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Showing posts from January, 2009

What I've learned at EduCon 2.1 :I'm definitely a "Green Hat!"

Here are some key takeaways I've had here at Educon in no particular order: There are no public "AP intensive schools" that have moved to Project Based/Student Centered Learning because as Gary Stager said, "AP is the antithesis of a Project based Student centered curriculum. There are some private schools who have recognized that they were turning out students who were good at the Knowledge level but not beyond, and have made the switch, like the Cincinnati Country Day School. There are many programs out their that are working, but replication and scalability are not easy-human capital. The key to creating successful projects is to develop authentic Essential Questions that are standards based. Chris Lehmann is a tremendous educator, and tremendous host! The teaching staff at SLA are fantastic! And their pretty young too!!! There is a huge disconnect between what we believe education should be about and what it is about. Change will not be easy, but worth fig

Educon 2.1: Last Session-David Warlick

For my last session at Educon, I attended David Warlick's session on Forging Links between Casual Information Practices and Formal Learning Procedures . The nature of information is what's changing. Children in our classrooms are coming from an information experience different from what we had. Next we went to this site for a hands on learning experience . How do we tap in to the energy students have outside school, in our classrooms? The 3 Principles of Learning in the middle of the diagram come from Linda Darling-Hammond. Logical connections can be made between the students outside-the-classroom information experience, and the principles of learning. We then looked at examples of how students experience fits each of the areas, outside the classroom based on our rolls. Students today are... Connected Carrying the communication with them Multiple Perspectives/sources-? Or are they having a transparent conversation? Multi-tasking at the same time.(Medina's "Brain Rule

EduCon 2.1: Impromptu Session with Students at SLA

Notes on my impromptu talk with Matt Kay and some of the students at SLA Matt Kay -2 plans for everything you do! For when the technology doesn't work. Likes still having books, and students writing on paper. If I'm competing for attention, LIDS DOWN!! Zach the student -On paper, just do it. On computer, distraction of Word stuff. Kay -Half of freshman year spent learning that Chat is a distraction...It's a battle. D's and F's take care of it for most people. Advisory helps with learning how to schedule time. Students asked for "Simple Finder" to be on from Monday-Friday and back on over the weekends! Student -at home sometimes I can't work if the Internet is on!! Kay -The Promethean boards have the temptation of sucking you in to a teacher PowerPoint is NOT integrating technology!! (See here!) Participant: A presentation style with 20 slides each on a 20 second timer. NO bullets. Changes kids from Screen readers to storyteller

Educon 2.1: Forging Student-Teacher Relationships

During the conference on Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff Kustler and Tyrone Kidd, 9th grade students at the Science and Leadership Academy. They were very engaging, told me that they would be presenting on this topic, and I wanted to be sure to check it out. Jeff started by sharing his experience in school, having skipped a grade, a mensa member, attended schools around the northeast. Picked SLA for the technology, lives in New Jersey. They started helping out Marci Hull, Computer Coordinator/Art teacher at SLA, and assisted in imaging all student computers for this school year. Tyrone shared his experience "networking his way to SLA", through Twitter, he was connected to Chris Lehmann through his teacher Brandon Lutz, and started "stalking" SLA and "crashed" Educon last year. With the help of his advisor, teacher, and parents and others. He came to the conference and became his own advocate, to make something out of himself. Came to Open Hou

Educon 2.1: Panel Discussion on Educational Change and Reform

The Sunday panel moderated by Andy Carvin, National Public Radio , focussed on Education Change. The panel included: David Bromley -- Regional Director, Big Picture Schools Chris Lehmann -- Principal, Science Leadership Academy Marc Mannella -- Principal, KIPP Philadelphia Bette Manchester -- Former State Educational Technology Director, Maine Gary Stager-- Executive Director of the Constructivist Consortium Mike Wang -- Executive Director of Teach For America Greater Philadelphia January 29-31, 2009 Educon 2.2 announced Save the Date!! Here is a clip from the session . Carvin asked each on the panel give an "Opening Statement". What does School Reform Look Like now that we have a new President in the White House. Lehmann -"I am hopeful", That data driven decision making recognizes that the best data we have on our students is the work that they do in the classroom every day. Mannella -Explained that KIPP schools fundamental belief that "All of us WILL Learn

Educon 2.1 Session 3: Developing Digital Learning Spaces from Vision to Reality

I saw David Jakes last night and he encouraged me to check out some of what he and Ryan Bretag have been working on in Chicagoland with Digital Learning spaces, so I thought I'd take a look. Presentation will be here . Great image on the whole system. I hope to post it soon. Jakes started by working the room thanking folks for being here! Backchannel chat for the session is here . Quote from last night: "It's naive to think that there are problems out there that any one person can solve." 2100 and 2600 students. 2 building district. Push thinking and enlarge boundries of our thoughts. KEY QUESTION: What does it mean to be well educated in the 21st Century? Brainstorm from my group: Critical thinking, Know how to ask the right questions collaboration, transfer of learning, not based on the tools, ("Socially constructed pedagogy"), self-motivated-owning their own learning, Others: "critical and discerning navigators of the information sphere", kn

Educon 2.1: Project Based Learning in the Mathematics Classroom

Brad Latimer, Kenneth Rochester and Caitlin Latimer talked about benchmark projects that they have used in their mathematics curriculum. Note: This site has all of the sessions and streaming channels can be seen here . Here are the project discriptions Latimer - Each kid picked a city and had to get data on temperature and sunset times. Then they needed to apply transformations to sin and cosin functions to match their Requirements Graphs w/ functions and data Process guide Concept map tied to the rubric. Some students made brochure, some could create a presentation, etc... Alison, a student who's project was featured took data and put it in Excel, then into Geo-Sketchpad, and used "Pages" in iWork to create the brochure. She wanted a print out that people could take with them and not need a computer. What went well: Students grabbed a hold of it and were engaged. (In student journal entries), Open ended in how they would present the material, 5 core values were met

Educon 2.1: Lunch with Jeff Han at SLA

Cool impromptu lunch session with Jeff Han regarding multi-touch screens and it's possible uses in education. Multi-touch increases accessability and allows the power-user to do much more. The bottle-neck now is how we interact. Multi-touch allows us to match bandwith with user. Uses: Information rich/graphical content Medical Imaging Energy markets CNN!! On elections, now ABC and Fox-Small part of the business, but large media coverage! The anchor in control of the information, not prepared by a producer ahead of time. The key to the success CNN had was John King's knowledge of the information he was looking for and his ability to use the tool! More engaging for the audience. Maybe the closest thing to how this might be useful to education. Parallels in the lessons learned in the media with education. The tech he's working on is having an impact on students. Study Math if you want to do this!!!! There's a lot of number crunching going on here!

Educon 2.1 Session: Transition To Teaching in a Progressive School

Taking the advice of David Jakes , and given that all of the sessions are being streamed and archived here , I skipped Gary Stager's session on "The Best Education Ideas in the World" and attended this session by SLA Teachers Larissa Pahomov (English), Caitlin Thompson (Math) and Rosalind Echols (Physics). They were 3 of 9 new teachers this year. They were all fairly young, and had experience teaching with "Teach for America" and two taught in foreign countries. This was my experience as a "student" in the classroom. Feature of SLA - Advisory Wednesday Meetings Joint Responsibility for Planning School Curriculum Planning w/ Understanding By Design Collaboration (Internal, External) Caitlin (Math) shared her experience with collaboration within her department. All teach the same block, so they have 12 blocks a week free for planning. No department head...All co-teach a class. (Same class-more like a job share) Geometry with Brad Latimer

Educon 2.1: Saturday Opening Keynote: Dr. Maria Pitre-Chief Academic Officer, School District of Philadelphia

Huge crowd here at SLA for the opening session. Lots of energy in the room. Nice to see that Jeff Han, Joel Arquillos and Kendall Crolius stuck around from last night's panel to attend today. Haven't seen the others. Dr. Pitre "Bringing opportunities that are exciting and challenging to students." Philadelphi Public Schools core beliefs:(Her challenge-Is there alignment here at SLA?) Children come first -All decisions based on what's best for students. Students played a key roll in the planning for this conference. Parents are our partners -"parent round table" Victory is in the classroom facilitated by a strong instructional leader -teacher leaders as well. Leaders need a strong vision that they execute with Leadership and Accountability -Performance targets for each building...Coming to school, core curriculum, standardized tests It takes the engagement of the entire community -partnership w/Franklin Institute at SLA as an example In order for these

Notes on EduCon 2.1 Opening Panel Discussion: What is the Purpose of School?

The "Official" opening to Educon 2.1 featured a panel discussion on "the purpose of school" at the Franklin Institute. Panel Members included: Joel Arquillos -Executive Director of 826LA (Writing workshops) -his boss has now started “ Once upon a School ”, a program paring classroom teachers with adult community members. Dr. Molefi Asante -Professor, African American Studies, Temple University (1st African American Studies program in U.S.) Kendall Crolius -Founding Partner, The Sulevia Group, also affiliated w/Heifer International Jeff Han -Founder, Perceptive Pixel and inventor of the Multi-Touch Screen (iPhone users were genuflecting in his presence!) Prakash Nair -Co-Founder, Fielding Nair International- Archetects and Change Agents for Education Dr. Steven Squyres -Principal Investigator, Mars Exploration Rover Mission Diane Castelbuono Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education PA Department of Education Moderator-Frederic Bertley -Vice Pr

Educon 2.1: Science and Leadership Academy Site Visit

Friday afternoon I spent a few hours observing classes at the Science and Leadership Academy in Philadelphia prior to EduCon 2.1. Here are some of my observations: Students in 9 th grade here have an elective in Technology. Students pictured here are using Google Reader to access blogs to read. The teacher invited them to subscribe to blogs they thought would be interesting, suggesting Principal Chris Lehmann's as an example. I talked with students about battery life on their MacBooks . They have a lot of power strips for plugging in. A lot of times, they will do so during lunch. They have power hook ups in the ceiling of some areas. I stopped Chris Lehman in the hall to talk about the themes they have for each grade level. He talked about how they allow teachers to " serendipitously relate interdisciplinary learning" instead of saying "today we're going to do a project". For Themes, the Freshman focus on Identity , Sophomores on Systems , Juniors on

Creating Modern Math/Science Knowledge: Panel

During the discussion, the following comments were made: Big Picture Schools and SLA are examples of schools using Project Based Learning and Inquiry effectively. Foundation and Support are the key Right now the battle is between Project Based vs. Standards Based-My comment: Shouldn't projects be based on the standards? Stager: "NCLB was created by man, it can be undone by man!" Participant: "NCLB is not a bad thing, the execution is bad." "Most who bash it haven't read it" "9% of child's time from 0-18 is spent in a classroom" Charischak: "NCTM doesn't have computers at their conference anymore." David Thornburg mentioned this software developed by NASA for math. Thornburg: "I did read all of NCLB and found some good chuckles." ,"Within a year, more than half of AP test takers must be above average", Unfunded mandates: Technology, "What got funded was the cheap stuff: Measure, measure, measure.

Constructing Modern Math/Science Knowledge: The New Dynamic Classroom

Note: Frosh student just introduced described himself as a "visual learner." How many of our students would be able to identify their learning style? This same student is presenting a session on Sunday. Lots of power strips around here! In this session, Ihor Charischak discussed his work at the Center for Inovation in Education and Science dealing with Collaborative learning. He is now the proprietor fo the Dynamic Math Classroom Press. Part 1: Set the Stage "Well class, what did we learn today?"-Craig Fergusson Seymour Papert:Mindstorms (The book I used for my General Methods course !) "Spreadsheets, dynamic geometry software, and computer microworlds are useful tools for posing worthwhile problems." Charischak said that applets today are like microworlds. Part 2: Doing some type of activity which has been motivated by the first part Part 3: Kick back and Reflect The Knowledge Domain s 1. Ability to Use Tech Resources Software: Geometer's S

Constructing Modern Math/Science: Inquiry Driven Projects and the Development of STEM skills

Dr. David Thornburg , with whom I had a good breakfast conversation with, started with information from Mark Tucker ( about how in the US, creative work such as research, development, design, marketing, sales, and "Global Supply Chain Management" hasn't been outsourced as much as routine tasks done by people or machines which is done in less developed countries. Brazil, Russia, India and China has gotten much closer to us in GDP, despite the fact we have been growing. The way for us to stay ahead is to focus on Integrating STEM skills. Currently Math and Science are currently taught in traditional schools where technology and engineering are taught in specialized schools. They should be taught together! Thornburg lamented the fact that currently, 20th century mathematics is not being taught in our schools. The traveling salesman problem and the 4 color map problem, chaos theory are examples. Our task today: US economic recovery Energy independence Global Climate Change