"Designing the classroom of the future is no easy task, mostly because it's difficult to know what the future will look like. As little as five years ago, few could have predicted the ubiquity of tablets and their accompanying need for more and more WiFi capabilities. Even the maker movement's reliance on "creative spaces" is a relatively new phenomenon. "
In Japanese classrooms, teachers consciously design tasks that are slightly beyond the capabilities of the students they teach, so the students can actually experience struggling with something just outside their reach.
Technology has revolutionized education, but asking how it can improve learning may be the wrong question.
Consider How, Rather Than What, Education Technology Is Used.
Nick Morrison argues in Forbes (10/22) for an attention to how technology is used in education, rather than simply what is used. The pieces features conversations with Bob Harris, chair of the UK’s Department for Education’s computing group, education adviser to Toshiba, and former teacher, lecturer, and college principal. Harris cites a lack of evidence supporting the push for education technology, stressing the importance of teachers and the damage of “the pedagogy of teachers standing at the front.” The piece highlights the 5 E’s of Martin Blows, former director of the UK’s National College for School Leadership, which call for empowering students with information and communication technology.
Nearly All Louisiana Teachers Subjectively Rated “Effective” Or “Highly Effective.”
The AP (10/23, AP) reports 92% of Louisiana public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in this second year of state evaluations, up from 89% the prior year. State Education Superintendent John White expressed concerns over a lack of consistency, with teachers rated largely on principals’ subjective classroom observations and local student achievement goals. Further, the new Compass system has delayed the weighing of student achievement as Common Core is implemented. The state’s Department of Education stated eight of the top 10 (19 of the top 25) schools showing the most improvement had lower “highly-effective” numbers than the state’s 38% average. The department outlined plans to improve the evaluation process, including a special state education commission to develop recommendations for student achievement gains.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune (10/23, Williams) reports on the higher teacher scores (3%) within a context of modest student achievement gains (under 1%). The Times adds that although the state provided some student growth data in “value-added” subjects, many systems didn’t use the data. Doug Harris, director of the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, argues much of what makes teachers effective has little to do with student test scores, adding they don’t exist in a “one to one relationship.” The piece details the effective teacher percentages of New Orleans and Baton Rouge systems before closing on the state’s intent to raise standardized test standards from basic to mastery, expected recommendations to the school board on how to utilize data, and plans to expand the Believe and Prepare year-long apprenticeship program for incoming teachers.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune (10/23, Samuels) reports similarly, with more detailed reporting of teacher and principal ratings in Baton Rouge districts, as well as highlighting of districts with notably high standards for scoring.
With funding formulas that cap or redirect local property tax revenues to state coffers, some places are looking for other ways to capture local money.
Private Groups In Wealthy Communities Contributing Significantly To Public Schools.
The New York Times (10/22, Rich, Subscription Publication) reports that private groups are “raising an increasing amount of money for public schools in wealthier communities, highlighting concerns about inequality.” A new study found “nonprofits organized by parents and community leaders more than tripled in number and more than quadrupled the dollars they generated between 1995 and 2010,” and wealthier communities “were more likely to have these fund-raising groups in the first place” and were more likely to raise more money per student.
27 Teacher Actions That Help Promote Valid Assessment Data by TeachThought Staff There is often talk about assessment–its forms, frequency, and the integration of gleaned data to revise planned instruction. Formative versus assessment, rigor, and...
Your source to discuss and learn about education in Georgia and the nation and share opinions and news with Maureen Downey
Education Reform Ignores Telling Students “Why” To Study.
Maureen Downey writes at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (10/20) “Get Schooled” blog that former Education Secretary Rod Paige, speaking to the Southern K-14 Education Initiative Summit at Georgia Piedmont Technical College on Friday, “explained the chief cause of decades of failed school reform,” saying that educators have “ignored the most critical element — the why.” She quotes Paige saying, “When kids understand why they are learning something, why it is relevant, they will study.” Downey describes Paige’s prominent role in the design and implementation of NCLB, and relates his argument that it is next to impossible to motivate students without giving them “good reasons” why they need to study and learn.
MathChat is an interesting new iPad app that I discovered recently. As its name indicate, MathChat is an app that allows students to collaborate and work together on math problems. This collaboration takes place in group chats where members get to exchange messages, use pointers to show how to solve a problem, or draw and add arrows to provide illustration and guidance on Math concepts. This collaborative feature of MathChat resembles to a great extent the work Whiteboard apps do.
Neuroscientists have known for a long time that regular quizzing on information helps make it stick, but students and teachers don't always know how to apply that research to classroom practice or study habits.
Mel Riddile's insight:
“The actual act of retrieving the information over and over, that’s what makes it retrievable when you need it.”
Even on the difficult days, remember that you are never forgotten. Students who read this letter will think of you. They think of you all the time. We all will talk about the stories of teachers that we adored for decades. We will laugh, cry and appr...
How Denver struggles to keep its principals in schools and what it’s doing to change.
Struggling Denver Schools See High Level Of Principal Turnover.
Chalkbeat Colorado (10/21) reports that its analysis of Colorado state records shows that “although Denver’s overall principal turnover rate has fallen by almost half, turnover has not slowed at nearly a quarter of Denver schools.” Some schools in the city have had three or more principals since 2008, and the article notes that the highest turnover rates are at “schools where the district has pushed its most intense improvement efforts, schools that researchers say are most in need of high quality and steady leadership.” Deep within the article, Chalkbeat explores successful strategies used by principals who have improved student performance, and quotes National Association of Secondary School Principals associate director of high school service Mel Riddle saying, “To really change a culture, it takes five to seven years. To implement initiatives, it takes two to five years.”
Massive changes to the profession, coupled with budget woes, appear to be shaking the image of teaching as a stable, engaging career, with data showing that enrollments in university teacher-preparation programs have been declining.
Massive changes to the profession, coupled with budget woes, appear to be shaking the image of teaching as a stable, engaging career. Nationwide, enrollments in university teacher-preparation programs have fallen by about 10 percent from 2004 to 2012, according to federal estimates from the U.S. Department of Education's postsecondary data collection.
Teacher-Prep Enrollment Trends by State
Enrollments in teacher-preparation programs (including alternative-route options) have fallen dramatically in some states in recent years, while holding steady in others.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Higher Education Act Title II Data Collection
Some large states, like heavyweight California, appear to have been particularly hard hit. The Golden State lost some 22,000 teacher-prep enrollments, or 53 percent, between 2008-09 and 2012-13, according to a report its credentialing body issuedearlier this month.
Teacher leadership is emerging as a key strategy to increase retention of effective teachers and distribute responsibility for improving instruction, but it must be designed and implemented strategically to meet these goals. A new paper from the Aspen Institute and Leading Educators, Leading from the Front of the Classroom: A Roadmap for Teacher Leadership that Works, highlights promising practices from leading states, districts, and charter schools and provides practical guidance for system leaders.
In some districts, the uses of adaptive testing extend beyond assessment, as teachers use test results to modify lessons and stage interventions for students of different abilities.
Adaptive Testing Allows Educators To Customize Classroom Instruction.
Education Week (10/22, Flanigan) reports on better individual instruction afforded by regular adaptive testing, which offers more specific data on student performance than traditional testing. With some assessments catered toward math and others toward reading and writing proficiency, the programs offer preferred learning methods and environments to students; further, algorithms have evolved to track metacognitive skills such as confidence and students’ abilities to reflect on material. Such testing is being used by 22 states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium with substantial improvements. The piece surveys the success in various schools around the country before closing on calls for more advanced diagnostics based on adaptive test performance.
While the brain continues to grow and learn at every age, teenagers' brains go through a specific set of circumstances that literally change the way they think. "In many ways, it's the most tumultuous time of brain development since coming out of the womb," said Jay Giedd of the National Institute of Mental Health on Frontline's "Inside the Teenage Brain."