Sunday, September 20, 2009

Three reformers (who believe in education and public schools)

The work of many school reformers deserves more attention. Here are three more pioneers:

a) Abe Fischler, one of the guys who created distance learning for universities. He has a blog called He proposes putting 70 students in a large computer room, the students work with computers and three teachers circulate around the room. It’s called Computer Assisted Instruction and it can change the way information is delivered to kids, freeing the teachers to be advisors, counselors, facilitators and keen observers.

b) Lois Hetland. She works with Howard Gardner, the guy who created the Multiple Intelligences theory. Either she or Gardner should be put on TV to reinforce what they’ve been saying for 25 years: Students learn in different ways and ought to be tested in different ways to accurately measure their performances of understanding. You can learn more by looking at her book “Studio Thinking” about the importance of Arts in Education. Her website is

c) Dennis Yuzenas, middle school teacher and edu-tainer. He brings digital books into class on disks and asks his students to re-write the textbook. His website stimulates students to look at the ways that history is distorted and revised through time. His computer-assisted instruction methods can be found on youtube (search “Yuzenas visual”).

What would Ben Franklin say about the opportunity that Littky offers each of us?

On the final day, as the last delegates were signing the document, Franklin pointed toward the sun on the back of the Convention president's chair. Observing that painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising sun from a setting sun, he went on to say: "I have often ... in the course of the session ... looked at that sun behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now at length I have the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun."

Answers to the board work (in previous posts): sand box, long underwear, reading between the lines, man overboard! Anyone familiar with middle school students will recognize the joyous love of humor. How can school be reformatted to keep the humor and build relationships?

Bravo: send questions and comments to

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