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 […]

What do we celebrate?

Perhaps there should be an adage–what we celebrate, gets done. The issue of celebration has been cropping up lately, both in discussions on campus and in my extended network. When we are doing something well in our district classrooms or libraries, is that being celebrated within the district (as well as without?)  We celebrate the visible things, like winning teams or competitions, academic test scores, etc.   But are we celebrating equally our daily academic successes?  Are we celebrating lessons that work, transformative uses of technology […]

Lock, stock, and barrel

I don’t often write ‘inside info’ kind of posts, but in the last two days, I witnessed an amazing example of a learning network in action. Twitter, a site I’m a huge fan of as many of you know, announced it would be going down for maintenance for most of Saturday.   Since a number of us rely on twitter to keep us “in the loop” with a network of colleagues, a plan spontaneously hatched on Twitter for our whole network to “move” for the day to a different […]

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 […]

Hearing student voices

Our campus staff development started its second strand last week–centered around the theme of authentic student engagement.  (Our staff development period is built into the school day once each week).   To begin the series, we on the staff development committee decided to invite panels of students to speak to our staff about how they learn best, their interests, and obstacles to learning.  We met with students ahead of time and gave them a framework of questions to work from, like how  they learn best, what […]

Textbooks meet web 2.0

In a tremendously insightful post, educational consultant Lee Wilson recommends ten strategies that publishers should consider to harness the power of web 2.0 (and to preserve their businesses I might add). As these tools become more and more integral to educators, textbook(and reference book) publishers will have to transform themselves into more accessible media. Some of Lee’s suggestions for ways textbook providers can incorporate web 2.0 thinking : Network your learners – Often we treat collaboration as cheating – but in a world of Facebook and Twitter […]

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 […]

The Long View

I’m joining Patrick Higgins today via Skype for a workshop he’s conducting on web 2.0 for teachers in his district.   The plan is for me to share the Vietnam Wall project that our English 3 AP students completed last spring, so I’ve been looking through my post about it, re-viewing some of the student projects, and looking at the wiki we created to support the project. In looking back (and looking forward), I can see so much better how to work with the other teachers […]

Making the potion: Focusing on the research process

A few days ago, I wrote about reflective learning, and really identified with Will Richardson’s and David Warlick’s comments about focusing on the learning and community, and how the process sometimes gets lost in the production of the product.   Ironically, as I was reading Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix last night, I noticed that Harry has difficulty in Snape’s Potions class.  Frequently his “product” doesn’t meet Snape’s expectations.   After some discussion with Hermione and reflection, Harry realizes that he needs to slow down and […]

Reflective learning — following the conversation

  What is the real  shift in how our students learn and how we teach?  I spoke on the phone recently with a good friend of mine who taught with me an eon ago 😉  She went back to teaching last year for the first time in 15 years, and commented to me that when she taught before, the internet didn’t exist, and how much it had changed her practice and ability to find new connections for her students.   It really drove home for me […]