Morgan's plan to fire heads of coasting schools - will it work? | Schools Week

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:45
Monday, May 18, 2015 Monday, May 18, 2015 Experts Why Morgan’s plan to fire heads of ‘coasting schools’ relies on imaginary people Laura McInerney | May 17, 2015 4

So, what does the government’s new ‘coasting schools’ plan actually involve?

Things we know:

– As soon as a school is identified as ‘failing’ the Regional School Commissioner will intervene immediately.

– If the school does not have a ‘credible plan or capacity’ for turnaround then the government will make more moves.

– Headteachers, and other senior managers, will be sacked if necessary.

– Squads of ‘super heads’ will be sent to the school in order to turn it around.

– Maintained schools will be encouraged (possibly forced) to become academies. Those who are already academies will have their academy sponsor switched.


How is this different to now?


Much of it isn’t.

At present, if a maintained school is rated as inadequate it receives a letter within 5 days from the Department for Education to encourage takeover. If the local authority doesn’t do it, the DfE gets involved anyway. In academies, the RSC does likewise.

The big shift is that this won’t just happen for schools labelled as inadequate but also for schools rated as ‘requires improvement’ (or ‘satisfactory’, as it used to be known).


Intervening in ‘requires improvement’ schools is a strange (and slightly worrying) shift


Schools rated as ‘requires improvement’ are often not that different on achievement to ones rated as ‘good’.

Back in February, we used government data to create graphics starkly showing this fact, and warning of the many ‘false positives’ that will see heads fired even though their school is really no different to a ‘good’ one.



There are other serious questions to ask, too.

1. Where will the super heads come from?

There is a dearth of good headteachers. That’s partly why schools struggle to get good ones in the first place. Upping the ‘football manager approach’ to head-dom, where you get instantly fired over mistakes, isn’t going to make the role more attractive, and I’m not hearing any great plans for how we’re finding or grooming new ones.

2. Given there are so many ‘get-out’ clauses to these interventions, will decisions be transparent?

While some schools are academised quicker than anyone can get a protest group together, others are allowed to limp on in inadequacy. IES Breckland – a free-school managed by a for-profit provider – has been inadequate for over a year. It hasn’t been removed from its sponsor. Why? We don’t know. Almost everything about the process of selecting and monitoring academy sponsors is hidden from view.

With the stakes upped, accusations of ‘politics’ – of Ofsted being sent in to force academisation on one school while another is let off scot-free – will get worse, and faith in the inspector will collapse completely.

More transparency would help. When there is greater accountability people need more assurance of fairness. More publication of minutes, more public consultations about decisions sound like ‘bureaucracy’ but they are critical in ensuring the takeover isn’t marred with conspiratorial disgruntlement from the off. Transparency would genuinely help. I’m not holding my breath, though.

3. What happens when a school has changed hands twice and is still failing?

We are now reaching this point. Some schools originally sponsored in the early 2000s, later switched sponsors and yet still require improvement. Is the plan to switch them around forever?

There is nothing wrong with challenging failing schools. There is everything wrong with trying to do it on the backs of imaginary people

Ultimately Morgan’s plan is spreading capacity around the system. That’s a good thing. We should want excellent people to be in challenging places and the most successful academy sponsors to take on the toughest schools.

The really big inherent problem is that we aren’t doing much to build that capacity. This whole plan relies on there being excellent headteachers and amazing sponsors. Unless I’m missing something we are just hoping they are going to spring up from somewhere, run open-armed into the zaniest schools, knowing all the while that if they fail they will be unceremoniously dumped because of an Ofsted judgment that could turn on a penny.

There is nothing wrong with challenging failing schools. There is everything wrong with trying to do it on the backs of imaginary people. I said in 2010 that ‘wing and prayer’ is not a great strategy for school improvement. It still applies now.

Related Posts 2 comments
  • Janet Downs

    A cynic might say IES Breckland is allowed to continue unchanged because Sabres Educational Trust outsourced the day-to-day running of the school via a contract with for-profit IES International English Schools UK Ltd. If the DfE had stepped in and terminated the contract, it would make it harder for the DfE to allow other schools to enter into similar contracts.

    In theory, academies and free schools are charities which can’t make a profit. But they can outsource their running to for-profit companies as IES Breckland did. Bad publicity, therefore, is not welcome.

    It’s likely that some for-profit firms will also set up charitable ‘vehicles’ by which contracts can be given to the for-profit parent company. A neat way of diverting taxpayers’ money which should be spent on education into the pockets of shareholders.

    May 18, 2015 at 10:41 am Reply
  • Janet Downs

    There’s always a financial cost when academies and free schools change hands. But the Government refuses to say how much. The information is ‘commercially sensitive’, the DfE says. I’ve appealed to the Information Commission and am waiting a decision.

    Taxpayers have a right to know especially as academy conversion is the most expensive but least effective of interventions. The National Audit Office found informal interventions such as local support were more effective than academy conversion.

    May 18, 2015 at 10:51 am Reply
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Categories: Miscellaneous

Worried about education? Get stuck in and change it | Zoe Williams | Comment is free | The Guardian

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:45
Close sign in subscribe search jobs more from the guardian: change edition: US edition browse all sections close Comment is free Worried about education? Get stuck in and change it We need new tactics to challenge the Conservatives on their schools policy. Here’s where we should start 'The government’s determination to blame schools for every poor outcome has reached the point of neurosis.' Illustration: Robert G Fresson

Contact author


“It’s time to stop schools failing our children,” wrote the education secretary in the Sunday Telegraph; and what better way to do so than to sack the headteacher, as she suggests? There is no working definition of what Nicky Morgan calls a “‘coasting’ school”, nor any obvious stream of heads who can replace the ones she plans to kick out.

Morgan herself famously asked teachers during the last government whether they were overworked and, if so, why. The answer came back (I precis): we are stretched to translucency by your stupid policies. Depressing trends already observable in teaching – where highly trained, passionate people spend more time proving to Ofsted that they’re doing their job, than they spend actually doing it – are expected to extend into headship, with endless hoops to jump through to avoid a judgment that nobody really knows the meaning of in the first place.

The government’s determination to blame schools for every poor outcome has reached the point of neurosis. You would be hard pushed to find people more committed to equality of opportunity than teachers and heads, who put up with ever greater workloads and infantilising government surveillance in order to foster it. But their role in children’s lives, while huge in terms of influence, is small in terms of time: children spend only 12% of their waking hours at school.

Become a governor of an academy. Uphold the values you love in community schools: that they serve the whole community

The benefits gleaned by having breakfast clubs and free school meals cannot counteract the effects of growing up in a household that can’t predictably put food on the table. It is just unthinking Victorian sentimentalism to suppose that it can. Schools can often acutely recognise the problems caused by hardship, but they do not have a hope of solving them.

This policy is a piece of post-election spin; now that teachers no longer need to be courted or pandered to for the possibility of votes, they can be demonised from the bottom to the top. As crises arise – as they inevitably will, with schools facing cuts of up to 12% in real-terms funding – the discursive ground will have been laid already for the government to act as a correcting authority over the feckless, lazy teaching profession. This is shameless and laughable, but it just might work for the media’s nanosecond attention span.

On the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Morgan elaborated on her vision. “We can see in the results,” she said, “that students do do better in academies, at Key Stage 2 and at GCSEs.”

Pinterest Education secretary Nicky Morgan. ‘Children’s reading is not improved by testing. She’s talking nonsense and she knows it. Photograph: Ray Tang/Rex Features

This is exactly what we cannot see. The education select committee explicitly said four months ago that “current evidence does not allow us to draw conclusions on whether academies in themselves are a positive force for change”. The same minister told the same programme back in February that her government had “introduced the phonics check for six-year-olds, and 100,000 more young people are able to read better as a result.” Academies run the same gamut from good to bad as local authority schools do. Children’s reading is not improved by testing. She’s talking nonsense and she knows it.

But here, we all need to change tack – and by “all”, I don’t mean progressives, I don’t even mean people who can’t stand conservatives, I mean the broadest possible coalition of people who don’t wish to be lied to and manipulated by their political culture, people who want to see their public service workers treated with respect.

Since 2010, the debates about government strategy, from education into health, social security and beyond, have unfolded like this. The facts are casually and deliberately misrepresented, while the opinions of the professionals are undermined by preemptive trashing. A particular kind of discussion emerges: it is laden with misinformation that takes a lot of careful debunking.

Related: We do everything to escape the rat race. Then we inflict it on our kids | Gaby Hinsliff

It’s boring to do and boring to watch; it is sour and embittered before it even begins. Nobody whose livelihood or family didn’t depend on it would wander anywhere near such vexed territory, and so it recedes from the public realm, to blow up again only when a disaster befalls it (cementing the view that the whole business – whatever it was – was just a Titanic waiting for an iceberg from the get-go). We need to get a lot smarter about responding.

If you think academies are a red herring, a partial and inconsistent solution to a problem that has been wrongly framed, then you need to somehow respond to this; choose a school that is still local authority-controlled, and support it to stay that way. Or become a governor of an academy, to uphold the values that you loved in community schools: that they serve the whole community.

If you think free schools are an open door to fraud and related-party transactions, if you think they invite faith-based fanaticism, or know that they find ways to exclude pupils who might bring down results, consider what kind of school you’d want. It might be a co-op school, or a citizen school. The Conservative manifesto pledged 500 free schools. What is to stop any of us using that promise against them, to build progressive, inclusive, ambitious institutions? When I say “you”, of course I’m talking to myself. This government isn’t going anywhere; I cannot spend another five years just goggling at its dishonesty. We need to find ways to build without them.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Vocational degrees that pay off

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:00

A four-year college degree isn’t for everyone. Especially for students who never liked school. The conventional advice for these folks is to master a technical skill in order to have a career more rewarding than serving fast food. Increasingly, many choose to go back to school and get a vocational certification or a degree. But, is there any evidence […]

The post Vocational degrees that pay off appeared first on The Hechinger Report.

Categories: Miscellaneous

Cognitive Apprenticeship / Situated Learning in Life and Work Settings

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:00

Susan Smith Nash, E-Learning Queen, May 18, 2015

This article is far too short, and I wish it would either look at the case study in more detail, or the concept in more detail. But it's a good example of situated learning and cited here in case such an example is ever needed.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

On the Question of Validity in Learning Analytics

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:00

Adam Cooper, CETIS Blogs, May 18, 2015

Good artcile outlining some core issues in learning analytics. For one thing, the author makes a useful distinction between 'reliable' and 'valid' analytics. "For learning analytics, it is entirely possible to have some kind of prediction that is highly statistically-significant and scores highly in all objective measures of performance but is still irrelevant to practice." Additionally, we have to ask questions about whether the results are generalizable, and whether the method was transparent. "Learning analytics undertaken without validity being accounted for would be ethically questionable, and I think we are not yet where we need to get to." Image: Nevit Dilmen.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

ALT-MEMBER Responses to Jisc Private Consultation on Code of Practice for Learning Analytics

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:00

Martin Hawksey, Association for Learning Technology (ALT), May 18, 2015

This short document summarizes three major points from the consultation, recommending (quoted):

  • (a) broad understanding of what is meant by Learning Analytics including teaching and assessment, with consideration for more varied role holders
  • statements around ownership and access to data and analytics within the draft
  • the inclusion of exemplars to illustrate good/bad practice or link to existing resources with illustrate these

As recommendations go, these are pretty bland. The text contains some more concrete (though less representative?) suggestions, for example, that "institutions should also make the algorithms transparent and/or clearly describe the processes involved in producing the analytics," that "The use of 'sensitive data' such as religious affiliation and ethnicity for learning analytics will be restricted and for clearly specified purposes," and that "students should be able to access all learning analytics performed on their data in meaningful, accessible formats."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Lessons Learned from a Chalkboard: Slow and Steady Technology Integration

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:00

Bradley Emerling, Larry Cuban on School Reform, Classroom Practice, May 18, 2015

Up to the final section, this account of the Japanese use of the chalkboard, which continues in schools even to this day, is well worth reading. It reflects an analysis and tradition surrounding the planning for and use of the chalkboard in the classroom, and in general, outlines a more roundabout attitude toward the use of technology in teaching. But the author then falls into stereotypes that undermine the article as a whole: "Not only do educators rarely discuss the rationale for which technologies might best support particular learning opportunities," he writes, "many US schools are consumed by a haphazard race to adopt the latest innovation." I don't really see evidence of this (and it's certainly not presented ion the article). If anything, US educators anguish over every technological innovation. And this article is more evidence of that.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Education Week

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 07:15
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  • 'Middle' Students Find Success Tutoring Peers, in N.Y.C. Study Sarah Sparks Tue Mar 31 16:30:39 CEST 2015 Share

    In the midst of national debate over how to differentiate instruction, a new program shows potential to significantly boost mathematics and science learning by leveraging a group of students who often go unnoticed: middle-of-the-road achievers.

    "One of our principals calls them our invisible middle," said Leslie S. Keiler, an associate professor of education at York College in the Queens borough of New York City.

    The Peer Enabled Restructured Classroom program recruits average students to create a small army of teaching assistants in math and science that is significantly boosting both their own academic progress and that of their peers. The program, now operating in nine Big Apple secondary schools, was created by the National Science Foundation-funded Math-Science Partnership, a collaboration by researchers at several colleges in the city university system.

    After a year in the program, students taught in PERC courses were 1.67 times as likely to pass the New York Regents biology exam and nearly twice as likely to pass the algebra test as matched students who had taken regular classes, according to a study by Sarah M. Bonner, an associate education professor at the City University of New York's Hunter College and the head of research and evaluation for PERC.

    Moreover, of the students who participated in a separate PERC-based summer school after failing the associated Regents exam the previous January, 90 percent retake and pass the test at the end of the summer, compared with about 30 percent of students in regular New York City summer schools. (Student tutors are paid to participate in the summer program.)

    It costs the 650-student East Bronx Academy for the Future, a public secondary school, about as much to use the PERC model for four classes in algebra, physics, and chemistry for one school year as it would to hire an additional teacher, according to Principal Sarah Scrogin. But, she added, "I think the benefit has been more than just hiring an additional teacher, because it's shifted practice" for all teachers. "There's more differentiation, more collaboration, and there's a model, so it's not just another change."

    Ms. Scrogin said the program may be particularly helpful for overcrowded urban schools, which often have neither the resources nor the physical space to hire more staff.Team Effort

    In the packed freshman algebra classes at the 620-student Juan Morel Campos Secondary School in Brooklyn, it can be hard to differentiate instruction for the honors kids, the struggling students, and the vast, quiet group that just gets by.

    "It's always been a challenge to give students the individual attention they need in a class of 33 or 34 students," said Josh F. Good, who teaches both standard and PERC algebra classes at Juan Morel Campos. "In classes [using peer tutors], we're able to cover much more than I can cover in my other classes, and I know every single student is engaged the entire time."

    In each class, Mr. Good lays out new material, which is then reinforced in small groups of four to five students, each led by a teaching assistant. About one-quarter to one-third of teaching assistants are English-language learners, and Mr. Good noted that they often provide their own mini-lessons and additional explanations for students still learning English.

    "I'm able to rely on them 100 percent," he said. "It's really changed the dynamic of what it means to be a strong student in our school."Growing Student Leaders

    The teaching assistants are drawn not from the ranks of honors students, but from rising 9th graders who earned on average 65 out of 100 on the state Regents exam in their subject. This score, while considered passing, is below the 75 required to be considered "college ready," and well below the admissions cutoffs of 75-80 among selective, four-year colleges in the state.

    That means the Teaching Assistant Scholars come from a pool that is often overlooked for either academic intervention or leadership, according to Ms. Keiler, from the PERC leadership team.

    "They're on track to graduate high school and go to college needing remediation," she said, "and after that, the stats look really bad" as students who need remediation in college are significantly less likely to graduate.

    In addition to helping the freshman class, teaching assistants take a daily four-part training class, covering teaching strategies, personal goal-setting and time-management, advanced coursework in the subject, and college planning.

    "What's the hardest is really the simple stuff," said Adonis Duran, a 10th grade algebra TAS, "like being patient with students, and all the different ways to say something if someone doesn't understand how you said it."

    Mr. Duran said his own algebra skills have grown through teaching the younger students. In his first attempt at the Regents in algebra last January, he scored in the low 70s; on retaking the test this January, he earned an 85, fully "college ready."

    "His confidence and his excitement in being here has really changed dramatically," Mr. Good said.

    Mr. Duran is not alone. Ms. Bonner found more than twice as many teaching assistants passed the Regents in biology and algebra with "college ready" scores of at least 75 to 80 points than did demographically and academically similar peers drawn from matched comparison schools identified by the city education department.

    "Of course, as principal, I like students passing exams," Ms. Scrogin said, adding, "but I think there is this cultural piece that happens, where kids become much more self-aware as learners—not just the tutors, but also the students being tutored."

    Now in the fourth year of its second five-year NSF grant, the project is in talks to expand the program to other districts, including Miami and Washington.

    Coverage of "deeper learning" that will prepare students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world is supported in part by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, at www.hewlett.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage. Share Back

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    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Grant Program | crayola.com

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 07:00
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    FREE SHIPPING on ALL orders over $50! Use code FREESHIP50Details Select a Country   Home>For Educators>Champion Creatively Alive Children Grant Program More from this section Champion Creatively Alive Children

    Champion Creatively Alive Children

    Creative Leadership Grants 2015

    Thank you for your interest in the Champion Creatively Alive Children (R) grant opportunity! The 2015 program provides grants for innovative, creative leadership team building within elementary schools. Apply now for the opportunity to receive a grant for building your school's creative capacity. Each grant-winning school (up to 20 grants awarded) receives $2,500 and Crayola products valued at $1,000.

     Actual product assortment may vary.

    Here's how you can get started now...

    • Form a collaborative team to plan innovative ways of infusing creativity throughout the school.
    • Brainstorm a leadership program that will enrich the creative capabilities and confidence within the school community.
    • Plan how and who will lead this collaborative effort.
    • Complete the application.
    • Submit application by June 22, 2015 (the principal must be a member of NAESP).
    • Receive a gift — every Early Bird application submitted before midnight on Monday, June 8, 2015 will receive a Crayola product Classpack®.

    In collaboration with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), Crayola offers up to 20 grants for schools in the United States or Canada. The applications will only be accepted from principals who are members of NAESP. If you are not the principal, please collaborate with your school's leader to develop the plan.

    The National Art Education Association encourages their members to partner with their school's principal and colleagues to generate grant proposals.

    Schools who received this grant in 2014 will not be eligible to apply for a 2015-2016 grant. Instead, we urge grant winners to become judges to help score new proposals. 2014 winners may apply again in 2016.

    Applications should be sent to creativelyalive@crayola.com or faxed to 610-515-8781, Attn: Anita DeChellis. Applications will be accepted until 12:00 Midnight ET Monday, June 22, 2015.

    Download your application today!

    Review our judging rubric


    Frequently Asked Questions

    • Briefly, what is the Champion Creatively Alive Children grant program? Up to 20 grants from Crayola to help Creative Leadership teams that identify and deliver innovative programs that inspire educators to increase art-infused education.  
    • What is the grant? The school will receive $2,500 and $1,000 worth of Crayola products to develop an art-infused education creative capacity-building professional development program.
    • When will the grants be awarded? The grant funds will be distributed by end of October 2015. Finalists are contacted by end of September and if they submit the required W9 form and signed photo permission forms for all students and faculty by October 8, 2015, they will be grant winners. Winners will be announced on Crayola.com and NAESP.org on October 15, 2015.
    • Do I need to complete the attached photo permission form now? The attached photo permission form is required from Finalists. Finalists will be notified in early October 2015. All applicants must agree to obtain and submit signed photo permission forms for each student and faculty member, if they win. However the forms are only completed and collected from Finalists.
    • What if my school does not have an art teacher? If the school does not have a certified Art Educator, the principal should collaborate with the person(s) designated within the school to teach the arts.
    • My principal is a member of the State affiliate association, but not the national (NAESP) - what do we do? The principal must also be a national NAESP member. Nonmember principals can join now at www.naesp.org.
    • What if my principal leaves during the 2015–2016 school year? The school's new principal should join NAESP.
    • Should our application focus on one of the "What if..." ideas outlined in the application form? No, we encourage an original "what if..." that addresses your school's needs and opportunities!
    • Does the application need to focus on developing a Creative Leadership Team and does this team need to build the school’s creative capacity? Yes. We look forward to the many innovative ways schools propose building the creative capacity of the school and increasing art-infused education. The plan should address specific needs and interests of your professional learning community. Consider how you’d create the team, craft a common vision, chart a strategic plan, change behaviors, build creative confidence, teach design thinking, align new National Arts Standards with Common Core or your state’s standards, embed creativity into the school culture, and use professional development, peer observation, and coaching to implement the plan.
    • What type of innovation is required? We urge that each grant application be original and not duplicate an idea that was funded in a prior year. The grant focus now emphasizes creative leadership and capacity building so don’t rely on ideas from past grant winners as clues to funding future proposals. The focus is to embed a long-term, school-wide commitment to art-infused education.
    • Does it have to include visual art integration? Yes. While it is fine to include more than one art form into your proposal, there should be visual art integration as part of the creative capacity building plan. In addition to visual art, you may weave dance, music, theatre, or media arts into your proposal.
    • What are examples of Creative Leadership capacity building? We encourage schools to consider their unique needs and interests instead of adopting others ideas. That said, it often sparks thinking to hear of some examples:
      • A Creativity Professional Development plan could provide a series of workshops delivered by teacher leaders, for teacher colleagues. For inspiration those teacher-leaders might attend a Creativity Leadership Conference with the plan of delivering similar training to teachers, school-wide. Those teacher leaders might use the Champion Creatively Alive Children workshop and video series, available for free on Crayola.com that features the stories of prior year grant winners and showcases their promising practices.
      • A Creative Leadership Team could partner with an arts organization or a university or museum that has expertise in art integration and jointly deliver a series of training workshops that is then followed with co-teaching or coaching sessions so the information gets embedded into classroom teachers' practices.
      • Some Creative Leadership Teams organize grade level creativity teams who meet monthly to share art-infused lesson ideas and provide feedback to each other on how to implement art integrated cross-curricular lessons. 
      • Your school may be interested in engaging parents in the Creative Leadership planning process and provide creativity theme books for faculty and parents to read and discuss in book club sessions. These conversations could be enriched by guest speakers who specialize in the value of arts integration to increase student achievement.
      • Some schools used grant funds for substitutes so art teachers and classroom teachers had more collaboration and co-teaching time.

    There is no one best way to do this. It needs to build your school’s creative capacity and identify a group of teacher leaders who will champion this effort within your school. The focus of Creative Leadership capacity building is to provide significant, sustainable professional development, not just a one-time speaker or a solo trip to a conference (if insights are not shared school-wide.) These are just examples. The funds could be used for other innovative ideas that foster art-based interdisciplinary learning.

    • Are Middle Schools eligible to receive a grant? Yes, if the principal is a member of NAESP.
    • Are Early Childhood Programs eligible to receive a grant? Yes, if the early childhood program is part of an elementary school program, and if that administrator is the principal of the elementary school and a member of NAESP.
    • Are private schools eligible to receive a grant? Yes, if they meet the other criteria, including their principal is a member of NAESP.
    • Are Canadian schools eligible? Yes, if they meet the other criteria, the grants are available to schools located in the United States and Canada.
    • What criteria are used to judge the applications? The scoring rubric is available online for applicants to review before submitting.

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    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Wonder Woman and the Story of American Education - Davidson College

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 06:45
    Search Davidson Search Share News Wonder Woman and the Story of American Education May 14, 2015 by John Syme Audrey Watters

    Education technology's Cassandra visited Davidson last week, and she brought Wonder Woman with her.

    Audrey Watters, "troublemaker... an education writer, a recovering academic, a serial dropout, a rabble-rouser, and ed-tech's Cassandra," gave the keynote address at Davidson's annual Teaching Showcase 2015, sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning.

    Watters was assisted onscreen by Wonder Woman, who has more connections to the psychological underpinnings of 20th-century education theory than one might expect.

    "I've spent a lot of time muttering to myself about narratives of teaching and learning that ignore the past and the present," Watters began her talk, titled "The Golden Lasso of Education Technology."

    In particular, certain hyperventilating Silicon Valley narratives, she said, read as though "no one else has ever thought of this, until an entrepreneur did."

    The history of education begs to differ, she said.

    Watters juxtaposed her own graduate studies and academic interests in literature, folklore, cultural imagination, art and "the stories we tell" with what she called the "scripted, adaptive learning" styles required by much ed-tech software run by algorithms. For the uninitiated, adaptive learning is an educational method which uses computers as interactive teaching devices, and to orchestrate the allocation of resources according to the unique needs of each learner.

    This scriptedness, she said, is epitomized by the current notion in the popular mind that everything worth knowing is available on the Internet.

    It's not.

    Watters also noted in passing that the educational technology industry is driven by profit motives that aim first and foremost at business success. Among other concerns, that raises student privacy issues at every grade level.

    Enter, Wonder Woman

    Computer technology, by definition, is a psychologically behaviorist endeavor, Watters continued.

    And further, in spite of late 20th-century psychology's turn toward cognitive approaches, the approach to much educational technology depends heavily on behavioral models developed in the early 20th century, she said.

    That's where Wonder Woman comes in, dragging all her psychological baggage.

    Wonder Woman's creator, William Moulton Marston, aka Charles Marston, a psychologist and inventor, developed the systolic blood pressure test in the 1920s, a precursor to the lie detector. Marston also held specific, behaviorist understandings of active attention, passive attention and even physical bondage.

    Early 1940s Wonder Woman comics explored numerous related themes of literal restraint and coercive experimentation in the pursuit of truth, justice and the American way.

    Marston himself once explained to DC Comics executives in the 1940s: "Wars will only cease when humans enjoy being bound."

    Enjoying being bound, Watters posited, is the opposite of education (lit., "leading out.")

    For perspective on the digital applications in classrooms today, it is helpful to note that educational behaviorism and scriptedness ("adaptive" or not), are not new, Watters said.

    Think of grade-school "times tables," or the now-ubiquitous multiple-choice test, developed in the early 20th century. (A related ed-tech effort to market an automated, multiple choice "teaching machine" made out of old typewriter parts, did not find commercial success.)

    Pith and Vinegar

    Digital technology in education can compound advantages and also disadvantages.

    But the keyword is still education.

    "[In a scenario driven by education technology] students have very few opportunities to be the subjects of their own learning," she said in reference to the ascendance of the digitally mediated educational experience. "Educational technology wants to make teaching and learning look like science."

    During Q&A, Associate Professor and Chair of Russian Studies Amanda Ewington said, to much acclaim from her peers filling the room, that she did not recognize Davidson itself in much of the broader discourse being presented by Watters, to which Watters replied, "Good!"

    It's a question of using the tool and not being a tool, all agreed.

    A few more outtakes:

    • On MOOCs: "MOOCs assume students are all self-directed and self-motivated with access, a world of roaming auto-didacts. But teaching and learning means structure, and mentors, and networks."
    • On metrics and big data: "I'm not sure we need to parrot a narrative that in order to do our job better we need to make them more measurable."
    • On teaching and learning: "Teaching and learning are more complicated than the best-designed methodology."
    • Word of the day: "Bloatware," or software whose usefulness is reduced because of the excessive disk space and memory it requires.

    Watters was clear about not being "anti"-technology, while remaining adamant that the education narrative need not spring solely or even primarily from the education technology industry.

    "There is not one single, authoritative direction the story has to go," she concluded. "We have to demand much better stories."

    A Few Showcase Highlights

    Individual sessions of the showcase provided updates on campus initiatives in teaching and learning, many funded by $800,000 in Mellon Foundation Digital Studies Grants:

    Blended learning–In addition to ongoing blended learning that mixes classroom and online components in biology, chemistry, German and Russian, Davidson will soon partner with Wellesley College in a blended project originating on both campuses.

    Davidson Domains–Davidson Domains gives faculty and students a "domain of one's own," a unique web domain to host class projects, student work, and personal experiments in online identity formation.

    Breathe, Eat, Touch Project (BET): Engaging students in STEM through Case Method Teaching in Environmental Health–An interdisciplinary team, including faculty and students funded by an NSF/TUES grant, developed an introductory environmental health course for undergraduates that incorporates biology, chemistry and epidemiology. It was designed to be modular, such that individual cases could be integrated into pre-existing courses in public health, biology, chemistry and environmental studies. Visit Environmental Studies to learn more.

    A Conformational Analysis Discovery Activity Using 3D Potential Energy Surface Models–Three-dimensional models that represent potential energy as a function of molecular geometry have been developed as a discovery activity for introductory organic chemistry in which students combine textbook images, molecular models and 3D potential energy models to explore conformational analysis. Read Wall Street Journal: Davidson Leads in Chemistry Curriculum Reform.

    View a full retrospective of the Davidson events, including more links to explore, on the Annual Teaching Showcase 2015 page.

    © 2015 Davidson College Davidson, North Carolina

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    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Bernie Sanders to Introduce Bill to Make College Tuition-Free - Bloomberg Politics

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 06:18
    bloomberg.com 200) && (this.width >= this.height) ? 200: true); max-height: 200px; height: expression((this.height > 200) && (this.height >= this.width) ? 200: true); border: none;'/> posted by friends:  (2) @saragoldrickrab: Bernie Sanders to Introduce Bill to Make College Tuition-Free - Bloomberg Politics bloomberg.com/politics/artic… 18.05.2015 06.44.42 @nikhilgoya_l: Bernie Sanders to Introduce Bill to Make College Tuition-Free bloomberg.com/politics/artic… 18.05.2015 01.02.40 posted by friends of friends:  (0)
    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Food Revolution; School Revolution | Living Avivaloca

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 02:15
    Living Avivaloca My Many Musings On Life And Learning Search Main menu Skip to primary content Post navigation Food Revolution; School Revolution Posted on May 16, 2015 by

    Yesterday, our school participated in Jamie Oliver‘s Food Revolution Day. One of our fantastic EAs, Kristy Ellis, worked at coordinating this special cooking activity for over 450 students.

    • Food was purchased and divided per class.
    • Cooking materials were collected and distributed to each class.
    • Older students were paired with younger ones to help with cooking.
    • All we needed to do was follow the schedule, have some fun, and cook.

    Our Terrific EAs Hard At Work In The Morning Prepping Materials For Food Revolution Day!

    When I first found out about the day, I thought that the students would love it, but I couldn’t really figure out its purpose. Yesterday, I did.

    • Students that usually only eat unhealthy foods were excited about the taste of these healthy ones. As parents were picking their children up after school yesterday afternoon, students were chatting non-stop about the Squash It Sandwich, and how they wanted to make it at home. Some even saved a taste of it for their parents to try. Yesterday was truly about spreading the word of the value in healthy eating!
    • Students experienced many “firsts.” For some students, yesterday was the first time that they tried certain vegetables (e.g., cauliflower) or other healthy, vegetarian foods (e.g., humus). For some students, it was the first time that they learned how to chop with a knife (including one of the Intermediate students that worked with our class and is new to Canada) or spread items on bread. This sandwich making activity taught independence.
    • Students learned how to work well together. They had to share supplies. They had to figure out alternate items to use when certain materials were not available (e.g., some groups didn’t have a rolling pin to squash their vegetables, so they used everything from their hands to a plastic bowl). They had to divide the food and wait their turn when creating their sandwiches. This activity, taught students the value in collaboration and problem solving.
    • Students experienced real world learning. Sometimes we teach skills in isolation. Our students learn concepts (e.g., how to count), but they don’t understand why they matter. Cooking is one way that they can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom. While we didn’t have much time to talk before home time yesterday, it was interesting to hear what my Grade 1’s learned from this activity. I’d love to know what others learned too. Maybe all of our students need more opportunities to make learning meaningful.

    As I look now at the calendar and realize how few weeks there are until the end of the school year, I think about opportunities like the one we had yesterday. What other real world learning can we do? How else can students apply what they learned in ways that matter? When the weather gets warmer and students realize that the year is coming to an end, it’s nice to have some fun … but linking fun and learning sounds even better! Even as I look ahead to next year, I can’t help but think about more meaningful learning opportunities for my new group of students. What impact might “meaningful learning” have on engaging students? How might this make our more reluctant learners think about school differently? Thanks to Jamie’s Food Revolution for giving me so much to think about! 


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      Categories: Miscellaneous

      Birds &amp; Bees | This American Life

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 02:15
      Skip to main content US / CA / AU / Register Search Archive Our Blog Explore our Story Globe Ways to Explore 557: Birds & Bees May 15, 2015 Some information is so big and so complicated that it seems impossible to talk to kids about. This week, stories about the vague and not-so-vague ways to teach children about race, death and sex - including a story about colleges responding to sexual assault by trying to teach students how to ask for consent. Also, a story about how and when to teach kids about the horrors of slavery and oppression in America.
      • Prologue This American Life producer Chana Joffe-Walt sits in for Ira Glass, because Chana has kids, two young sons. And her oldest, Jacob, has some complicated ideas about people, that Chana wants to straighten out, but doesn’t know exactly how. (4 1/2 minutes)
      • Act One Some Like it Not (On the Neck). Workshops on sexual assault and consent are hugely popular on college campuses around the country. Chana visits one of these workshops to find out what’s being taught, and more importantly, what college boys in particular have already learned about sex, back when they were kids. (12 minutes)
      • Act Two If You See Racism Say Racism.

        Comedian W. Kamau Bell has two daughters, and tries to figure out just how much about the violent history of racism and oppression his four-year-old can handle. (18 minutes)

        W. Kamau Bell has a podcast called Denzel Washington Is the Greatest Actor of All Time Period, and a website where you can catch his upcoming live shows.

      • Act Three About that Farm Upstate. While it’s hard to explain to kids how babies come into the world, it might be harder to explain that people leave the world too — especially to a kid whose mom or dad or brother or sister has died. There are grief counseling centers all over the U.S. that cater specifically to children. Reporter Jonathan Goldstein visited one in Salt Lake City. Hear more stories by Jonathan Goldstein on his CBC podcast, Wiretap. (18 minutes) Song:
      Photo Tile painting by Ashley Newman of Baked in Brooklyn Share © 1995 - 2015
      Chicago Public Media & Ira Glass

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      Categories: Miscellaneous

      A Mild Case of Fisheye | Cult of Pedagogy

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 02:15
      Cult of Pedagogy Teacher nerds, unite. Menu Close 5 A Mild Case of Fisheye Posted on September 25, 2013 by Jennifer Gonzalez Think all of your students are participating in class? Take another look.

      Greta just had an amazing discussion with her fifth period history class. They’ve been studying the Holocaust, and in today’s class, they just nailed it. She had originally planned for about ten minutes of discussion, but things were going so well, she let it go for the whole period. Days like this rock.

      Except for the stuff she didn’t notice. Like Haley.

      Haley is in Greta’s fifth period. She had a lot of questions today, but never found the right moment to ask them. She doesn’t like to interrupt. A few times, she almost put her hand up, but someone else would start talking before she ever managed to lift it.

      Robert is in that class too. He felt like an idiot the whole period – that one kid kept mentioning the Third Reich, and Robert wasn’t 100 percent sure what that was. He definitely didn’t want to ask.

      Nadia thought the discussion was dumb – people really oversimplified the whole tragedy. But she didn’t want to start any trouble, so she said nothing.

      And Becky and Kyle? The super shy ones? Naturally, they also stayed quiet. Oh, and three other students secretly texted the whole time. In fact, in Greta’s class of 28 students, only nine of them actually contributed to that discussion: Four of those were really into it, five commented once. The other nineteen just sat there. The whole time. Really.

      Greta doesn’t realize that she is suffering from Fisheye Teaching. It’s a condition that impacts our perception, as if we’re looking through a fisheye lens – the kind they use in peepholes. To those afflicted with fisheye, some students appear “larger” than others. They take up more energy and grab more of our attention, making the others fade into the periphery. We have a vague sense that the others are there, and we nag ourselves to include them, but those magnified students are just too hard to resist.

      Not You!

      Maybe you’re thinking this doesn’t apply to you, especially if you’re used to having animated debates with your students. Unlike some classrooms, where students are asleep most of the time, yours is interactive and engaging, right? Here’s the weird thing: The fact that your class seems so lively might actually be a stronger indication that you’re operating behind the fisheye lens.

      I’ve been guilty of fisheye teaching. A lot. Recently, even. And I’ve seen many other teachers, good teachers, do it too.

      I don’t think any of us do it on purpose. We do it out of habit, and because it’s so freakin’ gratifying: You pose a question, and one of your sharp, verbal kids pipes up right away with an answer. It’s a good answer, one that takes the class in the direction you were hoping they’d go, demonstrating a solid grasp of the material. Wow, you think, they’re really learning!  (…and, if we’re being honest: You like me! You really like me!) Then it happens with another student, another extrovert, and then one more. Things are hopping now, a bona fide “class” discussion, but really, you’re just volleying with three or four students. Most of the others have already checked out. We don’t realize it because we’re high on the whole thing, the nice rhythm we’ve got going with those three or four, that we lie to ourselves just a little.

      So even if you have the tiniest suspicion that you might be afflicted, do some investigating. The best way is to videotape a few of your classes. The only problem is, once you become aware of the imbalance in participation, you’re more likely to try and correct it while videotaping. Not necessarily a bad thing, unless you overcorrect for the recording, then go back to old habits and never recognize the presence of the fisheye. Another diagnostic tool is a laminated seating chart: Using a dry-erase marker, put a mark in each student’s place on the chart every time he or she contributes to the class. In no time you’ll have a visual on who is talking and who isn’t.

      Whether you think this is an issue in your teaching or not, my goal here is just to put the bug in your ear. To raise your awareness. Tomorrow, when you interact with your students, move your vision to the periphery and ask yourself if those students are as involved as they could be.

      Why Equitable Participation Matters

      Sure, there’s an element of “no duh” here: Obviously, increasing student participation is a good thing. But apart from making school a more interesting place to be, why is it important to get all of our students involved in discussions? Can’t a student get just as much from listening as they would from actively participating?

      Discussion equals formative assessment.
      Classroom discussion is one of the simplest, quickest, and most effective means of formative assessment we have. By asking our students good questions, we can determine what they know and how well they know it in seconds. But when we allow a pattern to emerge where only our most confident and verbal kids respond, we miss the opportunity to assess the thinking of the others, and we may very well be fooling ourselves into thinking they’re all getting it, when really, they’re not.

      The quiet ones MUST learn to speak.
      Every year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers surveys employers about the skills they most want in potential employees. In 2013, ‘verbal and written communication skills’ climbed to the top of the list. If our task is to help our students become college- and career-ready, we are responsible for helping them grow as talkers. All of our students — especially the quiet ones — must learn how to present their ideas effectively, and no amount of listening compares to the cognitive and social challenge of actually having to frame your thoughts into coherent spoken sentences. Although our painfully shy students will resist, and our compassion will make us want to protect them, we do them no favors by letting them avoid this practice. Writer and teacher Jessica Lahey, in her February 2013 Atlantic column, agrees: “If anything,” she says, “I feel even more strongly that my introverted students must learn how to self-advocate by communicating with parents, educators, and the world at large.”

      The talkers MUST learn to listen.
      The extroverts need to learn how to let someone else take the stage. In school, in their careers, and in their most important relationships, listening skills are hugely important. Chances are, your big talkers don’t have a lot of practice in skills like paraphrasing another person’s ideas, asking thoughtful follow-up questions, or thinking quietly before they speak. By making a concerted effort to balance the participation in our classes, we are also giving those extroverts a chance to grow in ways that could have a powerful impact on their quality of life.

      The End of Fisheye Teaching

      So now that the lens is off, how to keep it off? How do we get more students involved? First of all, know that the goal is not to have all students participate at exactly the same rate; the push should be for more balance. If your quieter students contribute one good comment per discussion, that’s a step in the right direction.

      Here are some ways to balance things out:

      Make your intentions transparent. Talk to your students about this issue, and ask them to help change the current dynamic. This will prepare your quiet students, so they won’t be startled by the sudden shift in attention. It will also help your extroverts understand why they are no longer getting the floor the way they’re used to. Some of this might happen behind the scenes: For the class dominators, you might encourage them to limit the number of comments they make to three per class, or offer points any time they paraphrase or build on another student’s comment or question. For those who typically hang back, have them choose a question ahead of time that they feel they could contribute something to, and plan to call on them for that item.

      Increase wait time. Typically, female students and those with more reflective learning styles need more time to process higher-level questions. This can be accomplished with some good old-fashioned wait time. We should be waiting at least three seconds between posing a question and calling on a student to answer. (Easier said than done.) This gives everyone more time to think about what they want to say. Want to go even further? Add a “no hands” time, where no one gets to raise their hands at first: You ask the question, EVERYONE thinks for a moment about their answer with their hands down, then give them the go-ahead to raise their hands, then you call on someone. You’ll be surprised at what a difference this makes to the number of hands that go up.

      Pre-load discussions. Give shy students a head start by slipping them the discussion questions ahead of time. Actually, go ahead and give them to everyone. The talkative students could also benefit from some more thinking time.

      Vary discussion formats. Any time you can give students a chance to share their thoughts with a smaller audience, you build their courage to share them with the larger group. This is where think-pair-share comes in handy: Rather than holding whole-class free-for-alls, put students in groups of 2 to 4 and pose questions one at a time, allowing each group to talk it over with each other first, then call on representatives to recap for the whole class. Take this a step further by doing a think-WRITE-pair-share, where each student first considers their own answer, writes it down, then shares it with someone else. Not only does this give them more thinking time, it also forces them to answer the question on their own, rather than “what that guy said.”

      Use icons. This strategy, described by Ruth Wickham, an English language teacher in Malaysia, is an ingenious way to get active participation from students in large classes. “I printed out four sets of little pictures, just clip-art type things, then I cut them up and stuck one on the first inside page of each (participant) workbook. The icons were all mixed up, so no one had the same as the person next to them, and there were four of each scattered around the room.” She then placed the same icons onto certain slides in her presentation. Whenever an icon (such as a duck) appeared on the screen, participants who had a duck on their paper had to come to the front of the room and answer a question or perform a task. “The looks on their faces every time they saw an icon appear was just classic! We all had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs even with such a big group.”


      Some students are naturally going to be more active, more talkative, livelier than others. We’re not trying to make them all be the same, just better, stronger, more balanced versions of the people that showed up on day one. With your little case of fisheye taken care of, you’ll be ready to help every one of them stretch closer to their full potential. That’s when the real conversation will begin. ♦


      Stick around.
      If you liked this one, I’d love to have you come back for more. Join my mailing list and get weekly tips, tools, and inspiration — in quick, bite-sized packages — all geared toward making your teaching more effective and joyful. To thank you, I’ll send you a free copy of my new e-booklet, 20 Ways to Cut Your Grading Time in Half. I look forward to getting to know you better!


      What to read next: Thanks for sharing:
      232390013 Classroom Management, The Craft , , , , Jennifer Gonzalez

      Former middle-school language arts teacher and college-level teacher of teachers. NBCT. Mother of 3. All of these experiences have brought me to where I am now: Devoted full-time to helping teachers do their work better.

      More Posts Twitter Facebook Post navigation .triberr_comment_system { margin: 10px 0 0 0; text-align: center; width:100%; } 5 Comments
      1. Reply October 4, 2013 Emilee

        Oh my GOODNESS! Sadly, I know about fisheye all too well. It’s true, we’re humans, and we’re naturally drawn to sound and motion, so those extroverted students who yell out or wave their hand in front of your face are easy to call on. It’s also easy to mistake those quiet, shy students as uninterested, so sometimes I wonder if I should call on them for fear of seeing their little face turn red with embarrassment.

        Where is the balance? For me, it’s hard to find. As a still newbie teacher, two things I have tried are: think-pair-share before a full class discussion to get those shy people practice getting their thoughts to a smaller audience first, and, secondly, using an app on my iPad call “Class Dojo” which randomly selects students for me to call.

        I think using the discussion with a partner during think-pair-share has been more successful than Class Dojo, because it causes less anxiety to have already said ideas aloud with a partner versus worrying that Class Dojo will call a student out when they’re definitely not ready. Thanks for the post!

        • Reply October 4, 2013 Jennifer Gonzalez

          Hi Emilee! Thanks for your contribution.

          I forgot all about Class Dojo. I’ve seen that projected on a smartboard in front of the class — is that how it works for calling on students, too, or are you just looking at it on the iPad for calling on students?

          Think-pair-share really is a good practice — even for adults, having an opportunity for even one other person to hear your thoughts and not react like you’re an idiot can go a long way toward building confidence to talk in front of the class.

          • Reply October 4, 2013 Emilee

            I’m not very proficient in my use of Class Dojo, so I haven’t had it projected on the board during class. Class Dojo, really, is a tool for reporting behavior. Every time a student does something well, they get a point and they can hear a “ding” on the screen. Makes them feel good A teacher on my team does this. Her students know their log in information and can get into Class Dojo at home and see how many positive/negative interactions they’ve had during class. This is great for use during parent/teacher conferences too. So, as far as calling on students randomly using it, I’m using a minor function of Class Dojo and only looking at it on my iPad.

      2. Pingback: Book Review: The Best-Kept Teaching SecretBook Review: The Best-Kept Teaching Secret – - Cult of Pedagogy
      3. Reply April 29, 2015 Paul

        The flipside of this is fisheye discipline. I’ve caught myself dwelling on specific annoying groups of students for redirection, even while I’m aware that a particular behavior problem is more widespread through the classroom. Because John and Janie are *always* off-task, I’ll redirect them even if there are half a dozen other students off-task. Or, alternatively, because John and Janie are off-task (AGAIN!), I’ll scold the entire class, even the ones who are on-task.

        Whether it’s discipline or engagement, it’s extremely tough to address twenty to thirty individuals fairly.

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      5 Ways to Storyboard the Assessment Design Process - Brilliant or Insane

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 02:15
      Menu 5 Ways to Storyboard the Assessment Design Process Angela Stockman | May 15, 2015 | Assessment, Innovation | 1 Comment more

      Walt Disney gave us the storyboard: a set of images or illustrations that help designers visualize, experiment with, and sequence critical shots in a narrative. Defining key scenes, taking the time to flesh them out, and considering the influence of order on meaning serves filmmakers, artists, novelists, software designers, and animators well.

      As someone who frequently facilitates assessment design, I’m loving how storyboards can power up the process.

      Often, the teachers I support are in the midst of shifting their understandings about assessment. Some still define it as a thing that is given rather than a process we engage in. When I share other perspectives and approaches, eyebrows raise a bit at first, and then, a sort of relief tends to wash over the room.

      “You mean, I don’t have to give a test in order to assess?”

      That’s correct.

      “I don’t have to give grades?”

      You don’t have to give grades.

      “Are you saying that the task itself isn’t the most important part of the work?”

      That’s what I’m saying, yes.

      High quality assessments allow students and teachers to measure progress against a standard. Not just the Common Core State Standards–our own standards. Such assessments don’t require us to stop learning in order to test. We can assess as we provide over-the-shoulder feedback, confer with our students, shoot our data, and then, zoom in to discover more. We can scoop the data from the learning experience rather than bringing the learning experience to a halt in order to study it.

      After all, assessment is about increasing our understanding of learners, not the number of grades in our book.

      If this is the case, we can begin treating assessment as a narrative that unfolds over time rather than an event that occurs in a class period. Storyboards help us craft powerful assessment experiences. Using them helps teachers shift their focus off of the task and onto the learning that happens along the way.

      Storyboarding Your Assessment in Five Quick Steps

      1. Begin by defining your vision of the culture you’re trying to create, the teacher you’re striving to be, and the student you’re working to support.

      • What characteristics come to mind?
      • How can you design an assessment experience that perpetuates this reality?
      • Where do you notice misalignment?

      For example, if I hope to produce creative students who are able to think critically and solve problems independently, I’m not quite sure how a multiple choice test accomplishes this.

      2. Once you’re clear about your vision and you’ve begun aligning your assessment experience to it, sketch out the end product using an index card or sticky note.

      • What will learners do in order to show their mastery of the standards?
      • What will they produce?
      • How will they know if they’ve been successful?

      This note is your landing point. You’ll work backwards from here.

      3. Include additional index cards and notes that attend to the following:

      • Your plan for helping learners define authentic learning experiences
      • Clarification of expectations
      • The specific phases that students will move through as they work to achieve these expectations:
        • Investigation or input sessions
        • Drafting or prototyping
        • Feedback
        • Revision
        • Exhibition

      4. Once your index cards or notes are completed, order them purposefully. What should happen first? Next? Last? Move your cards and notes around. Are you missing anything important? Add more as needed.

      5. Seek diverse perspectives. Invite colleagues on the ground to provide feedback on your board, and share your thinking with others online as well. We all maintain confirmation bias, and it often comes to bear heavily on our assessment design process.

      The storyboard above was designed with a group of teachers earlier this month. Their students will be investigating and producing myths next year, and as you can see, these teachers were far more focused on the learning experience than they were on the final sticky note that described the task.

      Interested in facilitating a similar sort of shift? Try storyboarding the assessment design process, and come back here to tell me how it went. You can find me on Twitter as well.

      The following two tabs change content below. Angela Stockman A former English teacher, Angela Stockman is the founder of the WNY Young Writer's Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing in Buffalo, New York. She is also an education consultant with expertise in curriculum design, instructional coaching, and assessment. Read more from Angela at Angelastockman.com. Latest posts by Angela Stockman (see all) Tags:, Also on Brilliant or Insane About The Author angelastockman

      A former English teacher, Angela Stockman is the founder of the WNY Young Writer's Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing in Buffalo, New York. She is also an education consultant with expertise in curriculum design, instructional coaching, and assessment. Read more from Angela at Angelastockman.com.

      One Comment
      1. John Bennett
        May 15, 2015 Reply

        Quoting: “After all, assessment is about increasing our understanding of learners, not the number of grades in our book.” A needed change for effective learning for sure! It seems so obvious upon considering assessment: Grades really felt in the way of effective learning.

        Quoting again: “How will they know if they’ve been successful?” To me, again, this is the most important objective of formal education… Formal education will indeed end; but the need to assess learning, just as with the learning itself, is lifelong!!!
        John Bennett recently posted…Considerations and Memory

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      Categories: Miscellaneous

      #TodayInBlackHistory: A Dream Deferred is a Dream Denied

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 02:15
      May 17, 2015 #TodayInBlackHistory: A Dream Deferred is a Dream Denied by Melinda D. Anderson Sixty-one years ago today the Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Board of
      Education of Topeka ruling. In a unanimous decision, the Court struck down the concept of “separate but equal” in the nation’s public schools. It was a catalyst that invigorated the Civil Rights Movement and its quest to end the inequality of Jim Crow laws, affecting everything from lunch counters to buses.

      Sixty-one years later: 
      As I wrote in January:
        The isolation of Black students continues unabated. White families trying to outrun integration -- affectionately known as “white flight” – continues unabated. And the hyperventilating about segregated schools doesn’t seem to last any longer than the news headlines and PBS specials. There’s not an education policymaker or education reformer that puts school integration on the top of any education policy agenda.

      What happens to a dream deferred?
            Does it dry up
            like a raisin in the sun?
            Or fester like a sore—
            And then run?
            Does it stink like rotten meat?
            Or crust and sugar over—
            like a syrupy sweet?
            Maybe it just sags
            like a heavy load.
            Or does it explode? “Harlem” by Langston Hughes tinyletter Archive
      Categories: Miscellaneous

      Badges, Self-Directed Learning, &amp; Positive Psychology | Etale – Digital Age Learning

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 02:00
      Etale – Digital Age Learning educational innovation, edupreneurship, and the intersection of education & digital culture Primary Menu Skip to content Badges, Self-Directed Learning, & Positive Psychology Posted on May 11, 2015 by

      What do digital badges and self-directed learning have in common? Add the concept of positive psychology, and it might be hard to imagine how these three intersect in a meaningful way. Yet, the intersection of the three is becoming a growing interest of mine, one that I suspect has promise to help us better prepare people for learning in a connected world. Badges, at least for some, are about meeting pre-established criteria for earning a micro-credential that the recipients control and display as they see fit. Self-directed learning is about people becoming increasingly independent in establishing goals, determining pathways to meeting those goals, self-motivating, tracking one’s own progress, and determining how to show or prove one’s learning to others when necessary. Positive psychology, among other things, is a field that produces research on well-being and success. Where is the cross-over and connection between these seemingly distinct concepts?

      It is important to recognize that badges are a technology (applied systematic knowledge), self-directed learning is a concept or construct, and positive psychology is a branch or sub-field in psychology. Yet, they are all values-laden. Badges, by design, amplify the value of making evidence of learning visible and giving greater control of this credential to the recipient (although some badge platforms are seeking to adjust this). Self-directed learning amplifies the value of human agency. Positive psychology amplifies values like well-being and success. Put these values together and we begin to see possible synergies.

      Some advocates of self-directed learning are cautious about the use of badges, but not all are cautious for the same reason. Some see badges as elements of the larger concept of gamification. As such, they look at them as extrinsic incentives, something that potentially detracts from a vision of self-directed learning that includes learners who take responsibility for motivation and volition of one’s own learning. Others are concerned because badges focus upon displaying evidence of learning, where many self-directed learning advocates seek to amplify process over demonstrable product. The moment you start to focus upon assessment, testing, and credentialing; you risk having the tail wag the educational dog. The end is no longer learning but evidence of learning. That is like confusing a piece of priceless art with a certificate of authenticity or other forms of validating a piece of art.

      Proponents of mixing badges with self-directed learning might embrace that last analogy. A certificate of authenticity does nothing to take away from the art. Rather, it seeks to protect and validate its value to a broader audience. It bridges the world of artist with the realities of the art world and beyond. A certificate of authenticity has value because someone appreciates art that is authentic over that which is forged.

      What about the role of positive psychology? In a recent post, I argued that more of us in education might want to attend to initiatives like the KIPP school’s focus on character strengths, recognizing that there is more to a student’s formation than academic achievements, especially given the growing research around the importance of traits like grit, self-control, optimism and curiosity when it comes to preparing people for success in work, family, and society.

      Right now, many in education recognize the importance of character strengths, but most learning organizations have yet to re-imagine education in a way that intentionally nurtures student development in these areas. Similarly, it is rarely argued that self-directed learning is undesirable. It is just that there is little room for nurturing self-directed learning in many existing school models; on the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Character strengths are often commended, but they are less often nurtured. Educators are trained in teaching content more than mentoring students in character development and the capacity for self-directed learning. Even amid the recognition that these are important conversations, the national (and international) conversation in education remains largely focused upon academic standards.

      It doesn’t have to be this way. There are a growing number of learning organizations grappling with new ways of thinking about teaching and learning. What are the essentials of getting the most from the affordances of life in a connected world? Without attention to character strengths and self-directed learning, we risk perpetuating a new form of digital divide, one that is not determined by access but by the core skills and mindsets necessary to capitalize upon life and learning in a connected world. Yet, we also want to find ways to recognize student development and progress. It is amid this conversation that I’m beginning to see connections between the open badge movement, the longstanding but expanding conversation around self-directed learning, and the growing body of literature coming from positive psychology. Could it be that these three distinct conversations can blend to give us new and promising visions for education in a connected world?

      Share this: Related posts: Positive Psychology in the Online Classroom A Plea to Education Vendors: Please Don’t Throw Out the Badges With the Biscuits Digital Badges for Learning Surfacing Intrinsic Motivation in Project-based & Self-Directed Learning Envioronments Posted in badges, blog, character, digital badges, education, positive psychology, self-directed learning | Tagged , , , , | 2 Replies About Bernard Bull

      Dr. Bernard Bull is Assistant Vice President of Academics for Continuing and Distance Education & Associate Professor of Education at Concordia University Wisconsin.

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      Schools that ban mobile phones see better academic results | Education | The Guardian

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 01:46
      theguardian.com - Jamie Doward 200) && (this.width >= this.height) ? 200: true); max-height: 200px; height: expression((this.height > 200) && (this.height >= this.width) ? 200: true); border: none;'/> Effect of ban on phones adds up to equivalent of extra week of classes over a pupil’s school year Continue reading... posted by friends:  (2) @PeterVogel: Will schools ban mobiles after reading this? Not likely. ow.ly/N42S0 ow.ly/i/aRfw5 18.05.2015 02.58.01 @PeterVogel: Sure to provoke controversy: "Schools that ban mobiles see improved academic results. goo.gl/RVmnQ2 goo.gl/vnO9Kf 18.05.2015 02.30.28 @courosa: And a comment to watch in that thread is this one ... theguardian.com/education/2015… … 18.05.2015 02.26.06 @courosa: "Schools that ban mobile phones see better academic results" theguardian.com/education/2015… Important to look closely at studies like this #edtech 18.05.2015 02.19.52 posted by friends of friends:  (1) @zecool: Commentaire très pertinent suite à un article au titre sensationnaliste sur le blocage de mobiles à l'école theguardian.com/education/2015… 18.05.2015 03.11.53
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      The Beginning of BYOD in New York City Schools | graphite Blog

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 17:30
      Explore Common Sense Common Sense Media Common Sense Education Common Sense Advocacy Donate User menu Search form Search close(x) Don't Miss Out You’re all set! Look out for our weekly updates soon. Connect with us Each week we send a customized newsletter to our parent and teen subscribers. Parents can customize their settings to receive recommendations and parent tips based on their kids’ ages. Teens receive a version just for them with the latest reviews and top picks for movies, video games, apps, music, books, and more. Sign up now for latest news, top picks in educational tools and helpful tips for the classroom. TLR Main Menu 0 Blog The Beginning of BYOD in New York City Schools Devices in the Classroom, Part 5 Erin Wilkey Oh • April 3, 2015 Categories: Technology Integration, Digital Citizenship, In the Classroom

      On March 2, 2015, the New York City Department of Education lifted its school cell phone ban. Students are now allowed to bring cell phones and other personal electronic devices to school. Each school is tasked with creating its own cell phone and electronic device policy for students. This brings some challenges but also many exciting opportunities for those schools willing to explore the possibilities of a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program.

      I recently chatted via email with Jackie Patanio, technology coach at Public School 16 in Staten Island, N.Y., and Carolyn Semet, technology specialist at Intermediate School 230 in Jackson Heights, N.Y. I wanted to hear how things were going for them and the teachers they work with one month after the ban lifted.

      Erin: I'd love to hear how your two schools are handling the lift of the ban. Could you each talk a little about that?

      Jackie: Our current policy at PS 16 John J Driscoll School allows students to have their cell phones in school, but they must be powered off during the school day and stay in their book bag or be locked up by their teachers.

      Erin: So teachers aren't using them for classroom instruction or learning activities?

      Jackie: Not yet. We embrace the power of technology with students and are considering carefully the impact it will have on their futures. As a school, we're taking steps to tailor how our BYOD program will run at PS 16 next year. The NYCDOE is providing us guidance at the BYOD Institute, which will give us insight into how the upcoming school year could look for implementing BYOD.

      Carolyn: At Intermediate School 230, Magnet School for Civics in the Community, we've established a policy that allows students to keep their personal devices with them during the school day and use them if a teacher authorizes it as part of classroom instruction. As a school, we want to embrace this change and see how we can incorporate their devices and enable us to move closer to a 1-to-1 environment. We are currently testing the waters in a few classrooms.

      Erin: What do you think the benefits of BYOD are?

      Carolyn: We believe students need to demonstrate civic responsibility, learn on their own terms, in their world, with their devices. BYOD teaches students to be responsible for their own technology. It models for them how to use these devices for learning. It can also be more motivating for students when they're using their own device.

      Jackie: I'd add that students know how to use their own devices better than many of the devices in school, so BYOD can make the learning experience easier. Of course, another advantage is that it gives students access to information at all times. And they can contact people in case of emergency or necessity.

      Erin: As I'm sure you know, there are some critics of BYOD. Understandably, teachers, administrators, schools, and parents have varying concerns about adopting BYOD. What are some of those concerns and how are you addressing them?

      Carolyn: Some of the concerns we have are whether our infrastructure will support these additional student devices and whether we should give students access to the school wireless on their devices. Also, teachers are concerned with managing the additional technology in the classroom. Challenges regarding use of family data plans and filtering are issues we need to address also.

      Jackie: Taking the time to explore how the power of BYOD can enhance and engage students, even at a young age, is an exciting prospect. Whenever major change is upon us, there's always skepticism and apprehension. We're managing the concerns of the PS 16 community by informing them of the positive impact of BYOD and explaining how we'll be setting up a safe environment for success. This shift in learning will be a journey for PS 16 and how it is used, embraced, and tailored to the needs of our school community.

      Carolyn: Through BYOD, we can supplement what the schools have to offer. This is the road we're trying to navigate at our schools moving forward. We're teaching students how to engage with and use their own devices for learning at their own pace, through their own expression and creativity, and at their own ability level. As adults, we use our own personal devices in many ways -- to disseminate information, jot down thoughts, look something up, or create reminders and appointments. Isn’t it our job to prepare our students for this type of learning? Isn’t it our job to prepare students for their future? We believe it is, and that's why we are embracing BYOD in our schools.

      Photo: "Texting Congress 1" by Adam Fagen. Used under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

      Subjects & Skills (click to expand) Skills: Character & SELTech Skills
      Related Posts: How Common Sense Is Helping NYC Welcome Cell Phones into Schools
      Tips and Tricks for Managing Devices in the Classroom
      New Digital Citizenship Starter Kit for Remind
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      #Rhizo15 and Thoughts about Designing @ItOperaX | DesignED Learning

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 17:30

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        Archives Categories Meta #Rhizo15 and Thoughts about Designing @ItOperaX

        I was just reading AK’s post about Learning Objectives and Subjectives.  This has got me thinking a lot about what this idea might look like in the ongoing design of my upcoming edX MOOC on ItOperaX: An Introduction to Italian Opera.

        For the past few months, our team has struggled with nailing down what a course that introduces students to Italian Opera might look like.  Through all these conversations we have content and activity ideas, but I always come back to this idea of students making it their own and looking at what they do with it.

        We know the course will be built around the idea of: how do we discover drama through music in Italian Opera? We have selected a sequence of topics to help students navigate this, but ultimately, we want them to make it their own.  At the end of the day we want students to get two things out of the course:

        1. Think critically about listening to the music of opera as their experiencing it.
        2. Develop an affinity with an operatic community locally and globally via local and social media interactions.

        This idea of subjectives and social networks analysis is really appealing to me to work towards these ends.  I’m imagining developing something similar to Daniel Lynd’s dataviz’s to look at how the students interact on the platform and in social media outlets.  Similarly, I want students to develop their own subjectives to get at these bigger goals that we, the designers, have in mind.

        What are your ideas? Tweet me back @adamnem!

        Related Posted on May 16, 2015Author Adam Leave a Reply Cancel reply

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