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Note to Educators: Pay Now or Pay Later!

Note to Educators: Pay Now or Pay Later!

May 2016 I spent this morning in the company of extraordinary women. First, I was delighted to attend the National Center for Women in IT keynote address “Intersectionality & Diversity in Computing: Key Dilemmas and What to Do About Them.” by one of my sheroes, Professor Melissa Harris-Perry. Next, I attended a talk by Mimi Ito about how the intersection of youth and digital culture... [Read more]

It Takes Balls

It Takes Balls

I like Sphero and am impressed by their ability to execute as a company. Their customer service is terrific and their ability to attract the Star Wars license, publicity, and this recent New Yorker profile are unprecedented. Sphero makes terrific toys. However, companies and reporters would be well-served by speaking with educators who understand learning and have paid some dues before making... [Read more]

Legislators Finally Admit the Obvious

Legislators Finally Admit the Obvious

My pal Will Richardson asked me to respond to news that the Florida legislature (ground zero for destructive education policies) has passed a bill allowing high school students to substitute “coding” courses for foreign language requirements. (see Florida Senate approves making coding a foreign language) If you are a toddler learning English as a second language between binge watching seasons... [Read more]

Teaching as Art and Magic

Teaching as Art and Magic

The Atlantic featured a really good piece of reflection on the lost art of teaching by the great magician Teller, half of Penn and Teller.   “The first job of a teacher is to make the student fall in love with the subject. That doesn’t have to be done by waving your arms and prancing around the classroom; there’s all sorts of ways to go at it, but no matter what, you are a symbol... [Read more]

Program Your Own Geometry Toolkit

Program Your Own Geometry Toolkit

More than 20 years ago, a graduate student of mine, named Beth, (surname escapes me, but she had triplets and is a very fine high school math teacher) used an early version of MicroWorlds to program her own version of a toolkit similar to Geometer’s Sketchpad. Over time, I ran a similar activity with kids as young as 7th grade. I’ve done my best to piece together various artifacts from... [Read more]

President Obama Discovers Coding – Yippee!

President Obama Discovers Coding – Yippee!

Last year, my friends at Intel invited me to participate in a breakfast summit at the Museum of Contemporary Art overlooking the Sydney Opera House. The other invited guests seated around the table represented captains of industry, distinguished academics, and leaders of assorted acronyms. We each had 2-3 minutes to solve the problems with school, 21st Century skills, S.T.E.M, S.T.E.A.M. girls... [Read more]

Yuck!

Yuck!

The slide below is being passed around the Internet by well-meaning educators. However, such “don’t do this, do that” statements from startup-culture and Silicon Valley education “experts” almost always reveal their profound ignorance of how learning occurs and children develop. Neither question is developmentally appropriate, although the first (bad one) at least includes... [Read more]

The Huffington Post Gets Hoodwinked Again

The Huffington Post Gets Hoodwinked Again

Unlike most media outlets, The Huffington Post actually pretends to take an interest in education. However, I continue to believe that their Education section was created to be an advertising platform for the truly awful film, “Waiting for Superman,” remembered as the Howard the Duck of education documentaries by the three other schmucks and I who paid to see it. Regardless of their motives, The... [Read more]

Why We Need to Reinvent Mathematics Education

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#IProfitOffAhmed.com

#IProfitOffAhmed.com

Two years ago, Dr. Leah Buechley delivered a stunning address at Stanford University’s 2013 FabLearn Conference. In her speech, Dr. Buechley challenged MakerEd.org’s slogan, “Every Child a Maker,” in light of the lack of diversity displayed by a commercial entity often associated with its activities, Maker Media. (Note: The non-profit advocacy group, MakerEd.org and... [Read more]

Criminalizing Show and Tell

Criminalizing Show and Tell

S.T.E.M. is every politician’s favorite acronym. The White House held a Maker Faire. Barnes and Noble stores will soon be hosting Mini-Maker Faires and next week’s World Maker Faire NYC expects over 100,000 attendees sharing and celebrating personal ingenuity, engineering, creativity, and invention. The maker movement is being touted as education reform, a matter of national security,... [Read more]

Resource Created for Intel

Resource Created for Intel

Dr. Gary Stager recently authored Intel’s Guide to Creating and Inventing with Technology in the Classroom. The piece explores the maker movement for educators, policy-makers, and school leaders. Download a copy here. Tweet This Post Read More →

National School Boards Association Interview with Gary Stager

National School Boards Association Interview with Gary Stager

Gary was recently interviewed by the National School Boards Association for the June 2015 American School Boards Journal. Read “The Best Makerspace is Between Your Ears.”     Tweet This Post Read More →

The Secret Key to Girls and Computer Science

The Secret Key to Girls and Computer Science

I’ve been teaching boys and girls to program computers professionally since 1982 when I created one of the world’s first summer camp computing programs. I led professional development at Methodist Ladies’ College in Melbourne, Australia for a few years beginning in 1990. Girls at MLC used their personal laptops to program in LogoWriter across the curriculum. (read about the history... [Read more]

Faculty Summer Reading Recommendations

Faculty Summer Reading Recommendations

This time of year, schools scramble to select a book for their entire faculty to read over the summer. Although it would be nice if everyone read the same book as a basis for common dialogue and for teachers to read more than one book about learning each year, I just assembled a list for the (DK-8) school where I serve as the Special Assistant to the Head of School for Innovation. Based on our overarching... [Read more]

Costa Rican Annual Lecture Videos

Costa Rican Annual Lecture Videos

In November, I had a the great honor of working with my colleagues at the Omar Dengo Foundation, Costa Rica’s NGO responsible for computers in schools. For the past quarter century, the Fundacion Omar Dengo has led the world in the constructionist use of computers in education – and they do it at a national level! While there, I delivered the organization’s annual lecture in the Jean... [Read more]

Balance

Balance

Ah, balance! Balance is the Fabreze of education policy. It is a chemical spray designed to mask the stench of a two year-old tuna sandwich found in the minvan with the artificial bouquet of an April rain dancing on a lily pad. Balanced literacy got us systemic phonics. Balanced math begot Singapore Math worksheets. Balanced standards produced The Common Core. Balanced policy debates produced No... [Read more]

___Thinking

___Thinking

Thinking and learning are strong proud words. When educational publishers or policy-makers seek to modify such terms, (re: design thinking, discovery learning, computational thinking…), the result seems less than the individual parts. We get “design thinking” without any design; “computational thinking” without computation; “discovery learning” where the... [Read more]

Why the NYC Schools Must End the Student Cellphone Ban

Why the NYC Schools Must End the Student Cellphone Ban

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from a New York Times reporter asking to interview me about Mayor Bill DiBlasio’s promise to end the ban on student cellphones in New York City public schools.. I replied immediately via email and called the reporter to tell her I was unavailable for a few hours, but that I provided my views on the subject via email from my iPhone. She agreed to call me... [Read more]

Playground Poem

Playground Poem

As far too many American schools become obsessed with time-on-task, achievement, and beating the rest of the world in long division, play, recess, and even socializing over lunch fade into memory. Kids in schools lucky enough to still have art, drama, or music programs often have to wake before dawn to attend “zero period” or stay at school until dark, followed by an obscene quantity of homework.... [Read more]

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