Science Education

Issues in science education and e-learning.

Archive for March, 2009

Teachers working conditions.

Posted by eduscience on March 26, 2009

Teacher Working Conditions

Between 2004 and 2008, the Center for Teaching Quality studied teacher working conditions across the nation, surveying more than 200,000 educators in an effort to identify factors that may impede maximum student learning. In a recent review of our studies in seven different states, CTQ surfaced a “top ten” list of trends and issues:

1. Most teachers want to remain in teaching and are committed to their students.
2. Teachers who intend to leave their schools and teaching are more likely to have grave concerns about their lack of empowerment, poor school leadership, and the low levels of trust and respect inside their buildings.
3. Teachers and administrators view teaching and learning conditions differently — and often quite dramatically so.
4. New teachers who have quality support are more likely to report they will remain in teaching.
5. Teachers who report relatively low levels of satisfaction with their professional development often do not have access to the kinds of training they believe they need.
6. Except in a few instances, and not surprisingly, new teachers were less concerned about issues of empowerment.
7. Elementary school teachers were far more positive about their working conditions, when compared to their middle and high school counterparts.
8. Teachers with different preparation and career intentions view teacher working conditions differently — which can have consequences for whether they stay in teaching.
9. Out-of-field assignments and teaching in high-stakes grades can have powerful impact on teachers’ perceptions of working conditions — and subsequently on their willingness to stay in a certain school.
10. Teacher working conditions may vary more inside of schools than between them.

CTQ’s own analyses, as well as those of a number of well-respected researchers, have found some important relationships between certain clusters of working conditions — for example, school leadership — and teacher retention and student achievement. However, limitations of current instruments (that define working conditions too narrowly) and data (that do not distinguish between different types of retention) suggest caution must be used in making specific causal claims. States and districts need to develop teacher, student, and administrator data systems that can track teacher and administrator teaching and learning conditions survey responses longitudinally and link these data with actual teacher turnover figures and robust measures of student achievement.

Currently, with support from the Ford Foundation, CTQ is conducting case studies in two urban communities to learn more about how different teachers are affected by different working conditions. The Spencer Foundation is supporting our efforts to rethink how to measure these working conditions for the schools of the future.

Given the new demands on public schools and the need for all students to meet higher academic standards and participate successfully in a global economy, policymakers must focus more on the conditions that allow teachers to teach effectively for the 21st century. Watch for an upcoming report from CTQ detailing how policymakers, practitioners, and researchers can more aptly define and improve teacher working conditions for the new millennium.

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The Ear

Posted by eduscience on March 22, 2009

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Kirchoff’s First Law on current flow

Posted by eduscience on March 22, 2009

Posted in Science, Sec IV Science & Tech. | 2 Comments »

Preparing for Science Fairs I, II, III

Posted by eduscience on March 22, 2009

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Top Notch Science Fair Project.

Posted by eduscience on March 22, 2009

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Sodium Metal in Water

Posted by eduscience on March 18, 2009

Sodium in Water from Brian Bartel on Vimeo.

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A new way to produce hydrogen.

Posted by eduscience on March 8, 2009

A New Way To Produce Hydrogen
do Slashdot de kdawson

Iddo Genuth writes “Scientists at Pennsylvania State University and Virginia Commonwealth University are producing hydrogen by exposing clusters of aluminum atoms to water. Rather than relying on the electronic properties of the aluminum, this new process depends on the geometric distribution of atoms within the clusters. It requires the presence of ‘Lewis acids’ and ‘Lewis bases’ in those atoms (water can act as either). Unlike most hydrogen production processes, this method can be used at room temperature and doesn’t require the application of heat or electricity to work. The researchers experimented with a variety of different aluminum cluster patterns, discovering three that result in hydrogen production.”

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The Future of Boys

Posted by eduscience on March 7, 2009

Elevated miscarriages for male fetuses are ringing alarm bells worldwide.  There are more than 20 industrialized nations reporting fewer male births.  Since 1970 this has added up to more than 3,000,000 baby boys.  Phalates – petrochemicals used in plastics and cosmetics are the suspected culprits.  PVC vinyl – the worlds most common plastic – contains a phalate called DEHP which has been classified as a reproductive toxicant by several agencies around the world.  It is used for medical devices such as intravenous tubing, catheters and blood bags.  Studies have shown that the DEHP can leach from the vinyl into the body of infants.  The exposure to these chemicals can be devastating.  Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between  DEHP exposure and shrinking testes.   The other widely used chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) used to make poly carbonate a hard rigid plastic used in a wide variety of commercial products including baby bottles.  First synthesized in 1891 it did not come into commercial use until the 1930’s-40’s when it was discovered that it could be used as a hormone since it behaved liked estrogen.  Only later was it utilized in plastic manufacture in such applications as lining for tin cans.  Think about that for a second – first it was a synthetic hormone and then it was used to manufacture baby bottles!  What were they thinking???

The Chemical Lobby is one of the most powerful lobbies in the world, since 1976 the US Government has banned just 5 chemicals!.  Industry is keeping the regulatory system at bay.   Educating the public is critical in this matter.  Endocrine disruptors are now wide spread.  There are many different chemical compounds used in a myriad of products that can disrupt human endocrine systems.  Many of these compounds are now a part of our hydrosphere found in lakes, rivers, and stream.  Biologists are seeing the same effects on male alligators found in lakes in central Florida.  Sexual organs of the males alligators are a third their normal size and the reproduction rate is 90% below average.  Evidence that pesticides alter the size of the testis and phallus is now clear.

This issue is as important as global warming for it threatens the survival of the human species.

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Margaret Meed Quotes

Posted by eduscience on March 6, 2009

As teachers it is our job not only to impart knowledge and curiosity to our students but to inspire them.  With that in mind I thought it worth while to list a few of Margaret Meads quotations to help inspire us.

“We are living beyond our means. As a people we have developed a life-style that is draining the earth of its priceless and irreplaceable resources without regard for the future of our children and people all around the world.”

“Life in the twentieth century is like a parachute jump: you have to get it right the first time.”

“We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet.”

“Man’s most human characteristic is not his ability to learn, which he shares with many other species, but his ability to teach and store what others have developed and taught him.”

“The ability to learn is older — as it is also more widespread — than is the ability to teach.”

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

“There is no evidence that suggests women are naturally better at caring for children … with the fact of child-bearing out of the center of attention, there is even more reason for treating girls first as human beings, then as women.”

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.”

“I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.”

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