"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Teachers - Is This Your Replacement?

McGraw Hill happily announced the nationwide distribution of their new on-line language arts software.  
Glencoe Writer's Workspace, [is] the company's first online language arts program for middle and high school students. The program offers students rigorous language arts instruction that meets the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), English language proficiency standards and college and career readiness standards in an exciting, interactive online environment. 
Writer's Workspace helps develop students' writing fluency and proficiency to handle the demands of high stakes assessments including the ACT and SAT and mastery of the Common Core State Standards. It also supports English Language Learners and students in need of intervention and provides personalized instruction to help all learners acquire the language usage skills necessary to be effective communicators. 
This program is so good it provides reading and writing instruction via a "dynamic platform" that is accessible "anytime, anywhere."  Even the grading process has been taken over by the Online Essay Grader.  The teacher's only job is to track homework and provide immediate feedback on submissions. But since the Essay Grader will be assigning the grade, it's not clear what benefit the teacher's feedback is.  As we noted here kids are pretty good at figuring out what the program wants and soon won't need feedback from a live person.

Teachers - Are you as excited about this on-line education?  Does it make you wonder why you spent all those years and dollars getting an education in teaching so you could count homework and provide extraneous feedback?

McGraw Hill is rolling out the Language Arts version this year.  Math is coming soon because both subjects are part of the CCSS, which by the way haven't been finalized yet.  Interesting how an education publisher has already developed software that "meets the CCSS" before those standards have been developed or announced. How is that possible? Hmmmm.

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