Like all technology, there needs to be a fundamental purpose behind the use, a purpose grounded in solid curricula and graded for score.
Another purpose of a blog could be using the blog as a supplementary text, with links relevant new writing on a subject matter.
Of course, for those students lacking a computer, neither application will work.
Hat Tip: Carnival of Education
2. What is the value of a letter of recommendation for a college application. In large part, none and here is why. The Travelin' Man, who reviews college applications for a living, at least in part, writes:
I get asked all the time how many letters of recommendation should accompany the application. People give me a baffled look when I give them my standard answer. I usually tell people that they only need one - but, one good one, which they are not likely to get. I go on to explain that sending me five letters that all say pretty much the same thing - how wonderful the student is - "she plays six varsity sports;" "he is working on curing cystic fibrosis;" "when he farts, it smells like roses!" - are not helpful. I would trade five letters filled with unabashed praise for one clear and concise assessment of a student's strengths AND weaknesses.While a letter of recommendation's clear purpose is to help the applicant get into a college or get a job or whatever, I think that anyone who is writing one would do well to take the above advice.
As for me, I have been asked to write a few letters of recommendation and I usually accept, provided I know the person well enough to write one. I needn't have known them long, but at least long enough to be conversant in the purpose. Furhtermore, I never, never give the letter to the applicant. I tell the applicant that I cannot in good conscience give a recommendation to an college or potential employer that is not an accurate assessment of the applicant if I can't be fully honest.
Hat Tip: Carnival of Education
3. The 2008 Presidential election is well underway and the field is crowded. But the big controversy is about how the field will be winnowed down. Timothy Ryan has a good op-ed on the subject of primary elections.
4. Someone needs to give Arlen Specter a copy of the Constitution. This from the NY Times:
In the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who led the panel for the last two years, joined Democrats who asserted that Mr. Bush cannot simply ignore Congressional opposition to his plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq.Um, the Constitution I read gives the President the ultimate authority to decide when and where troops are deployed--it is called being the Commander in Chief. All this talk about non-binding resolutions, benchmarks and the like is just political posturing. If the Senate and House had any real backbone, they would cut funding for the military in Iraq. But then they can't do that and claim that they support the troops.
"I would respectfully suggest to the president that he is not the sole decider," Mr. Specter said. "The decider is a joint and shared responsibility."
5. I have long opposed affirmative action for most programs, including education, feeling that by classifying people by race, whether for positive or negative reasons, always leads to the minority race's failure in the long run. Heather MacDonald has a wonderful piece about affirmative action in California's higher education arena. The longish piece reiterates much of what I beleive, giving someone who is unqualified to be in college an affirmative action admission generally dooms them to failure, a failure that is not entirely their fault, but alsothe fault of hte "do-gooders" who think they are morally superior for admitting a minority.
Read the whole thing, please.