Friday, October 9, 2009

MCAS scores fall shy of target

For the first time since testing began, more than half of Massachusetts schools are out of compliance with federal achievement standards, education officials said yesterday, a finding that raises warning flags for local educators but also sparks questions about whether the national benchmarks are too high. Read more ...

OER Commons: Open Educational Resources

Since my own EduResources Portal closed in July 2007, I've been looking for other useful portal entry points to recommend to students and instructors who are searching for educational resources. I highly recommend the OER Commons as a valuable first stop. The Commons is extremely broad in scope, but so well organized that new users can orient to its resources quickly.

The OER  materials can be browsed by categories or collections; resources are also searchable with key words. Additionally, the entry page displays the OER Top Ten and the Top 25 Tags for a quick scan of what other users are viewing. Visitors who register can set up their own OER Portfolio and also sign up to receive an E-News newsletter.

The "OER Matters" section provides links to News Stories, Articles and Reports, Conferences and Workshops, Discussion Forums, Organizations and Associations, Tools and Technology, and Blogs and Wikis.  The Commons was created by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) which is supported by the Hewlett Foundation.  OER professionals will want to mark the OER Commons in their bookmarks and visit the site regularly (an rss feed is also available). _____JH


"OER Commons is a teaching and learning network, from K-12 lesson plans to college courseware, from algebra to zoology, open to everyone to use and add to."

"Learn more about the worldwide movement to make teaching and learning materials free and accessible for use and re-use by everyone."

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Deluded, With A Huge Imagination

...complete with an awesomely religious introduction in which they explain that Darwin wasn’t so much a scientist ahead of his time, but was more a deluded freak with a huge imagination...


Anti-evolution group Living Waters and their president, Ray Comfort, have published their own version of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, complete with an awesomely religious introduction in which they explain that Darwin wasn’t so much a scientist ahead of his time, but was more a deluded freak with a huge imagination who played his fellow humans with a long list of hoaxes.

Here’s what Ray Comfort and Living Waters had to say regarding their plan:

Living Waters, an evangelical group that argues for the literal truth of the Bible, is planning to distribute 175,000 copies of The Origin of Species on university campuses next month, just in time for the 150th anniversary of its publication. But these won’t be ordinary copies. They will feature a “special introduction” to Darwin’s classic.

The idea, according to the fund raising materials, is that top universities, which might not be thrilled at their students being given anti-evolution materials, will be unable to block the distribution of Darwin’s writings. “Let’s see if they try to ban Darwin’s Origin of Species,” it says.

Look, I respect and encourage humans to have different beliefs. What I don’t respect, however, is someone (anyone, even a freaky, liberal, cold-hard-science person like myself) resorts to using fear tactics or brain-washing or some form of effed-up trickery to lure unsuspecting minds to their way of thinking. Grow up. Say what you want to say and allow people to take it or leave it. Don’t be creepy, and for the love of all things holy, don’t stoop to treating your prospective converts like children of below-average intelligence.

It’s tempting to go back on my live-and-let-live philosophy and publish my own edition of the bible with an introduction full of lots of explanations as to the epic mythology contained therein, the ancient fables of pre-scientific-method mankind, and the spectacularly unprovable math and science which the big book claims are the absolute truth. It would be a little (so much!) fun to show up at a church and pass out my version of that big guy’s book, but I won’t. I’m entirely too classy.

Posted by Alexa Harrington

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Panel approves new SC scoring system for schools

A South Carolina oversight panel has approved a scoring system that would mean more of the state's schools meet federal education goals.

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