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Showing posts from October, 2009

DiigoNotes - How schools get it wrong

How schools get it wrong - thestar.comHow schools get it wrong We've made quantum leaps in understanding children's developing brains. So why are classrooms still organized like last century's assembly lines? do we agree on what schools are for? Or, for that matter, the goal of education? I've spent chunks of the past year in classrooms all over the world, pondering this question. One of the worst experiences was in a respectable public middle school in North America where I was giving a talk in the auditorium. Teachers patrolled the sides of the room like prison guards, silently threatening the children by looming over them when they showed the least bit of enthusiasm. I was telling the kids stories and asking them questions, and they were getting all excited figuring out answers despite the menacing presences. Finally, one of their teachers sidled up to me and said: "Don't ask them questions. Just tell them what you want them to know."I formed the image…

Caught in the Current - Pondering Teacher Leadership

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Source: http://www.uscgsanfrancisco.com/clients/c833/34975.jpg
Kevin Jarrett asks these questions via multiple tweets, hoping we'll provide some perspective. As a veteran educator caught up in the ebb-n-flow of reforms that do little but erode the education establishment, much less transform it, I despair that I have any answers to offer. Yet consideration of the questions is important, if only because Kevin dared to ask them.His questions include the following:"What evidence do you see re: teacher leadership & its impact on school, community, student learning or job satisfaction?""What should a teacher leader know and be able to do?"How do we build capacity for teacher leadership?""What makes you a teacher leader?"Rather than try to steer my own way clear of the current that draws me into the inescapable deep, I'm going to try to respond from my perspective as someone caught in the current. A middle-aged educator with a mortgage, family t…

Navel Gazing

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Ok, allow me a moment to enjoy the navel gazing without staring too intently....If only it was due to my excellent writing, not this pumpkin image that has captured the eye of quite a few people!Read the blog entry it goes with...from Halloween, 2008!

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Make a Social Media Mosaic

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Source:Sunflowers by Rebecca Broyles;
http://www.mosaicworks.com/images/studentmosaics/sunfloweradv.jpg
At TechForum Southwest 2009 on November 6, 2009, I get to facilitate a roundtable discussion about "Getting the Word Out to the Community with Social Networking Tools." Not having facilitated a roundtable discussion before--face to face, isn't that ironic?--I'm wondering about the structure of a roundtable.Some of the roundtable discussions I've participated in start off with, "Ok, we're going to be discussing [enter subject]. Let's go around the table and get perspectives." This sounds like a perfectly good way to get started, but then I find the challenge of wanting to participate in the discussion rather than just get caught up in listening to great perspectives others offer. My perspective is we need to aim for the heart of those we interact with, be useful, and encourage everyone to contribute to a mosaic of the organization.
With using Soci…

DiigoNotes - Blackboard’s Response to Open Source: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

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"Our business is built around the status quo," points out Seth Godin in this blog post, "and it's not fair that the market wants something else now." These words describe so many companies who suffering the effects of disruptive technologies, scrambling to stay alive in the face of "easy to use, not quite perfect or the best but good enough to get the job done for what I need." One example of a type of business who's crying "Not fair!" includes course management systems, like Blackboard who gobbled up WebCT and Angel to the complaint of some of its customers. In fact, thanks to Angelic Learning, check out these stories of people fleeing the "black hole," as that blogger colorfully puts it, below:
(4 campuses) went to ANGEL from Blackboard starting the Fall 2007 semester. The reasons given were: 1. Cost – Blackboard was too expensive compared to ANGEL. 2. Service – weeks and months would often pass before problem tickets were add…

State Technology Allotment Update

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The following note was shared recently referencing a source at the Texas Education Agency (TEA):There has been some confusion regarding the technology allotment. The 81st Texas Legislature did fund the technology allotment. According to the To The Administrator Addressed letter dated August 10, 2009, the technology allotment is based on rate of $29.43 multiplied by your district’s 2009–10 estimated refined ADA, and accounted for in the special revenue fund 11. (See http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/taa/statefund080709.html).

In past years, the allotment has been paid as early as November and as late as January. For the 2009-2010 school year, the allotment is scheduled to be paid in May.

There has also been some confusion regarding the use of technology allotment funds. According to the Texas Education Code, the technology allotment may be used only to:

(1) provide for the purchase by school districts of electronic textbooks or technological equipment that contributes to student learning; a…

DiigoNotes - Using Writing In Mathematics

Fascinating approach to writing about a subject I hate to think about, much less be meta-cognitive about--Mathematics.Using Writing In MathematicsUsing Writing In Mathematics This strand provides a developmental model for incorporating writing into a math class. The strand includes specific suggestions for managing journals, developing prompts for writing, and providing students with feedback on their writing. In addition, the site includes two sample lessons for introducing students to important ideas related to writing about their mathematical thinking. Writing about thinking is challenging. For this reason, it's best not to start out having students write about unfamiliar mathematical ideas. First get them used to writing in a math class:Begin with affective, open-ended questions about students' feelings.Sample Direction #1: Reflect on your participation in class today and complete the following statements:I learned that I...I was surprised that I...I noticed that…

DiigoNotes - Implementing performance assessment in the classroom

Implementing performance assessment in the classroom. Brualdi, AmyBrualdi, Amy (1998). Implementing performance assessment in the classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 6(2). Retrieved October 29, 2009 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=6&n=2 . This paper has been viewed 126,806 times since 11/13/1999. it is difficult to write completion or multiple choice tests that go beyond the recall level. Performance-based assessments "represent a set of strategies for the . . . application of knowledge, skills, and work habits through the performance of tasks that are meaningful and engaging to students" (Hibbard and others, 1996, p. 5). This type of assessment provides teachers with information about how a child understands and applies knowledge. Also, teachers can integrate performance-based assessments into the instructional process to provide additional learning experiences for students. The benefit of performance-based assessments are well documented. …

DiigoNotes - iNACOL's Susan Patrick on Trends in eLearning

Great responses on Susan Patrick's part to David Nagel's interview. I am convinced that we need to abandon the failed technology integration approaches of the last 17 years and switch to online learning. If we were looking for a  movement to get behind, it's clearly not Web 2.0 or Read/Write Web as powerful as that is...it is using these tools within the context of online learning to rethink what we do "for school."

Thanks to Nagel and THE Journal for this interview!Q&A: iNACOL's Susan Patrick on Trends in eLearning -- THE JournalQ&A: iNACOL's Susan Patrick on Trends in eLearning By David Nagel At last count, there were more than 1 million enrollments in K-12 online schools in the United States. And according to recent research, the number of students taking courses online will jump to more than 10 million in the next five years. iNACOL, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. iNACOL is an advocacy and research organization that focuse…

DiigoNotes -Lawsuit Facebook

Hey, kids! Hate school? Don't tell Facebook! - Technotica- msnbc.comHigh school sucks. Did you forget? Don’t believe it? Check out Facebook. At least that’s the opinion of a Nicholas Blacconiere, an academy student under legal fire for enshrining his negative opinions and those of others on a private page he posted on the world’s most popular social networking site. “Facebook 'suck sites' to be tested in court,” proclaimed the Chicago Tribune in reporting the academy’s $50,000 suit against Blacconiere for unauthorized use of the school's logo and for emotional damage caused by defamatory comments posted on his page, titled “Tspa RobinHood.” Other media followed suit, with headlines such as “ ‘My School Sucks’ pages under attack,” and the like. Why it’s as if just now, a couple of months short of 2010, the First Amendment rights of Internet-savvy students are under fire and not, in fact, an ongoing and troublesome issue. “Forty years ago, the Supreme Court resoundingly af…

TCEA Area 20 Council

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This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in the TCEA Area 9 Conference in Jacksboro, Texas. It was a fun event for me--I moodled all day; check here for workshop materials--and I had the opportunity to meet folks like Don Sewell (TCEA Area 9 Director).One of the intriguing conversations I had on Saturday was with members of the TCEA Area 9 Council, which evidently had been around for quite a few years. It is something I've admired from afar in Area 20.The benefits of an Area Council for TCEA Area 9 included the following:Scholarships for studentsOfficers to serve on Area CouncilBetter representation from local districtsOrganization of area events
Area Councils are provided for in the TCEA organization bylaws:
ARTICLE VIII.AREA COUNCILSection 1. Area Council MembersThe Area Council shall consist of the Area Director, who shall serve as chairperson, and members recruited from the general membership of that area.Section 2.Qualifications for Area CouncilAny Regular Member…

DiigoNotes - Building an Effective Board of Directors

What a phenomenal article by Frank Martinelli (Texas NonProfits) on building an effective Board of Directors! I really enjoyed reading some of the strategies suggested by Frank and there are some obvious connections/suggestions applicable to the work of organizations I'm familiar with, such as TCEA, that I'm hoping to be elected to office for. These points are ones I'm going to keep in mind as I pursue elected office with TCEA, but you know what, these are just excellent suggestions for ANYONE who gets elected to Board or is interested in holding their Board members accountable.

While I cite other key take-aways from the article below via my DiigoNotes, I found four critical take-aways for me that made me leap out of my chair. Those take-aways included the following:
Your Board of Directors needs to have a plan for ROTATION of Board members. One of the big problems with some organizations--such as TCEA--is the lack of term limits. This means Board members hang around forever…