August 2010


Will students be using their laptops primarily for taking notes in lecture?

Above is a common question I hear these days as we unfold our new 1:1 laptop program.   No, not primarily, I explain, and then launch into a slightly too-elaborated explanation of empowering our students with the digital tools they need to best implement Aristotle’s advice (yes, 4th century BCE Aristotle) of learning by doing– learning to create, to communicate, to collaborate in the most modern ways by doing all these things digitally and on-line.

I think we have a problem in education, that of the misunderstanding of the potential uses and value of digitally integrated learning, and I think the solution lies at least in part in rallying around the concept, and incredible power, of the Web 2.0.

Naming things is significant; a name might be simple, might be short, might be seen as jargon, but with a name something becomes referable, deployable, scalable that much easier.   Web 2.0 is this term, and offers this power.

Over the past few years I have had heard the term;  it was zinging around out there on the periphery of much of my very much developing thinking.  But lately it has meaningfully converged– this is the term, so simple and short a term, to capture a concept that has become so very significant to me.

And yet, I fear that still only few educators know the term and understand its implications for teaching and learning.   Eric Sheninger, who is an excellent New Jersey principal and blogger/tweeter, recently tweeted that he interviewed four different Science teaching candidates, and not a one knew what web 2.0 meant.  I think this needs to change. (more…)

Denise Mulloy teaches Math at St. Gregory; just last week she attended the Council for Aid to Education’s CLA in the Classroom Performance Task Academy, which provides to attendees the chance to learn to develop  in their own classroom curriculum performance tasks comparable to those used for the CWRA (College Work Readiness Assessment).

Here is her report:

It was an interesting and challenging training on bringing the Collegiate Learning Assessment (and the high school version College and Work Readiness Assessment) into classroom teaching using Performance Tasks. “The Performance Task Academies aim to help faculty develop and assess student learning holistically, and to focus on key higher order skills in ways that replicate how these skills are uses in the ‘larger world.'” It was similar to the work we have been examining in the HEAT conferences and the visits to High Tech High.

The highlights for me were:

  • The illustrations of traditional testing vs. the CWRA test which tests all of the following:
  • I’m delighted and excited to have been invited recently as a panelist at September’s annual US DoE’s  Office of Non-Public Education-Office of Improvement and Innovation’s Private School Leadership Conference (that is a mouthful).  I’ve been invited to present on the topic of “aligning data collection with school mission.”

    Regular readers here know I have long used this forum to advocate for the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA) and the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE); speaking at this event to an audience of influential private school educators and association executives will give me a great opportunity to carry forward my advocacy.

    It is also a chance to think more, more thoroughly, more deeply about the panel’s helpful title and framing. I hadn’t myself focussed squarely enough until now  upon the simple but elegant and critically important concept of “aligning data collection with school mission,” but that is of course exactly what I am circling around and trying to get more fully in focus.  I will be developing my remarks and presentation over the next few weeks, and I will certainly share/post it here, but here is a first stab at summarizing my thesis:

    Most of us who are leading in private and independent education place high priority, in our educational missions and throughout our school cultures, upon three core goals:

    • upon delivering and achieving personalized and differentiated teaching and learning which has a significant and positive impact improving the educational progress of individual learners of a wide range of abilities, maintaining a focus upon the individual and not the mass of learners;
    • upon forging and sustaining a connected community of engaged, active, intrinsically motivated, extracurricularly involved, technologically employing, hard-working learners; (more…)

    I loved this book.   It is a complete delight, and so powerfully aligned with my own developing thinking about the ways our connected world of the web can be such a powerful force for good in the world, and is more and more (and more) about creating and producing knowledge, and sharing and collaborating to do more and get more good things done.    And to think, we used to spend so much time watching TV!

    Rather than a review, I just want to share a few favorite quotes, but watch the video, read the book, and embrace the tremendous opportunity our era is presenting to share, to connect, to collaborate and cooperate, to create and produce.

    I am partially adjusting and modifying a few of the quotes to elaborate the point each is making.

    Today’s twentysomethings cannot begin to understand how profoundly the world has changed:.  A much harder thing to explain to them is this: if you were a citizen of the world twenty or more years ago, and you had something to say in public, that you wanted to share publicly, that you wanted others to know you were thinking, you couldn’t.  Period.   (more…)

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