Cs are Connection, Context, Complexity, and Connotation.”

    tags: 21st century learning, educational reform

  • At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day, while 75 million children worldwide are not in school. By pooling surprisingly small investments, we can help to significantly improve educational access and economic development. It’s called The Small Things Challenge, and partnering with Kiva and Save the Children, it’s a campaign based on the premise that every small action can make a big difference to ensure quality education and economic opportunity for all. Visit and click on the link; Intel will donate 25¢ per click.

    tags: charity, kiva, global citizenship, fund raising

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recent Links 03/22/2009

  • Online Tutoring, Homework help & Evaluation:
    “We offer Math and Science online tutoring services and homework help for Grades 5 – 12, including AP courses. Our services are designed to make your learning process simple and enjoyable.”

    tags: tutoring, online, differentiation

  • Create your own video site: Build a video blog, YouTube-like site, or a private place to share videos. Let your viewers comment, share, and interact. You decide how your site works. Easy to add and remove features.

    tags: youtube, share, videos, collaborative

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.