Wednesday, March 31, 2010

music, art, find it

speaking of Ted...

I watched part of War Dance today - that is about the healing power of music.  {war dance is not funny, i'm not even sure i can watch the rest of it}
And now am listening to Robert Gupta, a violinist with the LA Philharmonic, talking about a violin lesson he once gave to a brilliant, schizophrenic musician -- and what he learned
That music is medicine.

We don't need programs to fix ourselves, we need things, passions, bigger than ourselves. An art, which by it's own definition includes a service...
Passion is caring enough about your art that you will do almost anything to give it away, to make it a gift, to change people.  -Seth Godin, Linchpin
That giving away is the cure.
This is what school should be. The place to find that passion/art and work on it. Work on something bigger than yourself, not busy work, and I swear, personal problems/addictions, and world problems/addictions, will start to solve themselves.

Called back onstage later, Gupta plays his own transcription of the prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1. 
that's medicine for the listener as well....dang

ted talks - rich content into the classroom

technology won't replace the best teacher, but it will free up the teacher, for personalized work with kids.

one way is true bring rich content in the classroom - ted talks, tedxteen
and i would add - bif talks

i also think these talks are a great way to help kids find their art/passion, and/or feed it.


sesame st is to cells as 60 us to 10

take a listen..

The disdain some of us had of parents who let sesame st babysit their kids, because they didn't embrace a teachable moment by merely sitting with them, parallels the disdain we should have for not only letting cells babysit our kids outside of schools hours, but as teachers/parents, not sitting with them, embracing these powerful teachable moments.

in the interview:
isn't this just about rich kids w/phones?...’s about 2 bill cell phones in the develop world." 
bravo @Anya1anya

i asked Anya if ipod touch was useable, thinking she was talking about smart phones and thinking touch was cheaper than a phone w/a monthly plan.
her response:
anya1anya @monk51295
Richard Rowe of OLE sez TeacherMate software cd run on next gen el cheapo Nokia phones-the kind ppl use in India, Africa, etc.

Anya Kamentz - Open Ed

Anya Kamentz on the Open Ed Movement
via Michael Feldstein
1. look at Ted talks - great way to find out what might be your passion
2. take quizzes online - myers/briggs
3. college navigator can help you figure out how to cut costs

2011 - shame list will be released - colleges going up the highest - and why

as i'm listening to anya - she tweets this 

my response:
So glad I happened onto this. Great post, great video, great comments and links.

I am at the hs level, working on similar change. But also working with educators to make some drastic change in pre-service teacher training.

In our search for answers, we've come up with a diy highschool we are calling - your school-design it.  The premise and new standard being threefold, 1) access [to the web, tools, and time], 2) teachers modeling personal learning networks [modeling true learning], and 3) students engaged in personal learning networks. All this feeds into the personalized ed that I heard Anya talking about.

In our vision, we see k-8 as the place for foundational content standards, only through logic and programming and gaming. [and recently i've wondered about introducing everything as a foreign language, after spending kids' first few years learning 1-3 foreign languages.]
We see 9-12 as a quasi college, where kids spend time as Anya suggested, researching Ted talks, finding their art/passion, and then creating their own courses/curriculum to that end.
And then, we see higher ed, as a quasi career, where many are no longer paying for higher ed. We see higher ed cost perhaps non-existent, because students are in essence interning for their future employer, and know that free courses with no actual certificate will more than suffice. Or, major companies are actually paying for their tuition in return for their innovative ideas. Or, the government realizes that the answers to world problems would best be solved by these brilliant minds, if given the trust and resources to but tackle them.

It's ridiculous that change isn't happening faster.
The power of networking should make this a simple fix. I ask myself daily if the stall is because so many are that afraid of change. Especially when the change we need empowers students - which for some crazy reason unsettles the people who are used to making the decisions.
So many debates about "free" when really it's about better use. Flow of money, I think, is coming to a close. I think transparency is the new currency. I think school as real life, solves world problems without that flow of money, and gives students more purpose and fulfillment in their learning experience.

I feel it's ridiculous as well, that government is missing this.
I feel we can make this change on our own, because of the personalization, diy pln's etc, the web allows. We don't need more resources, or money, or time, if we are just smarter about how we spend each one.
But ...if we could get governing forces, [ie: the government, the rulers of the unis and public schools], to get this, and see that it really is the best option for all players, the speed and equity would alleviate a ton of stress, and seemingly endless debate.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson interview with Steve Hargadon

rough notes.. need to clean... so worse than illiterate just now.. :)

Sir Ken Robinson in an interview with Steve Hargadon  

on his book The Element - talks about 3 individuals - stories

not touchy feely - but serious

most people don't find the thing they love to do in their lives

we're wasting time
we've educated people for the industrial wealth
we have too much disillusion an disengagement

 a lot to do with humanizing education
joe - what did you mean by organic vs industrial - bad metaphors

SharonP: Isn't it interesting that run of mill - plain-jane public schools are not getting mentioned?

elvis presley wasn't allowed in the glee club at school, the other kids thought he would ruin their sound

we have to think differently, everyone has a talent

his talks are listened to by so many... so let's gather that many and change things..

10 yrs ago - people weren't taking the green argument that seriously, seen as a vaguely hippie thing
but now - the idea has taken roots
whatever the cause - there's been a shift in sensibility

ken thinks we might be approaching the same thing in our thinking about people.
people are ready for a shift.

40 years ago - only like 4 consumer electronics... no reason to go back to best buy
today.. no end
digital culture has changed everything

what is digital tech giving ?
1. avalanche to new creative thinking - new outlets
2. more connectedness than before (people and info)

lots of myths about creativity
most achievements are collaborative
draws from our interactions with others
where's my tribe - finding others that share your passions
raises the bar

post by aaron eyler  - just tweeted during this talk
told the fireman story, student saving a teacher

linchpin.. true passion doesn't let resistance stop them

"i don't find it whimsical that everyone can find their passion, .. in fact , i see that as a huge disservice if we disregard it."

a big argument in the book about energy

Steve said it feels like the book starts and ends with education.

he says it's meant to be the primary way to face the future,
it's strategically and fantastically important

it's not that there are standardized tests
it's that it's a multi billion dollar industry, and not much is done for ed with it

engage people so they are excited about learning...

492 here
the blue school (link?)

ted talk on open source - source of sharism - cameron sinclair


Monday, March 29, 2010

fridge worthy

a little marketing.. to let our community see the possibilities if we empower their children...

go ahead... click the fridge.
you want to add some videos? go here.
check this out on facebook, here.
your school site?.. here


race to the top?

gosh i hope this isn't true...

about Duncan is easy to understand what he is trying to do with education: 
expand charter schools, 
increase student standardized testing, 
link teacher pay to test scores 
and close down the nation’s lowest-performing schools.


race to nowhere

When this movie comes out... it should be our "school" for the day. 
A national day of considering what matters.. learning about making changes.

thank you for the link Tom Whitby.


hans rosling - let's do it because it's possible

a new way to use leggo's

the difference - the entire public has to accept the world of equal nations... accept the notion that no one has a given advantage over the rest of the world.

the human force is the engine.

we have enough human resources, enough capital, enough possibility to make a good world.

let's do it... because it's possible.

lauren and andi

why we need to get out of the way more...

Lauren and Andi rock... all the way down to the perfect outline.

Give kids time and space.. (rather than busy work)
oh... the places we'll go.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

national broadband plan

indispensable infrastructure for the 21st century

click here (or picture) for national broad band plan video and info.

a platform for opportunity, innovation, solutions to many major challenges facing our nation.

many don't have:
worldclass speeds,

every person should have on public destination, access to broadband at 1 gig or higher

current 65% have this

universal digital literacy, kids have tools they need, and literacy needed.

broadband can then help solve all other problems

(esp if we unleash it to students first)

pivot from planning to action.

more of info here:  

to note from here
With broadband, students and teachers can expand instruction beyond the confines of the physical classroom and traditional school day. Broadband can also provide more customized learning opportunities for students to access high-quality, low-cost and personally relevant educational material.

I think we all agree this screams - personalization, which is what we need most and the ultimate beauty of web access. We just need to keep from falling back into our traditional method of assessing it's success. 
From a first hand experience this year.. that was one of our major take-a-ways. As much as the kids wanted to learn and try innovative activities, etc, the rest of "school" where grades and testing drives the loudest, always trumped their prime time. 
Until we also determine a new means of standardized testing - that is voiced 10 years ago by Alfie Kohn, and that we share here, learning and thinking and creating and innovating will continue to be sold out to the ability to recall skills you know on a given test.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Alfie Kohn - the schools our children deserve

this is ridiculous... this video is over 10 years old....
notes on the video:

the reason there are no standardized tests in Japan, when the government proposed to administer such tests, the teachers organized themselves to fight it, because they knew the damage standardized tests did, and they won.

tests for colorado teachers:
1. your job is on the line - to raise standards for these tests
2. just make sure you are doing a good job
#1 did a poorer job

upstate ny: similar but didn't test kids, but looked at what went on in the classroom
in #1 group - teachers became drill sergeants
teachers were controlled and responded by being controlling

heavy handed, top down, test driven, is in violation in basic laws of psychology and don't work

no longer a good teacher, because i don't do projects any more.. now i'm held accountable to raise test scores.

standardized testing dumb down schools
even worse when they're high stakes... with bribes, etc

1. misunderstands motivation
big difference on getting kids focused on what they're doing in school
and getting them focused on how well they're doing it
focus needs to be on stuff i want to figure out, to love learning and keep doing it on their own time.
first, kids lose interest in the learning itself, now it's not stuff i want to figure out, it's stuff i have to get better at.
when we overemphasize results and performance, it may be at the expense of engagement and long term motivation to learn.
with high stakes, kids will pick the easiest way to do things... or the easiest things to do.

kids aren't being lazy, they are being very smart in disfunctional situations - when given the job of better grades and test scores... they are smart to take the short cut

kids become less interested in learning itself
kids gravitate to easier tasks
kids think more superficially

as opposed to kids doing the same tasks with no grades at all

it's possible to get so carried away with standards that you are no longer talking about a learning environment

what did you get on that essay, what did the teacher think of it
how did you pick your topic, did you discover anything that surprised you

2. get teaching and learning wrong
tougher standards vs back to basics (a misnomer we never left), schools are overwhelmingly traditional,
still get letter or number grades
still separated by age
hw is assigned unilaterally by teacher
rewards/punishment as determined utilaterally by adults
bell schedule
tracking - honors vs basic

a lot of us get nervous in a district where teachers are doing innovative things, the kinds of learning experiences that the best teachers offer make parents nervous.. 
the listerine theory of ed: it tastes bad but it's good for you

the very ed that turns out to be so unpalitable for out kids, also turns out to be the least productive.
in the name of tougher standards, we accelerate the bad teaching that has lead us to where we are now

the reason we're behind? we've held to back to basics
in japan, they use like 1 problem in an entire class

craming kids full of facts and skills

3. get assessments wrong
raising standards = raising scores on dreadful tests
a) multiple choice - means kids can't explain their own answers
b) timed - no time for kids to reflect and think
c) early age - kids under 3rd grade should never be given a standardized test

if kids can't remember on command a simple fact, they may not get to graduate, no student should be expected to do what a cross section of the community cannot

norm referenced tests (percentile tests) - designed to artificially space out the scores in order to sort kids..
if a question is on it that most kids get right - it is replaced with another problem, it's not to celebrate success, but to rank

passing kids along is not nearly as devastating as flunking them

they can't lose the way they've set up the argument
if they get better - bravo - more basics
they get worse - more basics

parents should be enraged if teachers are teaching to the test

any test that teachers are drilling in their kids is no longer a valid test 

quality goes down when you offer rewards

4. get the idea of how you do school reform wrong
people don't resist change, they resist being changed

5. get the whole notion of improvement wrong
assumption: harder is better
we place too much emphasis on making it harder - there are so many more meaningful criteria for improvement
if a kid is bored, it's not that the work isn't hard enough, it's that they are doing a worksheet, memorizing, etc. it's not that things need to be tougher, or move ahead a couple of grades, just needs to be more about thinking.

the most enthusiastic proponents of change, tend to be those the least educated on best practices

2 things completely lacking:
1. democracy
2. common sense

japan math teacher: goal is to have kids understand
american math teacher: goal is to have kids nail skills
educating hearts and minds - by Catherine Lewis
John Dewey, talked about more in Japan than here

great questions to ask:
is that the only way you can get the answer?

a lot of stuff we did as kids - was as pointless as we thought it was at the time.


broadband plan

this looks good - yes?

That bill included proposals to amend E-Rate by adding a five-year, $2.5 billion residential broadband voucher pilot program for students; a four-year, $200 million e-book pilot program; and refinements to program administration designed to ease the application process. It also proposed extending E-Rate to community colleges and to head start facilities and implementing adjustments for inflation.

Setting minimum goals, to be reviewed periodically, for school and library connection speeds;

Removing regulatory barriers to online learning, including teacher accreditation across state lines and course accreditation based more on mastery than on "seat time."

there's so much going on in the world.

let's not miss it.
let's be smart about how we spend our days.


Emmanuel Jal - the music of a war child

take a listen

He says he'd die for education.
He ends with... go save the life of a child.

from #tedxteen

Lasic helping us see

Wish the world could just stop for 1 second and take this in.
If we seriously realize what we're doing.. how can we not change?


note taking

wow... what a great model.. what a great way to take notes.. at a conference... in a class.

Thank you Kim Cofino for sharing and taking...from #etc2010


when callie met shelly - priceless

how cool is this...

meet up at #istek

Friday, March 26, 2010

shift focus from teaching to helping students

Confessions of a Converted Lecturer - Eric Mzur
test of 4 groups that showed regardless of the teacher, the kids learned very little
when his kids took a test not made by him, way simpler, they asked, how would you like us to answer? how you've taught us - or how we think about these things?

Beginning of printing press - the only way to deliver info was lecture.

student who does well on the conceptual problem tends to do well on the conventional problem, but not vice versa
40% do well on conventional but have no clue of the basics.
what are these 40%
how would you characterize these 40% - what are they doing?
if physics is reduced to applying (boring) recipes to problems... - it is boring
the 100% on conventional, but not even able to get 2 points from conceptual.

conventional problems:

very first thing you see - is this and very first thing you think is Kirchhoff's Law
gosh - this is so similar to Dan Meyers presentation of striping a problem...

oh i love this.. Harvard guys' results are our results....this is exactly what we have found to be a best practice......

you let them talk to each other... 40% will talk with the 9% and the 50%....
prof has no clue what is going on in kids' mind, but other kids do... they have all only recently learned it..

concept test: (or as we call it... talk to your people)

he says... turn to your neighbor and convince them of your answer..

2 features:
1. active engagement. can't sleep because every 2 minutes your neighbor will talk to you
2. info flow. don't have to wait till test time to see if they get stuff or not, and can see where they stand with respect to rest of class w/o it affecting their grade

is this any good:

by asking better and better questions,, and ones that are not on your pre and post test... results for him tripled


end of semester evals/student exam performance very misleading indicators
ed is not about info but about how to use info..

interesting - from closing questions:
he said change always comes from outside.. ?

one conclusion he had - we try to cover too much... relax coverage and work on comprehension

now they write: Prof Mazur is not teaching us anything, we have to learn it all ourselves
students own perception of how they learn is often so bent on how they've been trained
how to pull them out - show the data

everything you do needs to involve student thinking, labs, hands on, they can be rote as well...
he said he learned the most in a research group as an apprentice... so - good to know for pre-teacher..
he's not sure what goals are for a lab...  (in harvard)
syllabus defines most courses by content
should define by learning out comes..
ie: after talking this course, should be able to...
in lab - no goals articulated at all

all exams are open book... whatever book...
because - when i write a paper... you get to use all resources..
should apply the same to students - have access to all info
because it's not about remembering it - but about using it..
because now - info is so ubiquitous
so now - a lot of old problems can't be asked anymore... if you can pull it out of text book - not a good question..
have to be creative in assessing the students understanding

Kes Sampanthar - one of our amazing expert tutors

whoa Kes -
this Gizmido is you?

and this Cynergy magazine kiosk?
and this?

and this microsoft surface?


open wifi usage stats

daily usage stats for St Vrain from this post via Bud Hunt

Curious as to why the general browsing is so big? Is that normal? Any chance techniques in searching would minimize that?
I know my kids spend a lot of time with youtube, but at home since ours is blocked. Watching a video sucks up time for sure.
Everything they create they shoot to youtube for the audience. But again, because of minimal to no instruction on how to publish a youtube video, I know they spend too much time with that. I know I do as well.
So again, wondering about more instruction in that area, if that would free more space.


higher ed

so @edtechsteve put a call out to join him on scribblr for a chat about higher ed - pre-service teacher's programs.

about 10 of us meet... share some ideas... wonder how we'll get unis to listen..

insight: i got to pilot an open source math class - his daughter was in the class - that's where his opinion is coming from.
this is cool jets.. how many are ready to do this - if we just ask..

by the way - on the success (?) of the open source class. (link to come)


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Globaloria - wow..

This site brought to my attention by a new dear friend Bonnie. 

Her facebook description tells a lot about her keen wisdom:
I am neither a digital immigrant, or a digital native, or digitally deficit. I am a digital facilitator. Technology as media for expression, communication , etc... see Dr. Chip Bruce's ideas on this. I help to facilitate new types of learning.


Using Elluminate In International School Partnerships

my notes from the session:

58 participants

3 activities:
wordsearch - made it on a free tool, turned into powerpoint, can see who is interacting
map - accessible initially by teacher only, then one person at a time - drag and drop countries
group work - put into a breakout room, each room has a task on the whiteboard, have 3 min to complete task

moderator - 
Heather Clevenger
speakers - 
Val Brooks
Mike Damiano

computer froze - someone took over - she logged out and back into another computer - nice trouble shooting

wow.. can get a room even if your school doesn't use elluminate
sign up as individual - get your own vroom

then when student collab - that's when institution may go through a license

valbrooks  -contact info

now mike
last year - 7 million participants
online parade
nurses training nurses
colours of life - (wiki) - kindergartners collaborating, spain, poland, romania, itlay

learn central - like a free facebook for educators

contacts - esp today's speakers

where archive is  - right to today's page


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alfie Kohn on homework

interview with Alfie Kohn
cut and paste of my fav parts:

The idea that the point of school is not to help kids become deep thinkers who love to learn but rather to take standardized tests better than their counterparts in other countries represents a warped set of priorities if I've ever seen one.

More and more homework is being required of younger and younger children as the tougher-standards fad trickles down. This is part of the horrific tendency to remake schools in the image of factories, where kindergarten now comes to resemble the worst first grade classrooms, where the only question that matters is how will this raise the test scores and make the adults look better.  

Parents have to start asking the questions that matter. This drives me nuts, that parents confine themselves to asking piddly questions about whether kids are allowed to use the Internet for a certain assignment, or when it's due, instead of asking questions like, "What reason is there to think that this assignment is worth doing, what evidence exists to show that traditional homework is necessary for children to become better thinkers?"