Minggu, 21 April 2013

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 04/21/2013

  • I love how this teacher used both sides of the brain to engage her students in test review. They painted, wrote and reviewed. Here here!

    tags: education news testing elemchat all_teachers

  • The discussions about "big data" are receiving pushback who believe the conclusions are erroneous. Note that this is tied up in learning analytics as well. "Cuzzillo is joined by a growing chorus of critics that challenge some of the breathless pronouncements of big data enthusiasts. Specifically, it looks like the backlash theme-of-the-month is correlation vs. causation, possibly in reaction to the success of Viktor Mayer-Sch?nberger and Kenneth Cukier’s recent big data book in which they argued for dispensing “with a reliance on causation in favor of correlation”"

    tags: news big data analytics learning

  • One year? I'm not sure how we're going to change in one year when no one can get the Google glasses yet. How will these be used in the classroom?

    tags: education news google

  • Diane Ravitch calls it. Read her blog post on this major ethical issue. I think we need an independent testing company. Isn't there a conflict of interest here when a company creates textbooks and the test? "I am an 8th grade teacher in Xxxx, NY. On Day 1 of the NYS ELA 8 Exam, I discovered what I believe to be a huge ethical flaw in the State test. The state test included a passage on why leaves change color that is included in the Pearson-generated NYS ELA 8 text. I taught it in my class just last week. In a test with 6 passages and questions to complete in 90 minutes, it was a huge advantage to students fortunate enough to use a Pearson text and not that of a rival publisher. It may very well have an impact on student test scores. This has not yet received any attention in the press. Could you help me bring this to the attention of the public?"

    tags: education edreform news pearson edu_news

  • Great article by Larry Cuban on the Washington Post that you should forward to principals. "Yet studies of principal behavior in schools makes clear that spending time in classrooms to observe, monitor, and evaluate classroom lessons do not necessarily lead to better teaching or higher student achievement on standardized tests. Where there is a correlation between principals’ influence on teachers and student performance, it occurs when principals create and sustain an academic ethos in the school, organize instruction across the school, and align school lessons to district standards and standardized test items. There is hardly any positive association between principals walking in and out of classrooms a half-dozen times a day and conferring briefly with teaches about those five-minute visits.The reality of daily principal actions conflicts with the theory."

    tags: education principal leadership news edreform edu_news

  • Disgusting. Via the Washington Post So many things going wrong. "Talk about corporate-based school reform. New high-stakes standardized tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards are featuring plugs for commercial products. And the companies didn’t have to pay a penny. Yes, New York state students who this past week took Pearson-designed exams were just treated to plugs for LEGO, Mug Root Beer and more products from at least half a dozen companies, according to  the New York Post."

    tags: education news edreform testing

  • Tests are important. They should be accurate. Not only should they be audited, but I think that districts should have a pre-look at tests and strike questions that aren't taught to kids. It isn't fair to the kids to be tested on material they aren't taught. "Thousands of students were incorrectly told they weren't eligible for the city's gifted-and-talented public-school program due to errors by the testing company, city officials said Friday. The errors affected 4,735 children, or 13.2% of test takers, who are now eligible for gifted programs, including 2,037 students who are newly eligible for elite schools that accept students from across the city who scored in the 97th percentile or above. Test maker Pearson PSON.LN +0.09% PLC discovered the errors after two parents last week took their concerns about the scoring to Department of Education officials. The British-based company found it made an error on the students' ages and two errors in calculating their scores."

    tags: education news edreform

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sabtu, 20 April 2013

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 04/20/2013

  • Leo Babauta gives great advice on forming new habits. As you think about the habits that need to change in your life, read this thought provoking post. "Here’s the process: Start small. What’s the smallest increment you can do? Do this for at least 3 days, preferably 4-5. Get started. Starting the change each day is the most important thing. Want to run? Just get out the door. Want to meditate? Just get on the cushion. Enjoy the change. Don’t look at this as a sacrifice. It’s fun, it’s learning, it’s a challenge. Stick to the change. Notice your urge to quit. Don’t act on it. Keep going. Adjust again. When the change becomes normal, make another small adjustment. This is the process of creating a new normal. It’s beautiful and simple."

    tags: education news habits mindfulness self awareness selfcontrol

  • I enjoy Michael Hyatt's podcast. He has great content. This is good advice on why you're making mistakes on your blog. (I think I need to listen to tip #3 and shorten my posts. ;-)

    tags: education news blogging blogchat

  • Socrative has even more cool features. Richard Byrne gives an overview on on of my favorite blogs, Free Tech for Teachers. "Socrative's new image option could be great for asking mathematics questions that are diagram based. The image option could also be great for world languages teachers to post a picture of an object that students have to identify in the language that they're learning. And the new automatic grading option could save you a ton of time that you can then invest in something else. "

    tags: education news socrative eduapp edu_newapp

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Jumat, 19 April 2013

7 Key Ingredients in the successful 21st Century Classroom

Every modern school should have at least 4 things in technology or take off the modern and just call yourself a school:

  1. a STEM Lab. 

    If you want to make it STEAM - Science Technology Engineering, Arts, and Math, then go right ahead! You've still got STEM and you can't have technology without the arts. Some are getting rid of their "computer" labs (which I think is a huge mistake). The argument is that every teacher should integrate technology. The problem is that every teacher doesn't, can't, won't or isn't.

    A STEM lab not only focuses on the technology but the Engineering, Math, and Science and critical thinking technology-app infused decision making required in our Higher Order thinking world. The best example is the interview with my friend Kevin Jarrett who removed his elementary computer lab and put in a STEM Lab. I'm all in, Kevin, you've convinced me.

    It stresses me out to think what I'm doing to myself but I'm in the process of proposing that I no longer be called the computer lab but the STEAM lab. I'm willing to do what it takes to rewrite my curriculum. If I believe it, I've got to do it. I'll never settle for the same thing I taught last year but only to do the right thing for my students. It will still include genius projects and Flat Classroom, that is for sure.

    See Turning Elementary Computer Labs into STEM Labs an interview with Kevin Jarrett, elementary STEM lab teacher

  2. Genius Hour.

    Twenty per cent personal interest projects (some call this genius hour) are VITAL. Students spend 20% of their time on a personal interest project that they propose and teachers coach. I first saw this when I spoke in Evansville, Indiana. They require their seniors to do a personal interest project taking at least 100 hours. (See the video from Dantae Thrash below, the Evansville student who blew me away.)

    In Flattening Classrooms (p115-116,125), we wrote about the EAST Initiative in Arkansas where students work together to solve a problem in their school or community using technology. This is another great example with some research behind it showing that the students in this program improved their math and science scores and also their attendance. Harnessing their passion made them WANT to come to school. (Imagine that.)

    In my classroom, we use Trello to manage our genius hour work, goals and accomplishments. (I wouldn't survive without this handy tool.) The students propose and vote up courses and lessons they want me to teach. I've taught lessons on Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter this week but even more exciting, the students get together and share what they've learned. They attend the classes if it is related to what they are doing in their project.

    We now have "consultants." One student who is excellent at writing for Tumblr (http://breakups16.tumblr.com) is our "Tumblr Consultant." The students who manage the oceans instagram are Instagram consultants. I did genius hour last year but this year shows me it keeps getting better. But what stuns me is how much CONTENT we're covering. I have always built in four weeks of digital literacy/ social media marketing and awareness and photography. We're covering all of this and more.

    My most exciting take away from this year is this: students propose and vote up what they want me to teach them as it relates to their genius hour projects. I call class and those who come want to and others work on their projects. This is FANTASTIC and should be part of every STEM lab. There are so many amazing things.

    See the Genius Hour Wiki and Angela Maier's The Passion-Driven Classroom and my students and me talking about our Passion Based Classroom.
  3. Flat Online Connections and Collaborations.
    Meaningful online connections with other students in the world as the classrooms "flattens" and connects and teaches things that kids can't learn in a book. Connections are vital to being well educated but sadly many schools block these or don't understand.

    One person I know had a principal come in and call her work in global collaboration "fluff" and told her to get back to teaching wordprocessing! Misguided. Mistaken. Word processing is a skill but how long does it take to teach?

    See my book Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds and the interview with some elementary teachers who are connecting on "How Teachers and Students are Connecting Globally" on BAM Radio.
  4. A network engineered to support 1:1 or better.

    I met with my principal this week and he's all in for BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology.) We're taking down the network this summer and (with board approval) hope to rework the whole network with a new set of ratios in place. We are engineering to support 1.5 devices per person in the high/ middle school and 1 device per person in the elementary school.

    We're moving ahead to encourage and foster and environment where students can take notes on their phones or their paper notebooks. This will take some time, but it is the right way to go. It isn't just about technology and infrastructure but also classroom practices and that is always a challenge.

    See Building a Robust and Safe BYOD Program from District Administrator Magazine and Miguel Guhlin's shared Evernote notebook on BYOD. 
  5. A Connected, Passionate Educator

    You should connect yourself to the world. Innovation starts in me. Kids say "bring it" when they are talking sports to mean you bring all you've got, because I'm here to play and bring all I have. Passion starts with me saying "bring it." I'm going to bring all my passions, interests, and ingenuity and I expect you to do the same.

    I'm going to engage with a PLN (personal learning network) and help my students build one of their own. I'm going to make friends around the world to help me advance my professional practice and help you learn the digital literacies to do the same. I'm going to help you find your passions, your purpose, and reach your potential. I won't stop. I won't give up on you even when you give up on yourself. I'm here to change the world starting with myself and my students and I won't stop until I drop full of exhaustion and sleep well earned from a life well lived.

    See chapter 3 "Connection" of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds for a quick way to get started. I've also heard my friend Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach's book The Connected Educator is a great one and have it on my list to read.
  6. A Worthy To Be List

    We've been so busy with our to-do list in schools that we've forgotten what we want our students to be. They gave me a chance to invite someone to my school for PD in January and Angela Maiers came and shared this idea with me.

    Now, each month, we focus on a Habitude. I like the term habitude because it is attitudes that we want to be habits. Curiosity. Perseverance. Imagination. Self-Awareness. Courage. Adaptability. Passion. and we are adding Integrity.

    These habits are based upon the research of successful people. The most successful people have these traits but may or may not have mastered Algebra. If we leave our to-be list out of our teaching, we are filling up our plate with food without teaching kids how to use a spoon and fork. Some might call this character education but it is more. I think it should be school wide and result in a common vocabulary that can be reinforced by everyone.

    See Classroom Habitudes (Revised edition) and Angela's list of resources for the new Habitudes.

  7. The Flexibility to be a Teacherpreneur

    This comes from administration. Are you allowed to innovate? Are you given flexibility to customize? Can you personalize to the interest and learning styles of your students?

    This is the one thing that is crunching much of the love of teaching for many. Teacherpreneurship cannot be scripted any more than a fantastic first date. If you're new to a school this comes in baby-steps. You have to earn their trust like I did. It takes time.

    Standards and scripting make sorry teachers less sorry, perhaps. But they make fantastic teachers want to quit.

    You might not have a lot of flexibility but take what flexibility you have to do something. It takes time to flex your wings, earn the right, and learn how to be a successful teacherpreneur. If you look back at #1, you'll see that I'm proposing a change to my own curriculum and computer lab. It may or may not be accepted but they see me pushing myself and never settling.

    If you don't innovate, you depreciate.

    To learn more see page 44-50 of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds see the CAST UDL Lesson Builders to learn how you can differentiate your lessons even amidst standards.

After looking at this list, there are technologies that many of you will throw in there: tablet, ipad, interactive white board, apps maybe.

It isn't about WHAT you use but about WHAT you do with WHAT you have that is more important. The Flat Classroom was born when I had Pentium III computers in the computer lab and a very slow connection.

What we are missing in education is not the resources -- but the creativity to make the most of the resources we have.

Would love to hear the ingredients you feel are essential in the modern classroom in the comments or on your own blog posts. What do you think?
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Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 04/19/2013

  • Google alerts is how we monitor our school brand. We use "Westwood Schools" +Camilla - this way it shows us everything for our school name and in our city. You can deliver to a feed or to email (many like email.) This way it will search and find things and email you when it finds it on the web. Lifehacker has an article on the creative uses for Google Alerts that you should read if it is your job to protect your brand for your business, school, or your own personal brand.

    tags: education news brandmanagement brand platform

  • Lifehacker has revamped its website - you log in. You can blog, etc. Platforms are becoming more participatory as they try to get you to create content. Meanwhile, I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING ON MY FAVORITE SITE. "Welcome to our new home. It's called Kinja. It's not only a redesign to Lifehacker's front page, but an entirely new blogging platform that anyone—yes, even you—can blog on."

    tags: education news

  • Don't try to sell your Google glasses! ;-) "The oppressive Google Glass terms state that: "…you may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google's authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty.""

    tags: news google

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Kamis, 18 April 2013

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock 04/18/2013

  • A network about ending human trafficking. It is a project and students are joining in. If this is your passion (like mine) then you may want to look into this. Thanks to my friend Toni Olivieri-Barton for letting me know.

    tags: education teaching learning

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 04/18/2013

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Rabu, 17 April 2013

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock 04/17/2013

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.