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2010

January 07, 2010

Hurray, 2010 is here! It seems hard to disagree that the 21st century is coming in with a bang. Without a doubt the world is flatter and more connected. The Internet and other technologies have changed the way we work, live, and play. If you were born in 1910, you probably hardly recognize the place -- our world! For the most part, everything is moving faster, and it is hard for anyone to truly be anonymous with the enculturation of Google, MySpace, Face Book, Blogging, Text Messaging Twitter, and who knows what is to come next.

It is easy to get carried away with the swift speed of work, life, and entertainment without focusing on some areas that have not changed as much as we had hoped at the end of the 20th century. For me, the educational enterprise is one of the areas in which I had hoped to see more positive changes occur. For instance, even with the heavily usage of social media by many Americans, especially those under the age of 30, education instruction in the traditional classroom still looks the same. There is usually one teacher facilitating learning or "teaching" and a group of students in seats. Nowadays, many of these students are texting each other, making plans for after class, and checking the various news services that are keeping them updated on the latest in the entertainment world. I know there is no mystery that there are some students who just do not perform well in this type of "learning" environment. The question for me becomes how can we incorporate some of these social media habits and ways of learning into instructional design and evaluation? How can we challenge students to move to "level nine" in understanding a concept with as much enthusiasm as they employ on entertainment games?

Thus, it probably will be of little surprise that I would like to speed along the change of instructional design and evaluation in the 21st century. What is of most concern to me is that there is still what is called an "achievement gap" between various groups of Americans. When you look at the data closely, it seems that there is a correlation between the achievement gap and family income, early childhood development, family values, nonverbal messages to students, low expectations, and various historical biases against certain groups of people. I would love for someone to do a regression analysis on just how much each of these factors contribute to the achievement gap. Then, I would hope we would act on this knowledge. However, what seems to matter most in 2010 is what we are going to do about these "achievement gaps" which span through elementary, secondary, and higher education and lead to underemployment and under achievement for hundreds of thousands of citizens in our society. If you live in certain urban areas, it is probably not too much of a stretch to connect these achievement gaps with despair, the growth of the prison system, and the decline of the economic viability of the area.

One of my resolutions for 2010 is to bring attention to the potential of America-- what we could be if we had so many more Americans prepared equitably to be responsible and contributing citizens. With the flatter, more connected world, it is really a matter of national security to develop as many Americans as we can to a higher intellectual and social level of living.

Happy New Year!

Michelle Howard-Vital
 

Tags: achievement gap , educational enterprise , social media

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COMMENTS

In reading the posts, one is very pleased with the outcome and evaluation of Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital accomplishments and leadership. Our children are failing to learn the five components of reading, and continue to perform at "approaching levels" in reading, writing, math and science. Educators must litigate a better curriculum than teaching to the test. Testing is only a measurement to determine the failure or future of those who exceed the aforementioned levels. If one is failing in pre-k through 3rd grade, it is assumed that one will not succeed in grades 4-8 and above. This determines the effects of higher education and in closing I might add that numerous African-American college students are being sent home, because their parents cannot afford the last minute fees for them to continue their education at universities and colleges. A parasite is consuming our educational system at a rapid rate and one is concerned for the sake of our culture and society. It is becoming a natural disaster for those who seek to enrich their livelihood. There has to be a solution and it must come now.
 
Dr. Ellen S. Ringer 12:22PM 04/21/10
In just a span of 10 years from 2000 to 2010 a lot of technological advances happened so we can really expect more for the next 10 years. I can only say, whatever technologies, new things and improvements in our everyday lives, they are just a tip of the iceberg of what has to come in the next 10 to 50 years and beyond assuming no cataclysmic end of the world will happen. I can't imagine the future.
 
Wilson 5:28PM 04/01/10
Love this university, one of the best of the state.
 
Toronto 2:02PM 02/25/10
MySpace has a predominately graphical interface, Facebook a predominately text interface.MySpace is for mostly showing yourself off. Pimping yourself, as the kids like to say. Facebook is for networking.MySpace tends to be dominated by teenagers, Facebook by adults. As a result, Facebook is more adult and sophisicated.
 
myspace layouts 8:11AM 01/29/10

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