Bookmarked: Educational Leadership Weekly (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Notes on Writing This Week (weekly)

  • tags: writing diigo research education

  • tags: writing thesis dissertation highered

    • Rites of passage are an unavoidable part of life.
    • “Propose your dissertation idea as early as possible,”
    • The best approach to writing a thesis or dissertation? Think early and think often.
    • “Talking to friends and family— many of whom are unfamiliar with your topic and the academic jargon you use—will improve how you articulate your topic and ideas; speaking with colleagues and professors will ensure that you’re on the right track and have an appropriate plan for your data analysis.”
    • knowing, from the outset, how you will organize your research
    • “Keep well organized notes, and use keywords to refer back to the literature,”
    • reference manager program like Refworks or Endnote
    • plan out my writing time each week
      • Know when you’re most productive too. Early morning and mid-afternoon for me. Possible 3rd wind at 6:45pm
    • write every day
    • “It’s important to have a concrete timeline with realistic goals,”
    • protect this time like it’s the most precious thing in the world.
    • turn your cell phone off
    • the thesis or dissertation process doesn’t have to be a solitary affair.
    • “Make time for yourself, your friends, and your family,” said Patricia Allen. “Don’t tell them you’re too busy! Exercise often—I do this at least three times a week—and eat your fruits and vegetables every day. Happy and healthy graduate students make for more prolific dissertation and thesis writers.”
  • tags: writing productivity hardware software

    • Laptop: Thinkpad X200
    • two different batteries for the ThinkPad
    • backup drive at the office
    • Phone: I’ve got a Google/HTC NexusOne
    • Operating system: I’m using Ubuntu
    • impressing me with spectacular Just Workingness
    • Ubuntu’s support for 3G wireless modems is vastly superior to the experience on the Mac and under Windows, where the 3G drivers are commercial and typically supplied by the cellular companies
    • I use Thunderbird, an industrial-strength local e-mail client that’s free and open, overseen by the Mozilla Foundation, best known for their Firefox browser. I find the spam filtering tolerably good, and I augment it by automatically adding every e-mail address I reply to to my address book, then using a filter to automatically color e-mail from my past correspondents green
    • I store my archived e-mails in nested folders:
    • I access my e-mail through an SSH tunne
    • Android POP client called K-9 mail
    • I dream of a faster, more robust search for Thunderbird. I have so much useful and important info in my archived e-mail, but Thunderbird is slow and poky when it comes to searching through all those millions of messages
    • Browser: I use Firefox, along with a small group of very useful plugins: CustomizeGoogle, which lets me see more search results (100 at a time), with miniature thumbnails for each; Linky (which lets me open a lot of links at once in multiple tabs, useful for articles that have been divided into multiple sections); and TinEye, an image search tool that helps me find the original version of images that I’ve located in anonymous corners of the web (great for making sure I credit the right source in a blog post)
    • Calendar: Thunderbird again.
    • Wishlist: I dream of having an RSS reader that will archive everything in every RSS feed I’ve ever read, and let me search it, fast, on my own hard drive. ZOMG. Drool. All that personalized corpus, in hyperlinked, cached, high-availability low-latency glory.
    • Office suite: I use the free/open OpenOffice.org.
    • Writing: I use a plain-jane text editor that comes with Ubuntu called Gedit
    • I like writing in simple environments that don’t do anything except remember what words I’ve thought up. It helps me resist the temptation to tinker with formatting.
      • YES YES YES
    • I use the GIMP for image manipulation; digiKam for image organizing and Flickr uploading; Ksnapshot for sophisticated screenshotting, Banshee as a media player, VLC for videos
    • My personal blogs all run on WordPress
    • Ubuntu bootable maintenance USB stick

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Education Links Bookmarked (weekly)

  • tags: blog republic seniorproject

  • tags: flow blog

  • tags: dewey model blog school

    • To become a citizen, one must learn how to live and participate in a communit
    • active, deliberate and rational participation
    • learn how to use the instrument of citizenship to manage, if not eradicate, our inner selfishnes
    • diurnal detention camp
    • Far from developing necessary skills and natural talents, this kind of school prepares students only for one possible future: college — school by another name. A pricey, pointless weigh station where students, future members of the work force, are scouted and sized-up with the wrong metric
    • They worked hard to make it big by doing something, anything in the world but not anything for the world. By and large, these former students were ambitious to be sure, but also unhappy and depressed and unfulfilled
    • shows students the old path to an old idea of prosperity
    • drive every citizen toward a higher, greater good
    • It’s a platform that enables children to self-actualize
    • moral
  • ““The other class did well with this. What’s wrong with you guys?””

    tags: blog

  • tags: blog model

    • How can we make schools better so we can churn out a more highly educated workforce that will ensure our global economic dominance continues?
    • No one wants the American economy to fail, but what if the point of school isn’t cranking out degreed workers that will help us beat China?
    • “School isn’t school. It is the birthplace of the citizen ideal.”
      • DEWEY.
    • If it sounds a little pie-in-the-sky, think about the alternative. Students aren’t exactly breaking down the classroom door to learn disconnected facts that they’ll regurgitate onto standardized tests
    • In this vision, schools would become hyper-local.
  • tags: blog

    • The Common Core Standards seem to be a hot button issue for which there is no middle ground. You are either for them or against them.
    • Somewhere in my mind I find this as a cop-out for change, for action, for making things different, and getting things done.
    • Only actual instruction can change achievement. It is about the living, breathing people who bring education to children.
    • assessment is not going to ever be a thing of the past
    • I am pro-innovation, ingenuity and arts integrated education. If you do any of that in a vague way without standards and accountability, it is simply not serious in my mind.
    • Teaching to the test is a huge criticism–so what do you suggest to be taught? Should we test on things that are not taught?  The issue is teachers spitting out information and students regurgitating it.
    • Frameworks are good, but they are not living and active.
    • One set of standards, one set of assessments, and yes, they should NOT be multiple choice.
    • Students need to learn how to learn and where to find information.
    • Please tell me again why this is a bad thing?

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Bookmarked: Educational Leadership Weekly (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Education Links Bookmarked (weekly)

  • tags: creativity teaching learning blog

    • it becomes tempting to resort to drill-and-kill teaching methods that cover information in a generic, surface-level way
    • fostering curiosity
    • teenagers are interested in almost anything taught well and with passion
    • I’m continually amazed how teaching an applicable skill piques students’ curiosity and prompts them to do more research. Last year, my students wondered about the claims that wealthy Americans pay more taxes than the rest of us. So they graphed the tax tables, fit functions to them, and reverse-engineered the equations the IRS uses to figure taxable income and tax rates.
    • They not only have a deeper understanding of math, they can also explain how taxation affects populations and their political choices.
    • test-driven push to quickly cover the state-mandated curriculum is growing. As a result, in too many classrooms students feign interest and are afraid to make mistakes
  • tags: research assessment grading grades blog learning

    • You can tell a lot about a teacher’s values and  personality just by asking how he or she feels about giving grades.  Some  defend the practice, claiming that grades are necessary to “motivate”  students.
    • the most impressive teachers are those who  despise the whole process of giving grades.  Their aversion, as it turns out,  is supported by solid evidence that raises questions about the very idea of  traditional grading.
    • 1.  Grades tend to reduce students’ interest in the  learning itself
    • they  are likely to come to view that task (or book or idea) as a chore. 
    • these two ways of thinking generally pull in  opposite directions
    • 2.  Grades tend to reduce students’ preference for  challenging tasks
    • Students of all ages who have been led to concentrate on  getting a good grade are likely to pick the easiest possible assignment if  given a choice
    • The more pressure to get an A, the less inclination to truly  challenge oneself.
    • 3.  Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’  thinking.
    • students who tended to think about current  events in terms of what they’d need to know for a grade were less  knowledgeable than their peers
    • 4. Grades aren’t valid, reliable, or objective. 
    • what grades offer is spurious precision – a subjective rating  masquerading as an objective evaluation
      • This has always been the case.
    • 5. Grades distort the curriculum.
    • 6. Grades waste a lot of time that could be spent on  learning
    • 7. Grades encourage cheating
    • 9.  Grades spoil students’ relationships with each  other.
    • “It is not a symbol of rigor to have grades  fall into a ‘normal’ distribution; rather, it is a symbol of failure –  failure to teach well, failure to test well, and failure to have any  influence at all on the intellectual lives of students” (Milton et al., 1986,  p. 225).
      • but people looooove winners and losers.
    • The competition that turns schooling into a quest for  triumph and ruptures relationships among students doesn’t just happen within  classrooms, of course. 
    • I’ve taught  high school students who reacted to the absence of grades with what I can  only describe as existential vertigo.
    • high schools point the finger at colleges
    • It’s more an indictment of what has happened to them in the  past than an argument to keep doing it in the future
    • Many teachers are loath to give up what is essentially an  instrument of control.  But even to the extent this instrument works (which  is not always), we are obliged to reflect on whether mindless compliance is  really our goal.
    • bribes (A’s) and threats (F’s)
    • “If I can’t give a child a better reason for studying  than a grade on a report card, I ought to lock my desk and go home and stay  there.”  So wrote Dorothy De Zouche, a Missouri teacher, in an article  published in February . . . of 1945. 
    • traditional grades are not mandatory for admission to  colleges and universities.
    • people don’t resist  change – they resist being changed.
    • The first  step for an administrator, therefore, is to open up a conversation – to spend  perhaps a full year just encouraging people to think and talk about the  effects of (and alternatives to) traditional grades.
    • Anyone who has heard the term “authentic assessment”  knows that abolishing grades doesn’t mean eliminating the process of  gathering information about student performance – and communicating that  information to students and parents
    • narratives
    • portfolios
    • projects
    • conferences
    • exhibitions
    • it’s harder for a teacher to do these kinds  of assessments if he or she has 150 or more students and sees each of them  for 45-55 minutes a day.  But that’s not an argument for continuing to use  traditional grades; it’s an argument for challenging these archaic remnants  of a factory-oriented approach to instruction,
    • It’s an argument for looking into block scheduling, team  teaching, interdisciplinary courses
    • whether schools exist  for the purpose of competitive credentialing or for the purpose of helping  everyone to learn
    • traditional grading undermines excellence
    • they should do everything within their power to make grades as invisible  as possible for as long as possible.
    • Helping students forget about grades is  the single best piece of advice for creating a learning-oriented classroom.
      • Yes!! This is what I’ve been doing!
    • as the days went by, fewer and fewer students felt the need to ask  me about grades
    • get students  involved in devising the criteria for excellence (what makes a math solution  elegant, an experiment well-designed, an essay persuasive, a story  compelling) as well as deciding how well their projects met those criteria.
    • give up control
    • helping students participate in assessment and turn that  into part of the learning
    • powerful alternatives to letter grades
    • plenty of admissions officers enjoy the  convenience of class ranking, apparently because they have confused being  better than one’s peers with being good at something; they’re looking for  winners rather than learners.
  • tags: grades assessment schools blog

    • nothing changed
      • What has changed now?
    • we all know the downsides of the narrow focus on reading and math scores in grades three through eight and once in high school.
    • It penalizes schools with an educational strategy that succeeds in the long term but doesn’t produce sky-high scores now.
    • it undervalues other important contributions that schools make, such as to students’ character development and social skills
    • Teaching is a very human act; evaluating good teaching takes human judgment—and the teacher’s role in the school’s life, and her students’ lives, goes beyond measurable academic gains.
    • actionable feedback
      • instead of just punishable data
    • nuances missed by the value-added data
    • It still assumes that we can take discrete bits of data and spit out a credible assessment of organizations as complex as schools
    • Fund managers don’t just look at the profit and loss statements for the companies in which they invest. They send analysts to go visit with the team, hear about their strategy, kick the tires, talk to insiders, find out what’s really going on. Their assessment starts with the numbers, but it doesn’t end there.
    • Such a system would remain imperfect. Human judgment would introduce subjectivity and error into the process.
  • tags: Rubrics assessment grades blog

    • I struggled for months trying to create ‘student-proof’ rubrics that would allow me to consistantly assess their learning.
    • making the choice for what something would be out of was a huge deal, as it very much affected the grade my students ended up with.
    • there is nothing in between barely passing 50% and 75%. That’s a large leap
    •  And if I give half marks on the 5 point scale, I might as well use the 10 point scale.
    •  And if you don’t like number or letter grades, there is no shortage of teachers who would rather use word descriptors
    • even when teachers move away from numbers or letters, the kids or parents may not.
    • Symantics become the largest problem with written judgements like these
    • Teachers could spend the rest of their careers attending professional development sessions where we discuss, argue, bicker and nit-pick over which reductionist scale is better. Some teachers may like numbers, some letters, while others prefer happy faces or words. There may be small, almost indistinguishable differences between these scales, but keep in mind they all have one common characteristic – they are all reductionist in nature. They all attempt to take something as messy and beautiful as learning and reduce it all to a single or double digit.
    • Paul Dressel
    • A mark or grade is an inadequate report of an inaccurate judgment by a biased and variable judge of the extent to which a student has attained an indefinite amount of material.
    • Grades and rubrics are a solution in search of a problem
  • tags: higher education blog social media

    • I wrote off Twitter as a poor man’s version of Facebook, one that winnowed away features like photographs and event invitations for the brevity of the pure status update. As far as I could tell, Twitter was a self-indulgent site on which people posted the minutia of their daily lives.
    • the role that Twitter can play in helping academics keep track of new developments in teaching and learning.
    • “I was under the misconception, like many, that Twitter was mostly people sharing what they had for breakfast.”
    • I realized that Twitter could be a medium for smart, engaging conversations, too.
    • It seemed like I was missing out on a vibrant conversation, and I wanted to join in
    • “It’s a bit like the chit-chat that occurs in the lobby at a good conference: You never know what interesting thing someone will share.”
    • If I want to know what my friends had for breakfast, I can always turn to Facebook; if I want to learn about the most current research findings in teaching and learning, I now turn to Twitter.
    • the “distraction potential of Twitter” can be managed
    • Just dipping into the ‘stream’ every now and then is still very useful
  • tags: khan blog

    • Sylvia Martinez, president of Generation YES, is our guest this week and she helps us answer an important question. Is Khan Academy a Monday solution?
  • tags: high school blog

    • Teachers must make somewhere around 5,000 decisions a day — so it’s no wonder I often cannot answer the question, “What’s for supper?” My feet hit the Mooresville (NC) High School parking lot at 6:45 a.m., and I feel like I’m nibbled by piranhas for the next ten hours:
    • Even with more than 25 years of experience, I am always learning. I delve into research about how students learn, read up on education practice and policy, and continue to change how I teach to better meet students’ needs.
  • tags: ideas learning blog

    • Annie Murphy Paul, the author of Origins, is at work on a book about the science of learning. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, Discover, and Health. Follow her on Twitter here, friend her on Facebook and read her blog.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Bookmarked: Educational Leadership Weekly (weekly)

  • tags: elpf reform

    • this generation of students isn’t waiting to be asked what they think.
    • These examples paint a picture of students that are certainly a far cry from the stereotype of the next generation as self-centered kids who spend all their time texting each other.
    • it’s clear that there’s an increased student consciousness about education issues, and they want to get involved—and when they do, they have good ideas.
  • tags: elpf reform

  • tags: learning grades education elpf

    • It’s professionally engaging to come up with something worthy of a bit of brow furrowing
    • What knowledge can be culled from their natural curiosity?
    • inquiry
    • pushed these students into the most critical avenues of the mind.
    • Sadly, no matter how hard I try, this natural curiosity ends up squandered. The specter of grading always creeps its way into my lessons.
    • the important things will show themselves through my natural investigation
    • I have enjoyed enough to assess my own understanding and remediate when necessary. Telling me I have a B-level understanding and then closing up shop is not only offensive, it flies in the face of what we claim to be doing in education: creating life-long learners;
  • tags: reform research teaching elpf

    • using the term “performance pay” reinforces the dominant idea of tying teacher pay to student test results.
    • Semantics are important.
    • the all too prevalent either-or educational debates are a waste of time and creative energy.
    • Finland has a different value system and that teachers can’t immediately effect change in our cultural values or nationwide policies
    • reduced teaching time, adequate funding of faculty development, and built-in time for collaborative planning. That foundation of teacher support is achievable on a school and district level.
      • Reduced teaching time does not necessarily mean more teachers, it may mean changing the schedule.
    • There is a hunger here for much of what is being done in Finland.
    • Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan that every teacher and administrator interested in changing the culture of teaching should read. Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School is at the top of my “must read” list. The chapter on “Enacting Change” is particularly important.
      • Change is slow and can start with bringing together a few highly respected teachers within a school. 
      • A cohesive small group of highly motivated, strategically savvy teachers, administrators and parents within a district can bring about major change. 
      • Without administrative support, significant change is very difficult, so work to make your administrators your allies.  
    • “Simply begin by engaging colleagues with ‘what if.’ . . . Find common ground and passions.
  • “Real winners don’t compete”

    tags: finland education elpf

    • public education is basic human right and basic service to all children and their families
    • Finland is not very inspired of measuring education but we take educational assessment very seriously
    • Many educators in Finland think that measuring of what matters in school is difficult, if not impossible.
    • we expect that teachers and principals are responsible collectively for making all children successful in school.
    • There is a big difference between social responsibility for all children’s learning in school and holding each teacher accountable for their own pupils’ achievement through data from standardized tests.
    • Finland is a Nordic welfare state where all families are guaranteed public health and other social services for free or subsidized by state
    • Special education in Finland is based on early intervention and immediate individualized support that are provided by trained experts.
    • School education should focus much more than it does today on social and moral development of children. Unfortunately the dominance of standardized testing and race-to-the-top mentality is doing just the opposite
    • There is a Finnish saying: “Real winners don’t compete”. We believe that what children learn to do together today, they can do alone tomorrow
  • tags: elpf metacognition learning higher ed

    • metacognition was by no means a “silver bullet” for improving student learning, but nonetheless was an effective tool for focusing students’ attention more consciously on their learning and, ultimately, providing a means to encourage students to think about the larger purpose of their education
  • Want to better understand the CCS? Read the guidelines given to publishers: http://t.co/MDJuYX7W

    tags: elpf ccss

  • tags: elpf kc schools

    • In an attempt to save itself, the Kansas City school board is considering giving the mayor an advisory role
    • “If we don’t address the flagging confidence issue, we can’t be successful…
    • The board this month expects to debate a resolution calling for legislation that would reduce the number of board members from nine to seven.
  • tags: elpf schools kansas kc

    • If you want to reach a conclusion you have already decided on — in this case, that public schools are overfunded, not underfunded — then you just back into numbers that appear to make your case.
    • The numbers presented do not do justice to what our districts are achieving.
    • Those numbers make it appear that large numbers of students cannot perform in reading or math at 11th-grade levels in our public schools.
    • Guess which one KPI left out entirely? “Meets Standard/Proficient.” In other words, students who are proficient, but not above standards, have not been counted.
    • KPI has used gimmicks to arrive at those numbers.
    • Such distortions deserve no response.
  • tags: elpf learning testing

    • We’ve stripped our classrooms of anything that doesn’t have a proven connection to increased scores
    • Art and music are thrown overboard, along with lessons that emphasize creativity, collaboration or innovation.
    • We seem to take a blind satisfaction in numbers. As passing rates and SAT scores rise, we are comforted by the belief that we’re doing the right thing and unaware of what we’ve lost along the way.
    • behind in our pacing guide
    • I’m judged by how many kids choose the right answer on a multiple choice exam.
    • That dichotomy is destroying buildings.
    • I resent that teaching has become automated in my room and feel a sense of regret over what I’ve lost because I know that I’ve got another benchmark to give in a week. 
    • We’re beginning to question the merits of a system of education where creativity and a passion for discovery are replaced by test preparation.
  • tags: writing elpf learning edtech

    • Less grading, more teaching.  More feedback, less waiting. Fewer worksheets, more writing.  Less multiple choice, deeper learning.
    • They just want students do more authentic writing with feedback.
    •  When students write more, they learn more.”
    • Online assessment–particularly automated essay scoring–hold the promise of better state tests and, more importantly, better teaching and learning.
  • tags: elpf journals library publishing academia higher ed

    • Who are the most ruthless capitalists in the western world? Whose monopolistic practices make Walmart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch a socialist? You won’t guess the answer in a month of Sundays. While there are plenty of candidates, my vote goes not to the banks, the oil companies or the health insurers, but – wait for it – to academic publishers. Theirs might sound like a fusty and insignificant sector. It is anything but. Of all corporate scams, the racket they run is most urgently in need of referral to the competition authorities.
    • Without current knowledge, we cannot make coherent democratic decisions. But the publishers have slapped a padlock and a “keep out” sign on the gates
    • Though academic libraries have been frantically cutting subscriptions to make ends meet, journals now consume 65% of their budgets, which means they have had to reduce the number of books they buy. Journal fees account for a significant component of universities’ costs, which are being passed to their students.
    • universities are locked into buying their products. Academic papers are published in only one place, and they have to be read by researchers trying to keep up with their subject. Demand is inelastic and competition non-existent, because different journals can’t publish the same material.
    • analysis by Deutsche Bank reaches different conclusions. “We believe the publisher adds relatively little value to the publishing process … if the process really were as complex, costly and value-added as the publishers protest that it is, 40% margins wouldn’t be available.”
    • governments should refer the academic publishers to their competition watchdogs, and insist that all papers arising from publicly funded research are placed in a free public database.
    • The knowledge monopoly is as unwarranted and anachronistic as the corn laws. Let’s throw off these parasitic overlords and liberate the research that belongs to us.
  • tags: elpf learning

      • A primary goal of education should be the development and deepening of student understanding.
      • Students reveal their understanding most effectively when they are provided with complex, authentic opportunities to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess. When applied to complex tasks, these “six facets” provide a conceptual lens through which teachers can better assess student understanding.
      • Effective curriculum development reflects a three-stage design process called “backward design” that delays the planning of classroom activities until goals have been clarified and assessments designed. This process helps to avoid the twin problems of “textbook coverage” and “activity-oriented” teaching, in which no clear priorities and purposes are apparent.
      • Student and school performance gains are achieved through regular reviews of results (achievement data and student work) followed by targeted adjustments to curriculum and instruction. Teachers become most effective when they seek feedback from students and their peers and use that feedback to adjust approaches to design and teaching.
      • Teachers, schools, and districts benefit by “working smarter” through the collaborative design, sharing, and peer review of units of study.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Notes on Writing This Week (weekly)

  • tags: book writing

    • While writing my most recent novel, I was working full-time, going to school at UCLA and training for a 50 kilometer footrace. I also slept, ate, saw friends, posted on Twitter and Facebook, blogged, belonged to a book club and watched a number of “Mythbusters” episodes.
    • “How do you write enough?” The truth is I plan. I plan extensively. I have a spreadsheet. People don’t seem to believe this,
    • Divide probable word count (a little over 100,000) by number of days to get words-per-day. In this case, it’s 2,000. I ask myself “Is that reasonable for me?” In my case, it is. Every writer is different, and it’s not much help to lie to yourself.
    • I rework the schedule only if something shocking happens in the manuscript.
  • tags: writing elpf learning edtech

    • Less grading, more teaching.  More feedback, less waiting. Fewer worksheets, more writing.  Less multiple choice, deeper learning.
    • They just want students do more authentic writing with feedback.
    •  When students write more, they learn more.”
    • Online assessment–particularly automated essay scoring–hold the promise of better state tests and, more importantly, better teaching and learning.
  • tags: writing reading AR

  • tags: writing

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.