Developing an Environment that Encourages Questioning

Hello my name isGuest Post By: Craig Gastauer

In my continuing attempt to build a more personalized learning environment in my classroom, I am attempting to find better ways to create an environment which develops student wondering and questioning.

Reflecting back to the beginning of the school year, students found the abrupt shift from a more traditional classroom to a student centered class quite stressful. One student began wearing a “Hello! My name is…” sticker with the statement, “I have the right to be lectured at!”  In hindsight, the stress was (of course!) due more to my lack of creating an environment that encouraged wondering and questioning than anything the students did do...

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The Shift of the Role of the Teacher

screen-shot-2014-09-20-at-9-10-11-pmGuest Post By: Jill Thompson

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” By Anthony Robbins

The last 100 years in the workforce we needed farmers and factory workers. It was okay for classrooms to have a teacher at the front of the room, who was the only knowledge resource besides books, as the internet did not exist. Desks could be in rows because it replicated the workforce.

But times have changed; we must prepare today’s students for a different workforce. We know today’s students will have to create their jobs, not look for jobs. They will compete with others around the globe. They will have jobs replaced by outsourcing and technology if their skills are easily replicated or duplicated...

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Hate School But Love Education — #MakeSchoolDifferent

jbirdwellThe #MakeSchoolDifferent challenge pushed our thinking of coming up with five choices of things we have to stop pretending in education and share them in our blog or in social media.

The challenge led me to find this powerful Medium entry from Josh Birdwell  through a chain of posts and shares. He wrote it while he was still a university student about how he recovered from the “dysfunctional educational system”. Birdwell then decided to be a self-taught learner and pursue subjects that interest him outside the school. He attended conferences and events outside the spectrum of school that opened opportunities for him in real life. He is currently a software developer intern at NextThought, a learning solutions company.

Read more about Birdwell’s inspiring story here.

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We Have To Stop Pretending… #MakeSchoolDifferent

teach_test1Scott McLeod from Dangerously Irrelevant recently challenged educators and technology bloggers come up with 5 things we have to stop pretending are acceptable in education today.

Here are my five…

We have to stop pretending…
1. That the way we organize “school” (e.g., how we sort students, how we grade, how we design assessment and instruction) can be tweaked.
2. That feedback cycles in the classroom/district are focused on a specific score.
3. That students have a voice in what they learn and how they learn it.
4. That the use of technology for instruction and personalized learning are the same.
5. That student work only “counts” when completed as part of a classroom assessment.

What are your 5? #MakeSchoolDifferent

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Harvard, Stanford, and Minerva? The Next Elite University at Half the Price

admissions-chart-with-harvard_1024Ivy League schools across the country recently released their admission rates and the numbers are somehow disheartening. An average of only 10% of all applications was admitted.

Jeff Selingo, author and professor at the Arizona State University, introduces us to the Minerva Project created by Ben Nelson. Nelson created the Minerva Project to build an elite liberal-arts institution that can compete with the likes of Harvard and Stanford for the best students. What is interesting is that unlike the Ivy League institutions, the Minerva project is open to accepting every qualified student.

Find out more about Minerva’s competitive advantages here.

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Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement

class cartoonHeather Wolpert-Gawron, award-winning middle school teacher, blogger, and author, lists the responses her eight grade students gave about what keeps them engaged.

This simple, comprehensive list will surely help teachers wake up their weary disengaged classrooms and make learning exciting and meaningful. Some of the things that the students pointed out include working with peers, connecting the real world to the work they do and giving the student project choices.

Read the complete list here.

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What Do We Really Mean When We Say Personalized Learning

girl-study-sketch-640x360[1]Personalized learning is creating a lot of attention as part of the educational reform movement. It has the promise of individualizing and customizing learning to fit a student’s needs, skills and interests.

Diana Laufenberg, director of Inquiry Schools and a former teacher at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, explains that “personalization only comes when students have authentic choice over how to tackle a problem.” However, one challenge that Laufenberg presented is the U.S. educational system encouraging teachers to be creative and innovative inside the classroom while adhering to a specific curriculum and standardized tests. When that happens, “personalization” is just standardized.

In a world where there is much excitement about the promise of personalized learning, ...

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The Role of Testing to Support Deeper Learning

nclb_bubblesheetWith goals unmet, the U.S. main education law, No Child Left Behind Act, seems to be years behind. States and schools have been designing and investing on tests and assessments for students but these are clearly not working to prepare our students for the challenging world they are entering. What is the role of tests and assessments to support deeper learning in the classroom?

Our ultimate goal is to see classrooms that “engage all students in meaningful, engaging learning that prepares them for college and careers in our complex modern world”. What students need is to develop skills on critical thinking and problem solving as well as desire to collaborate and pursue learning.

This blog from edweek.org challenges students, teachers, administrators, researchers, and policymakers explore...

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The Evolution Of The Employee

The_evolution_of_the_employeeToday’s employees have come a long way. There is now a new generation of employees entering the workplace adapting to the changing needs of businesses.

Jacob Morgan, speaker and author of The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization, assembled this helpful info-graphic that depicts how employees have adapted as companies moved their businesses and training online. This is also an easy way to see the past and the future.

The info-graphic shows a dramatic change on when and where you work, what you are working on and whom you are working with. The employee can now actually have a voice I the company by sharing ideas, concepts and are even encouraged to think creatively.

Are you still stuck in the past or are you now working for the fut...

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7 Things Every Kid Should Master

7 things every kid should masterStudents take tests in schools when there has been “no research demonstrating a relationship between those tests and measures of thinking or life outcomes”. Susan Engel, developmental psychologist at Williams College, argues that standardized tests are useful, if they measure what the students really need. She suggests that tests should measure a student’s abilities in things that they can use in real life and are important to their moral values and though processes.

For example, Reading. Kids should be reading on a daily basis. “What does it mean to be able to read? It means having the ability to read an essay or book and understand it well enough to use the information in some practical way or to talk about it with another person.”

Find out the other things every kid should be tested o...

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