Friday, September 21, 2012

Education News: CFY PowerMyLearning: Digital Teaching and Learning: The Future of Schools, Classrooms and Students

See David Bernstein at the New York Times in A Digital Tool to Unlock Learning, an article about CFY and their web-based learning platform for K-12 (primary and secondary education), a platform titled:

PowerMyLearning.

Edsurge.com writes that CFY has received grants from the Gates Foundation ($5 million), the Broad Foundation ($1.2 million), and the Kellogg Foundation ($1 million).

Digital tools will of course never fully replace human contact via "human" teachers and "human" teaching, nor should they, but it is essential in our modern world to use the digital tools available for basic teaching and learning tasks, especially if they have the potential to raise students' learning levels.


Obama and Romney: VOTERS! Enjoy the Spectacle: These Men are Trying to Get YOUR Vote

Sometimes, a woman wants to be lied to -- so I was told once by someone who should know --  and it is the same with the voters.

A politician, if the circumstances are right, will tell YOU, the voters, what you want to hear.

The best way to appreciate the Presidential election campaigns of Romney and Obama is with a benevolent sense of humor and with a certain enlightened distance AND understanding. Do not take it all so seriously, folks. There is no room here for rage or anger. These men are trying to get YOUR vote. Since they can not please everyone ALL the time, you are going to like some of what you hear, and some not. Enjoy the process. It is a bit like a competition -- with YOU as the ultimate judge.

The New York Times has a transcript of the now virtually famous "Romney's Speech From Mother Jones Video", which includes the infamous 47% quote.

Everyone should read the transcript of that speech to get a better view of the election process and to understand that it is THE VOTERS who are the unknown quantity, not the candidates.

Romney is normally trying to win the swing vote -- people in the political center, such as we happen to be -- but NOT in that 47% speech. There Romney is "massaging" a right-wing audience and trying to get help to get votes from the political center.  Everything in the transcript is understandable. It may or may not be fully acceptable -- depending on your political view.

An example in that transcript is Romney lamenting the voters not paying enough attention to foreign policy issues. He can forget that. There may be peoples who are more insular than Americans out there in the world, but not many. Domestic policy is everything in US Presidential elections. People vote their pocketbooks -- or what they think are their pocketbooks.  Just imagine a candidate with a campaign logo of dollar signs and the promise that everyone will have "MORE $$$" after election. Such a candidate would be formidable. And you do not even have to deliver. Nothing is as forgettable as a campaign promise. The key is simply to get elected -- and then take it from there.

Both Romney and Obama are in the same pea and shell game, and it is a game in which the voters are being wooed with many shells and few peas. Voters and no one else raise or lower the level of sophistication of what is required to get their vote. Italian President Berlusconi once was reported to have said that your average voter has the intelligence of 14-year old, and he is a very successful vote-getter. If the shoe fits....

Neither of the two American Presidential candidates deserves the over-excessive negative hype they are getting. These are both intelligent men, and you can be sure either one is viz. would be OK as a President, although we don't see how Obama can be beaten in this election.

But for now, they are working to get YOUR votes, and the Republicans are trying to figure out how to do that. Obama has the distinct advantage of being a very personable incumbent. Romney is the challenger. It is like a boxing match. The incumbent wins all ties and there are many ties in 2012.

Let's be frank, all political candidates are opportunists, and if they were not, they could never get elected. Depending on where a politician finds himself at any given time, that candidate tells a particular group what they want to hear, more or less. Do we really expect them to do or say anything else?

That in any case is my explanation for the rather ridiculous 47% statement of Romney at a private fundraising dinner. He wants to get elected and he needs money from supporters, so he says what he needs to say to get there. If he believed what he said, he would have phrased it differently, but if you "poll-speak", i.e. tell your audience what the polls tell you is expected, you may stumble over your own two feet, and Romney did.

At the New York Times, Mark Landler in Obama Seizes on Romney Comments, Suggesting He Is Out of Touch has a couple of Obama quotes that I find worth noting:

"People want a hand up, not a handout."
Obama has some top speech-writers, unless he made that up himself. Brilliant. Of course, a slogan is one thing, and actual results are another.

"The most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside."
Thanks Barack, that is why we keep blogging!

Be assured that although we think Obama will win comfortably, we could take either Obama or Romney as President of the United States. You have to be an American first and a partisan second to see the true light. We see the real problem of political campaigns in the USA as getting the American electorate up to a level of performance as voters where they do not blindly send partisan incompetents to Congress merely because they babble the same nonsense that their corner of the country wants to hear.

Voters! Here is how to select the right candidate in voting. Pretend your life depends on the person you vote for. Would you pick the smartest person on the ballot? That is who you should vote for.

How smart is the candidate you are considering if all that candidate is promising is lower taxes (your vote is being "bought", that's for the Republican voters) or if that candidate is promising to redistribute the wealth (your vote is being "bought", that's for the Democratic voters).

A better criteria would be, for example, to ask the candidates how they plan to reconstruct the roads, highways and bridges of the country so that America does not look like a 3rd world country -- which is how many overseas visitors now consider the somewhat run-down USA when they first visit there.

Much of the world is AHEAD of the USA in modernity. Travel about a bit in the world and you will find this out. Vote for the future, folks, not for yesterday.


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