Saturday, April 23, 2011

It had to said.....

Schools that survive need to adopt this attitude....
From David Warlick's blog
“No more excuses.”

We’ve waited long enough. It’s been 15, 20, 30 years depending on when you want to start the count. Teachers have had enough time to accept and adapt. They’ve had enough time to decide if they want to teach today or yesterday — enough time to decide if they want to prepare their learners for the future, or for the 1950s.

I’m hearing again and again how education conferences, geared toward 21st century issues, are growing and exceeding attendance projections — and sense that a tipping point might have been reached. We have been patient enough and our students have probably let us get away with foot dragging teachers way too long.

The question is simple, “Are you going to adapt your philosophies and practices to a new generation of learners, a new information environment, and a new future?”.

If not…

Then get out and go run a Laundromat.

Photo Credit: Derived from “Because Elsewhere we tolerate it?!?” posted to Flickr by Angela (Smileygeekgirl)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Games may be gaining a following.....

This is the opening paragraph of an article, The Instructional Power of Digital Games, Social Networking, Simulations and How Teachers Can Leverage Them, I discovered from a Tweet this morning. I have been an advocate of simulation gaming for 30 years and am particularly happy to see work like this being done. I hope you will take the time to read the entire article which I have included the link for. The article was written by Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil, Jennifer Groff, and Jason Haas from MIT.

What is good learning? That may be a subjective question. But it’s likely that many educators would give answers that fall in the same ballpark…
…students collaborating and discussing ideas, possible solutions…
…project-based learning, designed around real world contexts…
…connecting with other students around the world, on topics of study…
…immersing students in a learning experience that allows them to grapple with a problem,
gaining higher-order thinking skills from pursuing the solution…

To many educators, these notions are music to their ears. Would it seem terribly strange then to hear that students indeed are doing these things regularly outside of their classrooms? While Timmy or Susie may not be running home from school saying, “What fun, deeply-engaging learning experience can we do today?”, they are engagingwith new technologies that provide them with the same opportunities. Every day, many students are spending countless hours immersed in popular technologies—such as Facebook or MySpace, World of Warcraft,or Sim City—which at first glance may seem like a waste of time, and brain cells. But these genres of technologies—Social Networking, Digital Gaming, and Simulations—deserve a second, deeper, look at what’s actually going on.
The Instructional Power of Digital Games, Social Networking, Simulations and How Teachers Can Leverage Them

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do Not Tilt Your Head.......

I regularly read a blog called TeachPaperless. Yesterday, there was a post in Teachpaperless entitled "I Don't Want More Professional Development. It began:
We don't need more "professional" development. We need social development. Or at least we need to recognize it and recognize that the ultimate outcomes we often desire from the best of professional development are actually an outcome of social development. We need a development of human capacity, not an adherence to the rules of our established profession. We need to build our relationships for the purpose of furthering our humanity, not furthering our careers

Reading that entry caused me to write a comment on Teachpaperless which I have revised into the blog entry below. Enjoy.

I am not sure how many of the readers here have ever been on Second Life. If you have, you may have noticed what your avatar does when you log off...the avatars body goes limp and their head dips to the right and their chin rests on their shoulder.

Well so many teachers seem to be in a Teacher Second Life while reading this blog. When we leave here and go to school our personas do exactly what a second life avatar does---we go limp and turn our heads away from the reality around us.

And the reason we do it, we are afraid of losing our jobs. And it is a founded fear. If you do not go to sleep and say the same things in faculty meetings, professional development or training sessions, in the faculty room, in meetings with principal, or out on the playground or in the lunch room, that you espouse here, you very well may get fired. School is about control. This blog is about liberation! We all talk liberation but are we willing to walk liberation?

Every revolution has it casualties. If you really want a revolution it may be you. It has been me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Does anyone here not have an MEd?

I read this Alfie Kohn essay this morning and it really hit my intellectual wheel house. All of these things seem so apparant to me that I do not understand why we do not do something about everyone of them. Here are the 10 points:
- Much of the material students are required to memorize is soon forgotten
- Just knowing a lot of facts doesn't mean you're smart
- Students are more likely to learn what they find interesting
- Students are less interested in whatever they're forced to do and more enthusiastic when they have some say
- Just because doing x raises standardized test scores doesn't mean x should be done
- Students are more likely to succeed in a place where they feel known and cared about
- We want children to develop in many ways, not just academically
- Just because a lesson (or book, or class, or test) is harder doesn't mean it's better
- Kids aren't just short adults
- Substance matters more than labels

Thewhole essay is worth a read.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Open Educator Manifesto

The following is a reprint from the Connected Principals Blog by David Truss.Rather than link to it I put the whole manifesto here

[Version I: Just the Manifesto]

My Open Educator Manifesto
‘We’ educate future citizens of the world
Teaching is my professional practice
I Share by default
I am Open, Transparent, Collaborative, and Social
My students own their own: (Learning)
• learning process
• learning environment
• learning products
• learning assessment
My students belong to learning networks
Every student deserves customized learning
• Student voice
• Student choice
Every educator deserves customized learning
I have high expectations
I Care, Share, and Dare
I am a role model
I am the change I want to see in Education!