Air filters are playing a big part in safe school reopening plans

As schools kick off the 2021-22 school year, the air is thick with questions — and with COVID-19 hesitancy. Will students and faculty have to wear masks? Will they have to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19? Will we see remote learning play a major role this year, as it did last year? How can we keep classrooms safe while the delta variant seems to be running rampant and vaccination rates lag behind national goals?

The unfortunate answer to all these questions is that there is no clear answer. Each state, and even each school district, is handling things differently in the U.S. In Florida for example, Governor DeSantis is threatening to withhold funding from schools that enforce mask mandates. Meanwhile, California has lifted its state-wide mask mandate for schools but highly encourages school districts to enforce their own policies.

An airborne virus doesn’t respect state borders, and the longer it’s allowed to circulate, the more likely the virus is to mutate into a new variant. Perhaps even one that ignores the protections of current vaccines. Which is why it’s important for schools to do everything in their power to protect students, faculty, and everyone else on their campuses.…Read More

This “open” innovation may indicate the future of learning

My hometown of Gastonia is a quiet place. Scant traffic. Nice neighbors. Folks still offer you a sweet tea when you visit. By most accounts it’s a sleepy southern town, with roots in textiles and major manufacturers producing Wix air filters and Freightliner trucks. Just what you’d expect from a small town in the South. It’s my idea of heaven, but according to Wikipedia, its biggest claim to fame is that it is the second largest satellite city in the Charlotte metropolitan area.

But get ready. Gastonia, though small and unimpressive to fancy outsiders like Wikipedia, is poised to take advantage of one of the greatest sea changes taking place in education in the last 200 years. Don’t let the headlines and the small-town charm fool you. Gastonia has potential!

Even with all our new technology and the amazing strides we have made in the science of learning, our sons’ classrooms in Gastonia look a lot like my classroom did–and an awful lot like my father’s, who was born in 1923. My father attended classes for 11 years (there was no fourth year of high school then and no kindergarten), but even so, his classes were separated by grade levels and students were assessed by letter grades. Every student was required to learn the same things during the same chronological period. With no technology except a chalkboard, my father graduated high school as a very literate person who was highly proficient in mathematics and knew Latin and Greek.…Read More

Teach kids to be their own internet filters

It’s becoming less and less effective to block students from websites. When Los Angeles Unified rolled out its one-to-one iPad program, administrators expected to be able to control how students used them both in school and at home, Mind/Shift reports. But, not surprisingly, kids are resourceful and students quickly found ways around the security, prompting the district to require students to turn over the devices. Students live in an information-saturated world. Rather than shielding them from the digital world, many agree the most effective way to keep them safe and using the internet responsibly as a learning tool is to teach them how to be their own filters. That’s not only a life skill, but one that’s important when researching. Older kids, especially, have the capacity to learn how to decide which online sources can be trusted and why…

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