Thursday, February 17, 2011

Watson and the Case for Educational Reform

In case we need any further proof that we’re guiding our students into unchartered territories, see this piece in the Science Section of today’s New York Times.  The educational implications are those which Daniel Pink argued several years ago in A Whole New Mind: that the leaps and bounds by which computer processing power is expanding, and by which the relative costs of production are contracting, means that the future of meaningful human employment is going to be in places which – to the best of our current knowledge – computers can’t go: creativity, aesthetics, empathy, interpretation, deep meaning – what he calls “right-brain” areas.  So we then, as educators, have to ask ourselves to what degree is our educational system built to nurture these “right-brain” processes?  How much of what we do is focused on memorization, computation, and “getting the right answer,” and how much is focused on promoting ingenuity, recognizing multiple perspectives, cultivating a sense of aesthetic appreciation, or nurturing empathic development?  Said differently, how much of what we are teaching our students to do, can – and will – be done by the next generations of Watsons (read the article) and how much will remain in the human realm?

They are weighty questions for sure and no one has definitive answers.  Some have argued that our educational system can’t afford to take the risk.  More and more, educators are arguing, though, that we can’t afford not to.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Maddie Strikes Again

The accolades for 12th grader Maddie Tavin continue to pour in.  First she received a full academic scholarship, worth well over $100,000 to Stern College's prestigious S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program.  Then we received notice from the National Merit Scholarship Program  that Maddie was selected an one of only 15,000 finalists across the nation for their highly coveted Merit Scholar award. And in case that wasn't enough,  at this week's Model UN in Stamford Connecticut - an event that included 47 Jewish high schools and close to 500 students - Maddie was awarded Best Delegate for her work on the Security Council.

Of course, we know that Maddie is just getting started and we look forward to hearing about her accomplishments for many, many, years to come!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Science Wiki

If you haven't yet seen the wikispace created by our elementary school science teacher, Mrs. Hunt, be sure to check it out.  You and your children will find lots of links to sites and enrichment activities which correlate directly to the material they are covering in class.  Each subject area is clearly marked with the grade for which it is appropriate.  It's a great place to foster your budding scientist's passion for exploration and discovery!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Follow Us on Faceshuk

A number of months ago, a program called Faceshuk picked up my blog.  Faceshuk is designed to give certain Jewish bloggers greater exposure over the internet.  In addition to reposting my blog posts on Facebook, it sends the link to it's 3,737 (and growing) followers on Twitter.  Thanks to them, Jews all over the world are now learning just how special a place our school really is.