Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

April 28, 2011

Cutting to the Heart of Education Reform

#Edchat 04 – 19 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Our summary for this edchat is brought to us by Brian Thomas who is a regular edchatter and always adds very thought-provoking comments. This week was no different as he and other edchat participants laid out their wish-lists for spending on education and came up with many innovative and great ideas for where to get maximum value out of the money allocated to education. Needless to say these were a world away from where we find the money actually spent. Brian has done a great job pulling all these ideas together for this summary as I’m sure you will agree. Thank you Brian – see more about Brian in his short bio at the end of the post.

Hands down, the best on-demand source for PD I have found is Twitter and the countless thousands of teachers sharing and building a PLN.  It is my pleasure and honor to post my thoughts on the #edchat from the early Tuesday session on April 19th, 2011.  This was, as always is, a lively chat. Many thoughts centered on the cost of education.  Can education be streamlined? Do we need a shift in what we call school?  How can educators persuade the money-holders?

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  •  What “things” could be cut (i.e. paper, books)
  • Online content can be a replacement for the traditional textbook allocation.
  • Educator salaries as a piece of the funding issue.
  • The high cost in money and time of standardized tests.
  • How do we (educators) communicate our vision for changes in Ed funding and reform.

 

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

@jonbergmann:  Now that we have gone to blended model, students get info online & don’t use textbooks = savings #edchat

@ericjuli:  Perhaps we need to consider increasing to ultimately decrease costs-setting up network infrastructure to decrease paper and texts #edchat

@inquirebook:   Students are increasingly more used to getting information from the Internet rather than books, anyway. #edchat

@QZLPatriotHawk:  My biggest wish is that fed & state leg. would open up funding streams. We can do more w/ less if we had choice how 2 spend it. #edchat

@schoolsEDU: I think it would be good to give teachers budget & challenge them to meet it or beat it – it could be a good case study / learning experience #edchat

@QZLPatriotHawk:  Are we talking nickles/dimes when discuss things other than salaries? Not to stir up a hornets’ nest but salaries are the big expense. #edchat

@lisalearner: at a recent board meeting, one parent made the case for cutting history class to save money. History class! #edchat

@tomwhitby: Professional Development costs can be reduced by thoughtful planning for individualized web-based training & PLN development.#Edchat

@weisburghm: I don’t see a way to avoid education supermarkets, I’m hoping we find ways to make them work well #edchat

@pepepacha: I have never, ever seen the cost breakdown for standardized testing (it’s a secret?) #edchat

@WeAreTeachers: Interesting idea! RT @lisalearner: What about 3 days in the classroom, two days online? What kind of effects would that have? #edchat

@Brian_ThomasTCI: We tell kids to be themselves, be individuals…then we line them up in rows and test the heck out of them. #edchat

@sram_socrates: How often do approved texts and resources change in the U.S.? How often does the curriculum change? #edchat

@inquirebook: I wish local businesses would apprentice high-school students, break down the school-work barrier more. #edchat

@southernbelle85: beginning school year after heat of summer, like Sept., would help and equal less energy for the air conditioner.

@Knackisms: Useless enterprise software is a major form of waste in education. Overpriced. Drain on productivity also costs money. #edchat

@bknrd5974: I’ve had students say their job is to get pregnant to collect welfare. Kids see nothing better in their future. #edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

@juandoming: 50 Innovative Ways To Use i#Pads In #School http://t.co/MqQ0TI3  #elearning #socialmedia #web20 #technology #edtech #edchat

@jonbergmann:  semi-related #flipclass webinar yday recorded http://bit.ly/fDNpVz  Listen as student talks of NOT using textbook in #flipclass #edchat

@ncarroll24: Evolution of Classroom technology: http://bit.ly/fIwE4Q  Great look into the past! #edchat #elemchat #edtech #cpchat #4thchat #education

@ddeubel:  Following #edchat . Finally found a good way to follow it and others… http://bit.ly/ggosP2

@Brian_ThomasTCI:  We can eliminate and streamline, but things like field trips should not be cut. http://bit.ly/dOZEoX

9 online resources for students http://t.co/g0pj11M  #edtech #edchat

@darcymullin Watch http://bit.ly/9zKy78  video of flipclass to see how it is working now #edchat

@jonbergmann: For those interested in #flipclass we have summer conference http://bit.ly/hwvLuC  also will be offered via webinar #edchat

@MistyNorman12:  Check this video out-TEDxNYED-Will Richardson- 03/05/2011 http://t.co/JNqE7dZ  via @youtube. Students Don’t Need Test Prep. #ntchat #edchat

@bwasson:  @tomwhitby “The New York Lottery’s sole mission is to earn revenue for education.” http://is.gd/gNUZxn

cybraryman1:  @lisalearner My Flipped Classroom page: http://tinyurl.com/4qb6kx9  @jonbergmann is the expert! #edchat

@jonbergmann: @lisalearner More about #flipclass http://bit.ly/e42fFd  #edchat

@weisburghm: For effect on phys ed on education, read Spark: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Spark/John-J-Ratey/e/9780316113502  #edchat

@symphily: The Finland Phenomenon: A film about schools – http://bit.ly/gBTXYx  [ #edchat #educhat #BCed #edreform #education #elemchat ]

My name is Brian Thomas.  For twelve years I taught middle school social studies in the Lakota Local School District (Cincinnati, Ohio). For the past seven years, I have worked for the K-12 social studies provider TCI ( http://blog.teachtci.com ).

 

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat

 

Challenge:

If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

April 20, 2011

Can schools be successfully run with shared decision making policies (SDM) or is Principal as sole decision maker the best method

#Edchat 04 – 12 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Our thanks this week go to Canadian school principal Darcy Mullin for the edchat summary. Although Darcy is quite new to edchat and PLN in general he has already made a big splash with his blog (see address below) and is becoming a star performer at edchat! This was an important topic for teachers and the discussion explored lots of ideas and practices. These have all been captured in a very vivid way in this summary and I am sure that everyone will enjoy reading it. Thank you Darcy. Find out more about Darcy in his bio at te end of the post.

I found today’s #edchat extremely interesting.  What I found particularly interesting was the almost universal agreement that SDM is an effective way to affect school change and that many people were able to cite specific examples of effective SDM in their schools.  As @cybaryman1 pointed out, it was great to have teachers and administrators on the same page and engaged in quality conversation.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • Shared Decision Making (SDM) means just that.  It is important to engage all stakeholders – teachers, students and parents.
  • SDM benefits the school because everyone shares the vision and had a hand in its development.
  • SDM is most effective when a leader is courageous enough to cede control, but maintain focus, take ownership of problems, but give (not take) credit for successes
  • Ultimately, someone (often the principal) must make the final decision, but seeking input from all stakeholders is essential.  Some issues such as contract, salaries etc. are not conducive to the SDM model.
  • Sometimes, with SDM there are too many voices and efficiencies are lost.  It is best to use prudently for decisions that involve many or all stakeholders.
  • When administrators are willing to give up some of the decision-making control they empower staff teams.  That said, if teachers are not willing to be part of the process they must respect the outcomes.
  • In order for the model to be effective there must be a culture of collaboration and trust in the school.

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 
With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@cybaryman1:  Great to see administrators and teachers discussing this here.
@inquirebook:  Creating a rubric is one form of goal setting. Involving students in the process helps them share the goals
@tomwhitby:  Once you’ve got them by the RUBRICS their hearts and minds will follow
@CTuckerEnglish: Letting go of control is scary for many, but the possibilities & potential when all voices are included is infinite
@jonbergman:  Visionary leader needs to rely on their experts and cast the vision collaboratively
@TonyEdTechTip:  along with Trust..follow through is important. Every1 has to do what they said they are going to do
@QZLPatriotHawk: No decision I’ve made as a principal has worked better than the ones my teachers & students have made.
@UltimateTeacher: SDM will raise teacher’s job satisfaction…which is highly needed now. The question is how much to give?
@fliegs: No 1 person has the right answer but collectively we can find common best fit
@davidwees: Everyone involved in SDM have their own agendas. You can’t make a decision without a perspective
@ericjuli: I think admins need to create a culture of Shared Decision Making, aligned to core values that whole school community agrees with
@jessievaz12: The only thing you MUST ensure is shared understanding of the vision or goal. W/out that you are sunk with shared decisions.
@thomsponscience: Sustaining commitment can happen when people are given REAL responsibility, not just asked for opinions
@davidwees: You can’t turn SDM on and off. Once the genie is out of the bottle, people will expect input (which is OK!)
@tomwhitby: It is always difficult to buy into someone else’s vision. A vision developed by a team is easily adopted by the team
@QZLPatriotHawk: I have found the best admin are the ones that take blame for failures and give away credit for school successes.
@davidwees: Advantages of SDM: Students get opportunity to learn HOW to make decisions.

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

@NewVictory: Incredible. Empower more principals! RT @alizag: The Fragile Success of School Reform in the Bronx – http://nyti.ms/gBfsiI

cybraryman1:  Flowchart of the Shared Decision-Making Process (District level – adapt to school level) http://tinyurl.com/3ufwr7x  #edchat

@tomwhitby: Agreed! RT @L_Hilt: Awesome. @datruss Open Educator Manifesto | Connected Principals http://bit.ly/eeCjRB  #cpchat #edchat

@amandacdykes I Don’t Rock http://bit.ly/gVw7Qf  #edchat

4thGrdTeach My district’s technology plan http://ow.ly/4yCUC #edchat 

 This is Darcy Mullin.  He is a Principal in a small rural school in British Columbia, Canada.  He lives in  Summerland which is located in the beautiful Okanagan Valley.
I am relatively new to the world of twitter, blogging and using social media as a learning tool.  I am excited and empowered by the learning I am able to be a part of as I navigate this new medium.  I am very interested in Personalized Learning and student engagement. I am always looking to learn and connect.  Please feel free to drop by my blog darcymullin.wordpress.com and leave a comment.

 

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat

 

Challenge:

If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

April 5, 2011

What are the possibilities, negative or positive, if we do blended (Internet & F2F )classes on the secondary level?

#Edchat 03 – 29 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

We are thrilled to have an #edchat summary post from Vytheeshwaran Vedagiri (@eshwaranv) from India this week. As you will see from his bio below he is an experienced  educator both on and offline! He is also a very familiar ‘voice’ to us all at edchat. The discussion on Blended Learning last week was a vibrant one with many ideas and suggestions being offered. I think you will agree that Vytheeshwaran’s post captures all that buzz!

As we make gentle giant strides in improving the learning experience for our students, we can only consider ourselves fortunate to have stumbled upon the concept of blended learning. Blended learning is the deployment of online tools in teacher led classrooms to enhance the learning experience for the students. In this edition of #edchat, we discussed the possibilities, positives, and negatives of blended learning at the secondary level.
Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • Blended learning is an important method of establishing a human connection with your learners, the virtual way.
  • Blended learning gives access to multiple sources, taps on multiple intelligences and promotes effective differentiation in the classroom. It has the potential to engage all learners in the session.
  • It gives the students a collaborative environment with an individual experience and takes them beyond the classroom walls.
  • Careful planning is required to design, organize, and conduct a blended learning session.
  • Delivering a good or bad blended learning session rests in the hands of the teacher.
  • Negatives of blended learning range from the imbalance in the virtual : real ratio (tipping towards the virtual) in the classroom at one end and technophobia of the teachers at the other.
  • It is essential to train the teachers on blended learning and demonstrate the concept to the parents. Transparency is a key factor in promoting blended learning.

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@birklearns: Pro: Blended learning allows students to individualize their ed. experience and have flex timetable #edchat
@stumpteacher: One huge positive to blended learning is access to multiple sources #edchat
@tomwhitby: Blended learning enables learning exploration of a topic far beyond what a teacher is limited to in a classroom. #Edchat
@stumpteacher: Negative? Kids without access or support for blended/flipped learning at home? #edchat
@carneysandoe: ppl learn differently. Blended Learning attempts 2 ensure that the curriculum messages R delivered in a variety of ways #edchat
@isteconnects: I’m all for blended, but wary of going too far in the virtual direction. It’s usually cheaper & attractive to admins #edchat
@stumpteacher: I see a huge positive of blended learning is it has higher potential for differentiation. Find whats fits for learner. #edchat
@MertonTech: #edchat Blended learning allows for more one-on-one time with each student.
@eshwaranv: @asalyards Allowing the teacher to “design” their class and reflect on their sessions should do a great deal. #edchat
@tomwhitby: Blended Learning requires media literacy,internet access,different approach to teaching.Many are not yet prepared. #edchat
@CoachB0066: Yes, we mentioned the role of parents. There should be workshops for them to show how it works #edchat
@jrichardson30: Blended is a great way for students to learn time mangmt skills & responsibility since they have to take active role in learning #edchat
@ShellTerrell: Blended learning allows the possibilities of having students collaborate with peers worldwide #Edchat
@karimderrick: For blended learning to be effective do we not also need blended assessment? And what does that look like? #edchat
@tomwhitby: Blended learning will never be for a majority unless we begin to teach tchrs using this method. Tchrs need to be better learners. #Edchat
@CTuckerEnglish: Blended learning is a flex model & can be adapted by indiv teacher to best meet needs of course. #edchat
@eshwaranv: @ayatawel @isteconnects Blended learning must be used for the sake of learners and not for the sake of technology. #edchat
@cybraryman1: Once teachers & administrators see the practical uses of tech in education many change their tune #edchat
@tomschimmer: Keep the pendulum from swinging all the way over…we’re talking “blended learning” not “replacement learning” #edchat
@cybraryman1: Do not neglect the technology expertise of the students you work with. Use their skills #edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

@SkypeClassroom: Skype in the classroom is coming out of beta! Check out the new and improved site now: http://j.mp/skypeeducation  #edtech #edchat

@cybraryman1: My Blended Learning page: http://tinyurl.com/483kbhl  #edchat

@isteconnects: Blending learning should be choice, but f2f must be available. See Florida schools debacle http://huff.to/dVRUY3

@WiscPrincipal: Coffee Shop Dilemma via @baldy7 http://bit.ly/fbHQES  Do schools offer a space for blended learning, or does Starbucks do it better? #edchat

@juandoming: Edumorfosis: Paradigmas Administrativos: 1.0 vs 2.0 http://t.co/kQke1YH  #elearning #web20 #tic #socialmedia #edchat

@ayatawel: Nice video to show the importance of BL (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A-ZVCjfWf8)  #edchat

@cybraryman1:  My Flipped Classroom page http://tinyurl.com/4qb6kx9 #edchat

@juandoming: Informe Competencia digital http://t.co/i7PeBGE #elearning #web20 #tic #educación #learning #school #edchat #educachat

@jonbergmann:  @Tina_Barr watch our blended videos to see it working http://bit.ly/hcQWlG  #edchat

@bknrd5974: http://bit.ly/17O4o6  Khan Academy is a great resource for both flipped & blended learning #edchat

@ColinTGraham:  Here are the #mathchat discussions, from Feb, on this: Blended learning http://bit.ly/exZAPM Blended learning 2 http://bit.ly/hZuZnF  #edchat

Excerpt from BLended Learning Book- Chapter 6 Creating and Maintaining a Safe Space Online http://t.co/oIdQtSH #edchat

@juandoming: Check this video out — Cap 5. La Familia Digital http://t.co/6z9TjTR  vía @youtube #elearning #web20 #socialmedia #edchat #edtech

@jonbergmann:  @bknrd5974 You might want to come to the Flipped Conf: http://bit.ly/htFIAQ  #edchat

@stumpteacher: Be wary of the “silver bullet” in education. http://bit.ly/i19dPW  #edchat

@stumpteacher: @davidwees Yes, choice has to be there. #edchat http://bit.ly/f4cdg3  <–this is my version of choice in my class

@web20education: Tool for Online and Offline Language Learning is a interesting #socrates EU project http://www.toolproject.eu/ #edchat

algotruneman: @tomwhitby Tech and learning. If it is any help to you, feel free: http://bit.ly/eVqIoz #edchat

This is Vytheeshwaran Vedagiri from Chennai, India, I’m a virtual/real science teacher, teaching students from India, US and the UK. I am also into e-learning as a subject matter expert and an instructional designer. I am looking to specialize in educational methodologies to interlace learning strategies with technology and create an ideal learning environment for learners of all ages.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat

 

Challenge:

If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

April 1, 2011

Is learning English becoming overwhelming?

Sometimes everything comes to a head and we have so much still to learn and we don’t seem to be making progress. It can be frustrating, we make the same mistakes even though we’ve gone over this point a hundred times. We are working hard and getting nowhere;

” That’s it, that’s the end of it we are not capable for progressing any more  – this is our highest level and this is where we are going to stay, We’ve reached our ceiling and there’s nothing more to do!”

Learning a language ( and this is true of many things) is not an ‘onwards and upwards’ activity. There are peaks and troughs, hills and valleys and worst of all seemingly endless plateaux!

Do you remember learning to ride a bike as a child? How many times did you wobble? How many times did you fall off? How many times did you throw the bike down and stomp off?

In the end though wasn’t it worth getting  back on, trying again and finally succeeding?

How good did it feel when that happened and how thrilled were you to be able to ride off down the road alone!

There is only one way and that is to be patient and persevere.

So back to language. There is a great saying in English ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’  Things of great value take time and burn slowly. Take a deep breath, step back and think hard about what you have really achieved so far. You will probably find that it is much more than you give yourself credit for.

Then analyse your English honestly:

  • What is your goal?
  • Where are you having problems?
  • Where are you feeling frustrated (think of some actual occasions when your English wasn’t good enough – is there a pattern?)

Once you know where the blocks are (or try and get help identifying them if you don’t know) then break everything into manageable chunks and go step by step. For example if you think your vocabulary is letting you down then design some strategies for improving this – read a book a month, or a daily news article or learn 10 new words a week – whatever works for you.

Don’t be too ambitious do as much as you can manage – 10 minutes a day is better than 2 hours once a month – keep it simple. Try and use ‘dead time’ in your day while traveling or waiting for a bus or train, that way your learning won’t be interrupting other activities and vice versa.

So here is the 4P approach to learning English (we came up with this at a Gapfillers forum chat)

Patience:

I’ve said a lot about this already. It is vital – you cannot learn all you need to learn in a day. If you start your study knowing that you must be patient it may stop you from becoming overwhelmed.

Perseverance:

I firmly believe that anything worth having is worth pushing for and unless you persevere even when you don’t seem to be making progress you will NEVER succeed!

Practice:

No skill will improve without practice so unless you dedicate some time to improving and developing your English regularly then you will become frustrated and you will not make progress. Honestly, if you are not prepared to practise you might as well go and find something else to do instead!

Performance: 

This is actually using your English! There is little point in doing all the hard work if you are not going to step up, be brave and actually speak or write. There are opportunities across the web to do this – find some. Make some opportunities for yourself to perform your English!

Finally here are 10 top tips to help you improve your English and stop you getting overwhelmed or frustrated!

  1. Do a bit every day
  2. Plan – an approach or strategy for your learning
  3. Choose something interesting
  4. Consolidate
  5. Choose something with (immediate) feedback
  6. Set a time limit
  7. Follow the tips and advice given on the web-site
  8. Join a forum or chat room and USE IT
  9. Re-visit, repeat and recycle
  10. Smile :-) you know more than you did 10 minutes ago!

Some other posts you might like:

 Setting SMART goals for your English Language learning

Grammar is dead – Long live grammar!

Making progress as an advanced learner

Doing a language audit

Still overwhelmed? Maybe I can help you.

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

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