Friday Round-Up 4/20/12


I realized I needed to start adding the date to the title of these posts! Have a lovely spring weekend, everyone!

At EIS, Some Express Reservations About Tech in Education
The Education Innovation Summit is in full swing this week at Arizona State University! The summit is focusing on the role technological innovation will play in schools in the near future.  Overall enthusiasm is running high at the conference as they discuss the potential improvements that educational technology can bringing to the classroom. However, Chris Lehman, the principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, brought up some valid concerns he has with this new rush of excitement. He discussed the disconnect that has formed between technology early adaptors, frustrated with the slow pace that technology is being implemented in schools, and veteran teachers that are skeptical of the powers of this unproven technology.

Channeling Failure Into Success
Studies show that those less afraid of failure are actually more likely to approach new tasks readily. Why should we be afraid of failure? In this article we see a list of some of the most successful people on earth, Michael Jordan, JK Rowling, Charles Darwin, who all were forced to overcome failure before they could experience their success. I love these types of articles.

Flattening the School Walls
Kennedy School of Sustainability is an alternative public high school in Oregon. The student population at the school faces many difficulties, 38% of the population is homeless, 14% are teen parents. When Tom Horn took over a principal in 2006, the average daily attendance rate was a mere 23% of the student body. Since then Horn has changed every aspect of the school. Students are required to participate in a thematic project, but the options include fascinating activities like bee keeping or raising tilapia. Over the past seven years the results have been extremely promising. Student attendance is now at 90%, test scores are steadily improving, and 40% of recent student alumni is now enrolled in colleges. I thought this was such an inspiring story of a school doing some really awesome stuff!

Flipping the Classroom Requires More Than Video
This is a great post explaining the flipped classroom and how popular it has become in recent years, especially with the growing popularity of Khan Academy. But this goes farther to explain how important it is that we go beyond simply posting lectures online for students to watch outside of class. The ideal flipped classroom will move into step 3: blended learning, where peer to peer interaction is seen both online and offline to help support learning goals.

With Test Week Here, Parents Consider the Option of Opting Out
This week thousands of students in NY state participated in standardized testing. Handfulls of New York City parents have decided to opt their students out of these tests. These parents did this for many different reasons, ranging from the anxiety it was causing their children, to their belief that tests are arbitrary, kill creativity in education, and take away from important components of school like the arts and physical education. This can be troublesome for many schools in the city that rely on test scores for funding and teacher assessment. The schools will also have to decide on an alternative assessment for these students that have opted out. While New York is not at the forefront of boycotting tests I still wonder if this movement will continue to grow in the future.