NY Times: Blogs, Podcasts & Virtual Classrooms

There was an interesting article in the NY Times today titled New Tools: Blogs, Podcasts & Virtual Tools. The article featured “Room 208“, the podcast classroom project headed by teacher Bob Sprankle. Additionally, another classroom from Del Valle High School in Texas was touted for its recent use of VoIP (Skype) in their foreign language lab program. The article proceeds to go toward a conclusion that most of my readers already know well, standardized testing and quality learning are not usually parallel pursuits.

In relation to the VoIP project:

But Mr. Cunningham, himself a former principal, said that principals were rarely interested because the program’s impact on standardized testing was difficult to gauge. His own principal, he said, was hesitant to allow some students to participate in a 24-school virtual debate last year with the National Urban Debate League because the scheduling conflicted with a practice test for the statewide assessment exam.

“I think the testing model is working against education,” Mr. Cunningham said. “With Skype, you’re opening up the whole world to the student, and that can’t help but be good.”

I have to agree.