In my blog entry of 4/19/18, "A Possible Solution for Making-up Missed School Days" I made a plea for providing all students with a laptop for use at school and at home. One use of this arrangement would be the provision of online instruction when normal school is canceled by inclement weather or other interruptions. Who knew back then that a pandemic would arise and most public schools in the U.S would be forced to close? Unfortunately, few districts sought to implement this plan. Now, many are hurriedly seeking to provide all students with a laptop and a home internet connection; all while trying to train teachers in the implementation of the program. Many educators were ill-prepared for online instruction. The blame for this quandary rests with the school administrators who failed to recognize the vital need to utilize computers for training staff and ultimately to provide students with a vital tool for research and learning.
Monday, August 31, 2020
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Traditionally, report cards have been issued two to four times per year in K-12 schools. Would it not be better if students (and parents) could be made aware of their average at any time? The solution can be provided using a statistical procedure called the moving average. Transition to this marking procedure can be facilitated via the use of computer technology. The result would be a student being made aware of his progress at any time or place. The grade received on a recent test or a project would automatically adjust his average for the course as soon as it is entered into the system. Another benefit is that teachers would no longer have to calculate final grades as the computer would accomplish this task automatically and immediately. Teachers could still make grade adjustments by entering a subjective value, like a mark for effort or good behavior. Parents may be kept informed of their child's progress if their email address is entered into the system.
Certain preconditions are required to make the system work: (1) provide each teacher with a computer that contains the system. (2) each teacher must determine the number of measures used to assess student progress (quizzes, exams, reports, projects, etc.), (3) each teacher must determine the weight assigned to each measure; for example, the final exam may count for a weight of 25% of the final grade, a term paper would count 10%, etc.. The total of the weights must equal 100%. The only responsibility teachers would have is to enter marks for each measure into their computer. This would be much less effort than having to determine averages using a calculator. Grade books may be eliminated as all measures are stored in a computer. Backup may be provided by automatic posting to a remote computer. (4) ideally, each student should be provided with a laptop that contains the system.
The formulas required would be created in a one-time effort by a statistician. Teachers would be trained in its use and provided with support as needed. The formula should be made available to teachers as well as students. For example, a student may have a grade of 88% in an English class before taking the final exam. He or she could enter possible marks into their computer in order to determine what would be needed to make their final grade reach a 90.
Monday, June 29, 2020
for this is a reduction in cost. Unfortunately, the State has missed a major avenue of
cost reduction: the conversion of community colleges to online institutions. Many
accredited colleges throughout the U.S. provide online options, some are fully online.
Required are (1) giving every student a laptop computer if they do not currently
own one, (2) the provision of a home internet connection where one is not available,
and (3) the training of faculty in the development and delivery of online courses.
by a professor at a specified time to all students in a class or asynchronously where students
individually can access course content at any time that is most convenient to them. The latter
does not require the full participation of an instructor as course content is developed
in advance, saved on the internet, and made accessible to students from anywhere at any
time. However, instructors will still be needed to grade assignments, provide for testing, and
assist needy students.
The potential savings of transitioning to an online model are substantial due to:
(1) the closing of some campus buildings, and (2) a reduction in staff, especially
those involved in building maintenance and the provision of food services.
There are many advantages for students and faculty when classes are moved online:
* These learning modules can be accessed asynchronously by students at any time from
* The need for students and faculty to travel to and from college is minimized as most
learning is completed at home (or from anywhere with an internet connection.)
* Students can take courses that accommodate their schedules. Part-time students
who have jobs can more easily continue working when course modules are
provided online asynchronously.
* Students can enroll in colleges that are too distant for traveling from their homes.
* All course materials can be made available to all students when posted online.
* Completed assignments can be delivered to professors via the internet. The use of
paper is eliminated, Graded work can be transmitted back to students via the internet.
* Faculty can have more time for research and writing periodicals, especially when
learning modules are provided to students asynchronously.
* Faculty will have more time to communicate with their students at any time. Office
hours are eliminated.
* The need for expensive textbooks can be minimized when free, curated internet resources
* Class size is no longer limited by classroom capacity when students are instructed online.
* Lab exercises can be provided online when virtual reality is incorporated.
* Some activities like graduation, social gatherings, class projects, and some labs can
continue on campus.
Colleges can be totally online or a combination of online and on-campus instruction.
Closed buildings can be leased to businesses or used as hotels or apartment units adding
a source of income for the State. Alternatively, vacated dormitories can be used to house
enormous to ignore:
(1) Savings can be passed to students by reducing the cost of tuition as college operating
online community colleges declines.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
I have a number of concerns. First, is the availability of laptops, like the popular, low cost, highly reliable Chromebook. These are being purchased by the thousands by districts throughout Connecticut and elsewhere. I suspect, there will be a shortage, at least initially. The high demand may result in price increases and delayed delivery. Another concern is teacher preparation. They are being called on to instruct using a system that is foreign to most educators. And, they are expected to implement DL within a short timeframe.
Another concern is the response of students. DL puts the responsibility of lesson participation directly on the student as oversight by an adult may be absent. Hopefully, parents will take a more active role in seeing that each child participates faithfully. Consequently, a DL transition should include a parent briefing.
A third concern is logistics. Computers must be distributed to students and staff. Some may need training in the use and care of laptops in a DL setting. Laptops must be modified to prevent students from accessing certain sites, like pornographic. The homes of all students must have an internet connection. Personnel may be needed to assure that school and home connections are operating efficiently. Also, each computer must contain applications needed to complete assignments. Fortunately, Chromebooks have these preinstalled. However, students and teachers must be familiar with the use of applications, like word processing.
Obviously, initiating DL is a challenging order for all involved, especially in districts that have been slow in the use of computers for instruction.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
April 12, 2020
Nation. Districts have been hastily assembling distance learning (DL) programs
in order to provide continuity to every student’s education and avoid conducting
school during summer vacation. Distance learning has been successful at the
college level; some institutions are totally online. Three conditions are required
for a PK-12 transition: (1) a laptop for every student (1:1 distribution), (2) a home
internet connection, and (3) teacher preparation. The high cost of computers
has been a barrier to DL. Fortunately, the arrival of low-cost, cloud-based
laptops, like those with the Chrome operating system, have made 1:1
there are many possible advantages. These and the disadvantages are
the cloud and used repeatedly by students at any time and from any place.
is provided by student progress.
provided online with full-class interaction between students and teachers. Teachers
may work from home or other locations.
classes can be minimized resulting in less time lost to disciplinary actions.
by moving faster through the curriculum via learning modules provided 24/7.
They may earn their diploma sooner.
at their own pace.
according to the needs of the student.
field trips and school laboratories.
(1) reducing the need for textbooks as school districts provide online learning
modules. Textbooks can be expensive, become outdated, worn out, lost, or
abused. Further savings can be gained when districts share modules and utilize
free online resources. Learning modules, being an online resource, will last
indefinitely but will need to be revised periodically.
(2) The need for school laboratories and the equipment required can be replaced by
modules utilizing virtual and augmented reality.
(3) A reduction in staff as schools transition to a blended schedule reducing
the number of days per week that school is in session.
(4) An additional reduction in staff can be realized when motivated students graduate
earlier as they progress through the curriculum at an accelerated pace.
(5) The closure of some school buildings as districts transition to an online or
more teachers can become available to assist needy students.
after the Coronavirus subsides. It will probably take the form of blended
learning where the best of both online and in school learning thrive.
Sunday, December 29, 2019
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
A number of ramifications are to be anticipated assuming that animals will no longer be required as a food source. The economic impact on animal farmers would be severe as their livelihood and that of employed workers would be substantially eliminated. A huge amount of land will no longer be required for grazing and the harvesting of animal feed. Then there is the problem of what to do with the millions of cows, hogs, chickens, and sheep. Ideally, the transition to animal-free food production will be gradual allowing for a natural die-off of existing herds. The slaughtering industry will be largely eliminated. Slaughterhouses will be replaced by labs. The need for butchers will decline, but the need for lab personnel will increase. There would be a need to preserve some of the animal stock in order to prevent the extinction of species. The transportation of animals will be impacted as the movement of cultured meat is far less demanding as is the transportation of livestock.
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
OERs have many advantages over traditional textbooks:
1. Are free of cost.
2. Are immediately available for downloading onto student devices.
3. Can be edited and updated to meet the needs of each class.
4. Can be shared with other classes, schools, or districts.
5. Being stored in the cloud, are always available to students 24/7, from any location.
Faculty would have to screen OER resources before adoption to make certain curriculum goals are supported.
Thursday, May 30, 2019
by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. 380 school districts throughout the U.S are
currently participating. Cheshire, CT schools opted-in for grades 5 through 8 but
withdrew from the program after about three months. The reasons given included:
- Flaws in the organization of the program, including assessments where students
- Student dissatisfaction with the time spent on computers minimizing interaction
- Parent dissatisfaction.
- The appearance of inappropriate images when students went to third-party
vocal leading to the superintendent’s termination of the program. Failure could have been
minimized had the district undertaken better preparation, including:
- Requiring the provider to activate a full-proof filtering system that would block
- Requiring each teacher to take all lessons as if they were a student prior to
- Giving students and parents the option of participating in the program.
- Consider a program that increases student-teacher dialogue; e.g. online
- More involvement of parents by having them experience first-hand how the