Friday, December 30, 2005

Top Education Stories for 2005

1. It's the Technology, Baby

What were the top Christmas gifts this season? Ipods, ipods, and ipods. Oh, and maybe some video games. It's the technology baby, and even education's catching the wave.

Pew Teens and Technology
Early Computer Use
Stanford iTunes.

2. Brain of the Blogger - "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of Many, One)

The blogosphere is big news, and students are getting into the act big-time. Technorati now follows 24.1 million blogs.

Brain of the Blogger

3. Personal Motivation - The "Secret Sauce" of Success

No longer an add-on, but rather an essential ingredient. Schools are learning the hard way that they need to excite students back into learning. In the classroom, teachers have had to struggle between the conflicting needs of "meeting standard" and helping students find personal meaning.

Teens, 20's, and Motivation
What Motivates You? Cooperation or Competition?
Early School Experience (NCES)
Reward and Motivation for Kids
Who is Smart?

4. Generation Gaps - Technology, Independence, How We Know

Do you think that kids these days are different? Generation gaps in technology, personal communication and motivation are popping up all over this year as boomers, X, Y, and Millenials try to work and negotiate together.

The Joy of Teaching Kid Geeks
Teaching for "Restless Natives"
Is Novelty-Seeking a Bad Thing?

5. Medication Woes - Children and Adults are Different

Medication woes were also big news this year, as scientists and clinicians discovered that children weren't little adults after all.

Suspension of Adderall in Canada
Liver and Strattera
Dark Side of ADHD Treatment
Serotonin, Aggression, Apathy, and Empathy

6. Global Education

Friedman's The World is Flat really struck a chord, and the educational community is asking, are we really up to the challenge?

Education for a Flat World
Designing Schools for the Present Age

7. Different Concept of Basic Skills

The view from brain scanners show us that we have to re-think our notion of basic skills and education. It's not reading, writing, or arithmetic any more, but auditory and visual processing. What struggling students have to learn is how to train their brains to hear and see.

Do You Hear What I Hear?
More Visual Processing and Attention with Age
Timing is Everything
Dyslexia at

8. We're More Different Than We Think

We are indeed much more different than we think, and this will be a growing education story over the next decade.

Tyranny of Our Thinking Styles
Tape Loop or Visual Sketch Pad? It'll Affect Your Multi-Tasking
The Different Ways We Read: The Movie in Your Head
Two Types of Visual Thinkers
Brain of a Podcaster or Blogger?

9. The Game of Life - Game Playing, Calculated Risk-Taking, and Staying Alive

Games are a bit like life, and life is a bit like a game. Conventional education can't ignore the effects of the Gaming Generation.

Innovation and Video Games
Generation M: Kids & Multimedia
Video Gamers & Visual Spatial Expertise
Video Games Effective Learning
Into the Minds of Gamers
Reflecting on Competition

10. Breaking Boundaries - Working and Thinking Together

Finally, despite all the technology, in our hearts, we are people who very much need people. Take a look around, there a lot of people who want to change the world, and the Internet has made it easier to find people you can think with.

Power of the People: Wikipedia
Fairness and How We Play the Game
Interdisciplinary People vs. Teams?
Switch! - Cross-Disciplinary Learning
The Social Internet

Happy New Year, Everybody! Be back, January 3rd.


  1. I just read your entry about "Designing Schools for the Present Age.' In particular, what struck me is your observation about how each individual needs to be taught in a manner specific to their learning style(s). As a teacher, this is something I need to consider everyday. I thought you might be interested in one of my most recent posts about the importance of variety in the classroom, where data among our high school students clearly show that teachers need to present material in many different ways to meet student needs.

    I agree with yur assessment on the whole, and the observations made by Bill Gates. In practicality, however, it is a tremendously difficult problem to try and fix just in terms of logistics and in terms of the way teachers are trained. It would be nice if we could better meet individual needs of students all the time, but realistically that is not possible most of the time with class sizes of a couple dozen and more. The next best thing to do isa two-pronged approach: to use a variety of instructional methods along with getting to know student's interests and tring to make as much of the required material relevant in some way to their individual lives as possible...easier said than done, but that is the approach I see that works best in my experience.

    Happy new year,
    Mark Vondracek

  2. Oops, forgot to leave the link, if you are interested: