PISA and international comparisons


How can we measure what makes a school system work? Andreas Schleicher walks us through the PISA test, a global measurement that ranks countries against one another -- then uses that same data to help schools improve. Watch to find out where your country stacks up, and learn the single factor that makes some systems outperform others.





Original Post

P.S.:  When adults who are/were products of the public school system start suing their schools/school districts for their chronic back problems caused by having to carry 50 pounds of textbooks on their backs since elementary school, that day will come overnight.

Originally Posted by sunnubian:

 having to carry 50 pounds of textbooks on their backs since elementary school, that day will come overnight.

I could not comprehend that when I began noticing it in the 90s.  I didn't carry that much stuff in high school and we almost never covered the entire books that we did use.



This is the first time I have seen this stated:


believes tablets work better for young children than desktop PCs or laptops. “The reason tablets are so important, especially in the lower grades of K-6, is because if students at that age have to use a keyboard it interferes with their ability to absorb and retain information,” he says, pointing out that students’ motor skills and mental facilities are not synchronized enough at early ages to permit effective typing.



Tablets better than netbooks and laptops for young kids.  They don't have to be distracted and confused by having to use a keyboard with letters not in any order that makes any sense.




China Is Engineering Genius Babies

What was their selection process?
They seem mostly interested in people of Chinese and European descent. They’re basically recruiting through a scientific conference, through word of mouth. You have to provide some evidence that you’re as smart as you say you are. You have to send your complete CV, publications you’ve produced, standardized-test scores, where you went to college... stuff like that.



What do you think is going on?  Who will own the future?



Originally Posted by Xumbrarchist:

This is the first time I have seen this stated:


 students at that age have to use a keyboard it interferes with their ability to absorb and retain information,” he says, pointing out that students’ motor skills and mental facilities are not synchronized enough at early ages to permit effective typing.



Tablets better than netbooks and laptops for young kids.  They don't have to be distracted and confused by having to use a keyboard with letters not in any order that makes any sense.




I don't know about "effective typing", but I have been trying to warn parents that have very young children to not let them get too involved with the computer at too young an age, because what it does is basically programs the child to expect everything to happen fast, in an instance, etc., therefore, living the child impatient and with no interest in things that take time to do or learn, like actually writing,  or doing detailed work. 

This is funny:

If one politician has his way, sci-fi's gonna be mandatory in school

What if science fiction was mandatory reading for all students?

That’s exactly what a Republican legislator in West Virginia is proposing this session with a bill that would require the State Board of Education to integrate “grade-appropriate science fiction literature” into middle-school and high-school reading curricula. Delegate Ray Canterbury, who represents Greenbrier County in southern West Virginia, originally introduced the legislation last year. It received next to no attention, but this session he’s bringing back the bill, recruiting co-sponsors and preparing editorials with the hope that even if it doesn’t pass it will pressure the Board of Education to adopt science fiction on its own.

“I’m not interested in fantasy novels about dragons,” Canterbury said in an interview with Blastr. “I’m primarily interested in things where advanced technology is a key component of the storyline, both in terms of the problems that it presents and the solutions that it offers.”



A politician with some brains.  Shocking!  Arthur C. Clarke said politicians should read science fiction.  The point is that GOOD sci-fi consists of thought experiments about possible futures.  However there is lots of BAD sci-fi.



  Sci-fi?  Sci-fi?  In school?  WTF?  Now I have  heard EVERYTHING!!!  With schools closing down back to back across this country....and all these azzwipes can think of is bringing in fiction-type in an already broken school system?  That's focking crazy.  We are DEFINITELY regressing!  Big time!  Po kids.   What we gon do?  But! 

Originally Posted by Kocolicious:

  Sci-fi?  Sci-fi?  In school?  WTF?  Now I have  heard EVERYTHING!!!  With schools closing down back to back across this country....and all these azzwipes can think of is bringing in fiction-type in an already broken school system?  That's focking crazy.  We are DEFINITELY regressing!  Big time!  Po kids.   What we gon do?  But! 



They were talking about this in the 50s Koco.




The problem is back then much of the science fiction was quite scientific but today the stuff called science fiction has turned into garbage like Star Wars.  Star Wars is NOT science fiction.




The science teachers I had in high school mostly made science boring.  The science fiction I read made it far more interesting.  Read Tau Zero by Poul Anderson to see some Einsteinian physics.  Orphans of the Sky by Robert Heinlein fro Newtonian physics.  But the new junk called sci-fi today has vampires and laser swords that cannot possibly work.


Ever heard of Steve Wozniak?


On October 20, 2011, Wozniak delivered a keynote presentation entitled "Today’s Science Fiction, Tomorrow’s Science Fact" at IP EXPO, a Computer expo which took place at Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London.

I paid attention to Wozniak not Jobs.


Here is stuff from the 50s, and it is free to reduce costs.


Omnilingual (Feb 1957) by H. Beam Piper

Badge of Infamy (Jun 1957) by Lester del Rey

1957 was the year of Sputnik, but it was launched in October.  Both of these stories were published before the Sputnik launch.  It was not until 1958 that the van Allen belts were discovered and 1965 that a probe sent to Mars discovered that the planet had no magnetic field and only one percent of Earth's atmospheric pressure.  So this information changed our thinking about the chances of life developing on the planet and Mars stories from before 1965 would most likely have significant inaccuracies.  But these are both decent and interesting stories nonetheless.




   You're sooooooo right my brotha.  I remember the Twlight Zone, One Step Beyond and the Outer Limits.  Those shows used to SCARE the heck outta me.  And a lot of the stories are soooooo true  and prevelant today.  I recall one story about a man who came back from space and something happened and time stood still,  Spooky.  Then it was another one where the aliens came from another planet and they communicating with computers on the mothership.  But there were so many stories that set the stage for what we have now.  Okay I can deal with that.  But like you said....this other stuff white pale vampires sucking blood and Harry Potter doing magical tricks.....nawl.  That aint real life.  Not even close.    But!   

In the short novel "Gulf," in Citizen of the Galaxy, and in Stranger in a Strange Land,  Heinlein makes reference to the work of a psychologist named Samuel Renshaw.



Robert Heinlein is one of the most famous science fiction writers of the 20th century.  But his stories often included useful information about the real world.  That is something lacking in plenty of recent sci-fi works.   But now technology can give everyone a tachistoscope.







The Touch-Screen Generation

Ever since viewing screens entered the home, many observers have worried that they put our brains into a stupor. An early strain of research claimed that when we watch television, our brains mostly exhibit slow alpha waves—indicating a low level of arousal, similar to when we are daydreaming. These findings have been largely discarded by the scientific community, but the myth persists that watching television is the mental equivalent of, as one Web site put it, “staring at a blank wall.” These common metaphors are misleading, argues Heather Kirkorian, who studies media and attention at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. A more accurate point of comparison for a TV viewer’s physiological state would be that of someone deep in a book, says Kirkorian, because during both activities we are still, undistracted, and mentally active.




Sound very probable to me.  Who knows what is really coming through the t.v. screen/waves and any other sources of media.  Back in the 50's they had subliminal suggestion in the movies that played the movie theaters, until it was outlawed.  But, who know what technological advancements in this area have been achieved since the 50's, and who knows whether or not  which or any or all of our media is embedded with subliminal suggestion that tells people God know what to think or believe or do and/or that keeps Americans in a stupor-like state.

Why the Online-Education Craze Will Leave Many Students Behind



Surprise, surprise!  The miseducational system is designed to be part of creating class structure.  The teachers are part of a continuously evolving system.  Computer technology is the monkey wrench in the system.  So some people are fighting to keep the system from changing while incorporating the monkey wrench.  Sometimes I can actually find it funny.


Black Americans need to trash the competitive BS and assimilate the technology.





She is mixing apple and oranges in that article to make a questionable point.  She is comparing taking courses or obtaining certificates from a college or university with getting a degree from that college or university.  Then she is throwing in all those who just do not participate in an online education program and those who don't even have access to the internet [which I think is grossly exaggerated] with those who have and failed or who have participated but did not get a degree.  I also question there claim that those taking an online course don't learn as much as those in a traditional setting, because the same as with traditional schools, it depends on the school, and it depends on the student.  


I do agree that our public schools have wasted far too much money on online education, but that is because instead of merely building a website that has the exact same thing that the public school is teaching in a traditional classroom uploaded and paying teachers to teach it online, the instead, go out and hire private companies and pay for their modules, teachers, administration, etc.


  It's acoming.  Although I do agree with the term "warehousing" which is something the new techies have come up...but!  I call it socialization.  And people need to be able to socialize with each other with or without computer assessibility.  If you can't talk to the person in line next to you....how would you be able to communicate effectively on issues that will affect us all as a nation? 


I do agree with blended environments.  Schools need to have computers like they have libraries inside each school. It is a necessity, a tool like a pencil and paper or book.  But this new form of paper and pencil does not REPLACE what you get inside the classroom.    She says traditional education....but!  The collapse of this traditional education came when administrators start paying themselves more money and reduced spending in the schools they are supposed to govern.  Adminstrators also reduced money to pay qualified teachers.  And I agree that most teachers today are not as good as they used to be but that is the fault of a dysfunctional educational system.  They are soooooo busy trying to find cheap teachers to do the job of a qualififed one, that they slip and let all these sex offenders in with their faulty foggy way of investigating teaching candidates....that not only do the kids fall through the cracks but they are left with social damage from pedophile teachers and the other unqualified teachers hired  damage them cuz they care less cuz they are NOT making the money to justify quality teaching.  It's a spin cycle of dysfunction.   And the beat goes on.  And children lose out.


So I wouldn't take my child outta school [public, charter, private] and put him in front of a computer and let the computer do the job as a teacher.  No!!!  That's crazy.  Children learn more in school than just edjamaction.  They learn independent thinking, communication skills, again socializing components....and you can't learn how to work in an environment with other people if you have not had the experience.  It sounds good to hear her talk and joke about these issues to lessen the importance....but!  Again, children will lose out finding out how to be better people as they grow toward maturity and that is something computers can not teach.  Bottom line it's all about the money.  They don't wanna pay $10,000 per child anymore.  And that is soooooooo wrong on so many levels it ain't even funny-we are one of the wealthiest nation in the world and we can't send out kids to school. 


I mean all  jokes aside, yes children  need computers but more than that they also need quality education anf the components to be in a room with other children learning HOW to get along...so that they can transfer that getting along to the outside world[work environment and community].  Otherwise, they will be doomed before they leave kindergarten.  But!

The Defining Science Fiction Books of 1950s


The Defining Science Fiction Books of the 1960s


World War II gave us rockets, RADAR, jet planes, computers and the Atom Bomb.  In 1960 we got The Pill.  Although computers are the fastest evolving technology all of these things are still propelling our future.

I think some of the mistakes of the last 30 years are the result of not enough people having read science fiction to make a future that makes sense.


The Defining Science Fiction Books of the 1970s



  Maybe since the invention of the "Pill" people have become tooooooooo "busy" to read science fiction.  Just a little Koco joke.


Personally, I never actually got into science fiction cuz the storyline wasn't very interesting.  I guess when they add realistic female characters in the story or have them a part of the theme of the story...then maybe more girls will read science fiction.  And not the type of fiction that includes vampires, harry potter types-but realistic characters and storylines that can exist in the real world.  In the older fiction books I hadn't known a female characte-except for maybe Nancy Drew-oh that's not science fiction....but you know what I mean....right?  But!

Originally Posted by Kocolicious:

And not the type of fiction that includes vampires, harry potter types-but realistic characters and storylines that can exist in the real world.

Vampires and Harry Potter were not called science fiction in the 60s.   Though SF of the 50s and 60s was oriented toward White boys.  The term has gotten more sloppy since Star Wars.


Rediscovery by




Science fiction as a factor in science education


This was from the 1950s.  We now have a society with lots more computers at much lower prices and the science fiction has turned into crap.  So old stuff from the 50s and 60s may be better.

We have to deal with this science fiction now.



  I agree.  Sooooooooo when are YOU are gonna start writing your first science fiction book?  You have what it takes.  Know what to do/how to say it.  Sooooo when?    I'll be the FIRST to stand in line to buy.  I'm sure you have lots and lots to say behind the theme of science fiction.  Again...so...


Engine001 is a non-3D maker that's been in the works for a few years now. Like the RPG Maker series, Engine001 specializes in allowing users to create their own RPGs and Action RPGs with ease. The intrument of construction involved with designing this maker has allowed a lot of customizable features: Mapping is invoked with three layers of objects, a limitless supply of tilesets, and the stability to handle large maps. Characters are completely customizable with stats, equipment, and graphical appearances. Also, Artificial Intelligence allows characters to be controlled through events.

A unique feature available to few engines is Engine001's 'vehicle' feature, which gives developers a vast amount of transportation options for their characters. Cars, boats, planes, and submarines are a few to name, and each vehicle is given additional distance and level options.




SNAP! (formerly BYOB) is a visual, drag-and-drop programming language. It is an extended reimplementation of Scratch (a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab) that allows you to Build Your Own Blocks. It also features first class lists, first class procedures, and continuations. These added capabilities make it suitable for a serious introduction to computer science for high school or college students.




Education Reimagined

An exciting concept for reforming education.

In today's society, most students learn a variety of subjects primarily by lectures, with the goal of passing certain standardized tests before moving on to another series of subjects. Former hedge fund analyst Khan questioned this educational model, believing it did nothing to show true mastery of a topic. Candidly and enthusiastically, he details how he originally started what is now known as the Khan Academy by creating a series of YouTube videos to help his cousin with her understanding of math. Supported by Google and The Gates Foundation, those videos have evolved at the Khan Academy website to cover math, science, history and art, among other subjects. They have been used by millions around the world.

Now this is funny:


Legislator proposes mandatory science fiction reading in schools

The proposed legislation, H.B. 2983, would amend an existing section of the Code of West Virginia, §18-2-7 et seq. that delineates required courses of study. The bill goes on to explain “that promoting interest in and appreciation for the study of math and science among students is critical to preparing students to compete in the workforce and to assure the economic well being of the state and the nation… “ and that the Board of Education would be responsible for establishing criterion in which “samples of grade-appropriate science fiction literature are integrated into the curriculum of existing reading, literature or other required courses for middle school and high school students.”

Canterbury’s reasoning is precise and practical. In a recent interview with Blastr, he stated that his intentions did not include fantasy works, adding, “’I’m primarily interested in things where advanced technology is a key component of the storyline, both in terms of the problems that it presents and the solutions that it offers.’”





That is very ironic considering this from 1959:





Leader of Teachers’ Cheating Ring in Memphis Gets 7-Year Term




The White folks can't make double-entry accounting mandatory in their schools.  They can't create a National Recommended Reading List for their own children.  But they will sentence you to prison for cheating on their stupid tests which they can't prove help kids learn anyway.



Osun and the Value of a Digital Revolution, By John Ogunlela

In 2009, out of Nigeria’s 36 states, Osun State came 35th in NECO examinations results. This was at the zenith of People’s Democratic Party-led government in Osun State. In 2010, the state managed to crawl up the rungs to the 32nd position. After one year of Aregbesola’s government in 2011, Osun State shot up to number eight.

What is his grouse? In Osun, the government was looking for the most cost-effective means of delivering top quality education to kids in their public schools. One of their main thrusts was a computer tablet (Opon Imo), distributed free to the kids. Each tablet is preloaded with all the textbooks they need, 56 in all, not to mention seven extra volumes like the Bible and Quran, personal health, sex education, fitness bits and such assortments. There is more. The tablet also comes with ten years of WAEC and JAMB past questions in 17 subjects.







1.5 lakh students in rural Punjab to get Akash tablets

The tablets would be distributed with an aim to make rural students aware about the use of technology in present day education, he said. Under the previous budget, Punjab government had sanctioned 12 per cent of the whole budget to the education sector, he said. It has initiated the process of creating a special border area cadre for teachers so as to give a big push to education in border areas, he also said. Besides the expansion of GNDU campuses, the process had already started to set up a world class university at Amritsar, he said.



1.5 lakh is 150,000.




Oprah spent $40 million dollars on her school.  That would buy 1,000,000 of these Akaash tablets.  So even if only 10% of them were effectively used that would be 100,000 kids helped with electronic education.  How many students will her school turn out in 100 years?











“Edtech” – The beginning of a revolution in the classroom

The majority of tools used in classrooms and lecture halls today would be instantly recognisable to a secondary school headmaster or university provost from the industrial revolution – technology was, for a long time, relegated to computer labs, document management, timetabling and email.

Technology adoption in education has typically lagged behind consumer and enterprise trends, especially at the secondary and primary level. Conservative attitudes among administrators and some teachers are part of the reason, but the underlying issue is cost. The overheads in adopting new tools and their associated methodology, training staff in their use and ensuring student adoption, strains overstretched education budgets and overworked educator’s time.

While there have been attempts to develop technology specifically for education, these have been largely constrained to experimental environments away from real classrooms. The lack of feedback from educators on the “front lines” has resulted in many conference papers, several expensive false starts and many dead ends. As in any industry, education technology can’t progress without testing by real users in real environments.





Problem Of Math Educational Software Needs Solution

Twenty-five years ago, when computer instruction in math was just breaking out into general use, Rand Corporation reportedthat instructional software was excellent for supervising math fact drills and teaching students basic procedures, but much less effective at teaching beginning algebra and everything beyond it.

Rand's project found that elementary algebra is the first level at which a major part of math success is choice of strategy. Take, for example, this very simple quadratic equation: 6x2+12x+48 = 3(4x+48)

This has at least six workable strategies for a solution: a fast in-the-head method, an excruciatingly slow process of resolving to normal format and grinding the answer out of the quadratic formula, and at least four others. The best strategy for this problem might not be right, or even possible, for another.





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