cross-posted with permission
This evening my (Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity) 7th grade daughter worked on an assignment for one of her classes: Copying verbatim an entire chapter of her textbook. This is not acceptable.
I’m emailing the teacher to meet with him, to discuss this and some other issues, and I’ll meet with him face-to-face (I’m sure) in the next two weeks. I’ll also likely share this concern in writing with the school administration. I really like this teacher, who taught my son last year. The class my daughter is taking with him is a new course for him to teach this year, and I know there are some challenging circumstances surrounding it. (He learned just before school started he’d be teaching this course.)
No matter what the circumstances, however, simply making students copy entire chapters of their textbook (re-writing them in their own handwriting) is a terrible assignment and shouldn’t be acceptable at ANY school.
Our transition to Common Core State Standards as well as changes in textbooks at several grades are laying bare some BIG problems we have in our classrooms with basic instruction, lesson design, pedagogy, assessments, and assignments for students. Many teachers consider the textbook to be their curriculum. That is not the case and shouldn’t be the case, but for many teachers it is. That’s why in some cases, when the textbook changes or is no longer available, teachers freak out. “What am I going to teach?” “I don’t know what to do now that we don’t have a textbook!” These are common refrains in many Oklahoma classrooms today. In the situation I’m depicting with the image in this post, the teacher and students DO have a textbook, but unfortunately it is (apparently) the exclusive academic focus.
In Yukon Public Schools, where I’m working again this semester (on a contract) as an “Innovative Instructional Coach,” principals and teachers are studying Robert Marzano’s book, “The Art and Science of Teaching.” I’ve started the book but haven’t finished, so I can’t share a complete review of it, but I do like the focus on essential questions and lesson objectives. This is a fundamental starting point for classroom lessons. Saying “Our objective is Chapter 2 in our textbook” doesn’t cut it.
We have important and challenging work to do in our schools to improve the quality of instruction and provide engaging learning opportunities for our students. We have lots of work to do both in pre-service teacher education as well as in-service teacher ed. I deeply regret that as voters, we’ve allowed our elected representatives to focus teacher, student, parent, and administrator attention on unproven and (in many cases) destructive educational policies like high-stakes accountability. Please take a few minutes to read Diane Ravitch‘s February 2012 post on NiemanWatchdog.org, “Do politicians know anything at all about schools and education? Anything?” Unfortunately most don’t.
The fact that recent and current educational reforms (sadly continued under President Obama’s “Hope for Change” administration) aren’t productive does NOT mean the status quo in education is good or acceptable, however. We DO need to improve, and as professional educators who do our research we CAN ascertain the strategies and changes we need in our classrooms. The most basic ingredient we need in each classroom is a GREAT teacher who is a LEARNER and is continually working to improve. I’m betting that’s the case with Sarah’s teacher who had her copy a textbook chapter for homework tonight. The resources available to him to teach this class and teach it well are very limited, I’m sure, but hopefully we can figure out some ways to make the situation better together.
Telling students to “copy chapter 5″ for tonight’s homework is as bad as saying, “page 20, 1 through 21, odd” and pretending like we’ve taught. Neither assignment by itself constitutes “teaching” or providing an educative experience for students. Hopefully the schools where you teach and work, and/or where your children or grandchildren attend, aren’t facing challenges like the ones I’ve described here. More than likely, however, they are… at least to some extent.
Testing isn’t teaching. Making students copy entire chapters out of their textbook as “a regular weekday assignment” isn’t acceptable teaching, either.
Kudos’s to Wesley!!
Knowmia is a destination for learning that features short video lessons from great teachers everywhere. We help you to find what you need to succeed in school in a personal, affordable, and time-efficient way. By bringing together a wide range of video lessons and making it easy to find what you need, we help you with challenging topics, prepare you for an upcoming test or new course, and find the right teacher for your style of learning.
Wow, this is just a treasure trove of great resources, I encourage you to check it out!!
Are your knees knocking at the thought of walking into a classroom for the very first time this fall? Have no fear! We asked our friends on Facebook to share their best pearls of wisdom for new teachers, and they generously sent their inspiration, advice and need-to-know strategies. Think of them as your virtual mentors—like all teachers, we’re here to help one another succeed!
See on community.weareteachers.com
The Spartacus Educational website provides a series of free history encyclopaedias. Entries usually include a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is linked to other relevant pages in the encyclopaedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail. The sources are also hyper-linked so the student is able to find out about the writer, artist, newspaper and organization that produced the material.
Tom Ulses & Joanna Seymour, from Cedar Valley Catholic Schools in Waterloo, Iowa, presented “The Time is Now: Leading the Way with Technology Integration and the iPad 2”. The presentation covered current technology topics such as integrating an iPad 1-to-1 program at the high school and middle school levels. At the conclusion of the presentation, Joanna discussed her favorite “Top 10 iPad Apps for Education.” You can download the whole presentation here: http://bit.ly/nceaipads
Top iPad apps for education: Read the full story, CLICK HERE
By Kevin Makice
In 2004, a former hedge fund analyst began recording and posting videos of himself explaining some math techniques. He created the material to help tutor his young cousin. Rather than keeping it private, however, the analyst posted the videos to YouTube. By 2012, Salman Khan had more than 3,000 lessons online, 140 million views, and a reputation as an education guru.
In addition to students viewing his handiwork 100,000 times each day, Khan Academy drew enough interest from teachers, philanthropists and investors to justify a career change from financial consultant to educational technologist. Khan’s videos are now supplemented with software to support formal curricula, “flipping the classroom” by assigning lectures to watch at home and working on homework together in class en route to student-led mastery of a variety of subjects. The idea has even proved inspirational to other technology-challenged domains (e.g., health care) to spark better use of online information to prepare for face-to-face encounters.
What Khan Academy is not, though, is a panacea for education. Khan’s timing — when digital media consumption is high and devices like iPads are widely popular (50 million units sold, through 2011) — helped mainstream the use of video for educational material. People like Bill Gates pump money into software development, and schools line up to try to capture a cost-effective genie in a bottle. Ultimately, success with a flipped class is a combination of understanding the pedagogical goals and using the technology and method to support them.
The Flipped Class Is an Ideology
Do you have any of these Symptoms of Techphobia?
* Do you think technology is TOO expensive?
* Are you afraid of breaking your computer?
* Do you think technology is difficult to learn?
* Have you given up on getting sites unblocked at your school?
* Are you wondering why you should change your traditional teaching methods?
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Whether you’re Techphobic Tracy or EdTech Eddie, there’s something for you at this webinar, so watch it now.
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A two-year-old national program has award-winning teachers from across the country creating workshops for students that incorporate technology into lessons. At Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, S.C., students in The Model Classroom program used technology to devise solutions to a potential water shortage in the state. The students used smartphones, 3D design and other multimedia tools to create and showcase the project. “It was amazing,” freshman Parker Hooten said. “We didn’t just sit there and learn. We actually did stuff. It made the class much more fun and involving. You want to be there.”
“Today is Digital Learning Day, a national promotional effort by the Alliance for Excellence in Education to call attention to using technology in schools. More than 10,000 teachers and 1.5 million students have signed up in support to “celebrate innovative teachers and highlight instructional practices that strengthen teaching and personalize learning for all students,” according to the AEE. To that end, a repost of Adam S. Bellow’s Golden Rules of Technology in Schools, as he stated them at the ISTE 2011 conference.
Mind|Shift is always a thoughtful blog, but today’s post is exception.
First, don’t trap technology in a room. Yup, I Agree! I am in schools all over the nation and that is the case way to many places!! Let’s change that!! Technology needs to be seamless and a part of our curriculum, not something that is only scheduled or added on or “special” down the hall locked up.
Second is that technology is worthless without professional development. So true, there is even research to support the fact that Professional development makes a difference.
PROFESSIONAL LEARNING IN THE LEARNING PROFESSION: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the United States and Abroad© February 2009 National Staff Development Council. (NSDC) ndsc report Feb 2009.
Third, mobile technology like the iPad is really anywhere, anytime learning. Should learning stop when a kid walks out of the school building? I think not! I was in Texas recently doing professional development in a school district that is purchasing 24,000 iPads, yes, I really said 24,000 iPads. They will be using iPads K-12 and kids, all kids, get to have the iPads 24/7 and 365 days a year. They even get to take them home over the summer. The philosophy is that learning doesn’t stop when the school year ends. Wow, what a concept!! I believe more and more that the 3 month break in the summer is not a good thing. I always find fall semester much more difficult that spring semester. Hmmm…..
Fourth, the new F word is fear. Boy you can say that again. Brad Flickinger has a post on his blog, actually it is a series of posts and I agree with his thoughts today……..
“Some times when I am speaking at a conference about iPads in education teachers will share a concern that they have about every student getting an iPad. They are worried than the students will just work in isolation and our society will become even more fractured and self-centered with students never learning to work together.
They imagine a room full of kids with headphones on just plugged into their iPads like a room full of zombies. I had this same concern when I started to design my lessons that used iPads. I made sure that most of the lessons involved team work and collaboration (a 21st century skill).”
Fifth, tech tools are a FAD. Are ya’ kidding me, just try taking my iPad away from me or anyone for that matter!! Every school board member, school administrator, teacher, parent, etc, etc, really needs to get on board. Technology is not going away, just moving faster and many educators are being left in the dust. What a dis-service this is to our youth!! We all know the standardized test is not going to solve anything with our schools. In fact I think we need to take those politician and make them teach in a real classroom for about a week and then let’s talk about education!!
Sixth, money, schools constantly use the EXCUSE that money is the problem for lack of or limited technology. That is just BS!! There is a ton of free stuff on the Web that any teacher can take advantage of every day. I realize there must be hardware purchases, but today this hardware can replace expensive textbooks, and if you take it a step further and go nearly paperless, think of the savings there. With creative thinking and budgeting, it can be accomplished. Just a little thinking outside the box can do the trick!!
Seventh, stakeholders, everybody has to be part of the conversations. A school nearby, Inman, KS has an extremely successful iPad 1:1 going. It is successful because all the stakeholders were involved in the planning and implementation. That is rare. Usually, the Administration makes a decision, mandates teachers do it and then it fails. Not the case in Inman, everyone was involved and the administration actually has set the example for usage. In other words, practice what you preach!! http://www.usd448.com/groups/ipadsinman/ and check out thier NING site http://iteachwithipads.ning.com/.
Right now I have great access to carts of MacBook Pros, and I am not complaining, and over 50% of my students have their own Macs, so all is good. But I do worry that I am not exposing these future teachers to the technology of their futures, iPads. A small percentage of students have iPads, but at this point not enough. Really need to find a solution!!
SuperTeacherTools.com is dedicated to providing technology tools for teaching that are quick and easy to download, learn, and start using in your classroom. In the site, you will find a variety of review games, classroom management software, and other miscellaneous tools for educators.
A few months ago I took a survey of my elementary kids to see what kind of mobile technology they had at home and it turned out that 53% of my students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades had iPads and 82% had iPods! With over half of my students having iPads, there is no doubt that soon they will be bringing these devices to school — so it go me thinking…
How do I teach students with iPads?
Check out Brad’s 5 part series that began on Jan 4th, CLICK HERE
I subscribe to numerous blog feeds from educators , one is The Spicy Learning Blog and the other day I posted a comment and subscribed to the follow-up comments for that article. I was curious. Today a student in a class at University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama USA, commented and gave a link to her blog as well as the course blog site. WOW!!
EDM 310 Class BlogCollege of Education
University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama USA
Dr. John H Strange, Lead Professor
“I don’t know. Lets find out”
“Bring your brain. And turn it on!”
“Questions Are More Important Than ‘Answers’ “
By Suzie Boss
Suzie Boss (@suzieboss on Twitter) is a journalist and author of Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age. She’s also a regular blogger on Edutopia.
Whether it’s with a moment of silence or an outpouring of service, schools across the country are considering how to help their students observe the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. A wide range of resources are available to assist educators as they seek learning opportunities around this emotion-charged date.
Read the full story, CLICK HERE
Many schools across the country have rules about tech in the classroom, but they’re not the rules you might think. Teachers instruct students to take out their smartphones, to power up their iPads, and to log in to Twitter.
Technology’s role in the classroom has been widely debated: does it simply feed an addiction to a mobile lifestyle, or does it give otherwise shy students a way to find their voices? A national survey released in April by Pearson Learning Solutions found that only “2 percent of college faculty members had used Twitter in class, and nearly half thought that doing so would negatively affect learning,” reported The New York Times. However, at the same time, a recent survey by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth found that “98 percent of higher ed institutions are on Facebook, and 84 percent are on Twitter,” said InsideHigherEd.com.
THERE is widespread alarm in the United States about the state of our math education. The anxiety can be traced to the poor performance of American students on various international tests, and it is now embodied in George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, which requires public school students to pass standardized math tests by the year 2014 and punishes their schools or their teachers if they do not.
All this worry, however, is based on the assumption that there is a single established body of mathematical skills that everyone needs to know to be prepared for 21st-century careers. This assumption is wrong. The truth is that different sets of math skills are useful for different careers, and our math education should be changed to reflect this fact.
Teacher Jennifer L. Barnett shares several ways in which educators can do a lot with limited classroom technology. She recommends several teaching methods that could be adapted in a single-computer classroom, such as the “pass it on” buddy method, in which students write their ideas on paper and teach each other to compile the digital product. She also suggests a group-consensus method, where students work in groups and designate one person to prepare the digital report, and the rotating-scribe method, in which one student digitally takes down the day’s lesson.
Read the full story at Education Week Teacher
You’d probably push the button. But what if the gadget had other functions? Would it occur to you to search for them, if your teacher hadn’t alluded to their existence?
Maybe, maybe not. It turns out that there is a “double-edged sword” to pedagogy: Explicit instruction makes children less likely to engage in spontaneous exploration and discovery. A study by MIT researchers and colleagues compared the behavior of children given a novel toy under four different conditions, finding that children expressly taught one of its functions played with the toy for less time and discovered fewer things to do with it than children in the other three scenarios.
READ the full story, CLICK HERE
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DetailsI am a faculty member and the Education Technology Integration Coordinator for the College of Education at KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY. To learn more, click on About Cyndi. Check out my website: http://theedtechplace.info.
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