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Tag: education

This video is an overview of the educational children’s app market. It’s probably most useful for an indie developer wondering, “What educational app should I make?” I talk about what I’ve seen over the course of the hundreds of EDU apps I’ve downloaded and those I’ve extended as part of my work. Some areas of the market are clearly over saturated and there are gaping holes in others.

For those who don’t have time for a video, my advice is don’t make the same ABC app or arithmetic app everyone else is! Unless you can create clearly more compelling content, you’ll probably get buried. Make something between the ABC level and the storybook level… or a fun math app!

This was totally like, you know… not bad lip-syncing?

Stupid in America is a 20/20 investigation into the failures of K-12 schooling in the US. John Stossel interviews a variety of teachers, students, parents and administrators in the US and in Belgium. It’s particularly interesting for me because I’ve experienced it from so many sides. I’ve been at all kinds of schools, from public to Catholic, to one that had merit-based admissions. As a teacher, I’ve taught calculus and freshman physics in the US and more recently EFL here in Taiwan. It certainly doesn’t pay as well as my previous programming work, but it is interesting, and I enjoy it enough that I’ve thought about working as a public school teacher in the US after retiring.

I’ve seen some of the policy debates as well. In my high school district, a group of parents actually sued the school system and made them abandon a program called Direction 2000, that many considered an ill-advised attempt at political indoctrination rather than true education. It also turned out that the father of one of my good friends in middle school was the senator who proposed our voucher system. Anyway, it’s an interesting video… despite the Europeans claiming we’re stupid.

One final thought I’d like to share is that I see the school system in Taiwan as one of the biggest reasons to stay here long enough to have my own kids. Despite the complaints I hear from parents about the public schools here, the achievements I see in my nine and ten year-old students are so far ahead of what my peers in the US were doing at that age that it’s almost shocking. Especially in math, art and languages, the difference is stark.

Update: Michael Turton has written a response to this post.

Related Post: The New York Teacher of the Year is Against School

This is a recent test used in England:
a diagnostic math test for first year university students in England
Royal Society of Chemistry

Here’s a Chinese math test:
a math question from a Chinese college entrance test
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Reading the Taipei Times today, I came across an article that highlights yet another aspect in which Japan is returning to its nationalistic roots– education. The education minister, Ibuki Bunmei (伊吹文明), is a reactionary. In various speeches, he has stated that most young Japanese are incapable of writing or speaking well and that they need to “learn the rules of society” in elementary school before spending time on foreign languages. Fair enough. Now, though, he’s pushing into more disturbing territory:
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I really don’t get it with the Taipei Times. It seems like clock-work. Every couple of months, it pumps out another story about how Taiwan can dominate the Chinese as a second language (CSL) market. They also keep bringing up the HSK-knockoff test that Shida made. If you aren’t familiar with this topic, see my earlier piece: A Test Nobody Wants
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A few days ago, John (of Sinosplice) sent me a link to an article titled, “How public education cripples our kids, and why“. Interestingly, it was written by John Taylor Gatto, former New York State and New York City teacher of the year. He goes into a long explanation about how public schooling is used more as a tool for promoting social conformity than as means to an education. Quite a bit of the article rang true in my ears. Indeed, I’ve found a very large disconnect between schooling and education in my own life. continue reading…