"This post highlights the use in our school of Evernote as digital portfolios capturing; learning, observations and anecdotal evidence that can be used for feedback, assessment and sharing of student work among teachers, students and parents."
"A student's tuneful 10th grade chemistry class project has become a viral video."
"Give this kid an “A.” Eli Cirino, a 16-year-old high school student submitted the video above for extra credit for his 10th grade chemistry class. The reaction is probably far beyond what he expected.
The They Might Be Giants-like “Good Chemistry” explains chemical bonds via a boy-girl love story, which Cirino wrote, performed and filmed. The animation was created using construction paper. The video got a boost when Cirino’s father submitted it on Reddit. Tuesday morning, it was up to 250,000 views on YouTube.
The video’s so catchy that it might be churlish to point out — as many on Reddit did — that the melody seems to borrow a bit from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” a bit. On the other hand, some Redditors gave Cirino props for making the video 'pi length' — 3 minutes and 14 seconds long."
I have yet to find the perfect Digital Portfolio app that I think I would use exclusively in a Visual Arts class. Some apps can be used as graphic portfolios or as beautiful sketchbooks, others are great at sharing. Not all of the apps available are great at all of these things. I have spent a heap of time trying to find one and would be more than happy for someone to send me the name of one they are using successfully. Having said that the following are apps that I would consider using;
Evernote: FREE Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders--and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go."
"When we tell students to study for the exam or, more to the point, to study so that they can do well on the exam, we powerfully reinforce that way of thinking. While faculty consistently complain about instrumentalism, our behavior and the entire system encourages and facilitates it.
On the one hand, we tell students to value learning for learning's sake; on the other, we tell students they'd better know this or that, or they'd better take notes, or they'd better read the book, because it will be on the next exam; if they don't do these things, they will pay a price in academic failure. This communicates to students that the process of intellectual inquiry, academic exploration, and acquiring knowledge is a purely instrumental activity—designed to ensure success on the next assessment.
Given all this, it is hardly surprising that students constantly ask us if this or that will be on the exam, or whether they really need to know this reading for the next test, or—the single most pressing question at every first class meeting of the term—"is the final cumulative"?
This dysfunctional system reaches its zenith with the cumulative "final" exam. We even go so far as to commemorate this sacred academic ritual by setting aside a specially designated "exam week" at the end of each term. This collective exercise in sadism encourages students to cram everything that they think they need to "know" (temporarily for the exam) into their brains, deprive themselves of sleep and leisure activities, complete (or more likely finally start) term papers, and memorize mounds of information. While this traditional exercise might prepare students for the inevitable bouts of unpleasantness they will face as working adults, its value as a learning process is dubious."
"Some states say they are are using multiple measures to evaluate student progress. But they are really just slicing and dicing the same standardized test scores — not using different kinds of measures."
Examples of real multiple measures abound. Among many possibilities, they include science labs and field work, from short tasks to extended projects; oral presentations in any subject; extended math problems that require application to real world uses; and in-depth history reports, presented orally, in an essay, a PowerPoint, etc.
The complex question is how to put these measures together plausibly and defensibly, but this has been done in the United States and other nations. (For more discussion and examples, see FairTest’s Multiple Measures fact sheet. (http://tinyurl.com/7z68b5p)
Freed from the strictures of high-stakes testing, Finland (http://tinyurl.com/6gme85g) has achieved great success using true multiple measures. Finnish education (http://tinyurl.com/7mdgtoy) authorities periodically evaluate samples of students’ classroom work to determine the quality of teaching and learning in each school. The nation often ranks at or near first in various international comparisons (http://tinyurl.com/6s4of8r).
From Australia to Singapore to England, nations have found ways to use performance tasks and classroom-based evidence to evaluate how well students are doing and to inform school improvement efforts.
"For our most recent challenge, we asked you to redesign the report card so that it's visually appealing, informative, and inspirational, and gives context to student achievement. We received so many creative entries that we couldn't pick just one, so we asked GOOD readers to check out our seven favorite submissions and vote for a winner.
We're thrilled to congratulate Polly d'Avignon, whose fantastic design, "Education Engaged" received 37 percent of reader votes. D'Avignon described her report card this way:"
First there was Governor Jerry Brown’s veto of the education bill in California. In his letter, the governor chided the legislature for continuing to rely upon standardized testing as the only ‘data’ that counts when measuring schools success. In his own words: Finally, while SB547 attempts to improve the API, it relies on the same quantitative and standardized paradigm at the heart of the current system. The criticism of the API is that it has led schools to focus too narrowly on tested subjects and ignore other subjects and matters that are vital to a well-rounded education. SB547 certainly would add more things to measure, but it is doubtful that it would actually improve our schools. Adding more speedometers to a broken car won’t turn it into a high-performance machine.
And then, my favorite quote from his veto message: SB547 nowhere mentions good character or love of learning. It does allude to student excitement and creativity, but does not take these qualities seriously because they can’t be placed in a data stream. Lost in the bill’s turgid mandates is any recognition that quality is fundamentally different from quantity. There are other ways to improve our schools to indeed focus on quality. What about a system that relies on locally convened panels to visit schools, observe teachers, interview students, and examine student work? Such a system wouldn’t produce an API number, but it could improve the quality of our schools.
The TCRWP offers a set of informal reading inventories for narrative texts which correlates to the Fountas and Pinnell system for leveling books. These assessments help teachers identify which level of texts students can read independently and will therefore be able to practice all the reading strategies they are learning during the Reading Workshop. The assessments provide an analysis of comprehension, miscues, and, fluency (fluency is only assessed for Levels J-Z).
At the end of last year I tested out using Evernote as a tool for building e-portfolios. You can read about it here. If you're not super familiar with Evernote you might want to start with reading that post.
Via John Evans
"Meet the four finalists of the Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, which challenges students to use technology to solve the world’s toughest problems."
"Microsoft’s Imagine Cup brings students together from across the world each year, in effort to use technology to solve the world’s toughest problems.
Mashable met with four teams, hailing from Germany, Australia, the U.S. and Qatar, to learn how they are using technology to make an impact on the future.
Students are using Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows Azure and Windows Phone in their Imagine Cup projects. Many members of the competition draw inspiration from the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, to create solutions to problems in the fields of education, healthcare and environmental sustainability, among others.
The Worldwide Finals will take place in Sydney, Australia, between June 6 and 10, where the winners of local, regional and online competitions will share their visions for how technology can shape the future. The 106 teams will hail from 75 countries."
"This piece was written by a member of the Teaching Georgia Writing Collective , a group of educators, parents, and concerned citizens who engage in public writing and public teaching about education in Georgia. Members write anonymously because many fear there would be consequences to them or their children if their views were publicly known.
Goals of the collective include: 1) empowering educators to reclaim their workplace and professionalism, 2) empowering families to stand up for their children and shape the institutions their children attend each day, 3) empowering children and youth to have control over their education, and 4) enhancing the education of all Georgians."
"Definition. Multiple measures: the use of multiple indicators and sources of evidence of student learning, of varying kinds, gathered at multiple points in time, within and across subject areas. In response to concerns about No Child Left Behind’s narrowing of curricula, some states have begun to use techniques they falsely label 'multiple measures.' Unfortunately, these are usually just multiple uses of the same statewide, standardized test results, not authentic multiple measures.
Examples of real multiple measures abound, including science labs or field work, from short tasks to extended projects; oral presentations in any subject; extended math problems that require application to real world uses; reading aloud and conversing with the teacher about a book; in-depth history reports, presented orally, in an essay, a PowerPoint, etc.; writing a paper in a second language; art or music projects; and answering questions from an expert panel about a project the student has done, much as doctoral candidates defend their theses. Documentation of teacher observations or interactions with the teacher can be useful, particularly with young children, if well structured. Many of these can be done individually or in groups (so long as the purpose is clear). This material can be organized so that it can be re-scored by other, independent educators, to ensure the accuracy of the classroom teacher, a process known as 'moderation.' "
"Last week, GOOD magazine announced the winner of its "Redesign the Report Card" contest. The winning entry is a design by Polly d'Avignon, and you can see it here.
As a visual design effort, it's a success. It's gorgeous. It's interactive, designed to be posted on a website and support parent and teacher dialog. The example design is a high school report card. Each subject has its own tab and includes six-week grading period averages, a pie chart displaying the elements that went into the average, and a day-by-day log of graded work displayed as bars with roll-over explanations.
Unfortunately, what has been designed into this lovely display is the traditional report card, with single grades for each subject that mix measures of a student's current status on intended standards with measures of practice (like homework) and participation. None of the current best thinking about effective grading practices summarized in the November issue of Educational Leadership has been followed."
"Challenging these traditions will not be easy. They've been a part of our education experiences for so long that they usually go unquestioned, despite the fact that they are ineffective and potentially harmful to students.
Education leaders who challenge these traditions must be armed with thoughtful, research-based alternatives. You can't go forward with only passionately argued opinions. To succeed in tearing down old traditions, you must have new traditions to take their place.
This means that education leaders must be familiar with the research on grading and what works best for students so they can propose more meaningful policies and practices that support learning and enhance students' perceptions of themselves as learners. Leaders who have the courage to challenge the traditional approach and the conviction to press for thoughtful, positive reforms are likely to see remarkable results."
Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch have found themselves at odds on policy over the years, but they share a passion for improving schools. Bridging Differences will offer their insights on what matters most in education.
The highlight of my trip was visiting schools in Finland. Of course, Finland is much in the news these days because of its success on the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) examinations. For the past decade, 15-year-old Finnish students have consistently been at or near the top of all the nations tested in reading, mathematics, and science. And just as consistently, the variance in quality among Finnish schools is the least of all nations tested, meaning that Finnish students can get a good education in virtually any school in the nation. That's equality of educational opportunity, a good public school in every neighborhood.
What makes the Finnish school system so amazing is that Finnish students never take a standardized test until their last year of high school, when they take a matriculation examination for college admission. Their own teachers design their tests, so teachers know how their students are doing and what they need. There is a national curriculum—broad guidelines to assure that all students have a full education—but it is not prescriptive. Teachers have extensive responsibility for designing curriculum and pedagogy in their school. They have a large degree of autonomy, because they are professionals.