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As can be deduced by the months that have passed since I last updated this blog, the Education Blog is on indefinite hiatus. However, I continue to post education-related research and news several times per week via my Twitter feed. … Continue reading

How accountable are teacher professional development programs?

From the Hechinger Report:

In addition to the $1 billion the federal government sends annually to local districts, according to a national survey by the U.S. Department of Education, more federal money for on-the-job teacher training has poured into states and districts through the Race to the Top and School Improvement Grant programs.


Educators, pointing to high-performing education systems in some European and Asian countries, have pushed for teachers to spend more time at work learning, not just teaching…


Yet even as districts increase accountability for teachers, few are checking on the companies, universities and in-school programs that are supposed to help them get better.

For many school districts, economic recovery remains far in the future

The Associate Press reports:

Even in a best-case scenario that assumes strong economic growth next year, it won’t be until 2013 or later when districts see budget levels return to pre-recession levels… That means more cuts and layoffs are likely ahead…

Already, an estimated 294,000 jobs in the education sector have been lost since 2008, including those in higher education.

May 16 higher ed news round-up

  • The Huffington Post asked several leading academic researchers to list the top 10 challenges facing American higher education. Among the concerns the experts raise are a devaluing of undergraduate education and a lack of diversity among the student body in higher ed.
  • “Under fire this week for an unusual deal that gives a billionaire donor control over some faculty positions, Florida State University President Eric J. Barron has insisted that his institution’s academic freedom has not been compromised.
    But internal FSU emails show that top academic officers who reviewed drafts of the 2008 agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation had precisely those concerns.” [Miami Herald]
  • Robotic exoskeleton helps paraplegic U. of California – Berkeley graduate walks across the stage at his commencement [Oakland Tribune]

James Gee on video games and learning

The Hechinger Report recently profiled research into video games and learning by James Gee of Arizona State.

Looking for a new model of education that could eliminate the need for traditional testing while also encouraging problem-solving and guaranteeing that students will be fluent by the time they finish their lessons?

Most kids are already very familiar with this very system—while playing video games…

James Gee argues that video games differ from traditional schooling in two major ways:

  • Players receive needed information about the game “just in time.” “In school, information is given to you whether you want it or not and never just in time,” Gee said.
  • Games also allow players to start playing before learning any of the concepts, Gee noted. “Games are based on performance before competence,” he said.