Here is my "E-Learning & Digital Cultures" mooc course assignment. I titled it Catalytic Online Communities: Values, Communication & Education. There is an interesting short video clip at the end. Enjoy!
 
 
Donna Brazile was the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King-African American History Month celebration program today at GSFC. She encouraged all of us to be the dream, to continue Dr. King’s determination for equity and social justice. Ms. Brazile has a natural talent to communicate her passion in a unifying spirit and a profound knowledge linked to the realities of the people. The message of her talk reminded me of Paul Loeb’s book “Soul of a Citizen.” I wanted to ask her  why is so hard to end poverty in the United States, about the 'abandoned' as it appears in Eugene Robinson's "Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America" and other things. Perhaps some other time, who knows. I hope she gets to read this post though. She comes across as an authentic person and I was thrilled to meet her.

 
 
Most of the Fellows made it to the HHMI visit in Chevy Chase, MD where we were briefed about their educational resources and introduced to their most recent products. We attended the screening of the 33 min. film ‘The Day the Mesozoic Died’ and went over the latest iPad app ‘EarthViewer.’ As a teacher you can order the film without cost to you at http://www.hhmi.org/catalog/main?action=product&itemId=397 and the app is free for download http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/earthviewer/

Explore the virtual labs, lecture series, interactive features, teacher guides and much more at http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/

It was an awesome visit, we were treated to lunch and left the incredible campus with educational goodies and a sense that their resources can be accommodating to a wide range of science subject matter, not just biology or medicine. Check it out!

 
 
I presented at the 42nd Annual National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. I framed my presentation titled Bilingual Students in the Standardization Age on three premises: 1. the perceptions that the general public and policy makers’ hold regarding achievement verification through standardized test scores foster an education reform through the unholy trinity of standards, testing and accountability, 2. high stakes testing is driven by a market-like model of accountability, and 3. just like the implementation of NCLB, implementing the Race to the Top is demonstrating that the rigid accountability system is failing to take into account the diverse need of bilingual and non-mainstream students, thus promoting a “culture of silence” (after Paulo Freire).

Passive learning can be easily standardized. The skills taught to students to acquire and process knowledge are tightly controlled. Throughout the presentation I maintained that teachers and administrators alike must question whose interests are being served and whose not? This is especially important in the midst of a standards, reform and accountability cycle. Real world connection to knowledge and a relevant curriculum that stresses cultural congruence between the cultures of school and home must be taken into account. I mentioned NASA educational content as an example of real world application in and outside the classroom and discussed the implications of the testing frenzy for bilingual students. In explaining the school grade formula of New Mexico and the data, I showed a window into my classroom where students’ voices reflected on this phenomenon. My contention was simple, I all for assessment (formal and informal-as they inform my practice), but its dosage has be adjusted and above all, assessment should be for learning, not of learning.