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Dear Deborah, People keep asking why states are spending more and more money on testing at the same time that states are cutting the school budget, laying off teachers, closing school libraries, eliminating the arts, and increasing class size. A good question. Now that parents are feeling the effects of these decisions, as they see their children spending more time on tests and less time learning, they are getting involved in the movement to stop expensive, unnecessary, and punitive testing. Not many are opposed to testing per se; they are against the misuse of testing and the waste of instructional time for their children.
Technology is a tool that can be used to help teachers facilitate learning experiences that address the diverse learning needs of all students and help them develop 21st Century Skills. At it's most basic level, digital tools can be used to help students find, understand and use information. When combined with student-driven learning experiences fueled by Essential Questions offering flexible learning paths, it can be the ticket to success.
Protecting Children on the (Schools’) Internet Schools and libraries that receive federal E-rate funding (a program that helps underwrite their telecommunications and Internet costs) are required by CIPA, the Children’s Internet Protection Act , to create an Internet safety policy and filter or block certain kinds of websites. The law only demands these filters address obscenity, child pornography and sites that are “harmful to minors,” but schools interpret this mandate in a variety of ways. Some ban all sorts of websites : video streaming sites (including YouTube and by extension Khan Academy ), peer-to-peer networks (including Skype and Dropbox ), and social media networks ( Twitter , Facebook , Ning , Blogger , Tumblr ).
No question, one of the most talked about, Tweeted about, blogged and written about ideas in the past year has been the “flipped classroom,” the idea that we can use technology to deliver the “lecture” as the homework and then use class time, ideally, to bring the concepts to life in meaningful, real world ways. And it’s been interesting to watch the “debate” around the merits. 2011 ed tech media darling Sal Khan and his Khan Academy supporters would tell you it’s a transformative, new way of thinking about the classroom fueled by technology. Detractors argue it’s old wine in new bottles, that a lecture is a lecture regardless of form, and that at best the opportunity is to help kids who need remediation or extra help.
Just wanted to share that next week while thousands of New Jersey school children will be subjected to the annual ASK standardized tests, my 12-year old son Tucker will not be among them. We made a formal request to opt out, which is our legal right in NJ, and he’ll be staying home during the testing periods. (The absences are excused, btw.) Wendy and I came to this decision after seriously considering the potential effects for the school and after some serious conversations with Tuck.
Published Online: March 28, 2012 First Person By Elizabeth Randall Premium article access courtesy of Education Week Teacher .
I chose "data" as one of the most important ed-tech trends of 2011 , and it's one that continues to gain steam this year as well. But as it does so -- as education becomes increasingly "data-driven" -- there are numerous challenges and repercussions, many of which have a lot more to do with education politics than with education performance . (The release of the Teacher Data Reports in New York City is one recent example.) Part of the problem with the push to become more data-driven (and there are many problems and, I'd argue too, many benefits) is that this seems to be yet another initiative that is done to teachers and students, rather than done by or done for them. That's where Kickboard hopes to step in, making it easier for teachers to collect and analyze data from their classes -- both academic and behavioral data, in real-time not just at the end of a class period or school day.
Published Online: March 23, 2012 Published in Print: April 4, 2012, as Toys or Tools Commentary By William J.
In 1990 , after seven years of teaching at Harvard, Eric Mazur , now Balkanski professor of physics and applied physics, was delivering clear, polished lectures and demonstrations and getting high student evaluations for his introductory Physics 11 course, populated mainly by premed and engineering students who were successfully solving complicated problems. Then he discovered that his success as a teacher “was a complete illusion, a house of cards.” The epiphany came via an article in the American Journal of Physics by Arizona State professor David Hestenes . He had devised a very simple test, couched in everyday language, to check students’ understanding of one of the most fundamental concepts of physics—force—and had administered it to thousands of undergraduates in the southwestern United States.
The 21st Century Teaching Project Findings (Part 2) Seann Dikkers 3/1/12 This post is part of an ongoing series abridged from the 21st Century Teaching Project (21CTP) – a study of expert professional development trajectories and digital age practice. Let’s assume that the goal of teacher training and professional development (PD) is to prepare teachers with powerful models, tools, and pedagogies that will inform expert practice over a career. If so, the 21CTP is designed to help us as a community, 1) hear from 39 award winning teachers, and 2) ask relevant questions about how to study and design teacher training and PD in the coming years.
Professional Trajectories Schools face many challenges, yet they are ripe with potential to embrace 21st Century skills and technologies. With new digitally mediated learning opportunities, we can learn much from those that are innovating early and often with 21st century technologies. The 21st Century teaching project (21CTP) is an effort to once again look closely at innovative practitioners for their professional development trajectories that brought them to practices we want to see much more of. These early adopters are easy to recognize, and when we track their professional growth.
I’ve embarked on a project to capture and share all of the ways I use games in the classroom. In the Style of Tom Barrett’s Interesting Ways Series – a collection of Interesting Ways to use Games in the Classroom. It is still a work in progress – many more ideas and presentation to come on this page of my site – but please add your ideas to the presentations. The first – Interesting Ways to Use Endless Ocean – please add to it – it is very much open and can only get better with more ideas <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
Wallwisher was the first online application that let you easily place virtual post-it notes on a virtual corkboard or bulletin board, and allow you to post text, images, and/or videos on them. This kinds of apps have many uses. I particularly like them for easy social bookmarking (my students, for example, post their favorite language-learning games on them so their classmates can try them out. I also have students use them to supplement inductive data sets (a series of pieces of information about a topic( they have categorized in the classroom. Once they categorize the information, they write a summary sentence about each category and find an image that goes with it.
Listen A few weeks ago I worked and attended North Carolina's ISTE affiliate conference. I opened the NCTIES conference with a breakfast keynote address and Marc Prensky closed it with a luncheon keynote the next day.
As mobile learning becomes more and more prevalent, we must find effective ways to leverage mobile tools in the classroom. As always, the tool must fit the need. Mobile learning can create both the tool and the need.