Monday, October 24, 2011

Things That Have Me Thinking This Week...October 24, 2011

Here are the most thought-provoking articles and blog posts that I came across in the last week. 


No! Not Another Education Commission! - George Wood (via Valerie Strauss)

This article in the Washington Post's Answer Sheet Column discusses the organization of another group which wants to study why so many colleges are reporting that students are underprepared for post secondary education.  George Wood, the Executive Director of the  Forum for Education and Democracy and chair of the board for the Coalition of Essential Schools, makes the point that we really don't need another commission to tell us what is not working. Wood instead asks why we don't take a look at some models that may be working and dwell on some of the schools that are showing positive results.  These successful schools start with the following as a foundation:
"These are schools that built strong personal relationships with students, had a focused curriculum, believed in assessment by exhibition, and engaged students in meaningful work." 
While I am not a big believer that we can find a model of education that is scalable (standard) for our country, I am a believer that a narrow focus on the key areas promoted by the Coalition of Essential Schools is a common denominator that all institutions must have.

Room To Learn - Andrew Marcinek

I am constantly reflecting on what learning environments should look like. This is especially true given the fact that with technology learner can learn aout anything they want whenever and wherever they choose. I think that teacher-centered classrooms need to become a thing of the past and that all classrooms should be learner-centered classroom where students and teachers are continuously learning together. The structure described by BHS staff member Mr. Marcinek is indicative of this.  The quote below sums it up nicely:
"In many classes I am learning with the students and seen as a resource."

The Top 10 Features of iOS 5 on the iPad  - By BHS Senior Nick Desimone  

As I have reflected on this article, I have come to realize that it is exactly the thing we need to see more of in education. It is indicative of the thoughts focused on by Mr. Marcinek in the post referenced above when he mentions learning with his students.  Things are changing so rapidly in regards to technology integration that there is no way we could ever expect students to wait for teachers to learn. Instead, we need to rely more on the ability of our students to teach us and give up control over the dissemination of knowledge.  While Nick's article is a great insight into the new Apple iOS it is, more importantly, one of countless examples of how students can become our instructors on areas in which they are interested.

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