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A March 26 New York Times article reports that a survey to be released later this week on narrowing the curriculum finds that since No Child Left Behind was passed in 2001, 71% of the nation’s 15,000 school districts have reduced the hours of instructional time in history, science, music, and other subjects to open up more time for reading and math. “The intense focus on the two basic skills is a sea change in American instructional practice, with many schools that once offered rich curriculums now systematically trimming courses like social studies, science and art,” writes reporter Sam Dillon. The article reports the many ways district administrators are attempting to shore up their math and reading instruction, often barring students from taking anything but these subjects. To read the entire article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/26/education/26child.html?_r=1&oref=slogin.
A New York Times editorial by Thomas Friedman titled “Worried About India's and China's Booms? So Are They” finds that one of the most frequent debates in most countries focuses on education and the common premise that they are falling behind. From the U.S. and Great Britain to India and China, every country is struggling with its own set of challenges. Friedman points to a “global convergence in education” that will spur growth and innovation. The challenge, he states, is for countries to find the right balance between creativity and rigor. Subscribers of the New York Times Select service can read the entire article at http://select.nytimes.com/2006/03/24/opinion/24friedman.html?th&emc=th. For others, read a synopsis at http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2006_03_27_synopsis.htm.
The deadline for online advance registration for NSTA’s April 6-9 Conference on Science Education—featuring the Exhibition of Science Teaching Materials—is this Friday, March 31, at noon. And don’t forget that if you can’t make the full 4-1/2-day event, we offer one-day only and last-day only registration, special prices for spouses, retired NSTA members, and for full-time students. Don’t spend your time waiting to register on site when you could be attending a session, touring the exhibits, taking a field trip, or networking. Go to http://www.nsta.org/conferences, and get a head start on the best experience of the year for science education.
Learn the ABCs of working with contemporary tools that will help you integrate technology-based inquiry into your classroom practices. This collection of 26 articles from Science Scope, NSTA’s member journal for middle school teachers, offers fresh approaches that you and your students can use to explore physical science, Earth and space science, life science, and more. Online resource lists and a wealth of other references are included and as an important bonus, the book is connected to a related website with continually updated chapter reviews, outlines, sample test questions, and activities. Use the latest technology to increase science learning. To browse the book and order, go to http://store.nsta.org/showItem.asp?product=PB202X.
The need for professional development for science educators is a fact of teaching life, and judging by the number of visits each week to the online course provider page in each issue of NSTA Express, many of our readers are looking to get that experience online. We are pleased to announce that UMassOnline has come on board to invite you to learn more about their brand-new online Master’s Degree in Education program for elementary and middle school science teachers. Developed with a National Science Foundation grant, the program engages teachers in a variety of guided and open-ended inquiries, which they discuss online with their peers. Using science kits to do experiments at home, students then share their experiences in discussion boards online with university faculty and fellow students. To learn more, visit http://www.nsta.org/pd/institute.aspxtier2.asp, and click on the UMassOnline logo. Institutions offering online professional development interested in inclusion in the NSTA professional development promotional program may contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
In 2005, a Pew Internet study found that more than 22 million American adults own iPods or MP3 players, and 29% of them have downloaded podcasts. That amounts to more than 6 million adults who have tried this new feature, which allows internet “broadcasts” to be downloaded onto their portable listening device. Always seeking innovative ways to deliver news and information on science education to our readers, NSTA Express would like to know how you use—or don’t use—podcasts. To take a quick survey on podcasts, please visit http://science.nsta.org/survey_podcast.
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