Thursday, November 13, 2014

Inside a Student's Mind: Google Docs Isn't Enough. Let Students Help You Learn

On Saturday, my daughter and I will be featured speakers at the San Diego Computer Using Educator's Tech Fair.

I'll write an in-depth discussion of our presentation afterwards, but for now, I am posting the link to our presentation for those who would like a copy.

(Sorry - working on my iPad so I can't make a short hyperlink)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I was lucky to catch the #SSDChat tonight, which was all about homework. 

I will admit - I don't find much use for homework at all. I find it only serves to reinforce the good, and further alienate the struggling. 

I bring this up here because I am worried that the push for digital learning is sending the (wrong) message that access to a device means teachers can expect students to complete more work outside the classroom. We've all heard it - "24/7 access to content," "classroom without walls," and "anytime, anywhere learning." What we need to remember is that access to a digital device does not inherently make the learning more relevant or accesible any more than access to a mechanical pencil might. Students have a life outside the school. For some, it's soccer, plays, music lessons, Boy Scouts, etc. For others, it's domestic violence, poverty, working parents not at home, or unsafe environments.

Equity is not just about access to a device. It's about access to opportunity; access to support; and access to meaningful and relevant learning. Without these, a device is just a device and homework is just another way to expand the gap between those who can and those who need support so they can as well.

Some powerful tweets from tonight's #SSDChat:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stop Drinking From a Firehose

So I'm sitting in a District Leadership professional development session and the presenter asks the audience to share with each other what his/her district is doing to inspire teachers to embrace and integrate the Common Core State Standards in their teaching.

Each district administrator shares a common theme: Professional development, professional development, professional development. The delivery varied. Some were using an LMS to provide just-in-time training opportunities. Others hired Teachers on Special Assignment to coach teachers in the classroom. All were providing pull-out sessions in which an outside consultant or district leader taught the teachers while a substitute taught the students.

And then one Curriculum Director said, "We're offering a lot of pull-out sessions. The teachers are overwhelmed and complaining, but one day when it's all done, they'll have an opportunity to use it and realize that it was a positive experience."

One day?

.... One day?

I know I read it somewhere, but isn't the rule of thumb that new ideas/trainings need to be implemented within 48-72 hours if they are going to be implemented at all? It'd be like teaching a kindergardner calculus and assuming that one day, when the time is right, the child will put it to use.

How much professional development, or professional learning as some are calling it now, can we shove down a teacher's throat before they spit it all out? Why are we forcing them to drink from a firehouse instead of a water bottle? Are we helping or hindering our mission?