Thursday, April 28, 2011
This month I have been reading Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom. This is a blog written by Steven Anderson. Mr. Anderson is an educator who works with schools to help them integrate technology into their classrooms. Mr. Anderson gives presentations at technology conferences, as well. The first blog that I commented on was called "The Connected Administrator". This blog is about the importance of school administrators becoming technologically literate. This is a subject that I had never really considered. I always focused on the importance of technology being in the classroom, but I never thought about how technology could benefit administrators. Administrators can use technology to stay connected with other schools. Mr. Anderson included a Google docs presentation which encouraged administrators to become open to change in the way that schools are run. His oresentation also included information on tools which administratirs might find useful. Some of these tools include Skype, Google docs and Twitter. Here is the comment that I left on Mr. Anderson's post:
"I enjoyed reading your post because it made me think about the importance of administrators being technologically literate. Before I read you post, I hadn't thought about this concept. I enjoyed your presentation as well. The quotes that you included are great because they show how people have always been resistant to new tools in education. This encourages me to push for the use of technology in the classroom for the benefit of my future students. If administrators begin using the tools that you have suggested, then they will be on the path to technological literacy. Then administrators will be even more supportive if teachers who are working with technology in their classrooms."
The second post that I commented on was called "Making Complex Ideas Simple". This post focused on a website called commoncraft.com. This is a website which creates short, informative videos about different programs. The videos were entertaining and interesting. I think they would be useful for instruction in EDM 310. Some of the topics that they cover include Twitter, Wikipedia, Social Media and much more. I left the following comment for Mr. Anderson:
"My name is Rebecca Warnberg and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. These video created by Commoncraft are great! They are so informative and interesting. It's great to see creativity and technology combined in a way that will educate others."
Mr. Anderson has a lot of great ideas to share. I highly recommend his blog.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
I read four different class blogs this month for my comments for kids assignments. I got some really great ideas by exploring these blogs and I will discuss them here.
The Unicorn Blog- This is Miss Pike's Year 6 class blog. The blog I was assigned to read class blog has a list of links to the students personal blogs. I was assigned to comment on a student named Zakee. However, Zakee's blog was not working correctly, so I decided to comment on Shreya's blog instead. Shreya made a post called "Did You Know?" which listed several interesting, obscure facts. I left the following comment:
"I think that this was a very interesting post! I learned many things that I never knew before! Where did you find all of these fascinating facts? I especially liked the last fact that you listed about the elephants and the ants. That was a very shocking fact! Keep up the good work on your blog."
Room 14 Explorers- This is a blog made by a a year 5/6 class from Tauranga, New Zealand. I commented on a post entitled "Unpacking Integrity". This post include a slideshow which two students made using slideshare.com. This slideshow featured pictures of posters that different people made expressing their definition of integrity. I left the following comment:
"I really like this slideshow because it shows many different people's view points. I think this is a great question to ask people because it will cause them to consider if they are a person of integrity. My definition of integrity is always doing the right thing, no matter how difficult it may be." I really like this blog because this teacher makes her students think on a deeper level about many subjects and employs different educational tools.
Mr. McClung's World-The third blog that I read is called Mr. McClung's World. I made a blog post earlier which thoroughly analyzes this site. I commented on one post entitled Lessons Learned: Lesson Three- The Quest for the Perfect T-Shirt. In this post, Mr. McClung discusses a contest that his students were competing in to design a t-shirt for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I left the following comment:
"I think that your class fundraiser is a great cause. It’s good to see that you are encouraging your students to give back to others who are in need. I also think it’s great that you are allowing your students to express their creativity by creating t-shirt designs. I hope that these t-shirts will increase your students morale and dedication to your cause. I also hope that your fundraiser is very successful." If you are interested in learning more about Mr. McClung's blog, you can read my previous post entitled "Special Assignment: Mr. McClung's World".
Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog- Mrs. Yollis is a third grade teacher from California who is dedicated to giving the best education to her students through incorporating technology in her classroom. This blog had been nominated for best runner up for Best Classroom Blog in the 2009 and 2010 Edublogs.
Mrs. Yollis encourages parents to get involved in the learning process, too. Parents are asked to comment on their children's blogs. Mrs. Yollis gives instruction for how parents should leave comments. Here are Mrs. Yollis' rules of thumb for leaving comments:
1) Make a personal connection with the post
2) Add some factual information about the topic in your comment
3) Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct
I think it's great that Mrs. Yollis includes so many informational videos in her blog. Some of these videos include a tutorial on how to comment and a tutorial on how to create a hyperlink. These videos are useful for both Mrs. Yollis' students and the parents of students.
Mrs. Yollis uses her blog to help both her students and their parents get involved. She creates blog posts that discuss topics that she is currently teaching about in class. Her students are able to comment on these, and their parents are, too. All of her students' personal blogs are linked to the class blog, as well.
I commented on one of the students' blogs called "Hannah's Hacienda". Hannah made a post called "Leila Donates Her Hair to Locks of Love". This was an inspiring post in which Hannah described the Locks of Love program. Hannah and her sister Leila take turns donating their hair every other year to this program. I left the following comment for Hannah:
"This is a wonderful post! You have provided a lot of information about the Locks of Love Program. I had heard of this program before, but I didn't know all of the specific details. My sister Caitlyn has donated her hair to this program before. You have inspired me to donate my hair, too! Great job!"
Hannah's post was well written and very informative. I was very impressed with her work.
This week I explored a website called Alex- Alabama Learning Exchange. This website is connected with the Alabama State Department of Education. This website is a great resource for teachers. The goal of this website is to help teacher find materials for lesson plans. Alex is organized and easy to use. The lessons plans are arranged by subject and grade level. These materials are compiled by board certified educators who have tested them and found them to be effective. There are many more resources than just lesson plans, as well. The website offers podcasts and professional development opportunities. There is also a search engine which allows a person to find lesson plans on specific subjects. ALEX makes it easy for teachers to find the help they need.
This website offers users to create a Personal Workspace which is a personal account. This account allows users to save lessons that they find using Alex. If an educator creates their own account, they can also submit lesson plans which they find useful. This is a great feature because it allows teachers to share their own experiences with one another. I can see myself using this website a lot in the future. If I'm unsure about how I should teach a certain topic in my classroom, I can come to this website to find several ideas. If I happen to change the grade that I am teaching, I can come here to compile new lesson plans for the year.
Another website that I researched this week is Access- Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators & Students Statewide.This website is also supported by the Alabama State Department of Education. This website was created to facilitate access distance learning. So, what is access distance learning? Distance learning is an online learning opportunity for high schools across the state. This involves video conferencing between teachers and students and web based courses. The purpose of the ACCESS program is to make more courses available for students. This includes Advanced Placement courses and dual enrollment courses. I think that this is a great initiative because it expands the educational opportunities for students in Alabama.
ACCESS also offers job opportunities for educators who are interested in teaching these online courses. These educators would have all of the responsibilities of a traditional classroom teacher. There are also resources for teachers who are interested in learning how to effectively teach an online course. This is a great website because it has a lot to offer for both teachers and students!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Recently I read a blog post called "Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home". In this post, pencils were used as a metaphor for computers. Unfortunately, I missed this metaphor. I thought that the author was using pencils to show the folly of one educator's way of thinking. I assumed that the author chose to talk about how pencils could be blamed for problems in the public school system to show how some educators would rather come up with a lame excuse than admit their own shortcomings. The reason that I think I missed this metaphor is that I was not thinking deeply enough about the post. My mind immediately focused on the ridiculous character portrayed in this piece who believed that pencils could be causing the problems in education today. I did not look and the bigger picture and connect the writing with the use of computers and technology. This is surprising since this class is all about technology.
I am used to searching for metaphors while reading literature. This week in my American Literature class, I came across several metaphors. In the poem "Marks" by Linda Pastan, Pastan uses a metaphor to compare the teacher/student relationship and the family/mother relationship. This metaphor is used to show how families can be overcritical of their mothers by giving them harsh "grades" about their performances as mothers. In the short story "Shiloh" by Bobbie Ann Mason, the civil war is used as a metaphor for the deteriorating relationship between a husband and wife who are considering a divorce. In "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, the heavy backpacks and supplies that soldiers were required to carry during the Vietnam War are used as a metaphor for the emotional burden of being involved in warfare. In "The White Porch" by Cathy Song, a woman's hair is used as a metaphor for her sexuality. There are many more examples that I could cite of metaphors that I have found in literature. The thing about metaphors is that you have to be on the look out for them. There are some common metaphors which are fairly obvious that people encounter every day. For instance, when you say "That's the pot calling the kettle black" you really mean that a person is being hypocritical. However, extended metaphors used in writing can be a little bit more tricky to spot. In the future, I will try to keep an eye out for metaphors at all times. I hope that I will not miss another obvious metaphor like I did when I read the Johnson assignment.
I think that educators can help their students understand metaphors by discussing the many metaphors that we encounter on a daily basis. Metaphors are everywhere! Metaphors are used in everyday conversation, literature, songs, movies and television shows. If educators can teach children how to look for metaphors, they will be able to understand things on a deeper level. We use metaphors in order to enhance understanding and add meaning to things. For example, saying "he's not the sharpest tool in the shed" conveys more meaning than simply saying "he's not very smart". This metaphor makes the connection to an everyday object. This adds a whole new layer of meaning because people can relate to this analogy. The example I used earlier which compared divorce to a civil war adds deeper meaning to our understanding of the nature of separation between two parties which are so closely connected. I think that metaphors are a great thing and educators should make sure that their students have an understanding of them.
As I reflect on what I have learned from taking EDM 310, I realize how much my perspective on technology has changed. Before I thought that teachers didn't really need to incorporate technology in my classroom. Very few of my teachers used technology. They thought that just sticking to writing notes on the chalkboard was good enough. This mindset has to change. Educators need to realize the importance of technology and the many benefits of using technology. I have decided to create a podcast for my final project with Hoan Nguyen. This podcast will discuss the reasons why all teachers should strive to become technologically literate. The podcast will also include suggestions for how teachers can begin their journey to becoming a technology savvy teacher. We will describe a list of programs that we think all teachers should use and the benefits of these programs. We also plan on creating tutorials which will teach people how to get started using these programs. We will create these tutorials using screen recording. We are excited to begin working on this project and we hope that many teachers will benefit from our suggestions.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
This week I chose my own topic to explore for my blog post. A question that I posed earlier this semester is "Should cell phones be banned in schools?" I created a podcast earlier this semester which discusses this question. Now I have researched and found some great videos which discuss this topic in depth. I have selected the video which I think gives the best analysis of this topic. As you watch this clip, ask yourself whether you would be willing to give educational cell phone use a try in your future classroom.
I also found a blog created by an 8th grade teacher from Iowa who wrote a blog about a project that her students completed which explored the topic of cell phone use in school. It's a pretty interesting story about how these students were able to convince the administration at their school to allow cell phones for educational purposes. Also, it's a great example of project based learning which reflects educational progressivism. http://crazy4learning.blogspot.com/
Before I created a podcast about this topic earlier this semester, I had never considered cell phones to be an option for schooling. Obviously, there is a lot of potential for students to be distracted by cell phones. This gives students the ability of to text, take inappropriate photos and videos, and play non-educational games. However, allowing students to use computers also has these risks. Anything can be used as a distraction for students. Pencils and paper allow students to doodle and pass notes during class. Should we ban these tools, as well? I think that educators should take a second look at the possibility of using cell phones. Educators should not view cell phones as obstacles, but rather consider the possibilities they open up for students. This video shows a great example of a school which is harnessing the potential of cell phones in the classroom. I think that more schools should do the same. Students love to use their cell phones, so they would be a great motivator for students to complete assignments. If a school did choose to allow cell phone use, there would have to be strict guidelines in place. My mind has been opened to the great possibilities that cell phones have, and I hope that this post has challenged your thinking, as well.
So for your assignment, read the blog and watch the video that I posted here. Reflect on your reaction to the blog and video. What are your thoughts on using cell phones in the classroom? Did the blog or video change the way that you view cell phones? If you had the ability to allow your students to use cell phones in your class, how would you use them to enhance your curriculum?
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Mr. McClung is an eighth grade teacher at Woodland Junior High in Fayetteville, AR. Mr. McClung is an exceptional teacher because he does not stick to traditional teaching style in which the students take a passive role. Mr. McClung encourages his students to engage in class with excitement. I have analyzed Mr. McClung´s class website and I have learned a lot through this process.
Mr. McClung seems to be a very positive and encouraging person. From reading his blog, I can tell that he wants his students to have the same cheerful attitude. Obviously, Mr. McClung has a lot of energy because he puts a lot of emphasis on hand gestures. He encourage his students to use hand gestures, as well. This shows me that he likes to be physically engaged in what he is saying and this helps his comprehension in some way. I think that this is a great technique that he employs because children will be encouraged to pay attention because of his high energy level.
As an educator, Mr. McClung has many positive characteristics which I would like to point out. First of all, he seems to be a nontraditional teacher because he is willing to relinquish some control in his classroom. What I mean by this is that Mr. McClung does not seem to teach in a teacher centered model in which the students must remain quiet and listen to him lecture all the time. He encourages his students to collaborate with him. The second attribute which I noticed about Mr. McClung is it seems that Mr. McClung focuses on relating to his students and motivating them. He uses a class scoreboard to show them how well they are behaving that day. I think this is a fun way to keep students focused on following rules. He even posts a band of the week on the class blog for his students. This shows that Mr. McClung is willing to show students a more personal side of himself. This makes his students see him as a normal person that is like them instead of a boring teacher that does not understand them. My third observation about Mr. McClung is that he is very effective at incorporating technology into his classroom. Mr. McClung has a class web page on which he posts information for his students, parents and other educators. He has also created a class facebook page which I think is a very uniqueClung allows his students to post blogs on the class site and he also posts videos of their class projects. All of these characteristics make Mr. McClung stand out as a very exceptional educator.
Mr. McClung has five rules that he lists which he expects his students to follow. These rules include
1) Follow directions quickly
2) Raise your hand for permission to speak
3) Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat
4) Make smart choices
5) Keep your dear teacher happy
I think that these rules are pretty standard. I find them all to be reasonable. It's important for students to stay focussed and have respect for their teacher. Mr. McClung's rule are not harsh or demanding. I think they imply an agreement of mutual respect between the teacher and the students. I will probably have a similar list of rules for my future class.
In his list of class materials, the first thing that the students are required to have is a planner. This teraches the students the importance of keeping track of their assignments. This also encourages them to make a schedule for themselves and allows them to make goals.
Mr. McClung's homework policy seems rather lenient to me. He allows students to turn in their assignments by the end of the day that they are due. If a student turns their assignment in late, then their grade is docked by ten points for every day that they are late. This is similar to Dr. Strange's late work policy. Dr. Strange makes it clear that late work is unacceptable and will result in a lower grade. Mr. McClung is dealing with children, so it makes sense that he is a bit more lenient than Dr. Strange.
Mr. McClung discusses his purpose in creating a blog at the end of his syllabus. He states that the blog will help his students keep up with their homework. His blog also allows parents and other teachers to keep up with his students progress. These seem like great goals to me. I wish to start a class blog in the future for the benefit of my students.
Mr. McClung has a list of useful links on his page which has several good websites. I explored two of these links in depth. One of the links that I explored was ant.com. This is a search engine which allows you to see a description and a picture of each website that it displays. This adds convenience because it allows you to sift through websites more easily.It also has a description of each website to show the amount of traffic that each website receives each month and it provides links and embed codes for the sites. The second website that I explored was guysread.com. This is a website which is dedicated to getting boys interested in reading. This site lists books which many men have recommended for boys. Both of these websites seem very beneficial. Ant.com offers another alternative to google and it seems to give more information so that people can be more careful about the sites that they visit. The second website that I visited has a great purpose so I can see why Mr. McClung would want to share it with others.
Mr. McClung has a great set of rules for internet safety for his students. He instructs his students that they should never use their last name or e-mail address when leaving a comment for someone. He even created a class e-mail account for his students to use for sites that require an address. He also tells his students to never reveal their location or agree to meet with someone they have met online. I think I would use a similar list of rules for my future classes. It's very important for students to remain safe while using the internet. Mr. McClung teaches his students how they can remain safe while learning from the many tools which are available online.
I reviewed and commented on one of the posts that Mr. McClung made under the Lessons Learned category. Mr. McClung discussed the t-shirt design for the fundraiser that his classes are having for teh Susan G. Komen For the Cure fund. Mr. McClung was encouraging his students to submit possible designs for t-shirts which will raise money for and support their cause. I wished Mr. McClung luck with his fundraiser and commended him for encouraging his students to use their creativity.
Mr. McClung uses edublogs for his class blog. There are many advantages to using this site because it seems to offer a lot of great features. I'm not sure if these features can be used on blogger or not. I guess I need to spend more time exploring blogger or perhaps I could start an edublog account for myself. There were two features which I did particularly like about Mr. McClung's blog. The live traffic feed on the side which shows the location of the people who visit his blog. He also has a personalized banner at the top of his page which I though looked very unique. I think it would be really cool to create one of these for my own blog.
Mr. McClung's blog is useful to parents and other educators because it shows the assignments that he gives his students and lists them by subject. This allows parents to keep track of their child's homework. This also allows other educators to get ideas from his assignments. Mr. McClung also posts things which he has learned through his experiences. Other educators can benefit from these experiences. Mr. McClung offers a list of links to useful websites which can help both educators and parents. For example, guysread.com can help parents encourage their children to learn because it offers possible reading material for boys who are generally uninterested in reading.
Mr. McClung's website differs from other 8th grade teacher's websites that I have seen because he posts all of the students assignments for both students and parents to view. Other blogs that I have seen simply list blogs that students have created themselves. Mr. McClung also posts some non educational information in the blog such as the band of the week. This makes the website more fun to view. Mr. McClung's blog also offers the opportunity for people to chat with him directly. I have not seen this feature on any other blog, and I think it is a great addition!
I have enjoyed learning from Mr. McClung's website. I hope that I will be able to create a great website like this that will benefits my future students and their parents. If you would like to visit Mr. McClung's site follow this link:
Saturday, April 9, 2011
This week I had the pleasure of watching a youtube video and a recorded Skype interview featuring Ms. Cassidy and her first grade classroom. Ms. Cassidy is a teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada who has learned to incorporate technology into her classroom in a very effective way. The thing that amazes me most about Ms. Cassidy'd class is that they are able to use technology at such a young age. I used to think that it was unrealistic to incorporate technology in a classroom with such young students. I didn't think that this age group would be able to be productive withc computers. Also, I thought that it was questionable to expose children to the dangers of the internet. However, Ms. Cassidy has proven that all of my previous thoughts were misconceptions.
Some of the tools that Ms. Cassidy uses is a class website, blogs, computer games, video recording, Skype and even Nintendo DS game systems! All of this may seem overwhelming, but Ms. Cassidy has found a way to effectively incorporate all of these tools. Ms. Cassidy allows her students to navigate the internet through following links on her class website. She also allows her students to write their own blogs which their families and friends can comment on. The students create wikis to learn about different topics by getting feedback from other people on the world wide web. The students have conversations on Skype with others about educational topics such as writing and science. The students are also allowed to play with Nintendo DS game systems. This may not seem very educational, but it actually helps them with their reading and their problem solving.
I would love to use these same techniques with my students someday. I can see a lot of benefits to allowing the children to create blogs and navigate the internet. In a traditional classroom that simply uses paper and pencils, students are not as excited to complete their assignments. This is not the case is Ms. Cassidy's classroom. She describes her students joy at being able to post assignments online so they can share their progress with others. The students are motivated because they know that other people are paying attention to their work and they are encouraged by this. In a traditional class, parents would not be able to see their students progress unless they came to the school and viewed their child's personal classwork file. Using blogs makes it a lot easier for parents to keep track of their child's work. Ms. Cassidy does a great job of teaching her students how to use technology and the internet properly, effectively and safely.
The only problem that I could foresee in using the techniques that Ms. Cassidy employs in her class is making sure that students are not goofing off while they are using the computers. Also, a teacher using these techniques would have to make sure that the students do not fight over computers and game systems. Some teacher might think that all of this would take too much extra effort. They might think that it is pointless to allow children to use the internet or make blogs. They would rather stick to assigning problems in workbooks and giving out coloring sheets. I think that the students in Ms. Cassidy's classroom will be much better prepared for their futures than the students in classrooms without technology. If incorporating technology and educational games into the classroom motivates students to learn, then all teachers should be using these tools! I'm sure that parents are pushing to make sure that their child is enrolled in Ms. Cassidy's classroom. I hope that I will be the kind of teacher that is willing to explore new ways to better my classroom so that parents will want me to teach their children. I have learned a lot from watching Ms. Cassidy's teaching style. If you would like to learn more about Ms. Cassidy, you can follow this link to her class website http://staff.prairiesouth.ca/sites/kcassidy/
Sunday, April 3, 2011
This month I had the privilege of reading Classroom Chronicles by Henrietta Miller. Mrs. Miller is a year 5 teacher at a private school for girls ion Sydney, Australia. Mrs. Miller uses blogging to improve herself as a teacher, and she also has a blog for her class. I read two posts by Mrs. Miller and I enjoyed them both.
The first post that I read by Mrs. Miller was called "Sometimes it is the simplest things". In this post, Mrs. Miller shares a new teaching technique that she has implemented in her classroom. Mrs. Miller gave each of her students their own white board and dry erase marker so that they could answer questions during her lesson. Mrs. Miller found that the use of the white boards really encouraged her students to participate. I left the following comment on Mrs. Miller's post:
"I enjoyed your post because it has inspired me to try using personal white boards in my future classroom. When I was in high school, my math teachers sometimes would allow us to use our own white boards and I always enjoyed it. I think that giving students an opportunity to actively engage in class and share their thoughts is always better than simply lecturing to them Thank you for the tip!"
Mrs. Miller got a lot of positive feedback on this post from other teachers who had tried this idea in their classes before. These teachers talked about ways that she could improve this technique even more.
The second post that I read was called "Sydney Teach-Meet". In this post, Mrs. Miller announced her plan to hold a meeting for teachers across Australia to come and share their experiences and ideas. Apparently, in many countries around the globe teachers have begun to hold these meetings. So Mrs. Miller took the initiative to start this type of conference in her own country. I left the following comment for Mrs. Miller:
"I admire your dedication to learning ways to improve your teaching style. I think that this conference is a wonderful idea. When educators come together and collaborate about their failures and successes, they will certainly leave wiser than they were before. It is also a great opportunity to encourage other teachers to keep on giving their best for the benefit of their students. Unfortunately, I can’t attend your meeting since I’m still attending the University of South Alabama on my journey to becoming a teacher. I wish I could participate though because this sounds like a great opportunity. I hope it all goes well!"
I think it's great that Mrs. Miller was willing to step forward and put her ideas into motion. I hope that all goes well for her!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
This week I read a blog by Morgan Bayda entitled "An Open Letter To Educators" which featured a vlog made by Dan Brown. This post discusses how education has not adapted with technology. Many educators today either don't know how to change their teaching style to connect with students or they don't care. Dan Brown actually chose to drop out of college because he felt that "his schooling was interfering with his education". I left the following comment on Morgan's blog:
"I share your sentiments that it seems like a lot of classes in both high school and college are not very interesting or useful. It does seem like many professors care very little about preparing students for their future careers. Professors seem to mostly just be focused on getting up in front of the class and forcing students to listen to their lectures. I’ve known students who have been given a “b” or a “c” in a class when they had really earned an “a” simply because they did not attend class regularly. The professors were so upset that these students did not want to attend their classes that they wanted to punish them. They never considered the possibility that there was something wrong with their teaching style. Educators need to realize that they are no longer the only source of information now. The information that they are lecturing about can be found from many different sources. Educators need to start teaching students why this information matters and how their students can utilize this information in real life situations. I agree with you that I do not support Dan’s choice. Although he does have a point that there are a lot of problems with our education system, that does not change the fact that nowadays, you need a degree to get a career."
Dan discusses how in the past, information was only available to wealthy, high class people. The public school system changed this. People could now attend school to attain knowledge. Dan says that now that information is available to the masses, our current system of education is unnecessary. People no longer need to go to school to attain knowledge, so why should they attend? I think Dan has a good point that this system of education needs to change to better serve students and prepare them for their future. Dan seems to forget that it is essential to receive a formal education in order to get a good career. Back when information was not readily available, uneducated people could find decent jobs and work their way to the top. Now, this is almost impossible. You need a degree to prove you are a competent, intelligent person. I'm not saying that I completely agree with this system, but that is the way it is. So until that changes, I don't recommend that anyone quit school. The system does need to change, but I don't think dropping out is the answer.
The second post I read was entitled "Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home". This post is about a conversation between two educators who obviously hold very different views about education. One teacher claims that pencils are the reason that many students do not complete their homework assignments and have low standardized test scores. The other teacher tries to offer alternative solutions to this problem, other than taking away students' pencils. What the first teacher doesn't realize is that pencils are not the problem at all. The problem lies with uninteresting assignments or a poor teaching style which cause students to have a lack of motivation.
This post brings up several good points about flaws with the educational system. Number 1, the first teacher is too focused on standardized test scores. She would rather force students to do tedious assignments which simply repeat the same type of problem over and over again than actually allowing them to do fun and intriguing projects. No wonder these students would rather play games than do their homework! Number 2, the first teacher would rather blame lazy students or inanimate objects than admit that her teacher style is the problem. Just like the professors that I mentioned in my comment to Morgan Bayda, these teachers are unwilling to look within themselves and change their behaviors for the benefit of their students. Maybe teaching kids spelling words by having them play hang man is a good idea!