Guest column: Technology in the classroom

In 2012, the scientific community was shocked to see six Italian scientists arrested and placed on trial for the manslaughter of 309 people. How did they manage to kill 309 people? Easy: They failed to predict an earthquake.

As insane as it sounds, two years later these scientists are still stuck in an appeal process, and they are still facing a potential six years in prison. Now long off everyone’s radar, the questions this prosecution poses to Western civilization have faded from our memory.

At stake and at issue are the underlying ideologies of what our machines and the data they generate actually mean to us as human beings. Unfortunately, these ideologies remain in the background of our educational and technological decision-making. The lives and the minds of our students are rapidly becoming intertwined with their technologies and the haste we feel in harnessing this cultural phenomenon is driven by a competitive economic desire to “stay ahead” of the technological curve.

With the exception of perhaps a few hold-over “Luddites,” no one I know is against the use of technology in the classroom. On the flip side, however, I must say that in all my conversations about classroom technology, I have never—not even once—heard a citizen or educator discuss what the use of that technology actually means to a human being. [Read more...]


ORHS Homecoming Parade is Friday

David Bryant

David Bryant

The Oak Ridge High School’s annual Homecoming Parade is Friday, and ORHS Principal David Bryant is inviting the community to attend.

The parade starts at 6:15 p.m. Friday, October 3.

There is a new route for the parade this year. It will follow Central Avenue to Tennessee to Towne Road to Broadway and then to Blankenship, Bryant said. [Read more...]

Award-winning author of ‘Bomb’ to visit Oak Ridge, stop at AMSE


By Scot Smith

The American Museum of Science and Energy will host award-winning author Steve Sheinkin on Tuesday, October 7. Among other books, Sheinkin has written “Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon.”

Sheinkin’s presentation at AMSE is scheduled for 6 p.m. October 7. His other public presentation will be for the University of Tennessee’s Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. That lecture will take place on Monday, October 6, at 7 p.m. in the Hodges Library Auditorium on the UT campus, a press release said. Books will be available for purchase and signing at both events.

During his stay in East Tennessee, Sheinkin will also present programs for students at Oak Ridge School and Jefferson and Robertsville Middle Schools, the Webb School, and the Episcopal School of Knoxville. [Read more...]

Chamber has two candidate forums this week

Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is pictured above.

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce has two Election Selection candidate forums this week.

The first is Tuesday morning, September 30, and it will feature the 10 candidates for Oak Ridge City Council. The second is Thursday morning, October 2, and it will feature the eight candidates for Oak Ridge Board of Education.

The forums have been organized by the Chamber’s Pro-Growth Advocacy Committee. They are open to the public.

Doors to both forums open at 7 a.m. There will be 30 minutes of meet-and-greet time among the candidates, Chamber members, supporters, community members, and attendees, a press release said. [Read more...]

Clinton Homecoming highlighted by Wall of Fame inductions

Clinton High School Header


Information from WYSH Radio

Tonight (Friday, September 26) is Homecoming at Clinton High School, and among the festivities taking place this evening will be the induction of four new members into the school’s Wall of Fame.

Thomas Underwood graduated from CHS in the late ’30s after playing football and later served in World War II, where he was shot down during combat and earned a Purple Heart, among other medals, for his service. Underwood also served in the Korean conflict before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. [Read more...]

Los Alamos National Lab director to give talk at UT on Oct. 1

Charles McMillan

Charles McMillan

Charles F. McMillan, nuclear physicist and director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, will give the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy’s annual Distinguished Global Security Lecture on October 1 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

McMillan will speak on “The Timeline of Technology” at 5:30 p.m. in the Toyota Auditorium at the Baker Center, 1640 Cumberland Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

McMillan’s lecture will look at how innovations from the previous century are being used to solve today’s national and global security, energy, and environmental issues. Then he’ll pose a question to policy makers: “Are we prepared for the policy needed in the 22nd century with the scientific and technical expertise we have today?” [Read more...]

UT report: State economy looking more robust as year end approaches

Matt Murray

Matt Murray

KNOXVILLE—More jobs. An unemployment rate that’s trending down. Increasing personal income.

Thanks to these gains, there is a positive ring to this fall’s Tennessee Business and Economic Outlook report prepared by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

“Tennessee’s economic outlook is very similar to the national outlook, with moderate to strong growth expected for the second half of the year and a continuation of growth through 2015,” said Matt Murray, associate director of CBER, who directed the report.

Job growth [Read more...]

PTA-PTO Council has City Council, school board candidate forums

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw

The Oak Ridge parent-teacher associations and parent-teacher organizations have scheduled two candidate forums, which will focus on questions related to education.

The Oak Ridge Board of Education candidate forum will be held on Wednesday, October 1. The City Council candidate forum will be held on Wednesday, October 8.

Both forums will be held at the Oak Ridge High School Amphitheater from 6 to 7:30 p.m. In each case, there will be a candidate meet and greet at 5:30 pm, and visitors will also have a chance to directly 
speak with candidates from 7:30 to 8 p.m., a press release said.

For more information, contact moderator David Bradshaw at [email protected].

Clinton schools director honored by peers

Vicki Violette

Vicki Violette

Information from WYSH Radio

Earlier this month, Vicki Violette, the director of the Clinton city school system, was named the 2015 Superintendent of the Year by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents for the Eastern District during a ceremony held in Pigeon Forge.

This is the second time that Violette has been recognized by her peers with this award, which she also won in 2012. Violette gave the credit for her honor to the hard work of the students, teachers, school board members, and central office staff as well as to the support of the entire community.

Chamber forms Progress PAC, two Council members seek legal action

Trina Baughn

Trina Baughn

Note: This story was updated at 10:30 a.m.

Two Oak Ridge City Council members have requested a special meeting this week to consider litigation against the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, seeking to prevent the business organization from conducting political activities on public property, including through a new political action committee.

The special meeting, which would be open to the public, has been requested by Oak Ridge City Council members Trina Baughn and Anne Garcia Garland. Baughn said she requested the meeting to “vote upon initiating litigation against the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce so that the city may seek either injunctive relief and/or a temporary restraining order with regards to their conducting political activities on public property.”

Stephen Whitson

Stephen Whitson

On Friday, the Chamber announced it had formed a political action committee named the Progress PAC. The multi-candidate PAC will support candidates in the November elections for Oak Ridge Board of Education and City Council, a press release said.

Stephen Whitson of Oak Ridge has been elected Progress PAC chair, and David Bradshaw, also of Oak Ridge, has been named treasurer. Both are past chairs of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

In the press release, Whitson said the Progress PAC will only consider supporting candidates who respond to an issue-based written questionnaire and participate in an interview with Progress PAC members. [Read more...]

RMS one of three new STEM Scouts Labs in East Tennessee

Robertsville Middle School

Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge is one of three additional schools in East Tennessee that have opened STEM Scouts labs.

Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge is one of three other schools in East Tennessee that have opened STEM Scouts Labs. The other two new participants are Karns Middle School and Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School.

That brings the total number of STEM Scouts Labs in the area to seven, a press release said. Oak Ridge High School and Clayton-­Bradley STEM Academy already have STEM Scouts Labs.

STEM Scouts is a co-­ed after-­school program by the Boy Scouts of America that uses hands-­on learning to show youth from elementary through high school how to apply STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) in their everyday lives and encourages them to develop those experiences into a future career, the press release said. The program uses the Scout Oath and Scout Law as its cornerstone.

“We are very happy to see STEM Scouts growing, “ said April McMillan, national co-director of STEM programs for the Boy Scouts of America. “We are the first in the nation to test this program, so we are pleased to see it taking off like this. We’ve had very positive feedback from students, teachers, and parents. We hope to open several more labs before the end of the year.” [Read more...]

Former president of PTO, Superintendent’s Council running for school board

Laura McLean

Laura McLean

Laura McLean, an Oak Ridger for the last 19 years, is running for the Oak Ridge Board of Education in the November 4 municipal election.

McLean and her husband Fred moved here for his work as a radiologist. Even after his work moved to Knoxville, the family chose to remain in Oak Ridge to educate their kids and be involved in the Oak Ridge community, a press release said. Both of the their children attended Oak Ridge schools their entire careers, including Oak Ridge Schools Preschool, Glenwood Elementary, Jefferson Middle, and Oak Ridge High School. Alex (ORHS Class of 2010) currently lives and works in Oak Ridge, and Emily (ORHS Class of 2012) is in her third year at the University of Virginia.

McLean has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

The press release said she was an active member in school organizations during her children’s education in Oak Ridge. McLean was on the Parent Committee in the Preschool, and served in several roles while her kids attended Glenwood, including PTO president, PTO vice president, Fundraising Committee member, and classroom volunteer. At Jefferson Middle, Laura served as PTO president and vice president and fundraising coordinator. At ORHS, Laura was on several parent committees and served as vice president of the PTSO. She continues to support and volunteer at Graduation Celebration. [Read more...]