"hanks to Nik Peachey, today I learned about Easel.ly today, which is hands-down the easiest tool I’ve seen on the Web to create infographics. You just “drag-and-drop” a variety of themes, type in your data, and you’ve got a great infographic."
"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."
When done right, evaluation in any career provides not only accountability, but also a welcome boost to the next level of excellence."
"ike other states across the country, mine (Massachusetts) is in the midst of piloting a new teacher evaluation system. I'm a teacher, so this matters deeply to me. But it also matters to anyone with any stake in education, as the impact of how we measure teacher effectiveness will be immense.
Now, how are these evaluations going so far? Last month, Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows sent a survey to teachers in Massachusetts's Level 4 Turnaround Schools, who are currently piloting the new system. While the purpose of pilots is, of course, to iron out the kinks in something before rolling it out more broadly, the data compiled from the 112 responses is still concerning and eye-opening, and it points to some major areas for improvement:
• 41% of teachers rated their evaluator as fair or poor overall • 35% rated the quality of their evaluator's feedback as fair or poor • 45% rated their evaluator fair or poor in content knowledge
The iPad may only be two years old, but it's already begun to change many things. Reading is one of them. Work is another. It is selling like crazy, but it will be some time before most of the people you know own a tablet.
"'Best practices' is the worst practice. The idea that we should examine successful organizations and then imitate what they do if we also want to be successful is something that first took hold in the business world but has now unfortunately spread to the field of education. If imitation were the path to excellence, art museums would be filled with paint-by-number works.
The fundamental flaw of a 'best practices'approach, as any student in a half-decent research-design course would know, is that it suffers from what is called 'selection on the dependent variable.' If you only look at successful organizations, then you have no variation in the dependent variable: they all have good outcomes. When you look at the things that successful organizations are doing, you have no idea whether each one of those things caused the good outcomes, had no effect on success, or was actually an impediment that held organizations back from being even more successful. An appropriate research design would have variation in the dependent variable; some have good outcomes and some have bad ones. To identify factors that contribute to good outcomes, you would, at a minimum, want to see those factors more likely to be present where there was success and less so where there was not."
"But Surpassing Shanghai is even worse than the typical best-practices work, because Tucker’s concluding chapters, in which he summarizes the common best practices and draws policy recommendations, have almost no connection to the preceding chapters on each country. That is, the case studies of Shanghai, Finland, Japan, Singapore, and Canada attempt to identify the secrets to success in each country, a dubious-enough enterprise, and then Tucker promptly ignores all of the other chapters when making his general recommendations."
A new publication, Curricular Opportunities in the Digital Age, from the Students at the Center was recently released that focuses on creating an "ecology of learning" where new student-centered pathways can benefit ALL students with the use of digital technologies. UDL can be the framework fto make that happen.
"David H. Rose and Jenna W. Gravel consider how advances in teaching technologies enable new curricular designs that offer exciting ways to create classrooms that are student centered.
Given the myriad ways students differ, how can educators determine the essential components of curricula that use new technologies to support student-centered approaches to learning—for all students, not just a few? Universal design for learning is a promising framework for doing that. UDL provides a structure and guidelines for making decisions about instructional designs that meet the challenge of diversity. Many options are built into UDL, based on research and practice from multiple domains within the learning sciences—education, developmental psychology, cognitive science, and cognitive neuroscience."
Richard provides his perspective about personalized learning from four different perspectives:
"When I think of personalized learning in light of these roles I find that my mind-set (perspective) can not help but influence my views.
as a …
Parent – I am all for personalized learning. I really am not all that concerned how it happens as long as it is good for my son and helps him develop the qualities of an engaged life-long learner.
as a …
Curriculum Developer – I find that personalized learning is not so much about the content of the curriculum (I am speaking of learning outcomes, in particular mathematics outcomes and processes) but about the modes through which students are able to meet the outcomes.
as a …
Student – I can only say yahoo. About time.
as a …
Teacher – I believe that personalized learning is a good thing for students and I hope to promote a classroom atmosphere that supports personalized learning. I am also really nervous about how this is to be done as my learning was certainly not personalized so I am working it out as I go."
"Technology is a tool that can be used to help teachers facilitate learning experiences that address the diverse learning needs of all students and help them develop 21st Century Skills. At it's most basic level, digital tools can be used to help students find, understand and use information. When combined with student-driven learning experiences fueled by Essential Questions offering flexible learning paths, it can be the ticket to success. Here is a closer look at three components of effectively using technology as a tool for digital differentiation."
We need to start envisioning our teachers as knowledge generators and creative professionals whom we trust to innovate and implement unorthodox ideas that might transform teaching and learning. The time has come to reward innovation among our best and most creative teachers. They should be given the time and resources to reflect on their practice, experiment with new ideas, and implement strategies to more effectively engage learners.
""Aspects of creative thinking that are not usually taught.
1. You are creative. 2. Creative thinking is work. 3. You must go through the motions of being creative. 4. Your brain is not a computer. 5. There is no one right answer. 6. Never stop with your first good idea. 7. Expect the experts to be negative. 8. Trust your instincts. 9. There is no such thing as failure. 10. You do not see things as they are; you see them as you are. 11. Always approach a problem on its own terms. 12. Learn to think unconventionally.
In the Brevia section of the 9 August 2002 issue of Science, Weir et al. report a remarkable observation: The toolmaking behavior of New Caledonian crows. In the experiments, a captive female crow, confronted with a task that required a curved tool (retrieving a food-containing bucket from a vertical pipe), spontaneously bent a piece of straight wire into a hooked shape -- and then repeated the behavior in nine out of ten subsequent trials.
"All great teachers do great work. And not only that, but they also do different work. Great teachers are always looking to improve practice, steal ideas and try new things -- all in order to meet the needs of their students. PBL teachers are no exception. Any teacher who is truly doing PBL would also agree that it's different. There is something about being a PBL teacher that requires different work, and work that is especially capitalized when implementing a PBL project. Because I work with so many PBL teachers, I feel there are some things that PBL teachers should specifically be proud of. I present them in these six affirmations."
"What really brings history alive is when you can interact with it – when you can see it, feel it and touch it at places like museums and at historic monuments. However, many of us are tied to a computer three quarters of every day, and it’s hard to break loose to get out there and interact with history very often. There is some hope for you busy history-buffs though. In this article I’m going to share 6 really cool interactive websites that bring American history alive in ways that never would have been possible on the Internet a decade ago."
Robin Good: JISC provides a very well documented guide to the use of Creative Commons licences (also referred to as CC licences) which can greatly facilitate the copying, reuse, distribution, and in some cases, the modification of the original owner’s creative work without needing to get permission each time from the original rights holder.
In addition to this the correct use and embedding of CC license may greatly help in the effort to make original sources more transparent to the final reader, in many context, including news and content curation efforts of many kinds.
Creative Commons licences can be embedded into a variety of resources, such as PowerPoint, images, Word docs, elearning resources, podcasts and other audio visual resources.
While specifically prepared for UK public sector organizations this document can be quite useful for anyone interested in the use of CC licenses to distribute digital content online.
Key Benefits of embedding CC licences for content curation and attribution:
- It can help the user see that the resource is an 'open' resource and licensed under a specific CC licence terms
- It can help reduce the future 'orphan works' (works for which the rights holders are unknown or cannot be traced), and assist in creation of appropriate attribution, citation and potential negotiation for further permissions. By embedding the selected CC licence to the licence details even if the resource gets detached from its metadata. This is particularly the case if the resource is found via a search engine instead of the original website platform which might host specific copyright restrictions.
"The Boston Student Advisory Council details the history of their campaign to get student voice's heard in teacher evaluations."
Excerpt - Final Regulations On Evaluation Of Educators
603 CMR 35.00 Evaluation of Educators
35.07: Evidence Used in Evaluation
"2. Student feedback collected by the district, starting in the 2013-2014 school year. On or before July 1, 2013, the Department shall identify one or more instruments for collecting student feedback and shall publish protocols for administering the instrument(s), protecting student confidentiality, and analyzing student feedback. In the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years, districts are encouraged to pilot new systems, and to continue using and refining existing systems, for collecting and analyzing student feedback as part of educator evaluation."
"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."
The flipped classroom is an exciting new instructional approach. As it is relatively new, much of the information about it only is available in the popular press. Little research can be found. On this page, I am pulling together what I can find relevant to flipped classrooms. Enjoy!
"A new NEA study finds disadvantaged students do better academically if they are intensely involved in the arts.
Students from the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder tend to do less well in school than those from more upscale families. But newly published research identifies one sub-group of these youngsters who tend to exceed expectations: those who participate heavily in the arts.
'At-risk teenagers or young adults with a history of intensive arts experiences show achievement levels closer to, and in some cases exceeding, the levels shown by the general population studied,' a team of scholars writes in a new National Endowment for the Arts Research Report. 'These findings suggest that in-school or extracurricular programs offering deep arts involvement may help to narrow the gap in achievement levels among youth.',
Kentucky Virtual Library has creared a visual tool to help students do research. This is an excellent model of how to present a step by step approach in a visual way that includes a set of tasks that students can follow in conducting research. The basic steps are:
Learn where UDL is being successfully implemented in Postsecondary Education!
"Universal Design for Learning (UDL)is an important educational framework to consider for postsecondary education. Thoughtful planning through the lens of UDL can offer important options for learners as they navigate a range of college or career postsecondary opportunites.We know that students are incredibly diverse in their learning needs, preparation, and approaches. UDL offers a practical instructional method to anticipate this learner variability and provide every student with equal opportunities to learn.
UDL is also an effective means for shaping learning experiences outside the classroom, such as online instruction, hands-on learning, or work-study experiences."
Here's a chart that explains the differences between personalization, differentiation, and individualization. After some research on these terms, Barbara Bray and I were able to determine the differences between these terms in relationship to teaching and learning.
"The Palm Beach School System has an incredible wiki where members of the community share their favorite apps for specific disciplines. Below I’ve [Jeff Dunn, Executive Editor, edudemic.com] embedded their list for the top high school apps but they also have a curated list of apps for middle school and elementary school.
I wanted to give a mention to the people behind the project. Be sure to reach out to them if you have any questions or just want to let them know that you are benefiting from their hard work:
- John Shoemaker (John.Shoemaker@palmbeachschools.org) - Melissa Lander (Melissa.Lander@palmbeachschools.org) - John Long (John.Long.firstname.lastname@example.org)
(H/T to @rmbyrne for introducing me to this wiki! Be sure to follow him at the always wonderful Free Tech 4 Teachers site.) Most of the links below are to the iTunes store. It may open up iTunes on your computer."
"Once, animals at the university were the province of science. Rats ran through mazes in the psychology lab, cows mooed in the veterinary barns, the monkeys of neuroscience chattered in their cages. And on the dissecting tables of undergraduates, preserved frogs kept a deathly silence.
On the other side of campus, in the seminar rooms and lecture halls of the liberal arts and social sciences, where monkey chow is never served and all the mazes are made of words, the attention of scholars was firmly fixed on humans.
This spring, freshmen at Harvard can take “Human, Animals and Cyborgs.” Last year Dartmouth offered “Animals and Women in Western Literature: Nags, Bitches and Shrews.” New York University offers “Animals, People and Those in Between.”
The courses are part of the growing, but still undefined, field of animal studies. So far, according to Marc Bekoff, an emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, the field includes 'anything that has to do with the way humans and animals interact.' Art, literature, sociology, anthropology, film, theater, philosophy, religion — there are animals in all of them."