Friday, April 23, 2010

Future Education

It's been kind of a busy week for reading and all.

A great blog on gearing up to teach Algebra I next year

Summative exam (thoughts on Karl Fish's transparent assessment)

If I have been proving that I know a concept throughout the year because I am passing formative exams then why should I have to pass a summative exam at the end of the year to prove that I know what I proved that I knew then.

All I’m really proving is that I remembered what I proved that I learned earlier in the year.

Some thoughts on bringing the conversation of change into being

Thoughts on teachers from Rethinking Conversation and Change

Often the problem at home (in the school) is that it (the conversation) quickly turns into a bitch session.

Well if the administration did this…

If the parents did that…

If I were allowed, knew how, had the expertise, had the resources I could do the other…

Most teachers don't really want to talk theory in the break room. They just want to complain about the students, administration, etc...

True we need a bit of time to vent, but we also need to talk, research, learn, discover what it is we can do better, why it works, what it looks like, where we can practice, and do all this without dropping test scores that might hold sway over whether or not we keep our jobs.

The conversation starts online, because we find like-minded folks who can't complain about the pitfalls or deficiencies of their school because I'm not in their school. Though I think most of the people in my PLN tend to get past the bitchiness fairly quickly.

I think one great way to start the conversation at school is to create a school or district wide conversation online. Make teachers and administrators start twitter accounts and blogs and ask them to discuss theory. Create message boards and wikis and try to get everyone involved. Get the momentum started, give them a chance to hold conversations when they don't really have time to meet at school. Get the to start conversations but not attend meetings because the general consensus is meetings are just a waste of time. Ask teachers to do this on their own time, but ask the conversations to stay theoretical. Perhaps it is too Utopian to think that this might work, and some districts have probably tried and already failed, but I think others have also tried and find it is actually working.

Not everyone will be involved or change, but change doesn't happen all at once. Change starts with small committed groups of individuals. If your lucky one or two people you never thought would be accepting suddenly do, and they motivate dozens of others to do the same. All we need is the one great follower.

Thought after talking to a colleague at school or well maybe a paraphrase or two

“I could list all the training the district has wasted money on all the stuff they have made us go through. This program that was actually good is long gone. “

So perhaps the problem is like the marketing story of store and newspaper delivery. That is they marketing company wanted the newspaper delivery boys to wrap the papers in a plastic sleeve with their name on the outside. The problem was the delivery boys were expected to go through a ton of hassle and extra time, but weren't being compensated. What did they do? They tossed all the extra bags and it became a huge unsightly litter problem with the companies name all over it. The moral is if you don’t get the buy in from teachers is doesn’t work.

Personall, I also think the majority of these behavioral – classroom management strategies are very similar. There is no “silver bullet” except consistency and time. As the administration changes they change systems and everyone has to start all over. Some of the teachers fall behind because they liked the other system better, they gave up, they forgot, etc… suddenly you have a hodge podge of behavioral systems and it just doesn’t work.

Thought on the future of education
Notes from elluminate session

Norm Garrett: In medieval universities, the students hired the faculty!

Elizabeth Psyck: I believe that students should both be the market and be driving it. But in reality, they're bodies in seats. The sad realities of the current system. This could change quite a bit in the next couple decades as private educational institutions are expanded (I'm higher ed oriented)

Wouldn't it be interesting if the students could hire the teachers again? Of course I think I've written about some ideas how to do this, or something like that.

In todays day and age it wouldn't be too difficult to rate teachers and then pay extra money to sit virtually in their classrooms. The real question would be what of the controls. I suppose businesses could form a network and rate professors. You know because many might be rated as great teachers only because they inflate grades, while businesses would want professors who actually taught. That would be a lot more difficult than it is today where higher education is accredited. Of course accrediting institutions might accept grades from any professor who they rate as satisfactory. They could even have high and low accredidations determinined by the quality of the professors overall on your transcripts.

So perhaps the entire higher education world could be upended with students choosing individual professors based on quality and price. Then after finishing a standard course of classes they could submit the grades to the accreditation board (with payment or government funded) and receive a degree. Many student will of course go to a brick and mortar institution, but few will take all of their classes there. Their final degree will be awarded either by the college that is associated with the accreditation board or a simple accreditation board. The degree will be rated for quality as well as classes taken. Yeah, I went to state college for core classes, but six of my twelve major courses were virtual classes taught by top ten professors.

There was more, but I think this is enough for a start. I look forward to thinking about the future of education.

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