Monday, December 26, 2011

Accidental Investigation

The job for this morning was to investigate "two points in time". In other words, how can student growth be measured in non-value added subjects in order to satisfy the student growth measure requirement of the new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.

I found a couple of other things to share instead.

First is a video link from Learning Matters (a part of PBS) that examines the Mooresville, NC school system's full adoption of technology for learning. It is a 10 minute video that does a decent job examining the benefits and challenges of this approach.

The major question that still concerns me is how to you balance the tension between the drive to standardize learning outcomes and the inherent non-standardization of personalized learning enhanced by technology?

If everyone is still expected to complete the same assignment, in the same time frame, but with digital tools, then we should not be surprised when we see issues arise quickly with disengagement, time off task, apathy, etc.

The key to future learning is Authentic Engagement. If you are going to bring digital tools into the classroom, you have to be willing to let students chart their own learning course and demonstrate mastery in a variety of ways (this is what I refer to as the multiple pathway option). If you standardize too tightly in a digital environment, you will have put a lot of money down an educational sinkhole for shiny new tools that students will shun.

The reality is that today, online, you can learn anything, anytime. This is not a new concept to anyone. How are schools going to adapt to this reality? By and large, they haven't, which has lead to a dramatic rise in student apathy. I think believe that students reserve most of their mental effort for work and material that engages them....and these types of activities are not found in the classroom.

If the Common Core assessments focus on specific knowledge, then we are no further along than where we were under NCLB, because teachers will teach to the test in order to "prove" they are doing their job.

This (kind of) leads to the second thing I found (also from Learning Matters). It is a blistering critique of the Common Core by Susan Ohanian. The full text of her thoughts are embedded in a larger discussion of the common core and is linked below:

Here is her website:

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