Turning over public assets, disregarding teachers voices and placing products (tests) above all else is, from my perspective, misguided policy.
We all need to stop and think about what we want for our children and for all children and move toward a positive plan. We all need to do more. More thinking together – more experimenting – more commitment to each learner learning!
AND I think, along the way, we may come to the conclusion that we need more resources. We may need more resources: to true help children from birth to 5 years old to be nurtured and supported in their growth and development, to help more students complete K-12 schooling and not drop out, to help families in crisis when children’s learning is threatened as a result of a disruption the family faces and so on. Our society, all of us, need to make a commitment to the future that places the supported development of all our children as a priority.
I suggest that it is time to talk and listen to each other. It is time to open a national conversation.
How can we as a society dramatically increase the numbers of young people who achieve at high levels in language arts, math, science and social science in our elementary and high schools?
How can we as a society dramatically increase the numbers of young people who have the potential of graduating with four-year degrees should that be their desire?
I suggest that these questions are crucial to each of us as educators.
I suggest that we look at what it will take for today’s educators to dramatically more toward leveraging technology as a clear and obvious asset in our journey to meet the learning needs of all our young people.
To do this, educators will need to think together with a clear focus on the goal of making significant, demonstrated progress toward serving all of our students in ways that the questions above illuminate. Achieving progress with this focus will require letting go of some of what we are doing that isn’t making a ‘big difference’ for learners and moving toward a new high standards for student learning for each and every student.
Obviously, as we look to the future we must be willing to openly explore the possibilities that technology offers to educators and the students we serve. This is a journey worth taking!
Influential leaders are effective communicators! Knowing your audience is a basic pillar for successful communicators. When a superintendent wants to connect directly with students – it may be time to be creative.
Anthony Habra is a superintendent of Rudyard Area Schools in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Rudyard is a district of 900 students. Tony wanted to make a difference. He wants students, parents or community members to be able to have a way to text an anonymous message to him that then the school can look into and follow up on. He believes that by opening lines of communications the community may be able to reduce bullying, violence or other suspicious activities.
Tony decided to use technology to get his message out. He chose to make a short video to announce and explain his plan.
He used Xtranormal at http://www.xtranormal.com to create the video. Anyone can make videos on Xtranormal. It takes a little time, and even if you have very little expertise or prior knowledge with the web you will likely to be able to create an xtranormal video yourself.
If you wanted to explore making videos and you wanted to use Xtranormal you would go to the web site, explore it a bit, choose to sign up (and choose which package to sign-up for – I choose the free one), experiment by making a video and if you want to – publish it. Depending on the options you choose to put in your video – you can publish one for free. Tony’s cost about $2.00 to create, because he choose some extras. You purchase points to publish when there is an extra fee and $10.00 is the lowest quantity of points you can buy and you likely won’t spend that much on one video.
Xtranormal allows you to choose your character(s) setting, voice, and totally control the content.
Watch Tony’s video:
Other options for producing your own video:
Effective communication may include new ways of getting your message out!
When I see young people – I see potential!
Currently there are too many students that are left behind. Dropouts, underachievers, and minimal learners are all too common. The current system for educating society’s youth is broken: Broken if we agree that there is student potential that is not being tapped. Yet, there are those that might cling to that status quo in our schools because it is familiar and in some ways comfortably predictable.
Chris Dede and John Richards have published: Digital Teaching Platforms: Customizing Classroom Learning for Each Student, 2012. They are providing a ‘bright light’ on what is currently possible for, as the subtitle says “customizing learning for each student”. The powerful presence and potential of interactive technology and learning is presented and explored in their book.
To move forward into the possibility of customization, highly interactive, and evolving learning environments for each and every student means ‘letting go’ of the status quo. It does not mean teachers are not and will not be important. I absolutely know that teachers are and will continue to be essential for their ability to know their student, planning, evaluating, orchestration, implementation, supportive relationships, direct teaching and so much, much more to insure that high quality learning deeply touches each and every child.
To go back to the fact that currently, many students are not benefiting from school leads me to believe that learning opportunities need to continue grs45to evolve. Learning has to and needs to continue to benefit from technology. All learners deserve to have access to precise, in-depth learning opportunities at a pace that fits them. Digital Teaching Platforms, as explain by Dede and Richards in the book their book mentioned above (p 1), are designed to bring interactive technology to teaching and learning in classrooms where each student and teacher have laptops, or some equivalent computational device, connected to the network designed to operate in a teacher-led classroom as a major carrier of the curriculum content and function as the primary instructional environment for students.
Learning through effective and vibrant technology platforms means that a student is afforded the opportunity to adjust the learning pace to match his or her own pace. Students who find the depth of learning in traditional situations to be either too sallow or too deep can work from the precise place they are in the continuum of learning and move forward. For learners who find that the content presented in traditional learning settings to be something they have already mastered or is dramatically beyond their prior knowledge are able to make sense of the potential ‘learning puzzle’ and begin to move forward with their learning from where they are.
If society is going to work toward tapping the potential of each student we are going to have to be willing to be resourceful and let go of the past as our ‘lens’ for the future. We are going to want to find and use platforms of possibility. Digital Teaching Platforms are worth investigating if we want to customize classroom learning for each student.
For families, work places, communities, businesses, states, govenments, countires and even the world – working together in service of the common good is an essential element of building a better tomorrow.
Bill Bradley said: “Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger.”
I agree! Listening to and understanding each other is crucial, if want to discover common beliefs and goals. As Covey says: “Seek first to understand.”
Robert Greenleaf said: “The first order of business is to build a group of people who, under the influence of the institution, grow taller and become healthier, stronger more autonomous.”
When Greenleaf speaks of “the institution” I think: family, work place, commity, business, government, country and world. Yes, I am an optimist. I want all people in all situations to “grow taller and become healthier, stronger and more autonomous.”
Yes, I know that to be ‘autonomous’ means to act in ways you choose to act. My vision of the future for families, work places, commuities, businesses, states, govenments, countires and even the world is that people will focus on the common good by choice.
I believe that: