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Sometimes I wonder why RSS never really caught on. It is such a convenient way to customize your news (as you so eloquently describe). My hope is that mobile apps like Flipboard and Zite add enough visual appeal and ease of use to get RSS "over the hump".
Thanks for making me think, Bill! Now you've got my mind swirling with the possibility of using self-assessment for science skills like measurement and data analysis. I could see peer observation or review of videotaped activities being effective for this. What do you think?
Jane, Thanks for sharing this perspective. I had no idea that such a big district was engaged in something that I wish my (slightly) smaller one could achieve. I agree that evidence-based assessment and student-led conferences are key. How about electronic portfolios for the middle and high schoolers to show what they know?
Bill, As you know, this is a topic that has been on mind a lot over the past few months. I have decided that the steps you describe here might be the easy ones for me and my PLC. What we will need to focus out efforts on this year is the second part: teaching and reinforcing work behaviors. We need to come up with a system that builds intrinsic motivation for my students to complete their work on time and to do their best everyday. Thanks for expressing this point so clearly.
Bill, I find myself suffering from the "grass is always greener" mindset far too often. I consider switching schools because I believe that the success I have enjoyed in my current learning community will simply transfer with me to any new location. I have to remember what you've shared here: that an effective teacher is a product of training, experience, leadership, and environment. Also, I think "gasstation" has got it wrong. Bill isn't suggesting that business leadership is solution to what ails American education. On the contrary, he's saying that there may be parallels, but the principles are not universal. Or, am I completely wrong?
I agree with Meredith that the "personal" part of PLN is what I tend to value the most. Having a beer with folks whom I respect is an experience I remember long after the conference is over. In fact, I often have the best conference experiences when I spend most of the time talking and sharing ideas with others. But, I think that Twitter and blog comments help to set the stage for those interactions. That's critical for me.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2010 on The Importance of a PLN. . . at The Tempered Radical
I have redesigned my instruction over the last year to better focus on "big picture" concepts and less on details, but (as other commenters have stated) it is all dependent on the state curriculum and the standardized test. What *I* think is important for my students to know is really not the issue, but rather what the policy makers consider to be critical skills and knowledge.
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As a teacher who started my life in the world of life sciences, my only fear of the "Here Comes Everyone" shift in education is that some ideas need to be tested before they should be accepted. In science, we use the tenets of peer review to build trust in the conclusions that come out of our experiments. Pseudoscience followers (the anti-vaccine movement and intelligent design proponents to name a few) use the democracy of the internet to promote untested hypotheses without merit. In some situations, the processes put in place to validate data serve a necessary purpose. Like Parry, however, I see that simple data collection devices like yours don't seem to need the lengthy validation process. Let's just not throw out the scientific process in the name of convenience. Paul
I completely agree with Nancy, in that the real utility comes from the data and how a teacher uses it. I think that far too many teachers are using student responders now like game show remotes. They ask simple recall questions, and show the data to the entire class. I like the idea of storing that data, disaggregated by student, so that I can track student learning. I can adjust my instruction, report to parents, and even customize activities to the needs of individual students. Technology should help us do new things, not just do old things faster.
My own respect (fear?) of my more seasoned colleagues make it very difficult for me to cross the barrier and push for change in my PLC. I'm starting to realize that this is a problem with ME, not with THEM. Thanks for the push, Bill.