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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2005 / 29 Elul 5765

Classroom Revolution

By Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Students of almost every age are far ahead of their teachers in computer literacy. This is especially true of younger kids with younger parents. So how is this digital revolution affecting education? A binary answer: Not enough. According to a federal study, most schools are essentially unchanged today despite reforms and increased investment in computers.

The general pattern is for computers to be in a computer lab—something separate and apart like a Bunsen burner. Why? Students who have mastered the wonders of the Internet at home know that with a desktop computer they can do everything faster—take and save notes, write and do research. With guidance, kids can learn these skills at home, especially when high-quality interactive programming becomes more widely available in science, history, math, geography, and languages. There is much work to be done in creating these electronic assets, however. And it is critical for teachers to join the revolution—to adapt information technology to the methods and content of their instruction.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips—hello, Mr. Chip!

What does this mean? It means a teacher can take the class around the world electronically to look at the development of civilizations in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Latin America. A Spanish class in Idaho can talk to students in Bilbao. It means linking biology students in Chicago with a researcher at a microscope in San Francisco, history students with a curator at the National Portrait Gallery, technology students with the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. Just think, teachers using digitized collections of Civil War photographs and oral histories can immerse students in original building blocks of American history. Students can take virtual trips and collaborate with other students around the world and research in the best libraries in the country. Teachers can compare techniques with colleagues around the country and create teaching modules on everything from calculus to cloning. Distance learning can explode the number of courses a student might take online with peers, retired experts, and master teachers and writers. Observations can be posted on the Web for use by thousands of other teachers and students. Even the smallest one-room schoolhouse in the wilds can tap into great teaching on an infinite variety of subjects.

There is no limit to the possibilities. Distance learning can include Advanced Placement courses and special tutoring for the learning disabled whose talents are not developed in regular classes. With electronic links, textbooks will morph into digital versions with interactive sections, videoconferencing, and dramatic television sequences. What excitement! And all this can be kept as fresh as milk. In the language of Marshall McLuhan, video is a "cool medium"; that is to say, it lends itself to high audience participation. Parents can also benefit by viewing their children's work online, exchanging E-mails with teachers, and watching webcasts from distance schooling. This is the 21st-century version of distance learning. What it offers is much more flexibility in time, place, and pace of instruction, an opportunity to create a superb instructional environment adapted to each school's particular needs.

Reaping the benefits. Of course, teachers and school boards need to be convinced that the Internet can make their schools more effective. Look at West Virginia. In 1990, it launched a statewide effort to use technology to improve its struggling schools. Computers were gradually integrated into classes, beginning with the earliest grades, while the teachers received extensive training over seven years. The result? West Virginia jumped to 11th from 33rd on national achievement tests.

To extend state-of-the-art approaches to every school in our new technological universe we also must deal with cost. Even though laptop prices are plunging, schools are going to have to develop innovative budgeting at both state and local levels to acquire the funds for technology, training, and programming.

We are on the threshold of the most radical change in American education in over a century as schools leave the industrial age to join the information age. For most of the past century, our schools were designed to prepare children for jobs on factory lines. Kids lived by the bell, moved through schools as if on conveyor belts, and learned to follow instructions. But today many of these factories are overseas, leaving behind a factory-based school system for an information age.

Sputnik once woke up America's leaders to how far we had fallen behind the Soviet Union. This generation's Sputnik moment arrived with the economic competition of high skills and low wages from Asia and academic performances far surpassing our own.

Here with the Web is the way for America to use the marvels it created to end the regression in our competitive and academic performance. Let's get to it.

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JWR contributor Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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© 2005, Mortimer Zuckerman

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