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Oh, What a Beautiful Oklahoma

In the curriculum feature story “Geography Ed for a Flat World” (June 2012), writers list several states that require geography and test it. Your article left out Oklahoma.

Oklahoma requires geography in the sixth and seventh grades. There is a statewide mandated test for seventh grade. That course and the testing have been in effect for well over 10 years. Most districts also offer full-year geography courses in high school; however, there is no mandated testing for geography at that level.

Nadana Maddox
TAH Project Director
Osage County (Okla.) Interlocal Cooperative

Learning on Mobile Devices Is about More Than Apps

In response to the Going Mobile column in the July/August issue, “Want Increased Student Achievement Using iPads?” we received this:
It’s true. It’s about much more than the apps! When I’m not working as a classroom teacher, we at BalancEdTech lead a workshop designed to get teachers beyond thinking about just the apps—Apps Taskonomy: Digging Deeper into the Application of Apps. It’s designed for teams of teachers to complete together.

The workshop starts with the apps, then through questions and the activities the teachers do, they quickly realize that the apps are just the tip of the iceberg. It is the application of apps, what we refer to as “apptivities” (such as lessons and projects) that is most important. The bulk of our time is spent with teachers working through how to evaluate existing apptivities and what they should consider when developing their own.

Jordy Whitmer

Collaboration Is Key to Better Ed Reform

To eliminate achievement disparities between students from different socio-economic and racial backgrounds, and to close the widening gap between U.S. students and students in other first-world countries, we must innovate our way toward serving the academic needs of all students.

In today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing world, there is no choice but to collaborate. People are ready, but they don’t know where to start. Transformation starts with discussions about what students, teachers and schools need to be successful.

We just launched the Ferguson Education Leadership Fellowship, a program designed to work toward eliminating the silos that exist in many schools now as barriers to real reform. The program welcomes a cadre of leaders who will teach others how to work across organizations to deliver what is best for students.

We encourage companies, charters, and school districts to ask, “What can I do? What do I offer? Is it what students and teachers need?” Teachers and parents, on behalf of their students, ask, “What can I demand? What will make it better for my children?” Only together will we find the real answers.

Paul Dakin
Revere (Mass.) Public Schools

Aylon Samouha
Chief Schools Officer
Rocketship Education

Rob Waldron
President & CEO
Curriculum Associates