Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ideal Situation

David Warlick had a great post on his blog that I commented on. As I typed, my comment ran further and further so I thought I'd post it here.

David's original statement
I tell them that teachers need:
  • Time to plan, collaborate, research, assess and adapt, build, and innovate (I tell them 3 to 4 hours a day — everyday).
  • Classrooms that are equipped for learning in an abundant information environment, rather than an information-scarce environment (This means wifi, a laptop in every teacher and learner’s hand, one or more projectors in each classroom, and access to the emerging technologies that channel contemporary literacy).
  • Permission to safely innovate and facility to engage in professional conversations about the changes needed for relevant education.


I've been thinking about this for some time now and as I read so many bloggers who point out the need for educators to work/adapt/learn in this digital age, I wonder if we engaged in a thought experiment to imagine the ideal situation. What would it look like?

Using the points you made:

1) Time.
Nothing new can be added to a teachers plate (there's no room.) New must replace something they're already doing, especially 'techie' stuff because it's usually hard enough to learn as it is. So, if a teacher starts a class blog, have it replace the class newsletter, Skyping peers to conference about students? PLC time, etc. This may seem obvious, but often they still do both.

2) Equipment.
The ideal setup here can be as varied as the teachers using it, but what I'd like to think of as the base: Computer + Internet + Projector. Or access to the like. Arguments could be made that one needs a camera or smartboard or a laptop vs desktop, etc. but I would be ecstatic if those three components were as standard as a chalkboard in every classroom.

3) Administrators.
Possibly the deal breaker. With an administration supportive and invested in these changes, teachers can and will be more likely to embrace them and impress everyone with their ingenuity. With out it, they're out on a limb.

4) Assessment.
My own addition, BUT if as a teacher you have the time, ample equipment and administrators on board, yet cannot showcase student work in a way that is meaningful to them and their parents, the rest becomes meaningless.
Assessment needs to be created collaboratively by all those who use them.(see #1) Work must be digitized and web based for access to all.(see #2) The system must be universally supported so no teacher is left out on a limb.(see #3)

The assessment system must provide feedback to the students, parents and teachers about actual student work, not a subjective score placed on the work by someone.

Is all this possible? I think so.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Tech Sherpas

The students I work with were recently recognized in a national newspaper (The Christian Science Monitor) and I couldn't be more proud.

Stemming from a comment I made in Edutopia (link) earlier this year, a reporter came up and spent the day. It was a fun experience for the kids and the article was a nice way to show some of stuff we're doing in the district.

Photo: Mary Knox Merrill


Audio Interviews:

(The article was later sent to - interesting how stuff spreads.)