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Making the Grades: The Evolution of Teaching Methods

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The editors at Top Education Degrees decided to research the topic of:

Making the Grades: The Evolution of Teaching Methods

Teachers in Colonial times were called schoolmasters.

- Curriculum in Colonial Days:
- Reading
- Writing
- Simple math
- Poems
- Prayers

The three most commonly used books were

- The Bible
- A primer
- A hornbook

Schoolmasters (besides teaching) had to

- Keep the schoolhouse tidy.
- Check the chimney for soot.
- Discipline students.

Kids at school

- The sons of a southern planter: would be taught basics at home, higher math, Greek, Latin, science, celestial navigation (navigating ships by the stars), geography, history, fencing, social etiquette, and planation management.
- Sometimes, they were sent to boarding schools in England for a higher education, staying over to study law or medicine.
- Southern Girls: learned enough reading, writing, and arithmetic to read their Bibles and be able to record household expenses. They were taught by a governess (often from England), who taught them art, music, French, social etiquette, needlework, spinning, weaving, cooking, and nursing.
- Children of poor families did not receive education in literacy and religious as those of the upper class did. Instead, they took on apprenticeships which lasted from 3 - 10 years. These were meant to give them a skill that would help them to survive live in the colonies.

350 years ago

- Everything changed in 1647: The Old Deluder Satan Act was passed in Massachusetts.
- All towns of 50 or more families to provide an elementary school, where teachers were required to teach, not only reading and writing, but the bible as well.
- The puritans believed that if their children read and studied the bible enough, then they would be able to resist evil temptations, and avoid sinners.

100 Years Ago:

- 13: percentage of Americans holding a high school diploma in 1910.
- 3: percentage of Americans with college degrees that same year.
- 87: percentage of Americans holding high school diplomas by 2009 (latest census numbers)
- 30: percentage of Americans holding college degrees that same year.

School Age Kids, Then and Now (and the future)

- 54 million: number of American students enrolled in school, 1965
- 77 million: number of American students in school, 2009
- 81 million: projected number of American students in school, 2020


- 3.7 million: number of full time elementary and secondary school teachers in 2011.
- 3.3 million: number of public school teachers, 2011. Of those, .4 million are private school teachers. 3.9 million: number of full time teachers estimated in 2020

Then and Now

- 100, 50, 25 years ago: Teachers knew it all. Students were encouraged to ask questions teachers could answer. Curious students got into trouble.
- NOW: students ask useful questions and spend time learning how to organize their thoughts. Everyone knows it's important to be curious.
- NOW: Technology in the classroom is used to communicate ideas and to get access to software and all the free resources on the Internet. Teachers across subjects use the web for lesson plans, best practices, and professional development.
- NOW: Emphasis is on what students can do with knowledge, rather than what units of knowledge they have, is the essence of 21st-century skills.

And the NEAR Future: Blended learning, combining computers with traditional teaching.

- Pens and pencils are far from obsolete, but forward-thinking educators are finding other interactive tools to grab their students' attention.
- Some school programs are built around:
- 1. Guitar Hero, geo-caching (high-tech scavenger hunt), Google maps for teaching literature, Wii in lieu of P.E., Voice Thread to communicate.
- 2. ePals and LiveMocha to learn global languages with native speakers.
- 3. Voki to create avatars of characters in stories
- 4. Skype to communicate with peers all over the world.
- 5. Augmented reality, connecting students to virtual characters.

Future initiatives, creating media using technology

- 1. Digital Youth Network focuses on teaching hing students to create podcasts, videos and record music.
- 2. Adobe Youth Voices teaches kids how to make and edit film.
- 3. Tech-savvy teachers are threading media-making tools into the curriculum with: Comic strip creation sites like ToonDo, Microsoft PhotoStory 3 for slide shows, SoundSlides for audio slide shows
- Microsoft Movie
- Maker and Voice Threat to string together images, videos, and documents.
- Students in high school and college:
- Are using digital portfolios to showcase their work on websites that link to their assignments, achievements, and course of study; also, using photos, graphics, spreadsheets and web pages.