Learning in Mind

Rethinking the Purpose of Education

Web Resources

Hands at Computer

The information available on the Internet can be overwhelming, so I've tried to limit the list to blogs and other web resources that I've found particularly valuable. 

Blogs

Recently, I saw a statistic that there were more than 30,000 education-related blogs. Many of them are devoted to how-tos in the classroom, political issues, and the current reforms. Those I've chosen to list are simply the ones that I personally take the time to read. Often, links within these blogs will lead you to other valuable resources.

Teacher Tom's Blog Teacher Tom is the sole teacher at Woodland Park Cooperative Preschool in Seattle, Washington. "His award-winning blog has earned him an international following as a leading proponent of a progressive, play-based curriculum and the cooperative model of early childhood education, as well as a fierce advocate for public policies that support the whole child and the teaching of democratic values to even our youngest citizens. His blog, like his classroom, is a place of exploration of the physical, social, political, emotional, and even spiritual world. It’s a place of experimentation, where the adults learn every bit as much as the children." Reading Teacher Tom's Blog is a master's class in early childhood education! HIGHLY recommended.

Diane Ravitch's Blog Diane Ravitch is a highly respected historian of education, and the author of national bestsellers Reign of Error: The Hoax of Privatization Movement and The Danger to America's Public Schools and The Death and Life of the Great American Schools System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education. Unlike Teacher Tom's Blog, Ravitch's blog focuses on the attempted takeover of public education by billionaires and for-profit corporations. Each day's blog consists of the latest headlines about public education. Although Ravitch was part of the DOE team that promoted standards in NCLB, she has since renounced those ideas. Comments on each of her articles are always stimulating.

Curmudgucation by Peter Greene, a public school teacher in Pennsylvania. In his own words, "I concluded a long time ago that teaching is a sort of guerilla warfare, where we stay low, do what we can get away with for the students, and pick our battles carefully. But sometimes the battles pick us, and all we can do is respond from the gut and the head.…This blog is about blowing off steam and standing up for public education." Warning for the more senstive readers: Greene "tells it as he sees it," which sometimes results in a few "less than PC" comments.

Alfie Kohn's Blog "Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. The author of fourteen books and scores of articles, he lectures at education conferences and universities as well as to parent groups and corporations. Kohn's criticisms of competition and rewards have been widely discussed and debated, and he has been described in Time magazine as 'perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores." Kohn doesn't blog every day, but his blog page contains many links to other articles and books he has written.

Edutopia Blogs This will take you to a site listing various blog topics appearing on the Etuopia website. The Topics List in the right column allows you to select areas of greatest interest. If you are a teacher and haven't already joined Edutopia, it is well worth the effort to be able to browse topics and engage in communication with other teachers. Unfortunately, many of the topics still reflect traditional ideas about education, teaching, and learning, but comments are always welcome.

The Answer Sheet by Valerie Strauss The Answer Sheet if a weekly column in the Washington Post--a collection of stories about school reform and other issues in education. 

Author Websites

Alfie Kohn's Website As described in the blog section "Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting." Check out the Articles, Topics, and Standards and Testing links for a variety of articles on various topic.

Peter Gray on Freedom to Learn In Psychology Today, author and developmental psychologist Peter Gray writes on a variety of topics, such as the importance of play-based learning, how early academic training retards intellectual development and often produces long-term harm, and why he believes that the current public school system will topple within the next ten years.

Organizations

The Alternative Education Resource Organization was founded in 1989 by Jerry Mintz. Their annual conference features well-known keynote speakers such as John Gatto, Jonathon Kozol, Debbie Meier, and Sugata Mitra. AERO's goal is to advance student-driven, learner-centered approaches to education. "AERO is the primary hub of communications and support for educational alternatives around the world. Our network (hundreds of schools in many countries of the world)  includes Montessori, Waldorf (Steiner), Public Choice and At-Risk, Democratic, Homeschool, Open, Charter, Free, Sudbury, Holistic, Virtual, Magnet, Early Childhood, Reggio Emilia, Indigo, Krishnamurti, Quaker, Libertarian, Independent, Progressive, Community, Cooperative, and Unschooling. AERO's mission is to help create an education revolution to make learner-centered education available to everyone." AERO is currently working to increase the amount and quality of learner-centered education in public schools.

The Alliance for Self-Directed Education is Peter Gray's next logical step in helping parents understand the nature of self-directed learning and the science that supports it. The organization got its start at a brainstorming session at the 2016 AERO conference in Portland, Oregon. As its website and membership grows, ASDE will bring together schools and other individuals who are interested in providing chldren with as much freedom of choice as possible in their education.


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