Sunday, June 2, 2013


Bryan Painter, journalist for The Daily Oklahoman, had an interesting article in the Sunday Oklahoman this morning, June 2, 2013, entitled "Learning From the Storm".  The article focused on questions from state, national, and international meteorologists.  The BIG question was, ' "What did [people] do differently on May 20, versus the F5 of May 3, 1999?" '  According to Painter's article, Rick Smith, a warning coordination meteorologist, posed a second question in order to answer the first.  What meteorologists want to know is how did people get their information?  The answer these scientists came up with was social media.  According to Painter, 19 tornadoes occurred during May 19th and 20th all ranging from EF2's to one EF5.  Norman Forecast office's Facebook received 10,000 likes from May 18th to May 28th.  It's Twitter account increased from 14,373 followers to 19,626.  Statistics like this are prompting weather forecasters to ask even more questions.  For example, did seeing a Tweet or a post on Facebook save someone's life?  Scientists looked at traffic monitored by sensors at different areas in the OKC metro a year ago on May 24, 2011.  After forecasting threats for tornadic weather, they noticed that traffic at 5:00 p.m. was well below average with 5,000 to 7,000 less vehicles at 6 of the 11 sites compared to 3:00 p.m. in the same afternoon with 1,000 MORE vehicles on the road at the same sites.  Scientists who want to know what people will do with the information they receive are delving into the subject by studying the behavioral science behind people's reactions.  What I find interesting in this study is the potential crossover with using social media to communicate with parents and even teachers.  For example transitioning to CCSS and TLE is crucial for educators and administrators.  Both represent a new day in learning.  Both represent starting over basically.  Student learning will look differently.  Linked here is a list of Interactive Teacher Sites created by teachers at Yukon Public School.  Included are examples of student blogs using KidBlog, teacher YouTube channels, student podcasts using AudioBoo, and even PD resources provided by their technology coach, Dr. Wesley Fryer.  In this blog post, Dr. Fryer writes about migrating podcasts into the Amazon S3 platform.  Linked here is an article by Elle Moxley about how SS and Science teachers are incorporating CCSS into their curriculum. Will Richardson posted on Twitter today this article by Jon Evans, "After Your Job Is Gone", which discusses the trend to replace more and more of the current work force with robots and drones.  In China, Foxconn is employing a million new robots.  Even if you're a burger flipper, new technology is being created that will replace those teenagers behind the counter whose deer in the head light look reminds us all of our own "first job" experience.

Certainly basic differences exist between comparing the horrific storms here in Oklahoma and the need to get critical emergency information out to the public and the need to accept and implement change in today's classrooms; however, the fact remains that communication for basic understanding whatever the subject is crucial.  According to Painter's article, Meteorologist, Rick Smith, says they've been trying since the 1960's to communicate with people by '"....yelling in all capital letters to people with these standard looking tornado warnings."'  He continues, '"We're able to talk to people more directly, more simply."' Student test scores will be used to measure teacher effectiveness by attaching results to certification numbers.  In another article by Andrea Eager in the Daily Oklahoman on May 31, 2013, Tulsa Public Schools are using a $38 million dollar bond issue to provide a uniform comprehensive reading intervention program that is technology based to address the 46% of students who are reading below grade level.  It's estimated that Oklahoma Schools will retain 2,200 to 3,000 students next spring when SB342 goes into effect.  The estimated cost of retaining these students will be $900,000 to $1.3 million.  If that's not a warning, I don't know what is.   

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