Monday, February 13, 2012

Things That Have Me Thinking This Week...February 13, 2012

Here are some of the posts/articles that have me thinking this week - Enjoy!


More on Open Computer Testing at St. Greg’s: Theater History Class - Guest Post by Lisa Bodden on Jonathan Martin's great 21k12 Blog

This is an interesting look at an assessment practice that is atypical for most educators. Instead of asking students to put away their devices on testing day, some of the teachers at St. Gregory's College Prep in Tucson, Arizona allow their students to utilize their technology to delve deeper on test questions. St. Greg's Head of School Jonathan Martin says the following about open computer testing:
"I think this assessment approach is a highly valuable one for promoting deeper learning, information literacy, and analytic and organizational skill development over memorization and regurgitation.  I think that many tests in most subjects can be, with the right intentional design, “open internet” and that they will be the better for it."
For more on this, check out this post from a Chemistry teacher from St. Gregory's. 

Why iPad Textbooks Are Still Too Expensive For Schools (Infographic)

Do the math on this one. Buying electronic textbooks from the textbook companies for the iPad is not a cost-saver.  However the infographics statement that textbooks are 41% cheaper than an iPad do not leave open the option for teachers to create their own content or to utilize free open resources. We need to support teachers in accessing and building these resources.

Inquiry Hub 

This is a very intriguing initiative from David Truss in British Columbia where students and their families have been giving the opportunity to apply for this inquiry-driven program which is described as follows:

The COL Inquiry Hub is a full-time grade 8-12 program which brings students together in a technology-facilitated environment and encourages them to explore their own questions from key themes:
  • Community and global issues
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Media Art, design and technology
The Inquiry Hub offers the following benefits for students:
  • Instruction which blends classroom and online experiences in a hybrid model
  • A student-driven inquiry approach to learning
  • Significant reduction of formally structured class time and emphasis on a learning commons where students do daily group project work and individual, computer-based learning
  • Class environments which group students around interests and project focus rather than grade levels
  • Parents and community as active learning partners
  • Extensive use of peer mentorship in cross-grade project work
  • Core, inquiry-based program offerings which are extended through the extensive list of COL online courses

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