s, ponder them, and then figure out what they tell us. Oddly, we don't find this in very many lesson plans, at any level. Even the FOSS system skips it. Classroom inquiry is more likely to have the kids explore something, then report what they did. They might write their data in their Science Notebook, but that's usually where the lesson ends. For a lot of lessons, some from FOSS, some from online archives, I have a very hard time figuring out what they are trying to teach. They might be better than the "memorize the names of the parts of a cell" type of thing (yawn) but science lessons need to go somewhere. The data / observations should be important stuff for the kids to ponder, and figure out what's going on.
It's not hard. Kids do this intuitively in their daily lives. So do adults. Besides, making sense of the findings is the fun part.…
ns changes the achievement. What a surprise.
A second point: on the decline in US ranking in TIMSS, as we progress from 4th to 12th grade, one very obvious candidate is promoting kids to the next grade when they haven't achieved satisfactory progress. Some teachers I've spoken with recently are required by their districts to give no grade lower than C, and to move students to the next grade regardless of their performance. If we move them on when they aren't prepared, of course they won't do well. If we lower expectations a bit, to balance this, then we have all the students who performed well getting bored and goofing off.
Schools that promote students based on achievement rather than age have a better chance of getting all students to the same endpoint. Some will get there sooner than others. Some will advance in one subject faster than in another subject. But that's OK. It still works.
Why not get rid of grade levels and switch to complexity levels?…
logy. However, having said that, I would say that there is a strong sentiment in agreement with what you are saying .... that the educational system is not free of the same kind of corruption that we know exists in other american institutions. But that culture has grown up over decades and will be very hard to change. One barrier is that states have adopted curriculum standards, and teachers are not allowed to teach non-approved curriculum. Most web-based curriculum has not been vetted by the states, so it can't be used to supplant the so-called "adopted" curriculum. I am not an expert in this field, but from what I see, school districts are required to go through a fairly rigorous textbook adoption process on a regular basis, and can only adopt curriculum from a pre-ordained list of materials. So, as things stand now, the idea of finding free curriculum just isn't going to fly.
I hope someone with more knowledge than I have will jump in and give you a more authoritative response to your very important ideas.…
sappointed with the overall results. In our own defense we were using good webcam equipment, and had good connectivity but Skype was more solid than the Elluminate session, the latter kept dropping out unfortunately.
I remember Vicki trying to maintain the Elluminate connection during the debate and me trying to keep the debate rolling, despite knowing you were dropping in and out...and then finding reassurance from Jock Schorger, my co-moderator, when he said, well at least we are trying to do something different, and if we don't try we will never know what the possibilities are or how we can make this better for next time.
So Steve, some tech issues, some human error issues....but I am pleased we did manage to get out there at a good enough quality for people to at least understand and appreciate the impact and opportunity it provided for the participants of the conference.
Don't give up on us Steve! Next conference we need our own tech crew/team outsourced from the start.....thinking out loud.…
at many teachers find is that the use of technology with students creates the perfect climate for more student-centered, creative work. This is in direct contrast to teacher-prepared lessons, quizzes or other resources. Technology facilitates a major philosophical shift from defining learning as something that is delivered to children -- to an active process that includes give and take within a community of learners, guided by an expert teacher.
In this model, efficiency is not really the goal. Finding technology that supports communication and collaboration, removes barriers for learners to express themselves, and provide the learner with maximum control over the computer is a more likely goal.
As Ric and Steven point out, these are more complex goals, and you really have to get into a discussion of pedagogy and what you believe about learning. The point about technology enabling project-based learning is important. Much of what we know about successful project-based learning ties directly into what we know about successful technology use in the classroom.
Today, many educators see traditional schooling as a remnant of the industrial revolution's need for factory workers. Using 21st century technology merely to prop up that system seems like strapping a jet engine to a covered wagon.…
rovouchers -- redeemable at Internet centers, or Paypal or cell phone credits -- to help market-sensitive learning network gain market share.
We also are gearing up to provide small "Seeds of Change" rewards for students who upload YouTube clips on local progress of informal peer learning networks, especially on understanding opportunities useful in the Internet economy.
A cornerstone of our approach is to help entrepreneurial schools more rapidly move to sustainabililty. The EntrepreneurialSchools.com site explores a range of ways to do so, including attraction of digital donations, conveyance of land grants, "pay-it-forward human capital investments," and adaptation of Cristo Rey-style internship programs to help fund tuition costs.
Where will it lead? Ultimately, we hope, to replacing the current system of bureaucracy-burdened education with one that welcomes students as co-creators of new media resources and (with their families and friends) as co-owners of profitable new learning ventures, including for-profit virtual charter schools.
Look forward to the conversations!
"Awakening assets for good"
www.openworld.com and www.entrepreneurialschools.com