The following guest post is a collaboration of three teacher educators in California. Jill Leafstedt is an associate professor of education at California State University Channel Islands; Jessica Parker is an assistant professor in the Curriculum Studies and Secondary Education Departmetn in the School of Education at Sonoma State University and the author of Teaching Tech Savvy Kids; Penelope Swenson is Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education at California State University Bakersfield and professor in both Educational Administration and Curriculum and Instruction.How does a single university professor prepare teachers to teach students in schools that have yet to be envisioned? How do we prepare teachers to teach students that will one day have jobs that have yet to be imagined? These questions represent a few of the ponderings that brought us together and shine a light on how our journey towards change began. The following post is a reflection on where we, as educators, have been, a bit on where we are now, and hope for where we will end up. Read Entire Post
Here are my Top 20 (plus one) favorite people to follow on Twitter for all things digital learning and Digital Learning Day. Follow any of them on Twitter and you'll benefit from their wealth of information! Read Entire Post
The following blog post comes from Dr. Michael J. Martirano, superintendent of St. Mary's County Public Schools in Leonardtown, Maryland.
On July 1, 2005, I was appointed to the position of Superintendent of Schools for the St. Mary’s County Public School System. With a sense of driven purpose and urgency, I feverishly set out to implement my entry plan strategies. One of the myriad of tasks that I began was a complete review and continuous improvement audit of programs that were designed to aid and support at-risk students.When I inherited the reigns of my current school system, I was also the benefactor of an alternative learning center that was intended to provide interventions for students who were at-risk for dropping out of school. Upon review of the longitudinal data of the program, the results were alarming. Over the previous five year period, the graduation data and achievement data from the program was abysmal. No more than five students graduated from high school and the perception of the program was of a “holding tank” for students who were not going to graduate. In other words, if students entered this program it was a sure bet that they would not graduate.
In the fall of 2006, we set out with a fierce sense of urgency to change the program’s culture and delivery model. We began to implement a model that was built on a clear mission with the core value that all students could and would learn, and that each young person who entered the program would indeed graduate from high school. Read Entire Post
The following post comes from Michael Golden, CEO of Next Generation Learning at Educurious (www.educurious.org).Now is the time for all of us to take on a bold challenge. We need to transform the experiences and outcomes of school. Let’s channel our knowledge of how and why people learn to change today’s classrooms.
We need a better way to help students succeed in high school and college. Above all, we must ensure our nation’s youth do not miss out on rewarding careers because they lack the skills and exposure necessary to find personally compelling careers. When we build upon the prior interests and identities of students, and provide them with the opportunity to engage in personally relevant projects, motivation and learning follow.
Students need a better connection between what they learn in school and real life. They can and should do meaningful, interesting, authentic work where there isn’t an easy answer or just one solution. When we give them complex, rigorous challenges where they are driven by a powerful “need to know,” students learn how to collaborate, share responsibility and learn from the work of their peers. As they join forces to solve real problems, they “learn how to learn” and “learn to do” anytime, anywhere, in any subject they choose. We must create circumstances and environments where they can acquire the lifelong skills, knowledge, and habits to pursue their dreams. Read Entire Post
The following post comes from Jeremy Macdonald, a 5th Grade Instructional Technology teacher at Mills Elementary in the Klamath Falls City Schools district in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
I'm going to stray a little from my normal "this is a cool app" approach and share a few thoughts. On Tuesday I saw a retweet from Michael Smith that got me thinking. Below is the original tweet from Sean Junkins:
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I am a big proponent for teacher professional development. I think school districts have a responsibility to provide meaningful and useful learning opportunities to their faculty. Teachers need some "heads-up" nowadays with the amount of technology entering our schools and classrooms. It really can feel overwhelming at times. As one who plans and facilitates professional development, I hear the cries for relevant PD.
However, that said, Sean has a point. Often our students would much rather jump in, without any preliminary guidance, and learn along the way. Are they naive? impatient? fearless? eager to learn? Whatever it is that you think, maybe we should embrace a little of that as teachers.
With Digital Learning Day fast approaching, I want to share some of the similarities between the tenets of Digital Learning and Flipped Learning. Both encompass instructional practices that strengthen a student's learning experience guided by a professional educator who is effectively using technology to enhance the pedagogy.
Like Flipped Learning, Digital Learning is personal, flexible, and can positively affect teaching practices by using technology to time shift the direct instruction based on the students’ needs. Such environments enable anytime, anywhere learning based on competency and mastery with professional educators who are guiding the way for each student to succeed. This is good teaching.
Flipped Learning is a fast growing technique embraced by teachers of all grade levels and subjects. Flipped Learning involves two different kinds of “flip.” First, the responsibility of student learning is being flipped with the active transfer of ownership of content from the professional educator to the student. Educators act as guides to learning while students become more actively involved in their own learning process. In a flipped classroom, teachers talk with their students, not at them.
Second, the delivery process is shifted or flipped where direct instruction is moved outside of the classroom using technology, and classroom time is allocated to maximizing face-to-face interactions between teacher and students. The in-school learning environment is devoted to actively working on assignments, experiments, and other higher-order learning skills, in large or small groups, or one-on-one individualized learning.
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Below are responses from our panelists: Dr. Barnett Berry, president and chief executive officer at the Center for Teaching Quality; Dr. Lynne Schrum, dean of the College of Human Resources and Education at West Virginia University; and Dr. Ronald Thorpe, president and chief executive officer of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.Read Entire Post
If there were a “holy grail” of education, what would it be?
In his weekly blog Take Note, John Merrow defines it as the big three: project-based learning, technology, and enthusiastic teachers. But not all three elements need to be present simultaneously for magic to be found. If need be, Merrow notes, the trifecta could be wrapped up into a single one of the components: technology.Read Entire Post
The following post comes from Jeremy Macdonald, a 5th Grade Instructional Technology teacher at Mills Elementary in the Klamath Falls City Schools district in Klamath Falls Oregon.
In my search for a more productive work experience and a more meaningful learning experience for students, I happen upon little things there and there that, for some, can mean lots. I don't know what browser you're using, but I'm quite fond of Google Chrome. It provides me with the quickest Internet experience, as well as the most innovative approach to streamlining life, work, and play.
I've mentioned Evernote once before in these posts, and I still continue to use it in many ways in and out of the classroom. But Evernote + Chrome is a dream-come-true for a techie like me. In addition to Evernote's Web Clipper extension for Chrome (which is how I currently save online content for later viewing offline), they also have a nifty little tool called Clearly.Read Entire Post
Under the Obama administration, the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program, which targets the nation’s lowest-performing schools, has allocated up to $2 million per school at more than 1,300 schools, approximately 40 percent of which are high schools. The data released on Nov. 19th by the U.S. Department of Education provides the first overview of performance for the first group of schools after one year of implementing the SIG program. While acknowledging that it is too soon to establish a clear connection between School Improvement Grants (SIG) and school performance, the data shows “positive momentum and progress” in many schools that received funds through the SIG program.
Although President Obama was unable to shepherd a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act through the U.S. Congress during his first term, he did encourage states to enact education reforms through the Race to the Top competition and provide additional flexibility under NCLB through waivers. However, even though Obama also made investments in education one of the key prongs of his economic plan, the percentage of Americans who believe he can improve education during his second term dropped slightly—from 71 percent in 2008 to 68 percent in 2012—according to a post-election poll by USA Today and Gallup.
Read our full e-newsletter, “Straight A’s,” here. To receive our bi-weekly newsletter in your inbox, email JAmos@all4ed.org. Read Entire Post