Identity Theft

Identity Theft

From flickr

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No Quick Fix

No Quick Fix

It’s always interesting to me how many people in education, once they start waking up to the big shifts that are afoot, immediately jump to the “ok, so how do we change our schools?” question without addressing the “How do we change ourselves?” question first. It’s as if they’re looking to buy the off-the-shelf “EduChange” software program and install it on top of their current school operating system. They don’t like to be told that there is no program to buy, no system upgrade to run, and that the only way they’re going to start doing anything really differently is if they decide to reflect on their own learning first.

That’s too hard.

Meaningful change ain’t gonna happen for our kids if we’re not willing to invest in it for ourselves first. At the heart, it’s not about schools…it’s about us.

By Will Richardson via Twitter
Will Richardon’s Blog Link to this post: http://bit.ly/Rwl0ZT

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We Can’t Reinvent the Wheel!

All too often as educators we try to meet the future by what we have done in the past. When we do this we are alienating our students who need to see a purpose of what they are learning and the purpose of school in general. Sir Ken Robinson speaks about how things were when we (well when I) went to school. He said if worked hard,  we did well, and we went to college or university then we got a job. In our world today this is no longer true and our kids don’t see it the same way.

Sir Ken Robinson can express this much better than me. Have a look at the following clip:

We have to think differently about education today, most great learning doesn’t happen in isolation, it happens in groups. We are no longer in a one size fits all education world . . .we never have been, but our education institutions were structured that way. Learning in isolation forms a disjunction from one’s natural learning environment. From my experiences, most great learning happens in groups working collaboratively. We need to rethink the structure and habits of our educational institutions. Thus, I believe we need to rethink and examine the culture of our leaning institutions.

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Visual Bloom’s For Using Technology

I often struggle with where does everything fit into the classroom, curriculum, and teaching in regard to all the technology tools that are out there. While on Twitter I found a site which made a real connection for me.

This is what I found:

A Visual Representation of Bloom’s Taxonomic Hierarchy with a 21st Century Skills FrameYou can find it here:  http://visualblooms.wikispaces.com/I think these diagrams are amazing and I am excited to share them.

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Current Assessment Practises and PATs

This Is What I Think:

“Assessment for Learning is the ongoing exchange of information between students and teachers about student progress towards clearly specified learning goals for the purpose of improving learning and informing instruction.” Adapted from Alberta Assessment Consortium, 2005.

PATs measure a narrow set of skills, which can be easily be memorized, and measured by multiple-choice  questions. They do not inform day to day instruction and do not support current educational research on Assessment for Learning.  Also, few questions challenge the intellectual capacity of students, “dumbing down learning”.

The tests reflect students’ abilities on one day as opposed to providing an accurate portrait of a year’s worth of leaning. Other issues which concern me is the stress it causes for students, that the PATs assess only a portion of of the curriculum and the results are not available until months later, hence they are of no use in the area of Assessment for Learning.

Recent research and practice in education has raised awareness about the impact of classroom assessment practises on student learning. More and more teachers are  looking to explore and develop strategies in classroom assessment that improve teaching practices and student learning. As a result, classroom assessment and reporting practices look very different today from the practices that parents remember from their school days. Again, the practice of PATs do not support our current classroom practices and beliefs of assessment.

The word “assess” comes from the Latin root “assidere” which means “to sit beside”. The phrase Assessment for Learning turns day to day assessment into a teaching and learning process that enhances student learning, unlike PATs. Teachers work alongside students to assess their learning as they move through the leanning outcomes in the curriculum.

Assessment for Learning strategies are used in the classroom by both students and teachers in order to gather information on their learning. These strategies provide teachers, students, and parents with valuable information about student progress, and the next steps required for growth and improvement. The PATs are only a “snapshot” of student progress and do nothing for inform teaching and learning.

In summary, good assessement practices do the following:

  • Increase student success when the students have clear learning targets.
  • When students are involved in their own learning they are more likely to understand what is expected of them, assess prior knowledge, take ownership fo their leaning and provide information to their teachers on how to adjust their teaching.
  • Improve communication for parents about student achievement in relation to the learner outcomes from the Alberta Program of Studies.

PATs do none of the above!

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Post Staff Meeting/PD

  • Follow up with a sampling of teachers on the value of the staff meeting/PD
  • As a learning team, leverage learning walks and classroom walk-throughs to assist with ideas valuable to the school community
  • Leverage Google Docs/Moderator for staff meeting/PD insights on Opening,Community Building, Innovation and Teaching and Learning Spotlight.
  • Develop the agenda throughout the month by sharing as an admin. team, ie. suggestions of discoveries and insights that could possibly fall within the structure of the meetings ie. New Learnings, Opening, Storytelling (share your passion) etc.

I’d love to see this implemented (with lots of tweeking, naturally)  because I believe it meets all the goals and reshapes our meetings in a way that models risk-taking, collaboration, relevant and maybe not so relevant technologies, and engagement.

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During Staff Meeting/PD (Agenda Possibilities)

1. News: Any recent news and clarification from the exfiles document that needs to be shared (this should be used sparingly and only for time-sensitive news).

2. Opening: Creativity and Engagement Activity

3. Storytelling/Community Building: Share Your Passion

4. Innovation and Stimulation: Thought Provoking Article/Blog Post, Video (Ted Talks) or Resource Discussion

5. Teaching and Learning Spotlight (teacher and students): demonstration, implementation strategies, technology tool(s) used, roadblocks, assessment strategies, and opinions

6. Q and A with Spotlight Teacher(s) and Students: short, 3-4 questions, and opinions

7. Collaborative Time to Reflect on 1-6 in the classroom or your area.

8. Ask any questions and also share thoughts from collaborative time.

9. Student Presentations: It would be nice to have students who have items to discuss. These could be “sit and get”, the value is having them present to the staff but they would be a tremendous  addition-they could be “slotted in” between item three and four.

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