Readings 2014

1) Means, B.; Bakia, M.; and Murphy, R. (2014).  Learning Online:  What Research Tells Us About Whether, When and How.  New York:  Routledge.  ISBN:  978-0-415-63029-0 (pbk) 0r ISBN: 978-0-203-09595-9 (ebk)

The authors, SRI International (Stanford Research Institute) researchers, define online learning as “a learner’s interactions with content and/or people via the Internet for the purpose of learning” (p. 6). In a meta-analysis of the relative effectiveness of online and face-to-face instruction, they found that “students in conditions that included significant amounts of learning online performed better than students receiving face-to-face instruction by .20 standard deviations, a modest, but statistically significant, amount” (p. 19-20). They discuss four major trends in online learning in higher education – “self-paced, adaptive instruction and competency-based learning; blended learning; learning analytics; and MOOCs” (p. 46). For K-12 schools, they define blended learning as “the use of online learning in conjunction with traditional teacher-led forms of instruction” (p. 100) which may increase “the amount of time during which students are actively engaged in learning” (p. 120). The authors suggest that “technology-enabled self-initiated learning will one day displace formal learning” (p. 71-72), blended learning serves as “part of a systemic approach to improving developmental education” (p. 159), and online universities and schools point “the way towards efficiencies and improvements that more traditional institutions are likely to adopt” (p. 139).

Choice Review, May 7, 2014

2) Peddiwell, J. Abner (Benjamin, Harold Raymond Wayne) (1939).  Saber-Tooth Curriculum … Including Other Lectures in the History of Paleolithic Education.  New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company.

A satire on curriculum development, teacher education, educational research, youth education, higher education, and academic life.  Presented as a series of lectures by a professor from Petaluma State College to a former student at the longest bar in the world in Tijuana, the two discuss the “fish-grabbing-with-the-bare-hands, wooly-horse clubbing, and saber-tooth-tiger-scaring-with-fire” paleolithic curriculum developed by “New-Fist-Hammer-Maker”.   The seminar deals indirectly with relevance in learning and teaching, the interests of young people in their own your culture, teacher unions, capitalism, unemployment, and marital relationships. 

reviewed on May 30, 2014

3) Patricia Burch and Annalee G. Good (2014). Equal scrutiny: Privatization and accountability in digital education.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard Educational Press.

The authors ask “not only how public schools can use digital education to improve the quality of education but also what role, if any, digital education serves in the broader agenda to create more equitable access to high-quality instruction in our schools and communities” (p. 175). They report that the US Department of Education found that blended learning, “a combination of online and face-to-face content delivery” (p. 56), “is more effective than either traditional learning or online learning alone” (p. 57). The authors provide examples of instructor-driven, constructivist digital courses, public digital schooling obscuring “the private and commercial influences driving these models and their expansion” (p. 115), and the challenges of digital tutoring as supplemental educational services (SES). They conclude that by building dialogues among district staff, school staff, and vendors, seeking greater transparency and accountability within the learning process, and “becoming producers and users of data in order to make informed and collaborative program changes” (p. 151), that this sustained and equal scrutiny will allow for the “potential of digital education to push a broader agenda for more equal redistribution of resources in public education” (p. 188).

CHOICE review, June 24, 2014

4) Shapiro, F. Howard (2014).  For your Tomorrows,I Give You My Today.  Bloomington, IN:  Crossbooks.

These memoirs of Rev. Fred Shapiro of the First Baptist Church of Willimantic explain how he is well suited to be the spiritual leader of a congregation on the green in our town.  From the Springfield area and a broken home influenced by his Zayde, Fred wandered to the West via a yellow corvette in part where he got involved in Christian movements in the 1960s and 1970s.  Eventually studying in Maine for his ordination, Rev. Fred had several pulpits before establishing his mission here in Willimantic for more than a decade. 

signed by Rev. Fred in spring 2014 and read before the summer started

5) McKenna, Megan (1995).  Angels Unawares.  Maryknoll, NY:  Orbis Books.

A book mixing lots of midrashim and Bible stories on the relationships between people and other divinely created beings.  A book often appearing in the raffles at the Connecticut Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (CTRPCV) annual summer picnics.  Biographies of Michael the Archangel, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Angels of Recidivism, Angels and Hospitality, Angels and Christmas, and Angels of resurrection and revelation.

book read at Hofstra during AAUP summer institute, July 18

6) Wasta, Michael (2014).  Harnessing the power of teacher teams:  A structured collaborative process for professional educators to solve instructional problems.  Self-published??

SMART – “specific – the area degined is quie finite;  measureable – the goal is measureable and the measurement process is described; achievable – reasonable chance of success in timeframe;  relevant – this is important; time bound – timeline clearly articulated”

Sent to me by a cousin of Mike Pernal.

forward to dept leadership on August 8, 2014

7) Matthews, Michael R. Science teaching: the contribution of history and philosophy of science. 20th anniversary rev. and expanded ed. Routledge, 2015. 454p indexes ISBN 9780415519335, $160.00; ISBN 9780415519342 pbk, $68.95.

Matthews (Professor, University of New South Wales, Australia) states that research in the history and philosophy of science and science teaching (HPS&ST) contributes theoretical questions on the nature of science, curriculum questions, and pedagogic questions faced by science teachers. Noting the long-standing dilemma in teaching science – whether as an experimental science or as a branch of mathematics, Matthews reviews the enlightenment traditions in science education, historical and current developments in science curricula, and the history and philosophy of science in the curriculum and the classroom. He illustrates these foundational studies by discussing the study and teaching of air pressure, pendulum motion, and photosynthesis. Concluding that constructivism has been the major theoretical influence in contemporary science and mathematics education and that science teaching is also affected by worldviews like realism, atomism, the spirit world, traditional non-western metaphysics, multicultural science education, and changes in focus from the nature to features of science, he argues that “for a science teacher to be a well-prepared educator … they need, to the appropriate degree, subject-matter competence, foundational training – especially philosophical – and knowledge of HPS, and, finally, that they cultivate a defensible philosophy of education” (page 412).

reviewed on December 16, 2014


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