National / International News

Watson praises Woods after withdrawal

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 06:13
US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson says Tiger Woods has taken the high road for his early decision to rule himself out.

DR Congo war crimes 'test case'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 06:02
The war crimes trial in the DR Congo of a senior ex-army officer will be a test of military justice in the country, the UN says.

Guinea declares Ebola emergency

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:56
Guinea declares a national health emergency as it battles to curb the spread of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed more than 1,000 people.

Donetsk shelled amid Russia aid row

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:56
Shells hit the rebel-held Ukrainian city of Donetsk, amid a continuing dispute over a Russian aid convoy now stationed close to the border.

Building a school with a future

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:48

If you've gone back to visit your old elementary or high school recently, you may have been surprised to find it’s still there.  And, it’s pretty much the way you left it — dark classrooms, narrow hallways.

A typical "cells and bells" school building. Hillel Academy in Tampa, FL, before renovation. (Prakash Nair)

But after a big slowdown during the recession, spending on new school construction — renovating old schools and building new ones — is slowly picking up again. It was more than $13 billion last year.

School Construction 101 | Create Infographics

Many newer schools are being designed with the latest technologies and teaching models in mind,  schools like the new Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep charter school in San Jose, California.

Bright blue, purple and orange paint cover the classroom walls. The design is clean. The spaces are open. Natural light streams into the building from skylights above. There’s open duct work. Throughout the school, there are small, private “breakout spaces” where kids can work with teachers or each other.

At the center of it all is a wide-open computer lab, about the size of four classrooms, with polished concrete floors. It’ll soon be full of 160 kids, each on their own laptop, working on their own lessons.

The computer lab at Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep in San Jose. (Adriene Hill/Marketplace)

“Individualized instruction for students is the right way to go,” said Laura Kozel, vice president of facilities at Rocketship, a network of elementary charter schools where computers are a part of every kids’ day. Kozel is in charge of making sure everything is ready in time for the hundreds of students from kindergarten through fourth grade, who’ll pour into the school next week. "You have to meet every child where they are at, and that’s really what this model is designed to do,” she said.

Kids learning on cutting edge technology raises two important questions. The first: How will a fragile computer ever survive a year with a kindergartner and a concrete floor?

And, second: How do you design a school that won’t be obsolete in 20 years, when no one has any idea what tech or teaching might look like in five?

“If we do a good job, it’s to give the teacher something that is going to be adaptable to however they want to teach,” said architect Michael Pinto, from NAC|Architecture, a firm that specializes in school design.

“The challenge is to both be specific to the things they want to do, but also preserve some generality, flexibility, that agility that adapts to new technologies, new philosophies of learning.”

In other words, the school of the future is a school that knows how to get out of the way.

Pinto shows me just such a place: Playa Vista Elementary School in Los Angeles.

Playground area at Playa Vista Elementary School. (Edmund Barr)

There are no docks to park your jetpack. Or cubbies for Google glasses.

Instead the three-year-old school is characterized by moveable partitions, open spaces and furniture that doesn’t screech across the floor when you rearrange it.

A multipurpose space, at Playa Vista Elementary, used as an event space and cafeteria, with automated roll-up doors to open up to the outside. (Edmund Barr)

Teacher Rachel Henry calls her classroom "amoebic."

“I’m a firm believer that children need change, and they can get bored easily just with their physical environment,” she said.  She changes the classroom setup about once a month.

Spaces at the school are built to transform into other spaces, in the simplest of ways. The architects made the outside walkways wider than usual so they can also be learning spaces.

There’s a bridge over the courtyard intended for dropping things over the side. In the school of the future, kids still wrap eggs in paper and cardboard and hope for the best.

All the flexibility is meant to encourage a new type of learning: Learning by doing. Learning with new technology. Learning that is collaborative, personalized. Learning that architect Prakash Nair said more traditional schools are no good at. 

Nair is the founding president of Fielding Nair International and the author of the forthcoming book “Blueprint for Tomorrow: Redesigning Schools for Student-Centered Learning.”

He calls traditional U.S. schools “cells and bells.”

“Kids are in a cell called a classroom for a certain period of time,” he said.  A bell goes off. “And then they go to another fairly identical cell.”

Nair says we currently have $2 trillion worth of “cells and bells” type school facilities around the country.

“If you look at the research about how we learn, it has nothing to do with being trapped in a room with people of the same age,” he said.

Nair imagines schools without big auditoriums, with cafes instead of large cafeterias.

He says schools with open, flexible space can cost less to build than traditional schools.

Remember those lockers at the beginning of the story? This is the same space, post-renovation. (Prakash Nair)

Old-school schools use about two-thirds of the space for learning. New-school schools, said Nair, use as much as 85 percent of the space.

The Rocketship school in San Jose cost about $10 million to build, compared to about $16 million for a traditional elementary school.

Around the country, teachers and architects are working toward the same goal: to be prepared for the stream of kids headed their way in a few days and a few decades from now.

Pitt war film to end London festival

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:47
Fury, a World War II tank drama starring Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, is to close this year's London Film Festival, organisers announce.

A-levels dip as degree places rise

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:40
A-level results are slightly down this year, but there are more university places on offer than ever before.

Ask.fm sold after cyberbullying row

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:30
The Latvia-based social network - notoriously linked to teenage suicides - has been taken over, with the founders leaving the firm.

Lib Dems vow tax-free allowance rise

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:24
A rise in the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 during the next Parliament is proposed by the Liberal Democrats.

The NPR Ed Mailbag: The Participation Trophy

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:18

Is it "killing our sense of competition" or "simply something to commemorate their time as part of a team"? Here are some of your many responses to our story on giving kids awards for participating.

» E-Mail This

VIDEO: Inside Ucas clearing centre

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:17
Hundreds of thousands of students have been accepted for university courses after receiving their A-level results, but for those who did not get the grades they wanted there is still hope.

VIDEO: Pilot's arm 'came off while landing'

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:16
A pilot lost control of a passenger plane when his artificial arm came off as he was landing in challenging conditions, according to an accident report.

Legia's Champions League appeal fails

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:03
Legia Warsaw's appeal against their Uefa sanction is dismissed, meaning Celtic stay in the Champions League.

Sweat-powered 'phone battery' made

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 05:00
A battery tattoo powered by perspiration has been unveiled by chemists in California.

VIDEO: Anger at Missouri protests crackdown

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 04:54
Police in the US state of Missouri have clashed with protesters for a fourth night amid growing anger at the fatal shooting of a black teenager by police.

Syria recaptures key rebel district

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 04:50
Syrian government forces have retaken a key district of the capital Damascus from opposition forces, activists and state media say.

A Fiasco At The Burial Ground, A Prank At The Shop: Covering Ebola

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-14 04:48

Jason Beaubien reports on his body temperature (you won't believe it), a burial fiasco (you won't believe that either) and a prank that made his driver laugh.

» E-Mail This

How do amputees fly planes?

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 04:47
How hard is it for amputees to fly planes?

Gaza Quiet After Israel, Hamas Reach Cease-Fire Extension

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-14 04:46

A few tense hours were marred by Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes, but since then, things seem to be quiet.

» E-Mail This

Record number of tourists visit UK

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-14 04:37
The first half of 2014 was the most popular period ever for tourism into the UK, the Office for National Statistics finds.
ON THE AIR
Paradigm Shift
Next Up: @ 09:00 pm
Beggar's Banquet

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of broadcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life.Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4