how successful students can be when they learn in small, personalized communities that champion project-based learning, guided by educators who get a say in the technology they use
20 students between the ages of five and 10. He eschewed grade levels and standardized tests in favor of what he called a “micro-school” model with “learner-centered curriculum,” which focused on student “playlists” that tap into individual learning needs.
community of students grouped in pre-K to 1st grade, 2nd to 5th grade, or 6th to 8th grade--becoming both mentees and mentors of their fellow students with each passing year
three to four coveted years with their classroom teachers instead of one
project-based learning and real-world lessons.
Field trips are a weekly occurrence
TECH STACK AND PD: Personalization for both students and teachers goes hand-in-hand
Most classrooms consist of teachers and students. In AltSchool, you may find a third party—engineers.
“Studying teachers, what they need, how it relates to the personalization--that’s the main focus of our engineers and user researchers. We study the hacks and workarounds that teachers use on paper and on a whiteboard, and work that into the platform.”
Personalized Learning Plan, which shows students their assignments for each day and helps teachers keep track of and assess student’s learning.
On my.altschool.com, students log in via their iPads or Chromebooks to see what teachers have assigned them for the day. Teachers will select a “Focus” project or activity-based assignment for the day and send it to students’ playlists, and once it’s completed and submitted by the students, teachers can label it as approved or ask the student to go back and make edits.
To assess project-based learning, submissions typically require some sort of documentation, usually in the form of photos of projects taken by students.
“Alt Video,” that allows teachers to film and later observe student performance
space for teachers to send notes to parents about individual students
a “classroom composition” tool where teachers can observe their student’s performances as a whole
“learning targets” aligned to Common Core, Next Generation Science, and California state standards.
AltSchool will open its platform to other districts and schools as a resource
In addition, some education privacy law scholars say that the direct-to-teacher marketing model circumvents federal privacy laws.
One federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, requires school districts to maintain the confidentiality of student records and to keep control of those records even if administrators outsource certain school functions to vendors.
To help school administrators evaluate digital education services, the Department of Education recently issued best-practice recommendations for contracts. Last year, the Consortium for School Networking, an association for district technology professionals, introduced a free tool kit with data security questions for schools to ask their online service providers. And on Tuesday, a coalition of several dozen educational groups issued a set of principles for responsible use of student data.
Intrinsic’s “pods” are designed so students intuitively use different areas of the learning environment for teacher-led instruction, peer-to-peer learning and independent work.
Pods serve 60 students and are staffed by three adults, two core subject teachers and a special education or assistant teacher.
Each area of the pod is named and uses visible landmarks for easy student navigation.
allows me to do small group instruction or one-on-one tutoring the majority of each day,”
students rotate through each space during the 90-minute English block, Ashley and her co-teacher Bryan Podell never teach more than 15 students at a time.
plan four or more literacy lessons, sometimes using different novels, that are tailored to the needs of each group
piloting a mastery-based classroom where students are learning six different levels of math ranging from Algebra to Pre-Calculus, reflecting the diverse academic needs of their students
The structure makes it difficult to revert back to the whole class approaches found in traditional classrooms.
co-teachers 90 minutes of common planning time every day so teaching teams can thoughtfully design the flow of student activities across the different pod spaces
Paradoxically, adopting more structures and systems in its second year resulted in more innovation, not less
changing everything means changing nothing
structure unlocked innovation. These initiatives lie in stark contrast to Intrinsic’s earlier innovation attempts where too much complexity meant defaulting back to traditional structures and approaches.
beginning work on second-order innovations
creating a “genius hour” to support more student choice and independence
building mobile data tools that teachers can use while commuting on the bus
strategically using adaptive software to further individualize learning
school innovation tends to go down once students start showing up for class
The American educational system, then, creates a permanent math underclass
School of One, a method for math teachers to personalize instruction,
Rose and Rush then left the city department and established New Classrooms Innovation Partners, a private nonprofit organization that now works with schools to use Teach to One, a program that evolved from School of One.
classroom is the size of four rooms
all four seventh-grade math teachers and some aides circulated, teaching 120 students as a team.
students find their names on airport-style monitors outside the room, which tell them where to go
monitors also tell the students which of several learning modalities they will use.
some answered questions at a computer. A few feet away, others did work sheets in pairs. Five students sat at a table with a teacher, solving equations. At one end of the room, Reisman worked with 23 students on a multiday probability project.
Centers - laptop, collaborative work, small group instruction.
M.S. 88 is part of a broad evolution in teaching math, employing technology to provide students with a lesson personalized for each.
first step, now widespread, was the digital lesson, usually a computer game or video
Computers can also administer and grade math quizzes
New Classrooms has a library of 12,000 lessons, some created by its staff, but most bought à la carte from companies like Pearson and IXL.
a third are online, and the rest are taught live
every math class ends with each student taking an online quiz that tests whether she has mastered today’s lesson
How difficult is it to achieve this? Sounds like the ideal, the goal - at least in math.
next step is the real innovation: the educational equivalent of an air traffic control system. Each student’s daily exit quiz is fed into an algorithm, which produces the next day’s schedule for each student and teacher.
(Teachers get a preview, and can override the schedule.)
If a student has mastered a skill, on to the next one. If not, she gets another day’s instruction, this time through a different modality. (The algorithm is aware of which modalities work best for her.) It’s an enormous departure from traditional teaching.
we’ve had a lot of difficulty translating that model of what students know into actionable information. The information we give teachers is either too coarse or too fine. It’s either ‘Johnny can’t do math’ or ‘here are 186 characteristics on seven dimensions of proficiency’ and the teacher says ‘I can’t look at all that.’ The value proposition of School of One is: by telling you what the next instructional step is, we’ll help you thread between that.“
Many brands of technology save teachers from spending time making up and grading tests. School of One also regroups students and matches them with the just-right lesson.
timesaver overall? Not necessarily,
collaboration School of One requires takes extra time, he said, but teachers can spend less time on rote work.
$40,000 a year more than other math tech programs
$100 per student
valuated students using a comprehensive test called Measures of Academic Progress
second year, however, School of One did much better
progress statistically similar to the national average
collective gains for the 15 schools were 47 percent higher than the national average.
highest among the worst-off students
gains may be in part due to the fact that these are schools that decided to put a lot of time and money into improving their math teaching
sewing together various pieces of technology, something Mitchell called “Frankensteining.
only School of One, he said, recommends the appropriate next lesson for each student and organizes the classroom accordingly
Why should a school try an expensive, disruptive high-tech platform that’s still unproven? The answer is: in order to prove it.
What technophiles forget, neglect, trip over—pick a verb–are the multiple purposes for tax-supported schools in a democracy. They and many others futurists err—my verb choice—in equating access to information with becoming educated. The purpose of schooling is reduced to acquiring information.
Googled facts do not add up to knowing something.
Tax-supported public schools have been and are social, political, and moral institutions whose historic job has been to help children and youth acquire multiple literacies, enter the labor market well prepared, vote, serve on juries, contribute to their communities, think for themselves, and live full and worthwhile lives.
Few policymakers, philanthropists, technology futurists have challenged (or are willing to challenge) the swelling embrace of automated instruction that promise transforming schools into information factories.
Effective teaching, like work in other helping professions such as medicine, social work, and religious counseling is anchored in relationships. Those student/teacher relationships convert information into knowledge and, on occasion, knowledge into wisdom about the self and world. Teachers, then, from preschool through high school are far more than deliverers of information.
No software program that I know has algorithms that either make instantaneous decisions when events pop up unexpectedly or split-second moral decisions.
So, because of multiple purposes for schooling and the daily press of classroom decisions, I believe that automation of teaching is not around the corner.
Education Law Clinic, where children and their families can get legal help securing education services
linked childhood trauma to developmental problems. Its victims, they have found, are often unable to focus on learning or to trust adults. They often suffer from hopelessness, lack of control and diminished self-worth. Remembering traumatic experiences triggers anxiety that suppresses the area of the brain associated with language, making it difficult for them to communicate effectively.
children who experienced trauma were two to four times more likely to skip school, act out or bring other problems to the classroom
U.S. schools suspend more than 3.3 million students annually, according to the National Education Policy Center, 95 percent for reasons other than using drugs or carrying weapons.
landmark publication “Helping Traumatized Children Learn,” which came out in 2005. Colloquially known as the Purple Book, it has become a go-to resource for educators, advocates, and parents, and has been bought or downloaded more than 100,000 times, with requests for translated editions coming from as far afield as Brazil and the Netherlands.
In an elementary school in Brockton, south of Boston, educators got a graphic representation of the issues many of their students were facing when a social worker from the district attorney’s office superimposed the coordinates of gun and drug offenses over a map of the school district. Gasps were heard in the room, the principal, Ryan Powers, later recounted for a New York Times blog. But then the teachers went to work. For students who had trouble grappling with their emotions, they set up beanbag chairs in quiet corners, gave them headphones to listen to classical music or excused them from class to go for walks. Police began letting schools know when they visited an address where children live so counselors could look out for problems. Eisner and Ristuccia worked closely with the school, and after two years of integrating this new approach, the number of students sent to the principal’s office with discipline problems plummeted by 75 percent.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
“E-Rate,” a little-known but critical program under the auspices of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). E-Rate is an 18 year-old program originally designed to help schools and libraries pay for telecommunication services
using it as a tool to support broadband Internet deployment in our schools
The modernization of E-Rate, by bringing Wi-Fi enabled broadband Internet to our schools, creates the necessary backbone for the deployment of technology in education
economics of education technology finally make sense
experience now shows that digital learning transforms education
included choice in sessions - everyone had the opportunity to choose between three different PD sessions where various apps were being featured and basic training was being offered
professional development was led by our students
thirteen fifth graders facilitated our staff learning by sharing various apps that they loved using and felt like experts in regards to application
student voice (#StuVoice)
students had an opportunity to teach others about various tech resources based on the fact that they had developed a level of expertise with those resources
Educreations, Sticky Notes, Bitmoji, iMovie, Haiku Deck and Near Pod
children were given time in their classroom to prepare presentations and then had a chance to present to their classmates and refine their presentations. The groups were then paired up and assigned to a room so that each room featured two app presentations by two different groups (3 rooms in total). The staff then had a choice of which presentations they wanted to participate in and went to that room. The staff members were informed in advance about the apps that would be featured and were encouraged to download the apps of interest and bring their devices to the PD sessions so they could be more interactive.
Technology shouldn’t force a school away from its guiding principles; it should be implemented thoughtfully to complement those goals
2. TECH SHOULD COMPLIMENT NOT REPLACE
needed to do more conceptual building.” That’s why she chose ST Math as a
3. INVOLVE FAMILIES
When Vinci donated tablets to its kindergarten students, Encompass had the company train parents on how to use them.
Achieve3000 in Language Arts because it offers letters home in Spanish, access to student dashboards by mobile device and even an audio function so parents can listen to the articles their students read
4. DON’T LET TRENDS DICTATE DECISIONS
Although tablets and laptops are trendy right now
Tablets? Maybe. Laptops? Don't seem to fit the mold of a 'trend.'
5. SUPPORT TEACHERS
They need professional development and the ability to offer input into what software and models the school uses. “It’s not about the online content, it’s about the structures and putting it in a meaningful way for teachers to use it,”
6. USE TECH TO FREE UP TEACHER TIME
Computers aren’t teachers, but they can offer a space for students to practice skills they’ve learned or explore new ones while a teacher is working with smaller group of students.
7. TRACK DATA
8. EXPECT EXCELLENCE, NOT ACHIEVEMENT
“In private schools it’s about excellence, it’s not about achievement,”
9. UNDERSTAND START-UP WORLD
good luck working with small start-up businesses, in part because she’s entered those relationships with her eyes open.
hen a start-up company changed its business model, deciding not to work directly with schools anymore she wasn’t surprised or taken off guard
10. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH VENDORS
When she interviews a potential tech partner she is looking for how responsive the company will be to her school’s needs and whether they can produce data in useable ways.
important to have a written data governance plan that recognizes the different sources of data that the school district has. I think districts should have policies about how the data can be used — how do teachers sign up for apps, how is information given to online vendors, what’s the process before signing contracts for data use?
data governance at the district level
actually know what data you have. This means creating an inventory of what you are collecting, and then to be transparent, to post that inventory on your website. Also include information about what data the school collects, how it is being protected and what it is used for. Once you build in the governance and the transparency around your data systems, the technical challenges are the easy part.
Make information about student data practices and polices easy to find.
Publish a list of the personal student information you collect and you plan to use it.
Make sure parents know what, if any, personal student information you plan to share with third-party vendors.
Effectively communicate your data usage plans and policies to parents and members of the public.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
Preteens from affluent, well-educated families... experience among the highest rates of depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, somatic complaints, and unhappiness of any group of children in this country. As many as 22 percent of adolescent girls from financially comfortable families suffer from clinical depression. (pp. 45-46)
Deresiewicz claims that this generation of highly accomplished, college-bound students have been robbed of their independence because they have been raised in a petri dish for one purpose only: to attend an elite college that ensures their and their families' economic and social status.
Instead of being nurtured towards real curiosity and a genuine sense of citizenship, these millennials are conditioned to think that everything they do is for the purpose of looking good in the eyes of admissions officers and employers: you earn good grades not because they mean you are learning something, but rather because they will help you stand out from your peers when applying to the Ivies.
Many college students who fall apart under pressure because they cannot conceive of the fact that hard work and learning are positive outcomes in and of themselves