Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Absolutely stunning.  I have read some of Moyes’ work before, but I completely fell in love with this book.  When Louisa Clark starts to work for Will Trayner, who is a quadriplegic, Clark is faced with extremely complicated decisions when she finds out that Traynor wants to have medically assisted suicide.  The complexity of this book is brilliant, but not overwhelming.  It sounds like a very hard, sad book but the writing is very easy to read.  It will rip your heart out at times, but overall a very wonderfully written book.

Bookclubs:  There are so many issues that can be discussed, so it would be a perfect book club novel.

Age:  It is definitely an upper high school+ reading only because of the subject material.

Me-Before-You-book-cover-Jan-12-p122

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K-12 schools fall behind in technology

Even though there is a huge increase of technology in schools, many schools across the country have yet to “catch-up” to their potential.

 

It is a matter of cause and effect concept.  To be able to have the newest technology software, schools need up to date devices.  So those schools that have not updated their computer labs in the past decade will not have the technology to support the latest software.

 

Also, if schools also not have a fast Internet connection, then that can also not provide support for the latest edtech software.  If students cannot access the latest software, then they are falling behind.

 

We live in such a connected world thanks to technology and it is a huge setback if the youngest generation does not get that opportunity.  If they fall behind now, it will become significantly harder and harder to have them catch up.

 

There are many ways to prevent this from happening.  For starters, schools can update their Internet connection.  This is much cheaper than buying brand new computers and software.  Schools often use technology grants to purchase those devices anyway, so obtaining better Internet is an easy fix.

 

The importance of having the youngest generation prepared for the future is so important for other advances to be able to take place.

Self-sustaining schools are the way of the future

Whenever people think about public schools having solar panels, windmills, and other self-sustainable energy, it seems all too futuristic.  Many have a hard time envisioning that the public school system can have that amount of technology readily available.

In Irving, Tex., Lady Bird Johnson Middle School is the United State’s largest net zero school, fully equipped with solar panels and other green, self-sustaining technology.

The technologically advanced middle school opened up to students in August of 2012, since then it has become the nation’s largest net zero school.

Students at the school are encouraged to view the solar panels and to notice the change in energy on a sunny day versus a cloudy day.  Inside the school, it has a “museum” feel because of its many presentations about energy throughout the school.

The building is LEED certified which is a certification about the overall energy efficiency on buildings, homes, and neighborhoods.  The main building has a giant canopy to provide shade to the school on those hot Texas days.

The curriculum at Lady Bird Johnson Middle School is also much more advanced than other middle schools in the nation.  For instance, the school’s mission is to have curriculum geared more towards student, not adults.  The school wants their material to be created for their students.

Learning energy efficiency is extremely important for the school as well.  Students will often do projects that teach the importance of recycling, energy conservation, and other “green” ideas.

There is a viewing deck for the main solar panel area, and teachers encourage students to go and view the panels to understand how they work and provide energy for the entire school.

Students are also equipped with iPads and other highly advanced tools so they are learning how to find information with current technology.  Teachers also encourage students to look for the answer as opposed to just receiving the answer.

This new building is the way of the future for schools across America.  It is so vital that students are taught the importance of energy conservation, and now that the technology is readily available it is easier to “undo” the pollution from previous generations.

Government shutdown’s effect on public schools

With the recent events of the government shutdown, many wonder about the state of their government jobs.  All national parks, museums, and other government owned places.

 

But what does this mean for public schools across the country that depends on federal funding?

 

Because there is no funding, schools are going to see a significant decrease in funding.  Of course a lot of this depends on how long the shutdown is, but this could lead to some substantial decrease in funding for items such as technology.  If the government shutdown lasts longer than a week, the public schools across the country could see a decrease as much as twenty percent in their funding. 

 

Many school districts view technology as important, but not as important as textbooks, teachers, and other education materials.  As a result, technology is usually the first to go when there are budget cuts in the school district. 

 

Even though iPads can seem frivolous for school districts to purchase for learning, it is important to have because that is what the future generations of students will use to learn the materials taught in schools. 

 

Extracurricular programs such as Newspaper and Yearbook classes need to have a successfully taught class.  These classes also need laptops and computers, but because they are not a core class they are often the first classes to get their funds cut. 

 

According to mlive.com, twenty percent of public schools get funding from the federal government and as a result of this potential loss of funding the percentage of high school dropouts could increase. 

 

Since the beginning of October, many schools will have a longer time having their loans granted such as Title I that helps aid schools in low-income populations. 

 

Again, these problems will only be present if the shutdown last longer than a week.  

B.Y.O.T (bring your own technology)

Virtually every student across the country is hooked to their iPhones, iPads, laptops, and other technological devices.  Almost every teen is wired to their technology, and now schools are acknowledging this.

Many schools across the United States are letting students bring their own technology to class.  Because of the “there’s an app for that” mentality, many teachers are using education applications during class time.

Some wonder whether this is displaying a productive use of class time, while others think it is a great way to assimilate modern day technology during school hours.

Those who oppose say it’s mainly because it proses a “quick fix” to many school district’s budgets.  This also does not have a tangible result in improving test scores.  However, this could open many doors for students and their learning environment.

Almost every technology device in this day and age has Internet capabilities, and because many students already own these devices many schools want to utilize them in the classroom.

Teacher’s lesson plans can be downloaded online and transferred to student’s devices that they have brought from home.  Students are also becoming better and better at typing.  This can increase the pace of lessons so more material can be taught at a time.

The amount of apps that have education material is increasing every single day.  There are apps such as “Factor Samurai” were one swipes there finger across a touch screen to “slice” factorable numbers in half.  Applications such as these can make learning more interactive so students can stay more alert during lessons during the school year.

Having students bring their own technology is also the way of what is to come in the future.   Because of the increasing number of students who own internet-capable devices, teachers need to understand the importance of having them in a classroom setting.