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DATE 2012-02-01

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MESSAGE
DATE 2012-02-13
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] It shouldn't happen to a dog
From owner-hangout-outgoing-at-mrbrklyn.com Mon Feb 13 09:34:22 2012
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From: Ruben Safir
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Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] It shouldn't happen to a dog
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Oh GOD

iBelieve, iCan, iWill,

I'm fucked!!!



http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/education/mooresville-school-district-a-laptop-success-story.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

February 12, 2012
Mooresville’s Shining Example (It’s Not Just About the Laptops)
By ALAN SCHWARZ

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Sixty educators from across the nation roamed
the halls and ringed the rooms of East Mooresville Intermediate School,
searching for the secret formula. They found it in Erin Holsinger’s
fifth-grade math class.

There, a boy peering into his school-issued MacBook blitzed through
fractions by himself, determined to reach sixth-grade work by winter.
Three desks away, a girl was struggling with basic multiplication —
only 29 percent right, her screen said — and Ms. Holsinger knelt
beside her to assist. Curiosity was fed and embarrassment avoided, as
teacher connected with student through emotion far more than Wi-Fi.

“This is not about the technology,” Mark Edwards, superintendent
of Mooresville Graded School District, would tell the visitors later
over lunch. “It’s not about the box. It’s about changing the
culture of instruction — preparing students for their future, not
our past.”

As debate continues over whether schools invest wisely in technology
— and whether it measurably improves student achievement —
Mooresville, a modest community about 20 miles north of Charlotte best
known as home to several Nascar teams and drivers, has quietly emerged
as the de facto national model of the digital school.

Mr. Edwards spoke on a White House panel in September, and federal
Department of Education officials often cite Mooresville as a symbolic
success. Overwhelmed by requests to view the programs in action, the
district now herds visitors into groups of 60 for monthly
demonstrations; the waiting list stretches to April. What they are
looking for is an explanation for the steady gains Mooresville has made
since issuing laptops three years ago to the 4,400 4th through 12th
graders in five schools (three K-3 schools are not part of the program).

The district’s graduation rate was 91 percent in 2011, up from 80
percent in 2008. On state tests in reading, math and science, an average
of 88 percent of students across grades and subjects met proficiency
standards, compared with 73 percent three years ago. Attendance is up,
dropouts are down. Mooresville ranks 100th out of 115 districts in North
Carolina in terms of dollars spent per student — $7,415.89 a year
— but it is now third in test scores and second in graduation rates.

“Other districts are doing things, but what we see in Mooresville is
the whole package: using the budget, innovating, using data, involvement
with the community and leadership,” said Karen Cator, a former Apple
executive who is director of educational technology for the United
States Department of Education. “There are lessons to be
learned.”

Start with math lessons: each student’s MacBook Air is leased from
Apple for $215 a year, including warranty, for a total of $1 million; an
additional $100,000 a year goes for software. Terry Haas, the
district’s chief financial officer, said the money was freed up
through “incredibly tough decisions.”

Sixty-five jobs were eliminated, including 37 teachers, which resulted
in larger class sizes — in middle schools, it is 30 instead of 18
— but district officials say they can be more efficiently managed
because of the technology. Some costly items had become obsolete (like
computer labs), though getting rid of others tested the willingness of
teachers to embrace the new day: who needs globes in the age of Google
Earth?

Families pay $50 a year to subsidize computer repairs, though the fee is
waived for those who cannot afford it, about 18 percent of them.
Similarly, the district has negotiated a deal so that those without
broadband Internet access can buy it for $9.99 a month. Mr. Edwards said
the technology had helped close racial performance gaps in a district
where 27 percent of the students are minorities and 40 percent are poor
enough to receive free or reduced-price lunches.

Others see broader economic benefits.

“Even in the downturn, we’re a seller’s market — people
want to buy homes here,” said Kent Temple, a real estate agent in
town. “Families say, ‘This is a chance for my child to compete
with families that have more money than me.’ Six years from now,
you’ll see how many from disadvantaged backgrounds go to college and
make it.”

Mooresville’s laptops perform the same tasks as those in hundreds of
other districts: they correct worksheets, assemble progress data for
teachers, allow for compelling multimedia lessons, and let students work
at their own pace or in groups, rather than all listening to one
teacher. The difference, teachers and administrators here said, is that
they value computers not for the newest content they can deliver, but
for how they tap into the oldest of student emotions — curiosity,
boredom, embarrassment, angst — and help educators deliver what only
people can. Technology, here, is cold used to warm.

Mooresville frequently tests students in various subjects to inform
teachers where each needs help. Every quarter, department heads and
principals present summary data to Mr. Edwards, who uses it to assess
where teachers need improvement. Special emphasis goes to identifying
students who are only a few correct answers away from passing state
proficiency standards. They are then told how close they are and, Mr.
Edwards said, “You can, you can, you can.”

Many classrooms have moved from lecture to lattice, where students
collaborate in small groups with the teacher swooping in for
consultation. Rather than tell her 11th-grade English students the
definition of transcendentalism one recent day, Katheryn Higgins had
them crowd-source their own — quite Thoreauly, it turned out —
using Google Docs. Back in September, Ms. Higgins had the more outgoing
students make presentations on the Declaration of Independence, while
shy ones discussed it in an online chat room, which she monitored.

“I’m not a very social person, but I have no problem typing on a
keyboard,” said one of those shy ones, Chase Wilson. “It
connected me with other students — opened me up and helped me with
talking in public.”

In math, students used individualized software modules, with teachers
stopping by occasionally to answer questions. (“It’s like having
a personal tutor,” said Ethan Jones, the fifth grader zooming toward
sixth-grade material.) Teachers apportion their time based on the need
of students, without the weaker ones having to struggle at the
blackboard in front of the class; this dynamic has helped children with
learning disabilities to participate and succeed in mainstream classes.

“There are students who might not have graduated five years ago who
have graduated,” said Melody Morrison, a case manager for
Mooresville High School’s special education programs.
“They’re not just our kids anymore. They’re everybody’s
kids — all teachers throughout the school. The digital conversion
has evened the playing field.”

Many students adapted to the overhaul more easily than their teachers,
some of whom resented having beloved tools — scripted lectures,
printed textbooks and a predictable flow through the curriculum —
vanish. The layoffs in 2009 and 2010, of about 10 percent of the
district’s teachers, helped weed out the most reluctant, Mr. Edwards
said; others he was able to convince that the technology would actually
allow for more personal and enjoyable interaction with students.

“You have to trust kids more than you’ve ever trusted them,”
he said. “Your teachers have to be willing to give up control.”

That was the primary concern that the 60 visitors expressed during their
daylong sojourn to Mooresville in November. “I’m not sure our
kids can be trusted the way these are,” one teacher from the Midwest
said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid trouble back home.

Thomas Bertrand, superintendent of schools in Rochester, Ill., said he
was struck by the “culture of collaboration among staff and
kids” in Mooresville and would emphasize that as his district
considered its own conversion.

“There’s a tendency in teaching to try to control things, like a
parent,” said Scott Allen, a high school chemistry teacher in South
Granville, N.C. “But I learn best at my own pace, and you have to
realize that students learn best at their own pace, too.”

Mooresville still has some growing pains. In one ninth-grade social
studies class, a video that easily could have been shown on a large
screen instead went through the students’ laptops, several of which
balked, “Unable to find proxy server.” One fourth grader, having
to complete 10 multiplication questions in two minutes for the software
to let her move on, simply consulted her times tables, making the lesson
more about speed typing than mathematics. And those concerned about
corporate encroachment on public schools would blanch at the number of
Apple logos in the hallways, and at the district’s unofficial
slogan: “iBelieve, iCan, iWill.”

Mooresville’s tremendous focus on one data point — the
percentage of students passing proficiency exams — has its pitfalls
as well. At November’s quarterly data meeting, there were kudos for
several numbers whose rise or dip was not statistically significant, and
no recognition that the students who passed by one or two questions
could very well fail by one or two the next time around. Several
colorful pie charts used metrics that were meaningless.

“I realize the fallacy of looking at one measure,” Mr. Edwards
said in an interview afterward. “We look at scholarships, A.P.
courses taken, honors courses, SAT scores. But the measure that we use
is what the state posts, and what parents look at when they’re
comparing schools moving here.”

After three years of computers permeating every area of their schooling,
Mooresville students barely remember life before the transformation and
are somewhat puzzled by the gaggle of visitors who watch them every
month. (“At times it’s kind of like being a lab rat,” one
11th grader said.) But Mooresville understands its growing fame in the
world of education, much of which has yet to find the balance between
old tricks and new technology.

“So,” Ms. Higgins asked her English class after the bell rang,
“you think you’re going to like transcendentalism?”

“Only if you’re a nonconformist,” a student cracked.

  1. 2012-02-03 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] fly without a pilot...sounds great
  2. 2012-02-03 Elfen Magix <elfen_magix-at-yahoo.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] fly without a pilot...sounds great
  3. 2012-02-05 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] fly without a pilot...sounds great
  4. 2012-02-05 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Charter Meeting
  5. 2012-02-05 Robert Menes <viewtiful.icchan-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Charter Meeting
  6. 2012-02-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] best of Amsterdam
  7. 2012-02-06 einker <eminker-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] best of Amsterdam
  8. 2012-02-06 Ruben Safir <ceo.brooklyn-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] best of Amsterdam
  9. 2012-02-06 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] best of Amsterdam
  10. 2012-02-06 einker <eminker-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] best of Amsterdam
  11. 2012-02-06 Ruben Safir <ceo.brooklyn-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] best of Amsterdam
  12. 2012-02-06 einker <eminker-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] best of Amsterdam
  13. 2012-02-07 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] best of Amsterdam
  14. 2012-02-07 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] video to see
  15. 2012-02-08 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] too much comics
  16. 2012-02-08 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] cool cool
  17. 2012-02-13 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] free software and photography
  18. 2012-02-13 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] It shouldn't happen to a dog
  19. 2012-02-13 Elfen Magix <elfen_magix-at-yahoo.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] It shouldn't happen to a dog
  20. 2012-02-13 Ronny <ronny.coder-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] It shouldn't happen to a dog
  21. 2012-02-13 Elfen Magix <elfen_magix-at-yahoo.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] It shouldn't happen to a dog
  22. 2012-02-13 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] It shouldn't happen to a dog
  23. 2012-02-14 Ronny <ronny.coder-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] It shouldn't happen to a dog
  24. 2012-02-15 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] [security-announce] openSUSE-SU-2012:0258-1: critical:
  25. 2012-02-15 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Amy Kaplan and here anti-semetic rants
  26. 2012-02-22 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Next NYLXS Meeting
  27. 2012-02-22 einker <eminker-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Next NYLXS Meeting
  28. 2012-02-22 Paul Robert Marino <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Next NYLXS Meeting
  29. 2012-02-22 einker <eminker-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Next NYLXS Meeting
  30. 2012-02-24 Paul Robert Marino <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] c++ question about decimals
  31. 2012-02-24 Paul Robert Marino <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Re: c++ question about decimals
  32. 2012-02-24 Paul Robert Marino <prmarino1-at-gmail.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Re: c++ question about decimals
  33. 2012-02-25 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Re: c++ question about decimals
  34. 2012-02-25 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Re: c++ question about decimals
  35. 2012-02-25 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Next NYLXS Meeting
  36. 2012-02-25 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Next NYLXS Meeting
  37. 2012-02-25 Ruben Safir <ceo.brooklyn-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Re: c++ question about decimals
  38. 2012-02-25 Ruben Safir <ceo.brooklyn-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Re: c++ question about decimals
  39. 2012-02-27 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Superhero wonders
  40. 2012-02-27 Michael L Richardson <mlr52-at-michaellrichardson.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Next NYLXS Meeting
  41. 2012-02-28 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] New job Exciting Opportunity with Nvidia Graphics for the

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