Tag Archives: Google Apps

Back in School

It is time to start blogging again. Our school is the middle of a major renovation.  As soon as I am settled in, I will continue to add to this blog I will also attempt to continue with the photo of the day tradition.  Talk to you soon and welcome to the 2011-2012 school year.

10 Open Education Resources You May Not Know About (But Should) by Audrey Watters


Thoughts on the 2009-2010 school year

Thoughts on the 2009-2010 school year

By Rick Davidson

During the past two years, I have done a lot of thinking about the best way to integrate computer technology into all curriculum areas. I have read articles on what 21st century businesses are looking for in employees and and I have talked to friends and acquaintances who are business owners or in management. It is very clear that computer skills are no longer optional. They are mandatory not only in the workplace but also in the home. The Internet has become and will continue to evolve as the focal point for finding information, entertainment and socialization. It is also clear that much of what students learn today will be obsolete in the near future. I can only think back on my evolution as a photographer. How many years were spent mastering both still and motion picture film photography only to find that in less than ten years those skills became “old-fashioned”

One of the repetitive themes in business publications, educational periodicals and books is that todays students need to be comfortable with collaboration. They  need to know how to effectively and ethically work with others on line. Employers are looking for employees who can create both written and visual media for an audience. The ability to create effective videos is no longer just the province of the professional movie maker. Today, there are tools on every computer that are far more sophisticated and easy to use than what was available to the professional only a few years ago. We have reached a point where the question should no longer be how do you use a given program. The question should be how can you use that tool to best fit your purpose. Likewise, it is no longer enough to show students how to click on links on the worldwide web. They also need to know how to evaluate the relevance and the truth of what they uncover. Web 2.0 has transformed the web into an incredibly powerful interactive tool. World wide collaboration is at the finger tips of every computer user. Mankind’s knowledge base is only a click away. The traditional concept of the “Sage on the Stage” doling our wisdom and knowledge needs to be questioned.

I have been reading a number of books and have been particularly intrigued by “Comprehension and Collaboration” by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels. This book echoes much of what I have been reading in “Edutopia”, “The Journal”, “Educational Leadership”, and on on-line blogs.

The following is from “Comprehension and Collaboration”:

Inquiry Approach Versus Traditional Coverage Approach
Student voice and choice

Questions and concepts

Collaborative work

Strategic thinking

Authentic investigations

Student responsibility

Student as knowledge creator

Interaction and talk

Teacher as model and coach

Cross-disciplinary studies

Multiple resources

Multimodal learning

Engaging in discipline

Real purpose and audience

Caring and taking action

Performance and self-assessments

Teacher selection and directionRequired topics and isolated facts

Solitary work


As if/surrogate learning

Student Compliance

Student as information receiver

Quiet and listening

Teacher as expert and presenter

One subject at a time

Reliance on textbook

Verbal sources only

Hearing about a discipline

Extrinsic motivators

Forgetting and moving to the next unit

Filling in bubbles and blanks

Comprehension and Collaboration,Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels, Heinemann 361 Hanover St, Portsmouth, NH 03801 Page 56

I am going to periodically present ideas from educational thinkers on my blog in the hope that we can all consider what will work best to help us live up to our KRMS vision statement and to prepare our students for life in the 21st century.

I am also including two blog responses to Smart Boards. I would welcome responses to these varied points of view.

1. From: Jim Beal <bealj@somonauk.net>


Not surprisingly, Smartboards are aimed at the current paradigm of
instruction: “chalk and talk,  sage on the stage,” or more accurately
objectivist based instruction.  While it is true that they can be used for
constructivist instruction, they are limited in their ability to provide
this.  In addition, like most educational tools, they do not encourage
teachers to change to a constructivist approach.  What they really do is
enhance presentations.

One of the problems with these is synaptic.  Engaging students to most
teachers is having them pay attention to them.  This makes the teacher
feel that students are learning and it maintains discipline.  However,
students may be “paying attention,” but still not learning.  Learning
engagement refers to cognition, not behavior.

Appealing to the most common/popular paradigm of instruction is lucrative
for SmartBoard, but does not improve learning enough to offset their


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2. From: Memberships- CShively <poman@davidshively.com>

The only way to engage the students with IWBs is to do inservice so
teachers do
not fall into Vanna White syndrome. They need to see and hear models that use
the whiteboard as a tool for STUDENTS to interact with content: moving words,
manipulating writing, highlighting, and creating on the whiteboard. It is a
fantastic tool for kinesthetic and visual learners and should not be used
as a
fancy projection screen or teacher-magic device. KIDS should be operating the
board. They learn it faster, anyway. Explicate poetry, do collaborative
revision of writing, drag and drop to categorize or match terms, prioritize
vocabulary words by connotation, write cloze-style main idea sentences as
reading comprehension below a passage on the board, experiment with word
choice, sort types of equations by slope, etc. All can be done with the
students doing it ON the whiteboard and the class arguing about where things
should go. ONe of the best lessons I ever saw was a class activity in
where students had to rank a group of functions by some characteristic or
and the CLASS received the same grade for their decisions. Have you eve
seen HS
kids scream at each other over curriculum concepts?

Don’t throw out the device for lack of inservice.
Candace Hackett Shively
Director of K12 Initiatives
The Source for Learning/ TeacherFirst.com
blog: http://blog.teachersfirst.com/thinkteach/
twitter: @cshively

Suffocating in Standardization By John Spencer

Food for thought