Showing posts from April, 2011

Positive Disruption and Leading Change

School systems are faced with two major forces that I believe will cause sweeping changes: personalized learning and technology.  Personalized learning means different things to different people but it will likely involve significant changes for how teaching occurs, how students learn and demonstrate learning, who’s responsible for learning, how learning is assessed, what core knowledge should be, what skills must be learned, etc. along with a growing reliance on technology.  Turning to technology, there are some very significant trends occurring that will affect learning and teaching but also have a disruptive impact on the work of Information Technology (IT) departments.  The sky’s the limit when we’re talking about the future… Personalized Learning Teachers have an increasingly complex job to perform.  I was at a conference last week where one of the keynote speakers surveyed the audience on what the most important factor was for them being successful in school.  The crowd sourc

Technology Powered Assessment

I think one of the more complex aspects a teacher has to wrestle with is assessment and what is worth knowing or what should be understood.  There are many writers, speakers, workshops, etc. on how student learning should be assessed for learning, of learning, how to gather evidence, how to inform teaching, etc.  I’m not a teacher but if I was, I would find that my job has become much more difficult with all the expectations to backward design my lessons, cover an ever broadening curriculum, give my students continuous feedback, and then somehow differentiate learning to meet the abilities, readiness, preferences, and needs of my students.  Not only am I expected to undertake assessment of learning but now I have to make sure to assess for learning. Add to this expectations to integrate and use technology for teaching, to enable my students to use technology for their learning, to give them more control over their learning, and learn the new math curriculum…  It all seems rather exha

Fluency in a Technology Accelerated Age

As educators discuss what personalized learning is and how it might be implemented, I think a very important topic should be fluency. “ Fluency (also called volubility and loquaciousness ) is the property of a person or of a system that delivers information quickly and with expertise .”, Wikipedia (April 17, 2011) Traditional definitions, including Wikipedia’s, talk about a set of fluency skills: reading, writing, comprehension, and speaking.  In our era of technology driven everything, fluency is so much more.  I think the images that Sylvia Rosenthal Tolisano ( @langwitches ) created to depict Information, Media, Network, and Global fluencies provides a picture of a broader sense of fluency relevant to today. Becoming an expert in finding the best information, quickly, from multiple sources and mediums, knowing how to analyze, evaluate, and organize it, using it appropriately, and sharing your information is a highly valuable capability today.  With information doublin

Safe Surfing and Apps

It is fascinating how quickly new Internet services and now mobile devices and apps pop up.  It used to take years for innovation to take root and spread whereas now it seems every week there’s something new to be aware of.  There is so much power and convenience in these tools, what’s not to like!  Well, there are dangers lurking amongst the gems… I’ve been immersed in and managing my organization’s way through a serious issue related to online pornography.  Being a school District, we take issues like this very seriously.  I can’t provide many specifics ( read this newspaper article for more information ) but the gist of the problem is that an individual created a website on a free web hosting service and dedicated the site to serving pornographic images and videos.  Through pure coincident and how search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo work, that person’s inappropriate (horrific actually) images are automatically being intermingled with pictures from our school and District w

Technology is Why Education Must Change

It is fascinating to me how people lived and interacted historically.  I’m reading “ The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains ” by Nicholas Carr (Kindle version – quotes refer to Kindle locations) and finding the historical perspective he provides on literacy to be very interesting.  From oral only to writing on rocks, wood, wax, clay, papyrus, and paper.  It’s amazing that people only had brain memory and no recorded memory, for so many generations. Even contracts and laws were simply oral agreements.  Fortunately, symbols were developed to enable the representation of what was spoken in a permanent form.  When people first wrote using an alphabet the words all ran together and were not in a grammatically correct order and all reading was originally out loud.  As the technology for writing changed, so too did the capabilities of authors. “As soon as the introduction of word spaces made writing easier, authors took up pens and began putting their words onto the page