Friday, September 28, 2012

Think About Technology In New, Creative Ways

This excellent article about educational technology focuses on intelligent use of tech tools and how teachers might think beyond copying examples to new opportunities using  tools in ways that the human brain can't handle very well, such as large amounts of data.  People's attitudes toward technology can be negative especially after a device breaks down. 
       Mike Bock takes the view that all technology will break down but that we must be tolerant.  I like this quote from him, "When our cars break down, we don’t immediately get back on horses. And we don’t teach horseback riding in school. When technology breaks down, we fix it and move on."
       An important part of his message is so typical of teachers' mindset.....we think we have to teach everything and then add tech on top of that.  Examine your own attitudes toward your first experiences with technology....Your first computer... Your first experience with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.......Your first try at internet browsing.  See how much you have learned since then!  Now think of your Title I kids.  What can they learn if we stay out of it and just "let them be?"
Share your thoughts.
Q & A: Quest for ‘Digital Wisdom’ Hinges on Brains and Machines.  Mike Bock. 9.28.12. Education Week

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Use Games to Engage ELLs - Part 2

This is the second of two articles on games for ELLs written by Larry Ferlazzo & Katie Sypnieski.  The authors point out learning tools of various games, such as Bingo to teach vocabulary and "Sentence Sramble" for grammar and punctuation. Games that require students to make materials is a useful activity in itself.  Please check out the embedded link to hundreds of resources, "A Collection of the Best Lists on Games." 
In your search, you might want to contribute to LEX's recommended online games by evaluating some of them according to our rubric on the intranet.

Using Games in the ELL Classroom, Part II.  Ferlazzo & Sypnieski.  9.26.12.  Education Week Teacher

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Relevant Word Problems Improve Performance

While the focus of this article is on algebra, the article generalizes to making all word problems relevant to the lives of the students.  Studies have shown that students try harder and more motivated to improve their performance. The National Council of Teachers of Math (NCTM) says it is particularly difficult for students to make the switch from looking at a concrete artitmetic problem (Example:  cost of a sweater on sale for 20% off) to the generalized arithmetic in algebra.  I suspect our Title I math students have difficulties making this switch more frequently.
Well worth reading and thinking how you could "tweak" your word problems to better relate to practical situations familiar to your students.
What examples do you have to share?

Studies Find Payoff in 'Personalizing' Algebra.  Sarah D. Sparks.9.26.12. Education Week-Premium Article

What Can We do to Help Parents with CC?

This excellent article has embedded resources that help parents understand the expectations of Common Core.  For our purposes I found the link to the guides by grade level, available by pdf downloadable in English and Spanish.  These printable 2 page flyers are also excellent for all parents of Title I Students. The Spanish version would be great for parents of Spanish-speaking ELLs.  The guides are brief, understandable and to the point.  Here's the link to the PTA Parent Guides
Another very helpful website for parents of ELL students is Colorin Colorado
An aside project:  All of us in Title I should produce an easy to understand explanation of MAP test scores, but the project is on hold because some schools are already using the MAP test and the students will be tested twice.
Any ideas?

Educating ELL Families on Common-Core Standards. Lesli Maxwell. 9.19.12 Education Week - Learning the Language.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

How Would You Choose a Math Textbook?

Many districts and schools are deciding which math textbook to choose.  In researching the effect of textbook choice upon student achievement, there is little reliable research available.  Only two states have collected data so making curriculum decisions based on research is extremely thin.  The most "popular" curriculums are Saxon Math, Silver-Burdett Ginn Mathematics, and Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Math.  So how have states/districts made curriculum decisions?  To answer this question please reference the frank remarks quoted by Beverlee Jobrack, author of The Tyranny of the Textbook.  She explains the educational publishing industry is driven by "sales and marketing teams."  Problem: 
How in the world will decision makers align curriculum to Common Core Standards?  Do you question statements from various publishers, "Yes, we are aligned to Common Core Standards."  Who needs to look deeper? 

Study Finds Achievement Differences Tied to Curricular Choices. Erik Robelsen. 9.20.12.  Education Week - Curriculum Matters

Friday, September 21, 2012

What Does a Good Citizen Look Like Today?

The celebration of the 225th anniversay of the signing of the U.S. Constitution was held in Philadelphia on Sept. 17. What does it mean today all these years later to be a productive citizen in the United States.  That National Conference on Citizenship, National Constitution Center, and Partnership for21st Century Skills is exploring changes and  how best to prepare young people to meet modern-day challenges.  The authors note the many ways things have not changed.  People grapple with many of the same things today that they did 225 years ago.

The partnership outlines 4 key 21st century skills and competencies that are needed. 

* Knowledge of economic and political processes.
* Skill in understanding what is presented in the media.
* The ability to work well with others, especially diverse groups.
* Creativity and innovation to solve problems in new ways.

How are we doing in Title I to promote these skills?  Share some things you have done.

Op-ed:  What citizenship means for the 21st century.  9.17.12 Kellogg & Herczog.

Use Games To Engage ELLs - Part 1

Teaching basic concepts is a fun way to engage ELLs.  Example: Monopoly to teach money and dice to teach odds.  Games contribute to retrevial of information in long term memory.  Interactive games with other students provide opportunites to use all domains - speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  "Using" language rather than "thinking" about language promotes faster development.
The authors name six criteria to judge whether we want to use a game in our classes.  (Similiar, but not the same as our LEX rating system for computer games)
Those of you with ELL students, what games have you played that use all language domains?

Using Games in the Ell Classroom, Part I.  Larry Ferlazzo & Katie Sypnieski. 9.13.12  Education Week Teacher

Will Computer Testing Affect Student Achievement?

Re:  New computer writing testing from NAEP.  This article is noteworthy for two reasons:  (1) our nation's students perform poorly on writing skills, (2) the writing test evaluated details about what, and when word processing tools were accessed.  Although we in Title I are not involved with writing skills, we will be using computers for student testing for the first time. There is a natural evolution to test students using computers so all of us need to pay attention to what details our students seem vulnerable.  Soon, all sections of the NAEP test will be comuterized as well as state testing. 
After our first experience with MAP testing, what have you noticed about our student's facility with computers?  What might need to be addressed with our testees?

NAEP Shows Most Students Lack Writing Proficiency.  Nora Fleming.9.13.12.  Education Week - Premium Week

How Does It Feel for Homeless Student?

This is a "Wow" article and an eye-opener for some of our teachers in our schools who have students living in poverty and sometimes homeless.  Armando Gutierrez writes this sensitive piece from one student's point of view.  Not to be missed! 
What ideas can you share with your colleagues that may help other students like this?

You Don't Know Me. Armando Glutierrez. 9.19.12  Education Week

Friday, September 14, 2012

What is Deeper Learning? Can We Assess It?

In a study released by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science in Washington, deeper learning was examined carefully.  (See The National Academies Press

The study focused on what skills are important to learn for the world outside school and how we can teach students to use deeper learning to apply what is learned in one situation to another.  James Pellegrino one of the authors of the report defines the 3 areas of competence as: cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal.
I have posted similar articles on this subject, so you might want to explore more Common Core articles.
The questions to ask in our Title I classes are key:  Are we relevant?  Are we giving enough students enough time to explore meanings and relationships?  Are we connecting concepts to process?  Are we asking probbing questions?  Is teamwork or other means of collaboration offered?
As we experiment with these adaptations this year, please offer your thoughts.

How Do We Define and Measure "Deeper Learning"?  Tina Barseghian. 9.13.12.  Mind/Shift

Global Awareness - How Are Our Students Doing?

This study by World Savvy measured high-school graduates', aged 18-24, competency of world knowledge.  This quote from William Gaudell, of Columbia University concludes that...
..."the work that remains to be done in terms of preparing young people for the global future they are inheriting. The US can no longer be satisfied with an education that is not world class both in character and caliber. The time to reorient our focus is upon us."
World Savvy: 2012 Global Competency Survey    (available download pdf )

Erick Robelson, blogger for Education Week - Curriculum Matters expands on future implications of the lack of world knowledge in high school graduates.  He notes that students themselves wished they would have had more opportunities to discuss world events and spend more time taking foreign languages.  Some students, did say that teachers tried to incorcorate a more global approach in their classes.
LEX, Title I has global awareness as one of the 21st Century Skills we are trying to cultivate with our students.  Is this a difficult "add-on" to an already crowded curriculum in our 2 hours per week?  Given our access to more technology available to us, how can we incorporate global happenings in our everyday lessons?  Is it possible?
Comments please.

David Who?  Survey Finds Young Adults Lack World Knowledge. Erik Robelsen. 9.12.12. Education Week - Curriculum Matters

Dogs Help Struggling Readers

While I don't recommend bringing your dog to your Title I class, this story reminds me of several situation where dogs were used as silent, gracious listeners.
  1. Our neighorhood library brought a calm golden retreiver and his handler to the library once a week so that children could read to him.  Great success and very popular with young children.
  2. For several years when we had the prescriptive program at Atlas, the teachers recognized that Hmong children were very reluctant to read aloud to their teacher, mainly because of cultural respect for persons in authority.  Hmong children even have difficulty giving their teacher eye-contact.  I took it upon myself to dress up a big, old stuffed dog from my daughter's childhood and added a hat and a tie around his neck.  He was "Fred."  Fred had his own private space in the room.  Children went to him to read and often brought Fred back to their table.  Worked wonderfully!
  3. Two of our participating schools in the past had a time-out corner in the "office" where students needing a 'time out' came to stay.  There were stuffed animals, books, and chairs.  In no time, children were reading to the stuffed animal and calmed themselves down.
We certainly could renew "dogs" in reading sites with young children if there is enough space.  Struggling readers do not like to read aloud alone and much prefer choral reading, much like my tone-deaf self who needs a good singer next to me to carry a tune.

Any similar ideas?  Share them with us.

Education assistance dogs help students with reading.  Angela Ward. 9.9.12. Longview, Texas.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Evers Announces New State Test Plans

Tony Evers, state superintendent of public instruction announced a new approach for testing Wisconsin high school students.  He is requesting $7million from the state to fund  ....
  • all 11th graders to the the ACT standardized college admissions exam
  • a separate career skills test startin ghe the 2014-15 school year
  • all 9th and 10th graders would take a pre-ACT test starting that year - also....EXPLORE test in 9th grade, PLAN test in 10th grade, and WorkKeys skills test in 11th grade.
WorkKeys measures skills such as reading, math, listening, locating information and teamwork to help students understand how they can improve their skills for better-paying jobs, according to ACT.

There will be new computer-adaptive standardized tests for elementary and middle-school students to be fully implemented in 2014-15.

We'll just have to wait to see how these plans work out.  We live in interesting times, don't we?  Question is, how prepared are we as Title I teachers?  Is Wisconsin on the right track?

Cluster of new exams proposed for all high schoolers – Wisconsin would use ACT, pre-ACT tests to gauge progress.  Erin Richards 9.12.12. Journal Sentinel.


Minnesota State Math Test look a Lot Like MAPS

The new online state math test piloted in Minnesota shows shows increased student achievement.  Computer access was a problem for small schools: one principal says he bused his students to use the computer lab 3 times a year in a nearby high school.  Seems like students are taking these tests seriously.  Students received results immediately which led to their incentive to improve. Teachers have been able to target instruction for those having difficulty. [Interestingly, unlike Tennessee, test results did not count in student grades nor count in teacher evals.]  Inequalities in testing environment will be strategized, as well as which of the potential 3 tests will be used as the measure of student achievement.
There are lessons here for us in Title I, I'm sure.  After we've gone through testing this year, let's evaluate strengths and weaknesses in MAPS.  Keep you thoughts in mind and let us know.

Minnesota's online math tests earn high marks.  Magan ad Webster. 9.12.12. Pioneer Press

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sticky Notes - Cool Ideas!

Ben Johnson lists and explains the power of the simple sticky note with 10 examples, many of which could easily be used in Title I.  He concludes it is a simple way to get student feedback, give praise, help with organization, study helps, and give behavior remarks.  Really great tips!
This article is not to be missed!
Any other ideas you've used for sticky notes?

Tools for Teaching:  The Amazing Sticky Note. Ben Johnson. 9.10.12.  Edutopia - Student Engagement.

Can We Help Our Introverted Students in Title I?

We teachers love stimulating discussion, collaborative teamwork with students actively engaged in our lessons.  After all we're trying to adapt our lessons to meet  the 21st Century skills in Common Core.  So what do we do with that reserved, very shy  student who rarely responds and doesn't particate in collaborate work with other students?  These are our introverts.  Can we change them?  Do we want to change them? 

"Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., makes the case that the brain chemistry in introverts is markedly different than that of extroverts. In short, processing pathways in introverts are longer and more complex than the pathways found in extroverts, thus it takes them longer to process information, which causes a problem in our schools."

We live in a extrovert-dominant world and forget to provide the environment needed for introverts.  One answer seems to lie in the internet - an ideal space needed for them to learn and freedom to explore.  Collaboration with others can be done alone in collective creations and sharing opportunities.

Note:  There are a couple of embedded links that offer more background and information about introverted students.
Very interesting.  What have you done to help your shy introverted students?  Share your ideas with your colleagues.

Embracing Introversion:  Ways to Stimulate Reserved Students in the Classroom. Tony Baldasaro. 9.10.12 Edutopia- What Works in Education.
(Scroll down the webpage to the article.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Financial Knowledge - An Issue for Teachers & Students

Here is a fantastic article about basic understanding of financial management.  Most all of us believe that a basic course in financial literacy would be great at the high school level.  But problems abound.  Not only is curriculum an issue, but teachers are an issue, because adults as a whole have little understanding themselves. Who qualifies as a teacher?  Good question.   A great read!  An important read!  Be sure to read the many comments after the article.....quite enlightening to be sure.
What is your take as a math teacher?

True or False: Many Americans Don't Understand the Basics of Investing. Andrea Coombes. 9.4.12.The Wall Street Journal.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

CC Expectations - Short & To the Point

Are you short on time?  Most of you are.  We understand that work-related duties take up most of your day. 
If you are not clear about Common Core and what is expected, this article is for you.  It's short and too the point. 
Feel free however, to explore other blog posts that offer more details and ideas for implementation in your Title I classes.  We are an important piece of the pie especially as our schools make adjustments also.  We'll help one another.

Send your questions to me and I'll see if I can refer you somewhere to find some answers. We encourage you to try different lesson styles with CC in mind and share them with colleagues at our staff meetings.

Quick Guide to the Common Core:  Key Expectations Explained.  Tom Vander Art. 9.7.12.  Education Week - Innovation

Why Should Non-fiction Be So Important?

Bill Ferriter quotes Walter Dean Myers, noted young adult novelist and National Ambassador for Young Peoples Literacy...
“We all know we should eat right and we should exercise, but reading is treated as if it’s this wonderful adjunct…We’re still thinking in terms of enticing kids to read with a sports book or a book about war. We’re suggesting that they’re missing something if they don’t read but, actually, we’re condemning kids to a lesser life. If you had a sick patient, you would not try to entice them to take their medicine. You would tell them, ‘Take this or you’re going to die.’ We need to tell kids flat out: reading is not optional.”
Ferriter continues and adds, Reading NONFICTION is not optional.  Most kids read fiction these days and he urges kids and teachers to explore nonfiction content, especially for kids over the age of ll. He urges teachers to model interesting nonfiction topics by sharing biographies and adventure stories that really happened.  Help students find books that support their personal interest is a great gift.

An aside:  My son, Dan, hated to read when he was a pre-teen.  However, you'd never guess what he was attacted to and consumed with a passion....The World Book Encyclopedia in our family room!  Book by book, he read with enthusiasm, even looking forward to each year's updates.  Today at 40 years old, he has the same kind of reading preference, looking up "stuff" to learn about things he's interested in....still no fiction for Dan!

Reading nonfiction is not optional.  Bill Ferriter. 9.6.12. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education - Literacy

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Please Don't Miss This Insightful Response to CC!

I hope all LEX teachers read this article by Marc Tucker, world renown researcher and president of the National Center on Education and the Economy.  Tucker's thoughts in this article are responses to a Washington Post article on 8.15 by Marion Brady who wrote about 8 problems with Common Core State Standards. 

Tucker responds to each "problem" with eloquent, insightful prose with thoughts that integrate and elevate the CC  standards to the larger purpose of education.
Teachers...please read this using "close" reading.  Go slow and savor Tucker's language and thoughts.

[Interesting embedded link to National Academy on 21st century skills. - Report brief about Education for Life and Work available downloadable in pdf. Click further and you can read various chapter online.]

What do you think about Tucker's response?

8 Problems With the Common Core State Standards?  I Don't Think So.  Marc Tucker. 9.5.12. Education Week Top Performers

What is The Value of Pre-Screening Kindergarteners?

We are screening our Title I students in Kindergarten and some First Graders for pre-reading skills.  This article covers both sides of the Kindergarten Screener debate - "Yes, it's and good idea" and "No, for children this young." 
Screening in this article covers more areas than our screener for pre-reading skills.  The consensus among kindergarten teachers say that the information is extremely helpful and establishes a beginning point from which to build success.
The same can be said for the value of our LEX pre-screener.  Especially with a time-frame of 2 hours per week, results will help teachers target instruction. 
For you teachers of pre-readers, how is our screener working for you?  What information has been the most helpful?  Where would you like to see improvement?  Please enter your comments below.

Should We Screen Entering Kindergarten Students for Readiness? Stu Silberman. 9.5.12. Education Week - Public Engagement & Ed Reform.

How Can We Help Digital Natives With Technology?

In an recent article published in Scientific American kids, even though they may be facile using a variety of digital tools, are "quick to become impatient and discouraged when faced with complex tasks involving digital tools."  Researchers Passanisi and Peters stress that teachers have a responsibility to help students take them beyond instant gratification to learn to discern what is relevant and what is not.  Students will need to learn that it takes time to sort data, inquire, and solve problems. 
I agree and see that our Title I shifts in reading and math is a good pathway to take.  As proctors you could see this behavior in MAP testing...don't know.  The MAP test mantra could be "Think Before You Click."
Your comments are encouraged.

Why Digital Natives Need Help With Technology.  Anthony Rebora. 8.30.12. Education Week Teacher - Teaching Now

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What Is Literacy in the Digital Age?

Nicholas Provenzano, a teacher,  technology-curriculum specialist, a blogger, a convention presenter, etc. says that literacy is far more encompassing than "reading & writing,"  the standard definition of literacy in the 20th Century.  He lists 3 key items that are essential to be part of students' everyday lives...
  1. E-mail
  2. Word processing
  3. Research
While there are many other skills important with specific digitial tools, he says these are the most basic, important, and essential to compete in a global market.  He also wonders how many teachers are considered literate by today's standards?
Probably you could add to this list.  What skills do you think comprise literacy in the digital world we live in?  Add your own.

What does it mean to be literate?  Nicholas Provenzano 9.4.12 SmartBlog on Education

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Do You Know About SchoolTube?

To date 40,000 schools use SchoolTube for free.  The company is the nation's largest teacher moderated video sharing website. Students upload their own videos and are shared in a safe environment.  They make TakePart reports but students cannot upload their videos unless a teacher says it appropriate to publish. Interesting, but how useful would this resource be in Title I?  Good to know about it, however.

Why thousands of K-12 teachers are turning to SchoolTube. Suzi Parker. 9.4.12 Yahoo News

Technology Skills or Just Good Educational Skills

I agree with the first comment after this article.  Four of these five skills are excellent and are mostly transferable to many educational situations and to technologies not even invented yet. 
Stansbury lists and explains her 5 essential technology skills....
  1. Online literacy
  2. Critical thinking
  3. The science behind the technology
  4. Adaptablilitly
  5. Courage
If you were to add to the list, what would you include?  With the exception of #1, do you agree with my assessment that these 5 skills are important skills with or without technology?  Your opinion please.

Five technology skills every student should learn. 9.4.12 Meris Stansbury.eSchool News

Teachers - Be Careful Using Too Much Tech!

David Ginsburg, popular columnist on Education Week Teacher warns teachers that technology is important, no denying that, but it has its place.  Common courtesy tells us to focus on the people in our presence and many cannot do that anymore.  It's not that we've become less interested in each other, but rather less caopable of paying attention to each other.  Ginsburg encourages us to be prudent on your students' and colleagues'time.  Wise man, I would say!  Have you seen this happen in school?  In your life outside of school?  What's to be done?  Share your thoughts.

The New Digital Divide.  David Ginsburg. 9.2.12. Education Week Teacher

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tips on Teaching Critical Thinking

Karen McDaniels examines three areas that will help teachers better prepare students to think critically.  Excellent and worth your time. 
  • Taking On Complex Text
  • The Art of Questioning
  • Learning Conversations
I notice that technology is not listed in this article.  How might you incorporate digital learning in your lesson plans that foster critical thinking?

Enlightening Minds - Preparing Critical Thinkers for Life After High School. Karen McDaniels 6.7.12.Vol 7 Iss.18. ASCD Express

What Study Strategy is the Best?

Guess what?  The least popular study strategy is the most effective.  This article summarizes research done at the Memory Lab at Washington University in St. Louis.  http://learning

The most common way to study was to reread material but was not the most effective as a study strategy. Students who self-tested or quizzed did better.  "Tests" have gotten a bad rap, but as a form of frequent retrieval as a study strategy it is the most effective for long term learning. 
Those of you who are teaching SRSS classes for Title I students, do you include quizzing in your repertoire?  Try it with students who are having a big test coming up.

Research Finds Students Short on Study Savvy.  Sarah Sparks. 6.6.12. Education Week.

Teach Math Like a Eating Healhy Diet

Author, Robert Kaplinske compares math instruction to eating a balanced diet. Mistakes teachers make in solving robust problems:  breaking down the problem to individual skills so that students have consumed all required skills.  The math problem then no longer resemles the original form; instead, they become a collection of disconnected skills as in a textbook factory. The Common Core Standards the potential to take a more balanced approach, not the current long list of skills taught in isolation with no context.  This he says is like taking lots of dietary supplemenhts instead of maintaining a healthy diet of whole foods rather than adding a bunch of vitiamin/mineral pills.
Strange comparison, but Kaplinske has it correct.  It makes sense to teach one skill thoroughly.  How do you feel?

Eat Your Math.  Robert Kaplinsky. 6.6.12. Education Week.

Which is Better for Early Readers, Print or E-Books?

Very interesting study from the 'Joan Ganz Cooney Center' at Sesame Workshop.  Its purpose was to discover the differences in the way parents and young children interact when reading print, basic e-books, or enhanced e-books together.
Definitions E-book: digital version of a print book
                     Enhanced e-books:  offers interactive media that may include videos & games.
Kids in different reading scenarios were then tested on their story comprehension and parents were interviewed about their reading practices.
Guess what?  My blog description will not reveal the results of the study.  Take a guess and then read.  Were you correct?  How do you feel about the results?  Please comment.

Print or E-Books:  Which Are Better for Early Learners? Julie Rasicot. 6/6/12. Education Week - Early Years

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How Can We Give Better Feedback To Our Stakeholders?

As teachers, one of the most important parts of our job is giving feedback to stakeholders.  We record all communications on CORE, our web-based data management program.  We don't explain these communications, just record that they occurred.  But have we ever asked ourselves what are the most effective ways to give feedback to our stakeholders.....Students?  Parents? Classroom Teachers? Administrators? 
We all know that feedback, especially to our students, can improvement student achievement.  The author, Grant Wiggens, lists and explains 7 feedback essentials:  goal-referenced, tangible and transparent, actionable, user-friendly, ongoing, and consistent. 
We need to look more closely at just what feedback is----and isn't. 
This article is a must-read for all LEX employees! All of us, no matter what our specific role is can learn important points.
Any ideas you would like to share with your colleagues in LEX?

Seven Keys to Effective Feedback.  Grant Wiggens. September 2012. Vol 70. No 1. Educational Leadership - ASCD.

Common Core Will Allow Us Do Things Differently

As Learning Exchange teachers try adapting shifting  teacher practices this year to better align to Common Core Standards, this article is for you.   The basic changes are highlighted as in other posts on my blog, but the explanations are worth reading "closely." 
Pay particular attention to #4 - Emphasis on Practices where 8 criterial for mathematical practices are examined.
Hope this article will apply to what you will change in your Title I classes.  We would love to hear about those plans.

Nine Ways the Common Core Will Change Classroom Practice.  Robert Rothman. Vol 28, No 4, July /August 2012.  Harvard Education Letter

What Does 21st Century Education Look Like Today?

Adam Bellow writes that we cannot completely define a 21st Century Skills Set just yet. [There are 87 years to go in the century he jokes.] We see shifts  and questions rather than answers. He says no one-size fits-all education solution can or will work for our 21st century citizens.
(Adam Bellow, founder of eduTecher and eduClipper, was recognized in 2011 as Outstanding Young Educator of the Year by the International Society for Technology in Education.

Here are some observations Bellow notices...
  • Educators are not only those in front of the room.
  • Students are the key stakeholder in their education.
  • Education as a "system" is a 20th century model.
  • Learning can occur at any time and anywhere.
  • 20th Century educators were used to resources in boxes or taken from the "tried & true" manual.
  • 21st Century education needs to be based on connectedness to information.  That may or may not include technology.
  • The larger classroom is without boundaries just like the larger world, tangibly and socially.
Interesting to read. And yes, we don't have all the answers. What are the questions you see? Pose them in Comments.

Seeds of Change in 21st-century education. Adam Bellow. 6.25.12 SmartBrief-SmartBlog on Education.

Working Class Parents Should Learn Education Advocacy

Several studies contrast working-class parents and parents of students in the middle or upper class in how they teach their children to navigate the school system.  Parent advocacy skills vary according to social class.  Here is a quote from Ms. McCrory Calaro from Indiana University in Bloomington.
"I find that although both middle-class and working-class parents teach children skills for negotiating with institutional authorities on their own behalf, the nature and content of these lessons varies along social class lines," she said. "Whereas middle-class parents stress the development of children's self-advocacy skills, working-class parents instead emphasize skills for problem-avoidance."
We see this in Title I, not only in parent 'disinterest', but in student avoidance in solving problems.  Asking for help is not something that seems to be encouraged, but figuring "it" out by yourself is encouraged.  On the other extreme, we have the helicopoter parent who hovers over every decision a child need to make.  Some kind of balance certainly is certainly in order.

Middle-Clss Children Learnn to Be Squeaky Wheels.  Sarah D. Sparks.  8.29.12. Education Week