Friday, November 16, 2012

Computers in Class

Here are the top eleven activities students are using their computers for in class (And guess what? Taking notes didn't make it onto the list!)

11. Fantasy football
10. Looking up ESPN/NFL/NBA scores
9. Games
8. Facebook/Twitter
7. Shopping
6. E-Mail
5. Ichat/messaging
4. Movies with subtitles
3. Other school work
2. Youtube

And the number one answer -- because it utilizes two technologies! -- is

1. Hiding a phone behind the computer to text

Occupy Standardized Testing!

A RealSchool-like project in AP English Language has Oriel, a junior at The Frisch School, researching standardized testing. The impetus for the research topic was Oriel's SAT prep; Oriel says the test has nothing to do with real life or any skills he may or may not have. Here are Oriel's preliminary thoughts on standardized testing:

In recent years, standardized testing has moved to the forefront of discussions concerning the American educational system.  While standardized testing does have its merits, it is criticized by many experts to be an ineffective and unfair way of determining the breadth of a student’s knowledge.   Standardized testing, dating back to the 1920’s, has been the most efficient way for colleges and other groups to objectively rank students based on their knowledge, allowing colleges to sift through hundreds of college applications at the blink of an eye in order to focus primarily on those with the higher test scores.  While standardized testing is an efficient way of categorizing students and processing college applications, standardized testing is very limited in scope: it can only determine a given student’s knowledge in specific areas (and even this it cannot truly do).  Standardized testing steals students’ identities and replaces them with scores.  Standardized testing does not measure a student’s creativity, imagination, and thoughtfulness; on the contrary, these values, which are essential to life in “the real world,” are being destroyed by standardized testing.  Standardized testing believes that there is only one right answer to a given problem – creativity has no place in the realm of standardized testing.  Although standardized testing achieves much in terms of efficiency in evaluating students, its flaws outweigh the good it effects.  Standardized testing has been a way to evaluate student performance over the past 90 years, but a change in the system is clearly necessary.

Like Occupy Standardized Testing on Facebook:

Monday, November 12, 2012

What's New in Religious Identity and The Arts

The Religious Identity team has decided on a topic for a series of discussions it wants to have this year about Judaism. The topic is -- drumroll, please! -- Relationship with God, and members of the Religious Identity team will moderate discussions about different approaches Judaism takes to building a relationship with the Creator. Those different approaches include:

* Prayer
* Philosophy
* The Torah
* The Halakha, the Jewish legal system

The first discussion will take place on November 28, 2012 and will be on Prayer!

Meanwhile, as usual, The Arts is supporting Religious Identity's endeavors. The team is going to the Jewish Museum this Sunday, November 18, to see an exhibit on Hebrew illuminated manuscripts from the Bodleian Library collection. That exhibit will kick off a year-long study of Hebrew illuminated manuscripts that will result in an exhibit at RealSchool's Second Annual Yom Iyun, Day of Learning,which we call Sikhot b'Emunah, Discussions in Faith.

While the Religious Identity team will get you ready for the Festival of Lights by enlightening you about Prayer, The Arts team is using the following lecture on Chanukah by Menachem Leibtag as a jumping off point for an exhibit that will hopefully enhance your holiday:

Lecture on Chanukah by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag