The Maker Movement has been gaining momentum over the past 14 years with the publication of MAKE magazine in 2005 and the first Maker Faire sponsored by John Dougherty. The book titled Invent to Learn, 2nd Ed. (2019) has become what is known as the Maker’s Movement Bible. Written by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager, the book goes into detail about how teachers and students can let loose their creativity in a myriad of ways if they are provided with space and materials to do so.
There have always been “makers” who used their hands, brains, and hearts to invent and produce the things that people use for work and play. Classrooms have long been known as places where students could be caught making things on any given day. Why the hype about maker spaces, then?
Perhaps it has to do with the disconnect that appears to have occurred due to the technology revolution that has moved learning through exploring with material objects to learning from screens. On our small campus in Northeast Ohio, we have seen a constant move toward emptying the library of books and journals in favor of digital texts. Getting a hard copy of a textbook from publishing companies is becoming more of a challenge as well. Students on all levels rely more on Google than library stacks to conduct their research. It may be that the pendulum, as it always does, is beginning to swing the other way, and humans are craving the need to get back to hands-on learning that can leave printing ink on your hands, and clay under your finger nails.
The recent release of the 2019 Nation’s Report Cards for mathematics and reading in grades 4 and 8 illustrates a growing disparity in achievement between the highest and lowest achieving students. The results show the divergence is happening across the nation, across states, and for student groups by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), widely known as the Nation’s Report Card, provides data from the nation, states/jurisdictions, and urban school districts that volunteer to participate in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). Approximately 296,900 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 mathematics assessment and nearly 294,000 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 reading assessment. Results are available for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools, as well as for the 27 participating large urban districts.
This article and photo originally appeared in Cobb Life Magazine and are reprinted with permission.
Teachers encounter all sorts of situations when they’re instructing students in the classroom, and the Bagwell College of Education at Kennesaw State University is taking an animated approach to preparing teacher candidates for scenarios they will experience as educators.
Bagwell has a new laboratory where KSU students and faculty utilize mixed-reality technology to interact with avatars of children and adults, simulating a variety of situations and challenges teachers can encounter. The student avatars each have their own unique personalities, and the scenarios have low, medium and high settings requiring varying levels of problem-solving.
“The lab’s capabilities are endless for providing purposeful practice for teacher candidates before they ever step foot in a classroom,” said Kate Zimmer, interim chair of the Department of Inclusive Education and an associate professor of special education.
The AACTE Programs and Professional Learning team served on the committee to select the following inaugural Civic Engagement Champions with the National Association of State Boards of Education and the Frank Islam Institute.
Four middle school teachers have been named Civic Engagement Champions (CEC) for their work in promoting civics education and active citizenship.
In partnership with the Frank Islam Institute for 21st Century Citizenship (FII), the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) created the CEC award to highlight the critical role that middle school teachers play in helping students become active, responsible citizens. Teachers from four states representing each of NASBE’s regions—Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Washington—were eligible to apply.
The four winners are Jane Leyderman, Dever Elementary School in Chicago, IL; Michael Neagle, Pyne Arts Magnet School in Lowell, MA; Michelle St. Pierre, Loch Raven Technical Academy in Baltimore County, MD; and Don Jenkins, North Whidbey Middle School in Oak Harbor, WA.
As states work to allocate funding for school districts, they must take into account the various needs and populations of the students they serve. The Education Commission of the States (ECS) has developed a resource, “50-State Comparison: K-12 Funding” that helps clarify and compare each state’s school funding mechanisms, organized by method and category.
Visit the ECS webpage to review data describing the funding mechanisms of the states as well as the specific funding allocations for a list of funding priorities, including special education, English language learning and at-risk and low-income students.
As elementary and secondary teachers head back into their classrooms, conversations on teacher shortages, teacher salaries, and teacher strikes continue. Having an understanding of how your state funds its K-12 schools can help you support the schools in which your graduates will teach and engage in democracy on this critical issue.
As the student population has diversified so has our understanding of the general education classroom, specifically who we serve in an inclusive setting. Our students with special education services are learning the majority of their grade level curriculum in general education classrooms. This paradigm shift requires effective collaboration between service providers and teachers as well as a deep understanding and application of differentiation to meet the needs of all students.
For years, the two fields of general education and special education have been siloed. Persistence and partnership is how
The key to developing the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) dual licensure program is reaching out to the local area to ensure the program is built with the local needs at the forefront. “The local data is how the university can drive change,” recalls a district leader. Faculty also believe collaboration with the district is central to their mission and their success with candidates. Making connections with the field office and the supervising teachers ensured faculty could relate what candidates were seeing in the field to what they were learning in their coursework.
University systems must also be taken into consideration, especially when working across colleges and across departments. Two questions drove the BGSU program leadership as they developed their dual licensure program: What is best for our students in this program? An what is best for this program? One significant concern was finding strong clinical placements for each teacher candidate. The success of a program with hundreds of teacher candidates rested with strong clinical partnerships.
Finally, serving all students that walk into the classroom was the priority when developing the dual licensure program at BGSU. “This wasn’t an experiment, this is the way BGSU does business,” reflected a faculty member. It was a choice to move away from single licensure that, over time, changes the makeup of the district teaching population, which is why district leaders were involved at every step in the program development.
To learn more, watch the Advice to Others video highlighting BGSU’s Models of Inclusive Clinical Teacher Preparation, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.
This article originally appeared on Fox 8 News and is reprinted with permission.
The Guilford County School District is getting more teachers with the help of a new program.
Guilford County Schools, High Point University and North Carolina A & T State University partnered together for the Teacher Quality Partnership. It’s a federal grant that helps get highly qualified teachers into high-needs schools.
The grant awards more than $4 million to get 25 participants into an accelerated program. In this program, they will learn what they need to be an effective teacher while applying the skills simultaneously in their own classroom with the help of a mentor.
“I never thought I would be in the classroom. People have been telling me for years, ‘Oh, you’d be a great teacher,’” Rashida Queen, one of the
A number of students in Portland State University’s (PSU) Secondary Dual Education Program (SPED) recently reflected on advice they were given before entering the graduate program. “I always want more education than less,” one teacher candidate was advised by a mentor in the field of medicine. The candidate now looks back on her experience in the program with appreciation. “I was ready. I had the resources. I had been in the classroom for two years; it felt natural. I didn’t have the same level of trepidation as some of my first year friends.”
The students who complete the PSU program graduate with a dual endorsement in a secondary education content area and special education. Another candidate reflected on the importance of serving every student in the classroom. His decision to pursue a two-year graduate program in secondary English and special education was an obvious one; it ensured he would be prepared to meet the needs of all students with a range of abilities.
The benefit of being profession-ready is not only valued by the teacher candidates. High school students also note the tremendous advantage they have when a teacher who understands the unique needs of students with IEPs is leading the classroom. In particular, college access traditionally has been stymied for students with significant disabilities. However, one high school student reflected that she has a mentor in her teacher, someone who has guided her toward college-ready curriculum. Learning from their students is another area of mutual benefit expressed by the candidates. The necessity to meet the needs of each student in the classroom is universally acknowledged by candidates, students, and administrators.
To learn more, view the What’s in it for me? video highlighting PSU’s Secondary Dual Education program, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.
Developing and sustaining partnerships with local school districts are critical to the success of the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Inclusive Early Childhood (IEC) program. Superintendents who work with BGSU assert that all parties need to understand the challenges each school district and university face and must be willing to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice together. BGSU’s teacher candidates are deployed for clinical practice in special education at local schools including in rural areas.
“One of the pieces that works really well for us is that all of the people working in the education department at the university are parents themselves of students in our district so there’s a vested interest,” said Francis Scruci, superintendent of Bowling Green City Schools. “I think there’s a mutual respect. We certainly respect what the university does and I think they respect what we’re trying to do at the K-12 level and we understand the challenges that both of us face. We are willing to bridge that gap and try to help each other become successful.”
BGSU’s overall objective is to prepare graduates of the IEC program to teach young children with and without disabilities in inclusive settings. The IEC program blends the best practices from early childhood education with early childhood special education. It addresses the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to meet the needs of each child. Graduates of the program are prepared to provide differentiated, evidence-based instruction to young children from birth through grade 3.
To learn more, watch the Developing and Sustaining Partnerships video highlighting BGSU’s Models of Inclusive Clinical Teacher Preparation, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.