ICYMI: Friday February 27, 2015

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Your Next Generation of Professional Development – original content by Walter

LMS Evolution or Extinction? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Schools Are Failing Our Boys

Today’s Reformers Have a Major Blind Spot

Sheninger: Teacher Accountability Through a New Lens

Standardized Testing is Not Teaching [VIDEO 3:31]

Urging a Common Sense Look at PARCC Testing

Why Use a School #Hashtag? [VIDEO 2:09]

Using Design Thinking to Create a New School

Crowdfunding in the Upstart Age [INFOGRAPHIC]

University as a Learning Design Challenge

More Conflict Over Cutting Federal Role in Education

27 Ways to Be A Reflective Practitioner [INFOGRAPHIC]

A State-Led ESEA Compromise

8 Maryland School Systems’ Ed Tech Success

TN Lawmaker Wants to Bill K-12 for College Remediation

The Filter Bubble: Invisible Algorithmic Editing of the Web [VIDEO 9:00]

Blogging is Key to Social Media Success [INFOGRAPHIC]

5 Education Research Lessons from 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure Tutorial [VIDEO 0:19]

A Teacher’s Letter to Her New Superintendent

Teaching: Natural Human Ability

Teaching: Natural Human Ability


Reposted from the Seattle Times:

Scientists have a well-developed picture of how learning works in the brain, which was summarized in the seminal 1999 publication “How People Learn” by the National Research Council. But when Vanessa Rodriguez, a former New York City middle school humanities teacher, tried to find similar studies about how teaching works in the brain, she found almost nothing.

In her new book, “The Teaching Brain: An Evolutionary Trait at the Heart of Education,” Rodriguez and co-author Michelle Fitzpatrick, chart a path toward understanding teaching in all kinds of daily situations, not just in classrooms. They argue that teaching is more than a job, it’s an evolved human ability that emerges early in childhood — just watch kids huddled over a smart phone teaching each other how to play the latest video game.

“The human brain has been designed to learn,” Rodriguez said. “What I’m saying is that it’s also been designed to teach.” She’s also adamant about what teaching is not: unscrewing a student’s empty head and pouring in knowledge. Likewise, teaching is not just a set of best practices that can be poured into a teacher’s empty head.

Read More…

A Teacher’s Letter to Her New Superintendent


Reposted from Teach with Class:

Welcome to your new job. I cannot imagine being in this position at this time, but you have stepped up to take the lead in Georgia’s education system. I was highly encouraged to read your letter to Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, explaining your concerns with today’s standardized testing crisis. While you have studied and spoken with multiple teachers and administrators, I would like to share how standardized testing affects my students, my school, and me.

I have been teaching in Georgia at Northgate High School for the past seven years primarily instructing juniors and seniors from remedial classes to AP. I love students, and I love teaching. I want to be a teacher who is “part of the solution and not part of the problem” which is harder and harder to do in education today. While I have little control over decisions on a large scale, my mind is continually thinking on and dreaming of ways to make my classroom, and our system, better. I believe the greatest and most under tapped resource in Georgia’s education system today is Georgia teachers, but the good teachers are starting to leave.

I have three degrees, two at the graduate level, but my performance, training, and knowledge is almost always assessed through my students’ standardized tests scores or through a teacher evaluation system which is seriously flawed. While I am committed to the standards on which we are measured, a quick stop in my room by an administrator who is also overworked and held to absurd standards is not how I want to be assessed. Come to my room anytime to see what we are learning and doing, but please take time to do more than check off the requirements I am meeting. My classroom experience is far bigger than a checklist.

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Choose Your Own Adventure Tutorial [VIDEO 0:19]

Talk about modeling process, this 19 second video leads you to a 30 second video which leads you to two videos to select from, and so on. Using post-it notes and a pen, this series of short clips walks the viewer through a practical, easy tutorial on how to create a clickable choose your own adventure video story.

5 Education Research Lessons from 2014


Reposted from nprED:

Studies, research papers, doctoral dissertations, conference presentations — each year academia churns out thousands of pieces of research on education. And for many of them, that’s the end of it. They gather dust in the university library or languish in some forgotten corner of the Internet.

A few, though, find their way into the hands of teachers, principals and policymakers. Each year the American Educational Research Association — a 99-year-old national research society — puts out a list of its 10 most-read articles.

We’ve looked over that list and compiled a summary of some of what we learned from the ivory tower in 2014…

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Blogging is Key to Social Media Success [INFOGRAPHIC]


What’s your favorite social media platform? Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+? How about a blog? Blogs bring in more traffic and generate more search engine hit. Consider these stats:

  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post that they read
  • 60% of consumers feel positive about a company after reading its blog
  • 70% of consumers learn about a company through its blog versus ads

If those stats don’t convince you to start a corporate blog, maybe the above infographic from Quicksprout will!


The Filter Bubble: Invisible Algorithmic Editing of the Web [VIDEO 9:00]

What’s the difference between personalization of our Internet experience and manipulation of our access to different kinds of information? In this revealing TED Talk, Eli Pariser discusses how search engines and social networks tailor our access to web resources using relevance algorithms based on our unique, individual web histories. “What we’re seeing is more of a passing of the torch, from human gatekeepers to algorithmic ones…and the thing is that the algorithms don’t yet have the kind of embedded ethics that the editors did.” What we need, Pariser argues, is to make sure these algorithms don’t just filter for relevance…because we need to be made uncomfortable and be exposed to other points of view besides our own.

TN Lawmaker Wants to Bill K-12 for College Remediation


Reposted from Cabinet Report:

As the cost and challenge of preparing college-ready students escalates and puts new burdens on higher education – one lawmaker is proposing that districts should pay for remedial courses high school graduates must take in college. Community colleges in Tennessee spent an estimated $18.5 million last year on remedial courses such as reading, writing and math so students could catch up before taking college-level courses.

SB 526, authored by Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, would require districts to reimburse colleges for the catch-up courses for students who graduated within 16 months of taking a remedial course. It excludes those who returned to college after taking time off. Some experts say it sounds reasonable but in the end it’s more a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul. “At face value it’s a logical argument: The high schools are not doing their jobs, so let’s hold them accountable to make sure they do a better job,” said Bruce Vandal, vice president of advocacy group Complete College America. “But it creates a dysfunctional dynamic between K-12 and higher education that I think we’re beginning to realize is really not helpful.”

States including California, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Ohio are piloting programs similar to SAILS, while Connecticut and a handful of others are implementing strategies similar to co-requisite remediation.

Read More…

8 Maryland School Systems’ Ed Tech Success


Reposted from EdSurge:

As the birthplace of one of the first things you learn in school – the “Star Spangled Banner” – it’s no wonder that Baltimore is home to blossoming innovation. The city hasn’t just attracted edtech startups over the past few years, such as Common Curriculum and Citelighter. It’s home to schools and districts all driving technology use forward with an intense focus on how it can benefit not just students, but the entire community.

Before we packed our snow boots and scarves to head for Baltimore, the EdSurge team took a deep dive into eight districts in Maryland. We learned that while each district is undergoing methodical rollouts with devices, productivity tools and even big data systems, they are also being incredibly thoughtful about how they inspire innovation. From cohorts of schools experimenting with personalized learning, to afterschool community programs devoted to blending recreation and technology, these educators are committed to putting technology to work in the classroom.

Here are 8 Maryland districts and their noteworthy ed tech successes…

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A State-Led ESEA Compromise


Reposted from the Flypaper:

A few weeks ago, I used a graphic to show the four dimensions of federal accountability, each of which has a range of options. I then used this graphic to show the consensus for preserving NCLB testing. Here I used it to show how eleven major ESEA reauthorization proposals address the other dimensions (remember, minimum federal accountability is on the left; maximum on the right). The total picture is as confusing as subway map.

The best chance for ESEA reauthorization can be found in the approach taken by the nation’s governors, legislatures, and state superintendents. Their proposals, which I have labeled Accountability for Results, hew to one of the key principles of management and leadership—and the heart of the charter school bargain: Set clear goals and give people the freedom to reach them. They would set performance targets but then give states wide latitude in designing school categories and interventions. In other words, tight on ends, loose on means.

It’s essential to underscore that the very state leaders who will be responsible for leading the post-NCLB era are the ones recommending Accountability for Results Moreover, this compromise keeps faith with those demanding we give K–12 authority back to the states and those demanding we continue protecting disadvantaged kids. It would merely require the Right to agree to include explicit performance targets and the Left to agree to give states greater flexibility in tackling challenges. Important details would still need to be worked out (e.g., the role of the education secretary in approving state plans, the consequences for a state’s failure to improve results). But state leaders may have shown us the path to reauthorization.

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