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Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 30, 2013

First Phase of 2013-14 Course Selection Complete
 
The initial phase of the course selection process for 2013-14 has been completed for current 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students. Students and parents/guardians may access Power School (Powerscheduler tab) to review their course selections. Plenty of time remains to make changes. Counselors will review selections and make recommendations where they see fit. Students wishing to make changes should contact their counselors. Schedules (with room and teacher assignments) will be finalized in early August.
 
Opportunities Fair Scheduled for April 12

The annual Opportunities Fair is set for Friday, April 12th.  Representatives from several local businesses, post secondary certificate programs, and community colleges will be available in the EOS gym that morning to dispense information, display products, and answer questions about career opportunities that students may have available to them.  This event provides a timely opportunity for students to explore options beyond high school that don't necessarily require a four-year college degree but do offer gainful employment after completing training/certificate programs.

UConn Mentor Connection
 
UConn Mentor Connection is a unique summer program that provides high school students with the opportunity for hands-on participation in research and creative projects under the supervision of university mentors. Accomplished university professors and advanced graduate students in over 30 different areas of study work alongside program participants on current research or creative projects in shared areas of interest. For more information click on UConn Mentor Connection.
 
 
The Future of Education: Will Digital Connectivity Expand Classroom Opportunities for Teaching and Learning?
 
The Chronicle of Higher Education Research Services released a report well over a year ago that is worth revisiting as educators assess the value of mobile devices and virtual learning. The report provides a vision of what colleges will look like in the year 2020 and it is based upon reviews of research and data on trends in higher education, interviews with experts who are sculpting the future paradigm of colleges, as well as the results of a panel of college admissions personnel that was selected by the Chronicle Research Services. The defining questions asked were 1) What is college? and 2) Why should I go? The answers reflect a significant shift in the way students envision higher education and how they will wish to pursue a degree.  It likely has implications for secondary education as well.

The following points appeared in the Executive Summary:

  • The traditional model of college is changing, as demonstrated by the proliferation of colleges (particularly for-profit colleges), hybrid class schedules with night and weekend meetings, and, most significantly, online learning.
  • Students' convenience is the future (more students will attend classes online, study part-time, take courses from multiple universities, seek three-year degree programs, and low-cost options).
  • These changes, and the pressure they will put on colleges to adapt, are coming at a particularly acute time (the hour glass-shaped economy of the future will require a college degree as a means of entry and/or advancement in higher-paying, career-oriented professions).
  • Colleges that have resisted putting some of their courses online will almost certainly have to expand their online programs quickly.
  • The conversion to more convenience for students will multiply over the next decade.
  • Colleges will need to offer these options in addition to the face-to-face instruction.
  • Students now going to elementary school are going to expect more connectivity and creativity from colleges.
  • Today's high school students see their educational futures built almost entirely around technology.
 
Below are three quotes extracted from the report:

"The students of 2020 will demand an education on their terms and will be seeking a technology-based customized approach. The bottom line is that they will want it all: a plethora of learning options that they can mix and match to play to their strengths."

"The Internet has made most information available to everyone, and faculty members must take that into consideration when teaching. There is very little that students cannot find on their own if they are inspired to do so. And many of them will be surfing the Net in class. The faculty member, therefore, may become less an oracle and more an organizer and guide, someone who adds perspective and context, finds the best articles and research, and sweeps away misconceptions and bad information."

"Good teaching will always be at the core of a good university, but for most colleges, higher education will become a more retail-based industry than it ever has been. The students of the future will demand it. Many colleges have a long way to go before they can fulfill that demand."

This, according to the report, is what the 21st century college will look like. Students (and their parents) will be seeking more affordable options, recognizing the value of higher education while opting for the best value as a return on their investment.

 If this is so, and high schools are charged with preparing students for success in higher education, then will high schools have to change as well in order to adapt to this paradigm shift at the college level? And is this what it means when reference is made to developing 21st century skills? Will standards be compromised if they are adapted to meet the needs/demands of students? Or will any change in standards simply reflect more compatibility with life in the 21st century? Is there a more cost effective way of conducting the business of education - of providing an enriching learning experience? And if these changes are made, will they reduce the role that teachers presently play in the process (oracle) or, instead, change the role to fit a new model (guide an organizer)?

An article appearing in the New York Time (11/21/10) entitled Growing Up Digital: Wired for Distraction" may provide a perspective on the challenges that these new forms of technology pose. And Digital Learning: What Kids Really Want may inform us as well.

 
Articles of Interest
 
 
 
 
 


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