Liveblog: U.S. Department of Education's Back-to-School Bus Tour Kickoff

Edward Mei, Author

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addresses a crowd at Sequoia High School, kick-starting the Educational Tour Bus. [Photo: Jared Schwartz]

The United States Department of Education is starting its Back-to School Bus Tour at Sequoia High School in Redwood City. Among the speakers are Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a panel including founder of Khan Academy Salman Khan.

9:14 a.m. –

Sequoia principal Bonnie Hansen addresses the audience by introducing the school and presenting senior Alejandro Castro, a student who took part in the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus experience.

9:22 a.m. –

Castro showed a music video, entitled “We are the Future”, produced in collaboration with Sequoia High School students.

9:25 a.m. –

Duncan is welcomed onto stage, and first talks about using technology to increase learning opportunities for all students. Duncan introduces Federal Commissions Chairman Julius Genachowski to discuss the “limitless” impact that technology provides to students.

9:38 a.m. –

Genachowski introduces “Connect to Compete”, a program to provide cheap broadband connection to students whose families can’t afford bandwidth. He promises that “bandwidth will not [be] a constraint on education.”

9:43 a.m. –

The panel is introduced: Khan, co-founder of Coursera Andrew Ng and high school English language arts teacher Catlin Tucker. Panelists begin by describing their connections to the technology in education.

9:48 a.m. –

Tucker describes how she wants her students to “pursue learning beyond school”, and how there are always ways to improve as an educator. Khan explains how the Khan Academy shifts the focus from “student to teacher ratio” to “student to valuable time ratio”.

9:58 a.m. – 

“A great teacher doesn’t want to teach, a great teacher wants students to learn”, Ng said. The panelists discuss their visions for the future, with Tucker saying that “great teachers with great tools will save education” and Ng saying “education is a fundamental human right”, followed by applause from the audience.

10:09 a.m. –

Tucker ends the panel with advice to the students. “Realize that your education is such a gift, and walk into classroom everyday and learn as eagerly as you can. Don’t be afraid to have a voice in your class, take an active role, take an advantage of every opportunity every great teacher,” Tucker said.

 

The panel discusses the impact of technology on education, and their vision for the future of this synergistic field. [Photo: Jared Schwartz]