And the children shall lead them?

How often do students not want an assignment to end?  In the blogosphere, we often talk about the transformative power of assignments that ignite student passions and connect them to a global audience, and the importance a tool like blogging can play in that.  In this case, Christian Long’s Alice Project  wasn’t just about blogging but allowing students to discover, write about, and share their ideas and understanding with one another.  What tremendous power in giving students the reins to discover their own understanding.   But who […]

Students in a new universe?

As we grapple with what a student-centered classroom actually looks like in practice, it clearly involves a real shift in our thinking. Robert Fried points out in The Passionate Learner that “the difference is roughly comparable to that between the Ptolemaic and Copernican views of the solar system.” But as he points out, most of us were raised in one belief system, so even though we acknowledge that the new system should be different, it is still difficult to make that shift. And as he […]

What end do we have in mind?

  I had a conversation today with a student about class rank, and the detrimental effects she’s felt as a result.   I won’t go into details here due to privacy for her concerns, but it made me once again wonder what we are doing to children in our high schools in this country. We’ve created a high school to college system that too often reinforces the idea that numbers are more important than learning;  that scores are more important than wisdom and knowledge; and that […]

The silent majority is going to speak

Wow. The edublogging universe has just shifted.  The students are joining us. I am so incredibly thrilled about a new blogging project launched by Clay Burell, a colleague in Seoul, Korea, and a talented group of international students(glad to see a few I already read in there!)   In fact, I am so jazzed about Student 2.0 that I can barely write about it (okay maybe I am a geek, but I love education and that’s what this project is all about!) Clay has gathered together students […]

No way to go back

What happens once our students write for real audiences outside of their classrooms?  What happens when they see the power of authentic and personal writing? In her post questioning the merits of the SAT, student Nicole plaintively writes, I just feel that the “writing” test isn’t a test to see if we are capable of writing a good essay, but a test to see who can write a 5-paragraph essay with perfect grammar with an example involving either Helen Keller or Thomas Edison in 25 minutes. As […]

Testing carried too far?

In Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, Sir Ken Robinson astutely makes the case that unless we understand the education system that the future demands of us, then our efforts to create testing systems will not prepare us for that future.   He points to the increasingly rapid rate of technological change that is driving cultures around the world and changing the needs of the workplace, pointing out that employers “want people who can think intuitively, who are imaginative and innovative, who can communicate […]

Good enough?

How do students choose their sources?   After finishing the video I created about “authority of sources” I have come to the conclusion one thing I’d like to know more about is how students make those choices, so I can include their thoughts in the video as well. So I’ve been talking to students when they’ve been in the library and asking them about how they choose sources on our student blog, so I can eventually include that. I struggle sometimes when a class comes in with “convincing” even the […]

Collaborative research–Rethinking the model

As I have been doing some reading all summer, my whole notion of research is shifting somewhat.  Maybe it is reflecting the shift that many of our students are living, as well. I’m coming to realize more and more that although in schools we treat research as a somewhat solitary activity, in its true form, research is a very networked activity. As George Siemens writes, in describing Connectivism, “learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity.”  He goes on to point out that learners “remain current in […]

For our sons and daughters

 On Tuesday night, I attended a service for a family friend and one of our students, Jack Jenkins.   A family member read a poem that Jack had written in middle school, and one line resonated with me.   “I am an important person and I have something to contribute to this world.” As we talk about web 2.0, school change, or what each of us can do to create authentic learning experiences for our students,  this is what it is all about.   Hearing our students.  Hearing […]