Email Status

Volume 28, Number 1
January/February 2012

Top 11 Stories of 2011


Last year, tens of thousands of readers clicked on our most popular stories. Not so surprisingly, many of these were about education technology. But others were on topics that don’t always get so much attention in the edu-world, including environmental studies, art, and multicultural education. Even our annual movie review made the list.

This year, I’d like to invite all our readers to become subscribers of the Harvard Education Letter. I promise you’ll never hit that irritating pay wall and you’ll be supporting a 25-year plus tradition of concise coverage of the most important trends in education policy, research, and practice. As I like to tell folks—the cost is roughly equivalent to one dinner out here in Boston. So what’s stopping you?

So here are our top 11 for 2011.

1. “Tech Talk.” These short columns by California reporter Dave Saltman are still ricocheting around the Internet including: Eight Tech Trends for Librarians, Nine Hot Web Tools for Students, Top Ten Web Tools for Teachers, Flipping for Beginners, and Turning Digital Natives into Digital Citizens.

2. Five Myths About the Common Core State Standards. Bob Rothman, author of Something in Common: the Common Core Standards and the Next Chapter in American Education, addresses common misconceptions about the Common Core, coming soon to a school near you.

3. Using Research to Predict Great Teachers. Reporter Laura Pappano looks at one charter operation that is bringing science to the practice of teacher hiring.

4. The Greening of Environmental Ed. No longer lumped under “science,” EE comes into its own as —among other things—a way to teach critical thinking, according to journalist Lucy Hood.

5. Waldorf Education in Public Schools. With the advent of charter schools, Pappano finds a model of private schooling entering the mainstream.

6. Hybrid Schools for the iGeneration. Reporter Brigid Schulte examines how these new schools that mix online instruction with classroom instruction really work.

7. "Clicks" Get Bricks. Virtual schools discover the advantages of having a place for students and teachers to meet, according to Schulte.

8. Good Teachers (the Movie You Will Never See). Journalist Colleen Gillard goes to the movie, Bad Teacher, and is reminded of the limitations of Hollywood for normal folks.

9. Five Easy Ways to Connect with Students. Vanderbilt University professor Rich Milner, author of Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There, serves up some simple, powerful ways for teachers to build relationships with students.

10. Bringing Art into School, Byte by Byte. No more money for art? Try using technology. By Patti Hartigan.

11. Stopping Sexual Harassment in Middle School. Recent research suggests simple interventions can be successful. By Colleen Gillard.

No credit for guessing how many will be on the list for 2012.

Nancy Walser is the editor of the Harvard Education Letter.