Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

September 30, 2010

From Textbooks to Other Digital Sources: Blending Print and Digital

 #Edchat  9-28-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

This week’s #edchat touched on a topic very close to people’s hearts and the discussion was lively to say the least. There were tons of links shared and lots of new collaborations arranged! Taking on the task of ploughing through the archive to produce this week’s summary is Tracy Mercier (@tracymercier) who has done an amazing job! Thank you Tracy for sterling work! Find out more about Tracy from her bio at the end of the post.

With everything going virtual and making its way to the cloud, it’s inevitable for us to ask what will happen to textbooks.  But, more than that, what will happen to anything in print?  As we enter a more digital world, we consider the implications for educating children how to navigate their way.  During the chat today, a few points and/or concerns were resonating: cost, content, and process. 

As a few pointed out, the cost of electronic textbooks is not much different than those in print.  Most having only a $10 difference.  There is also the additional cost of  purchasing an  e-reader &/or laptop to access the digital textbook.  The issue of cost raised a few concerns about equity.  How can we ensure that those without access at home would be able to participate outside of school?

 The conversation revolving around content and process brought up some excellent points.  Do we have to use textbooks (print or digital)?  If we are going to go digital, how about pulling in other resources: video, Wikipedia, etc.  This brought in concerns about disseminating the same information to students vs. providing students with choice.  Choice in what to read or how to get the information: video, going to the source (asking the author).  Some also suggested blending the two.  Providing the students with an array of resources in print and online.  Yet, as many of us know, just because it’s out there on the web, does not mean that it’s credible.  What skills do we need to consider teaching our students in order for them to know when they are being fed false information?  And, how do we scaffold the skills, tech and literacy, so that our students are successful?  Training was also a concern.  Not only do we want our students to be successful with the tools, but it was clearly important that our colleagues be just as successful implementing them.

 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.

 Parentella: @ShellTerrell Training is key. We have to equip our educator with the knowledge of ho to best use the tech b4 leaving them w/it 

UltimateTeacher: @ShellTerrell We have to empower teachers to take on digital books. Small goals are more realistic and manageable

tomwhitby: By switching to digital content that huge amount textbk $$$ could be diverted to tech tools and there would still be money left over.

 malcolmbellamy: education is about preparation for the future not rushing backwards to the past

 tucksoon: Textbooks will still exist unless education technology becomes air

 tomwhitby: Digital is more relevant and timely than Print.

 findingdulcinea: Educators must create the successors to textbooks; we’ve created a platform to help them, as have others http://bit.ly/91xCl7

 ShellTerrell: Most Ss have access to cell phones where they can carry the material around w/ them if we made the switch to dig tech

 aguteirreziT: Agree that ebook and book should coexist. Fond memories from childhood with books. Shame to eliminate completely.

 cybraryman1: We have to consider training for learning new technology & expecting learners to adapt to blended learning

 CrudBasher: Idea world -> Each students has their own customized digital txtbook, based on their learning style

 tkraz: Is there a resource for teachers who want to “construct” a free online version of their text? Let us get started that way.

 findingdulcinea: e-textbooks are not the answer; still have one voice, and no differentiated or individualized, student-directed instruction

 odysseyware: Don’t forget it’s not about us, but what students will do. It can never be digital or paper bcs every kid is different. So how?

 vickicobb: Where is it written that all kids have to read the same bk on a topic? Why cant they read diff bks and discuss??

michellek107: 1 problem w/ print textbooks is that many are used as “THE curriculum,” rather than to support curriculum.

SamGliksman: ebooks will succeed when they provide genuine interactive learning experience and aren’t just pdf of text-which most are now

SECottrell: Open-source resources that are motivating, up-to-date, and relevant are what turns the textbookless classroom into magic

 lhmiles2: Give me a vast supply of primary & secondary documents, and I will never touch another textbook again. Students love real content.

 min_d_j: digital text = flexible text. How about interactive PLEs that include text, images, video, simulations, interactive components?

 Mamacita: Good teachers turn textbooks into magic carpets, & poor teachers refuse to use magic at all. It would be the same for ebooks.

 cybraryman1: Our job as educators is to find the right method (book & internet) so every child can learn & reach his/her potential.

To follow the complete discussion see here  

 For the stats on #edchat participation see here  

 As ever, there were some great links shared:

ImagineLearning: Interesting article about schools doing away with regular textbooks and replace with e-readers http://bit.ly/dm6b3G  #edchat

markbrumley:  Here’s a school with an ebook library: http://tinyurl.com/3aac4rv  #edchat

ImagineLearning: e-readers cn provide students w/ a richer learning experience w/ audio, vid, & interactive graphics http://bit.ly/9aRLEv  #edchat

NextGenLC: Some of you may have already contributed, but there are great insights to be found in our Blended Learning forum http://ow.ly/2L8Tv  #edchat

briankotts:  E-books are only 6% of Printed Books Sales http://bit.ly/cjcfgx  #edchat #edtech

findingdulcinea:  Educators must create the successors to textbooks; we’ve created a platform to help them, as have others http://bit.ly/91xCl7 #edchat

vickicobb:  Nonfiction literature, bookds from the library, are what the best schools use: http://inkthinktank.com

vickicobb:  Excerpts from assessment tests come from our books. http://bit.ly/bAIL2F #edchat

txlibraryguy:  Check out Future of the Book for some possibilities http://www.futureofthebook.org/

vickicobb:  Meet the best nonfiction authors. See what they have to say about what is read in classrooms. http://bit.ly/b02i0o  #edchat

lisalearner:  study shows wikipedia just as accurate, but harder to read and understand than txtbks. http://bit.ly/b56cvP  #edchat

findingdulcinea:  Mayor Bloomberg has asked NYS to stop requiring textbooks: http://bit.ly/9vayTS  via @InnovativeEdu #edchat

vickicobb:  How ’bout talking to nonfiction authors? We can help you big time! http://bit.ly/d9ZPAT #edchat

eLearningGuild: Japan to pilot digital textbooks in classrooms http://bit.ly/cbYk0n #ebooks #ereaders +#dl10 session http://bit.ly/c33Naq #edchat

ImagineLearning:  Fascinating article on how web is dying. R apps a solution 2 letting Ss use power of internet but stay safe? http://bit.ly/bVq4v3  #edchat

vickicobb:  It’s the writing that makes written material memorable. here’s scientific proof: http://bit.ly/dtBJ6N

vickicobb:  Think of us nonfiction authors as playwrights. You can teach from great scripts! http://bit.ly/d9ZPAT

findingdulcinea:  This company offers customizable e-books; interesting. http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/

cybraryman1:  My Blended Learning page: http://bit.ly/altQDl  #edchat

elanaleoni:   CK12 offers free #opensource textbooks w the ability to collaborate: http://www.ck12.org/flexr/

NextGenLC:  Widespread use of #augmentedreality in the classroom may be far off, but it’s exciting tech. to think about http://ow.ly/2Lai1 #edchat

PCSTech:  Here’s an example of a free, online textbook on NC History, created by @LEARNNC – http://bit.ly/cfewKb  It’s incredible. #edchat

DUMACORNELLUCIA: New blog post Personal Learning Environments, Network and Knowledge 2010 #PLENK2010 and #edtech20 http://bitly.net/b5BSJZ #edchat #P21cs

ECBOE: A Fun World Where Kids Create and Publish Their Own Books: http://bit.ly/92gLYZ  #AETA  #edchat

findingdulcinea:  Here’s our list of 101 great social studies Web sites; why use a textbook when you have these? http://bit.ly/bChZsi  #edchat #sschat

agutierrezIT:  @ tomwhitby I don’t support or defend McLeroy’s influence, but is it any different than NYT influence? http://bit.ly/9vLivW  #edchat

Mamacita:  @tkraz Net is full of ebook deals. Wed. night, for example, you can get @SteveSpangler ‘s new ebook for $0.99! http://bit.ly/dhRn9c  #edchat

vickicobb:  I had to leave teaching to become a science writer for children. No time for both teaching and writing. http://vickicobb.com  #edchat

ESLlibrary:  @englishraven Shared this interesting video about a potential digital textbook http://tinyurl.com/26u52um  Check out after #edchat

ToddAHoffman:  Texas schools use Web-based program to support 1-to-1 learning #edchat #edtech http://sbne.ws/r/5KCe

web20education:  RT @cybraryman1: We have to teach students not to believe everything on internet. See: All About Explorers http://bit.ly/akDbr8  (author:@geraldaungst)#edchat

EDUTOPIA: An article that relates 2 #edchat today: “A Textbook Example of What’s Wrong w #Education” http://bit.ly/cJJegZ

ESLlibrary: @theteachinggame Yes, here is a great new resource on just that from @NikPeachey http://tinyurl.com/29wdtok  #edchat

findingdulcinea:  If you’re studying Pompeii, what does a textbook have that this site does not? http://sites.google.com/site/ad79eruption/  #edchat

GEN_Technology:  RT @Parentella: Keep the Education Conversation Going on Twitter with #EdChat Even After the Hype http://bit.ly/de6OB8  #education

vmc_teachers:   @davidwees Animal in the wild. OMG! I was having the same thought yesterday watching this video on ants http://bit.ly/dbcOHf AMAZING #edchat

findingdulcinea:  What if thousands of great teachers created and shared assignments & resources like this one? http://bit.ly/bPelRl  #edchat

cybraryman1:  @lhmiles2 My Primary Sources page: http://bit.ly/dv09pF  #edchat

elanaleoni:  Good Resource: Gr8 blog that makes the case 2 go paperless by @TeachPaperless http://bit.ly/9EKDVf

cybraryman1:  1:1 Schools are moving toward a more digitalized learning 1:1 Schools page: http://bit.ly/cgH76r

findingdulcinea:  @lhmiles2 Here are all of our offerings – all free. http://bit.ly/9WaysDM  #edchat

jgmac1106:  @tomwhitby A video I start off most PD sessions on using the Internet. The book help desk http://youtu.be/0Cd7Bsp3dDo  #edchat

vmc_teachers:  @lemino Based on interdisciplinary and participation, I believe. An interesting research: http://bit.ly/cHuQPK #edchat

web20education:  Tim Berners-Lee on the next Web #edtech20 #edchat #lrnchat #educhat #web20chat #liveclass20 #plenk10 http://t.co/qVZAfRr

findingdulcinea:  Here’s our ever-evolving Web research tutorial; much more to come on this: http://www.sweetsearch.com/TenSteps  #edchat

lemino:  @cybraryman1 I wish I could participate in the next #edchat It relates to a pervious one and this post… http://bit.ly/aySkTr

Taylor_Learning:  @Carter_Learning Has a great blog post on the e-reader debate. Good supplementary reading for today’s #edchat http://bit.ly/9aRLEv

Tracy Mercier is a third grade teacher at Broad Brook Elementary School in Broad Brook, CT.  She teaches with a passion for integrated curriculum and technology. Tracy is also a Responsive Classroom Consulting Teacher and CT ASCD Board Member.

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!

●        Edchat: Join the Conversation

●        Using Tweetdeck for Hashtag Discussions

More Edchat

●        If you would like to join others in transforming the discussion into action, please feel free to join the Edchat group on the Educator PLN ning.

●        Jerry Swiatek does an incredible job of posting each archived transcript on the Edchat wiki created by Steve Johnson. This way you can look back at your favorites!

●        Find previous summaries here on this blog – see edchat category on right sidebar

●        Follow other Edchatters and make sure you are on this Twitter list if you participate in Edchat!

●        Read summaries of the 7pm EST/1 am CET Edchat discussions.


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!

September 29, 2010

Is a blend of e-learning and face-to-face learning viable for reform?

#Edchat  9-21-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST


This #edchat discussion was fast and furious and obviously a topic close to the hearts of many who participated. We are very grateful to Lisa Tingey (@lisalearner)who, with her background in educational software and learning online has produced a fantastic summary which gets right to the heart of the issue. Find out more about Lisa from her bio at the end of the post. Thank you Lisa for a great post!

Major Themes

●      Teaching Practices. E-learning is not a substitute for sound teaching practices. A poorly trained face-to-face   teacher is also likely to be a poor e-learning teacher.

●        Accessibility. Will established e-learning programs extend the learning beyond the walls of the classroom and provide students with opportunities to take courses that aren’t normally taught at their school? At the same time, could these programs widen the gap between rich and poor or students and their peers with disabilities? 

●        Differentiation. E-learning is a feasible way to differentiate instruction if programs provide assessment tools for teachers and allow students to progress at their own rate.

●        Student Engagement. E-learning places responsibility to learn on the student. Success is more dependent on student engagement with e-learning than it is in a traditional learning environment.

●        Asynchronous Learning. What’s more powerful, synchronous or asynchronous learning? How does feedback play into this?

●        Professional Development. Will a blended e-learning implementation be an intuitive process for teachers and students? Or will a lot of time be wasted learning to navigate e-learning technologies?

 Hello, fellow edchatters! I’d like to start this recap with a big thank you to @rliberni for the opportunity to synthesize last week’s #edchat and share my take away. Each #edchat I’ve participated in has left me inspired and enlightened, so thank you, too, for welcoming me into the community and for joining the conversation

Last week’s #edchat was of particular interest to me, considering my experience creating educational software. We discussed the benefits and potential challenges of blending e-learning with face-to-face learning.

Many contributors were excited about the prospects of more differentiated instruction, wide accessibility that extends the classroom beyond school hours, and students who are more fully engaged in learning. Still, others were concerned that e-learning programs would benefit only the most engaged, leaving other students to fall behind, and that accessibility would be an issue for both underprivileged students and students with disabilities.

In the end, one theme I took with me was that technological advances do not and cannot make up for poor teacher training, which often results in bad practices, and that even with additional technology teachers must continue using sound teaching skills to find success in the classroom.

While there were so many important tweets that enlightened the discussion, I sifted through and pulled what I felt were the best representations of the opinions, sentiments, and ideas of last week’s #edchat—listed in chronological order to represent the development of conversation. Also, take a look at the links section at the end, full of great resources that were shared during the chat. Special thanks to moderators @shellterrell and @rliberni, who did a great job in steering the conversation.

k_shelton: E-Learning can be blending into virtually any situation as long as it is with properly trained educators and appropriately supported #edchat

rliberni: @Becky_Ellis_ agreed, so design is very important but the std driving is what makes good e-learning #edchat

TwitClass: Would a blend of Elearning & Face to Face instruction be viable for all age groups & levels? #edchat

Tkraz: Experience lectures at home (through gaming, etc.) and discuss in class #edchat

Fliegs: E-learning will be one more way to widen the gap between rich and poor. #edchat

Rliberni: @olafelch they need to be able to self-manage their learning, to be self critical and honest about their work & make thr own choices #edchat

 Akevy613: Again as with any technology e- learning is a tool used but the focus as always has to be student learning #edchat

Becky_Ellis_: One HUGE advantage to E learning is the think time asynchronous instruction can provide for students. #edchat

Tina_Barr : @aklinekator @Becky_Ellis_ @MissCheska bad teachers R bad no matter the format does elearning have potential 2 make tchrs better? #edchat

ShellTerrell: Amazing! RT @fliegs: True. Last year, we used skype to help a very sick child stay connected to the class. #edchat

Paulbrichardson: @Becky_Ellis_ Agree that ‘think time’ is important. Asynchronous can give the shy learner opportunity to flourish #edchat

andycinek: I see “e-learning” as an organizational tool to assist and archive the classroom learning. It does not replace the learning process #edchat

iDESIGNsol: @lisalearner right on! in an e-environment, students move at their own pace in a safe environment-not always an option in trad model #edchat

frogphilp: RT @ShellTerrell If all schools integrated elearning then this would help extend learning beyond the classroom walls #Edchat that’s the key!

Anotherschwab: Student engagement is even more important in E-Learning, if they are not engaged it doesn’t work. #edchat

Andycinek: Whether its f2f or e-learning the content is the same.stdnts still need 2 B taught. SD learning only works w/ skill sets in place #edchat

olafelch: @drdouggreen I did. And from my own experience, learning how to learn online is neither instant nor instinctive. #edchat

fliegs: In most schools I’ve encountered, f2f learning needs to be differentiated more. Tchrs need to focus there and leave e-lrning out #edchat

ShellTerrell: Agree! RT @Becky_Ellis_: elearning helps differentiate for the individual student more effectively than 1 teacher can. #edchat

rliberni: W/ good elearning u take ur time, u choose ur direction, u self-evaluate, get good feedback. it opens up a new world #edchat

Tina_Barr: Will elearning make school difficult or impossible for some students w/ learning disabilities? #edchat

eshwaranv: @Tina_Barr VLEs need not be always visual. Blended learning can be customized. That’s the beauty of it. #edchat

cybraryman1: The key factor is having teachers who know the best methods to improve student learning with & without technology #edchat

ColinTGraham: The challenge with introducing anything new to your teaching approaches is that it should be purposeful, not just experimental #edchat


To follow the complete discussion see here

 For the stats on #edchat participation see here

Great Links

 markbrumley: @aklinekator Here’s my view of that. I think sports and other elective will drive this. http://tinyurl.com/23qtd4y  #edchat

jonbergmann: Check out how we do the blended classroom http://bit.ly/3PAZ1K http://bit.ly/dwA6to  #edchat

ISILBOY: Why Blended Learning is so imp? http://bit.ly/98sryY #edchat

Drdouggreen: @fliegs http://bit.ly/chShUa here it is. #edchat poor kids and handhelds.

Brunsell: @ShellTerrell @regparsons elearning does enhance f2f – http://tinyurl.com/y9jr6gs #edchat

Rliberni: Some amazing work done in India on kids teaching themselves and then others http://bit.ly/d5j4UK Sugata Mitra #edchat

ShellTerrell: Gaming in the classroom: Rock Band http://bit.ly/9k5jTU #edreform #edchat

Briankott: Virtual degrees? Is online education the way of the future or just a fad? http://nyti.ms/b7xsQv  via @NYTimes #edchat #edtech

RebeccaLeaRay: Social Learning Snapshot http://bit.ly/alYv5y #elearning #learning #leadership #astd #hr #lrnchat #edchat #edtech20

Rliberni: 10 e-learning principles http://youtu.be/ngN1yGRI3jw #edchat

Rliberni: Good and bad e-learning http://www.johnconnell.co.uk/blog/?p=2176 #edchat

Jonbergmann: I have started a blog on blended learning and how we are implementing it http://bit.ly/90OWo1 #edchat

JBEducation: How important is it for students to be physically in the classroom? http://nyti.ms/9PVvCt #edchat

Eshwaranv: @Tina_Barr Here is something which I had blogged sometime back on this: http://bit.ly/dqgssV #edchat

ISILBOY: E-learning Vs Classroom Learning http://bit.ly/aFDjIC #edchat

Eshwaranv: @Tina_Barr Check out my post on this: http://bit.ly/bFqaKO #edchat

ImagineLearning: How is this for e-learning expectations? #edchat http://yfrog.com/mzu7xkj


Bio for Lisa Salazar Tingey

Lisa has taught English as a second language in the US and abroad and, for a period of time, attempted to teach Spanish (a language she used to know well) to a class of Hungarians (in a language she barely knew).

After a brief stint as a magazine writer and editor, Lisa joined the software development team at Imagine Learning, where she writes stories and designs activities to help children with language and literacy. She is honored to work with teachers every day in developing tools to help their students succeed, and she would love to hear from you—just tweet @lisalearner

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!

Edchat: Join the Conversation
Using Tweetdeck for Hashtag Discussions

More Edchat

● If you would like to join others in transforming the discussion into action, please feel free to join the Edchat group on the Educator PLN ning.
Jerry Swiatek does an incredible job of posting each archived transcript on the Edchat wiki created by Steve Johnson. This way you can look back at your favorites!
● Find previous summaries here on this blog – see edchat category on right sidebar
● Follow other Edchatters and make sure you are on this Twitter list if you participate in Edchat!
● Read summaries of the 7pm EST/1 am CET Edchat discussions.


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!

September 28, 2010

Getting your voice heard – authentic writing for English language students

This is second post in a 3-part series about how to write for a wider audience than your English teacher.

Last time we looked at blogging, which is a great place to practise and improve writing skills and attract comments. These can be supportive and constructive but they can also be very critical and even hurtful – this is the risk you take. There are, however, gentler and more modest ways of writing for a public audience.

If you are not ready for the level of risk in blogging or don’t feel that your writing skills are developed enough to tackle a blog then there are other ways in which you can write online for a large audience.

Here are some suggestions.

Comments on other people’s blogs

This is a great way to start writing for a large audience. Comments can be any length so you can begin with a sentence or two and build up to longer comments later. As these are short bits of writing then you can check them for errors before you post. Also, because you have chosen to write this (i.e. it isn’t an assignment set by the teacher) then you can be completely free in what you say and use your own creativity!

If you follow a blog and comment regularly then you will also build up some rapport with the other followers and can enter into a written dialogue with them and maybe the author too!



from ‘Globally Speaking’ 2004 

Message Boards:

Discussions on message boards give you similar opportunities to those above. Here you are taking part in a discussion with like-minded people and there are many available to choose from, from small English language sites to the BBC site – all available to you and all providing great untapped opportunities for you to practice your writing online.

If you choose an English language message board then it’s likely someone will help you with any errors in your writing. If you choose a wider forum then make sure you follow the guidelines above; start short, check your errors and then build up to longer and more content rich messages. You don’t have to restrict yourself to English language sites,  if you have a hobby or a burning passion about a topic then search out a suitable message board and get started.

With these activities it is important to be mindful of your personal digital footprint. With both forums and message boards you should investigate thoroughly to find the one that suits you and is going to be the best for you to explore your writing. Watch them first, look at the kind of messages that are being posted and if you’re not happy with the content or the tone of the forum then look for another one!

Here are some messages on Gapfillers Word of the Day page

Chat rooms:

Although chat rooms may not seem the best place to practise writing they are in a written format and expose you to the same opportunities. Chat rooms are more tolerant about errors as people are generally writing very quickly to get the message over. This does not mean that it is a free for all! There is a certain tolerance level for mistakes and if you don’t take some care other members of the chat may become irritated. Use the same ‘rules’ as we discussed above and if you attend regularly then you will build not only a learning relationship with other members but a confidence which will help improve your writing skills and allow you to post longer messages with more ease.

This is part of a discussion about studying online – a student’s point of view

Social Media sites: 

There are now many of these from the 140 characters of Twitter to longer but equally functional ‘bits and bobs’ of writing on Facebook, LinkedIn etc.. Use these opportunities to comment. Choose a group within the site with whom you can communicate and the opportunities to flex your writing muscles are endless. Always be careful with your postings, be sensitive to others and watch your digital footprint and you will not go wrong. Finally do your homework – check out the sites, the rules and regulations, the norms and etiquettes and the world of online writing and commentary is yours for the taking!!

Here are some students experimenting with Twitter.

Whatever method you decide to use, it’s time to move beyond the classroom with your writing! Start slowly and safely and increase what you write, or jump in at the deep end and have a go. Just remember you are letting it ‘all hang out’ so treat your authentic writing as you would your homework assignments – take care, check and work towards improvement!

Have fun with your writing!!

Part one of the series Using blogs to help your writing skills, the how, the why and the what

 Other posts in writing:

Warning, mistakes cost marks!

7 Deadly sins to avoid in your writing.

7 Great virtues to help you write well in English.

September 21, 2010

How Do We Create Standards to Assess All Schools Equally?

#Edchat  9-14-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Firstly, apologies to Jo Ann and all edchatters for the delay in this summary. If you’ve been following my twitter stream you will know that I have major internet problems at present due to my phone cable! I am hopeful it will be resolved soon (5 days and counting!) However this tardiness in no way detracts from the quality of a wonderful summary provided for us by JoAnn Jacobs (@@JoAnnJ68). She has created a very thorough and enlivened report of the edchat discussion! Thank you JoAnn 🙂 (see JoAnn’s bio at the end of the post)

This is my first summary and it’s an honor to be asked.  This week’s question produced a great amount of traffic and comments from a group of educators that are passionate about their life’s work.  I believe there are three key words and of course, these became very apparent during the discussion.  They are Standards, Assessment, and Equality all which can be interpreted in a multitude of ways.  This being said, there were many questions as to what might be assessed and how that assessment would take place and what does it all mean? What is the definition of equality and how can we truly be equal?  Are standards in the way of real life teaching?

Many of the contributors felt the kids were being short-changed by a system that did not value who they are, allow them to progress at their own rate, or recognize innate talents that they possess.  A reoccurring question was how can we assure children succeed in the classroom and in life and if we differentiate, as we should, why doesn’t it seem to matter?  Then there is the government/politicians who feel they have the right to make blanket judgements about how we educate children.

There were also questions as far as can we fix our own system, scrap it and start again, or adopt another that might be more global in scope. As usual, money is a huge factor and also a great divider of schools and what they can provide for students and since this is a fact, why are we comparing to begin with?

In order to truly gather the essence of the discussion I decided to post comments/questions that I thought to be essential or thought-provoking for each of the key words and also comments that were especially insightful. They maybe some cross over but that’s to be expected.

Thanks to Shell for facilitating this chat which still could be going on and should be.

JoAnn Jacobs Curriculum Coordinator/Tech Resource Honolulu, Hawaii.

A selection of some of my favorite tweets (organized according to theme): 


ColinTGraham: @k_shelton Standardizing is not the same as meeting a standard – the latter being more criterion-based #edchat

ShellTerrell: Instead of focusing on standards, it’d be gr8 if govts focused on getting panel of experts coordinated at districts to solve needs #Edchat

21stprincipal: Standards are there to satisfy the political need to measure, not for benefit of students. #edchat Tests are there for same.

merchantkrystle: RT @MSTA: students transferring from one district to another can be at a huge disadvantage if grade level standards aren’t in place #edchat

shamblesguru: #edchat “worldwide standards” … could start with “student rights” http://www.shambles.net/pages/students/Srights/

Pederosa: @chalkdust49 imagine an NFL where all players were only allowed to score via standard moves & where original plays were frowned on #edchat

vmc_teachers: Supporters of #NCLB might say that we shld have high expectations 4 all students, hence the need 4 common standards. Wht do U think? #edchat

eshwaranv: Schools send out children around the globe. Not just within their community. Hence standardized assessments are important #edchat

k_shelton: This whole discussion is very exemplary of why standardized assessment and universal accountability are not realistic or fair #edchat

KimMcCollum: Standards = politically motivated “done deal” without ownership of major shareholders. Parity not part of it. #edchat

doc_crawford: Ed stds must be determined by all stakeholders, communities, workforce, business..gov should use these as policy advisers..#Edchat


davidwees: Assessment rubric: School culture okay? Students look happy? Building in good shape? Parents happy? Test scores not unreasonable? #edchat

Pederosa: Do assessment systems / methods reflect how different learners learn and demonstrate their learning #edchat

EdConti: RT @21stprincipal: Perhaps we need to rethink entirely the need to compare at all. Assess students individually. #edchat

CrudBasher: Put all student projects in ePortfolios. Let employers have their own assessments based on what they need. #edchat

SocialMediaInEd: @merchantkrystle There is no assessment of critical thinking only the student’s aptitude in rote memorization (I.E. the problem) #edchat

rliberni: RT @21stprincipal: Assessment too often ends up being superficial hoop-jumping. No authenticity. #edchat

smitha834: @ShellTerrell The only equitable way to assess such disparity is a growth-based model; to do otherwise is to perpetuate inequity. #edchat

MaggieSwitz: @ColinTGraham Agreed and formative assessment is more valuable as it shows what you need to do to improve #edchat

Becky_Ellis_: RT @cybraryman1: There cannot be a one size fits all assessment method #edchat

jasonhbuck: RT @davidwees: The easiest way to assess schools fairly is to build assessments for their local school & community. #edchat

Akevy613: RT @Becky_Ellis_: It is NOT possible to assess all schools equally. Would like a school to determine what is important not Washington #edchat

DrSmartEd: Assessments seem to focus on data for “appropriate funding” and dictate College acceptance. Tail wagging the dog? #edchat

VanessaSCassie: It’s interesting that educators are expected to promote differentiation for stdnts, yet assessed w/standards for schls, tchrs, etc. #edchat

NWEA: The focus of assessments should be to help each individual child set goals for learning, to help them improve and grow. #edchat #kidcentric

tomwhitby: Let us not forget that the assessment of our students is now becoming the standard for assessing teachers. #Edchat


chrismayoh: What do we mean exactly when we say ‘equally’? Is this the right term to use? #edchat

olafelch: It may be too much to expect the comparison of schools to be completely fair, but how can it be moved in that direction? #edchat

MataCorvera: Only prob is who decides what’s fair, and do they have @ stdnts needs and abilities in mind? #edchat

NextGenLC: Right. Too many factors. RT @michellek107: I don’t think all schools can be assessed equally, and they probably shouldn’t be. #edchat

ShellTerrell: T @Travis_Waldron: RT @michellek107: We have some insatiable need to force people to BE equal instead of providing equal rights. There IS a difference. #edchat

TwitClass: RT @graingered: Why do we need to comare schools? Judge each one agains their incremental improvement and growth #edchat

used2bprincipal: @davidwees agreed, all children are included in test scores and all children can not perform equally #edchat

michellek107: @olafelch How can you compare schools when some students mired in poverty & others live in luxury? Impossible. Compare skills, yes. #edchat

Insightful Comments:

ImagineLearning: RT @davidwees Agree, we are not aiming to high and failing, we are aiming too low and succeeding.That’s a real problem #edchat

graingered: @tomwhitby By defining their context/purpose- good is the enemy of great #edcaht #edchat

kalinagoenglish: RT @sjhannam: To answer what is wrong with education, we need to talk about politics, society, inequality..question our perception #edchat

JasonFlom: Schools r like ecosystems & districts like biomes. Ecologists look at similar measures for all, but also specific measures for each. #edchat

21stprincipal: Factory model: students are raw materials that can be shaped and molded. Learning is then a process to measure. #edchat

olafelch: @cybraryman1 I agree that students’ growth is really important (and significant). Jast as long as it isn’t confused with ability. #edchat

tomwhitby: if we use assessment as intended, to assess, reflect, adjust and teach again this wouldn’t be a discussion. It’s the misuse & abuse #Edchat

doc_crawford: @tomwhitby taxpayer is the community, the politician wants to be reelected by the taxpayer, getting communities on board is the key #Edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here 

 For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

 As ever, there were some great links shared:

briankotts: How Students Measure Great Teaching http://bit.ly/9UjKzg /via @arielsacks #edchat #edtech

otlcampaign:  School reform doesn’t have to be costly-just fair! http://ow.ly/2DZ9Z  #EdGap #BlackEd #EdChat

shamblesguru:  #edchat … easy … just telephone the school inspectors 😉 http://www.shambles.net/pages/staff/Inspection/

bjnichols:  Educational Leadership:Giving Students Meaningful Work:What Makes Kids Do Good Work? http://bit.ly/9Fm3Uy  #edchat

vmc_teachers:  How to assess students from diff bgrounds? Should we integrate social economic profiles? If so, how to: http://bit.ly/cU4Qeo

ShellTerrell:  RT @rachelala: in UK schls have contextual value added interpretation of socio-econ profile factored into data http://bit.ly/9oUaaL  #edchat

GiftedHF:  Are schooling and learning synonymous? (via @HoagiesGifted ) #gifted #homeschool #edchat http://fb.me/Hokdqjo1

Thanks2Teachers:  RT @gcouros The Gift of Emily http://bit.ly/aNim50  edchat #elemchat #teachers #ptchat #edu

NancyTeaches:  MUST READ! Awesome new blog! @gret: “Once Upon a Time a Teacher Joined Twitter” http://bit.ly/cFAtMX #edchat #elemchat #ntchat

ColinTGraham: My blog post about some of the issues of ‘standard’ exams in the UK (England specifically): Irrational numbers http://bit.ly/dcaoGR  #edchat

shamblesguru: #edchat … or does it all hinge on School Self Evaluation? http://www.shambles.net/pages/staff/selfeval/

shamblesguru:  #edchat “worldwide standards” … could start with “student rights” http://www.shambles.net/pages/students/Srights/

CATeachersAssoc:  We completely agree! RT @mikeklonsky An Open Letter To @NBCNews and Brian Williams http://bit.ly/dyHJ42 #edchat #edreform

cpoole27:  Showing students our blog… Would like them to see visitors in our revolver map… Please visit http://bit.ly/bMTCI0 #edchat #vanmeter

NWEA:  Is there a crisis of quality in education research? How do we tap into what really works for kids? http://nwea.us/b08PoW  #edchat

EdTechEvolution:  How quickly things can move when ideas are born and we’re brave enough to try them-YouTube Instant- http://bit.ly/9mgOHA #edchat #edtech ^JT

ToddAHoffman:  Students create “digital constitution” to govern technology use #edchat #edtech http://sbne.ws/r/5Eso

ShellTerrell:  How can we assess a schl like this http://flic.kr/p/4rzwqD  to same standard as a school like this http://flic.kr/p/775rcX  #edchat

TwitClass:  RT @shamblesguru: #edchat no one has mentioned virtual schs or home schs how do they fit in? http://www.shambles.net/pages/school/vschools

cybraryman1:  Yes, I have an Assessment page: http://bit.ly/dnW8jf  #edchat

ColinTGraham:  The can-do statements used by the CEFR http://bit.ly/9AULou  seem to be a much better approach, and more like @davidwees suggests #edchat

SmartEdServices:  Hence TAPit http://bit.ly/SmartEdTAPit  @geloomis “People educate themselves in different ways.”~Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer #edchat

@shamblesguru:  Right, we alws forget that ed. is not just schooling // How do virtual schs or home schs fit in? http://bit.ly/bgJ8Y4  #edchat

isteconnects: New Post: Super Mario’s Legacy Extends to Education http://bit.ly/cC26ie  #edtech #edchat

gjmueller:  We know but keep doing it RT @reyjunco Multitasking negative effects on student work http://bit.ly/bzUAi4  #edchat

olafelch: For any ELTers involved in #edchat today, check out http://eltchat.com / and join in #ELTchat tomorrow

JoAnn Jacobs is a Curriculum Coordinator/Tech Resource Hongwanji Mission School, Honolulu, Hawaii.  She is also the school’s project director for the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools “Schools of the Future” initiative.  She has been a teacher/coordinator for more than thirty plus years.  JoAnn lost count because she loves kids and her work.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 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


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!

September 13, 2010

What should be the single focus of education if we could agree on only one goal?

#Edchat  8-31-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

One goal for Education - what is it?

Thank you to Katherine Maloney (@1katty) for this summary of #edchat. Last week’s discussion was fast and furious and I think this is reflected in Katherine’s post here – so many tweets and so many great ideas! Thank you Katherine for a very comprehensive and thoughtful summary. Read Katherine’s bio at the end of the post.

For those of us involved in the daily grind of school, today’s #edchat helped us all to take a step back and look at the big picture:  what should be the single focus of education if we could agree on only one goal?  @rliberni and @ShellTerrell were our moderators, and they, as usual, did a brilliant job.  Thank you!

 While final consensus on a single focus of education may be difficult to reach, my personal takeaway from this #edchat was the realization that it is extremely important for us to try to arrive at one.  My experience in life has taught me that success cannot be achieved without clear goals.  While the process of identifying these goals may be a difficult and messy one, I do believe that it can be done and that doing so will be worth it in the long run.     

 Please see below for a summary of the main themes of the discussion and a selection of a few of my favorite tweets from it. 

Main themes from the discussion: 

  • Suggestions for a suitable focus for education included:  life-long learning; critical thinking and problem-solving; helping students to find and pursue their passion(s); learning from failure; global citizenship; creativity; fun. 
  • Several suggested that there was a need for a clarification of terms:  is the right word “focus,” or “vision,” “mission,” “philosophy” or some other?
  • Participants in the discussion also reminded us that “education” need not be confined to “school.”    
  • The more conventional ideas that education should focus on preparing students for success on exams, college, future employment, etc. were also debated; it was generally agreed that these should be referred to as “targets” or “outcomes” rather than as “focuses,” and that these targets need not be the same for everybody.  
  • Predictably, questions were raised about whether or not it is possible, or even desirable, to identify one, single focus for education.  While being focused and having clear goals can help to bring about powerful change, a “one size fits all” approach to education could end up excluding many.  
  • The questions of how we arrive at this agreement – the obstacles that are preventing agreement from being reached – and how to turn the agreement (if it can indeed be arrived at) into a reality were also discussed.  For example, who gets to decide on this focus – the students, the teachers, the parents, or…?  Once established, how can we ensure that there is no conflict between individual or local interests and national or international ones, or even between student/parent/teacher/school goals?  How can we ensure that everyone interprets the goal in the same way?  How can we know whether or not the goal has been achieved (i.e. how do we measure a goal such as “life-long learning”?  Portfolios, or…?)?  Finally, how can educators implement a goal such as “instill a life-long love of learning” within our current system – an often limiting and restrictive one?      
  • While there was not final agreement on whether there should be one focus or many, or what exactly this focus (or focuses) should be, most participants in this discussion did agree that change is needed, and that it can only be accomplished by working together and involving all of the key stakeholders in the decision-making process.  Parents and policy-makers are an important part of this discussion, though very few if any were present in our #edchat.         

A selection of some of my favorite tweets (organized according to theme): 

 Ideas for a single focus: 

@Mollybmom: Inviting our students to engage as life long learners.
@CrudBasher:  Single purpose of education: To help each child reach their full potential.
@Mollybmom: Personal reflection, self discovery, curiosity, asking questions and seeking answers…owning the learning.
@andycinek:  Single focus options:  adapt, change, learn, fail, discover.
@1katty:  How about – “tailoring individual learning experiences so as to meet the unique needs of each student”?
@tracymercier:  My largest goal is for them to be socially responsible. Everything else is gravy. 
@lisalearner:  The principle goal of education is to create men [and women] who are capable of doing new things. – Jean Piaget
@SECottrell:  That they invest their lives in pursuing the greatest good for every life they touch.
@Lauren_Learning:  Lifelong learning is the only sustainable focus. If we simply teach skill mastery, the learning ends when students leave school.
@malcolmbellamy: Education should be about preparation for life, not exams. 
@sjhannam:  Education should be about preparation for life, but life = competition in job market nowadays.  Exams are gatekeepers.  How do we change this?
@smitha834:  I agree with the push back on exams but educators need to show the public what’s going on and that they’re not afraid to be assessed.
@tomwhitby: Are students ever allowed to establish a goal beyond stating what they want to be when they grow up?

“Focus,” “Goal,” Or…?
@TechCzech:  We need to differentiate between aspirations, goals and objectives. Let aspirations be lofty. Goals realistic. Objectives measurable.

One goal, or many? 
@web20classroom:  Should there be just one goal? Can there be just one goal?
@domi75P:  One goal seems impossible.  There is so much diversity among people it would be easier to define what we do not want. 
@discomfortzone:  Is it wrong for schools to differ? Do they need to be universal? Have the same goals?
@drtimony:  Single focus? Options.
@TechCzech:  I went to school in a country (Czechoslovakia) where all “educators” agreed. Not sure it was for the best.
@CrudBasher:  I am for charters, public, private, unschooling, handschooling, online, offline and not invented yet. More choices!
@tonychilders: Anything beyond two or three goals waters down efforts and distracts. 
@lisalearner:  Without the same goals, we’ll never reach any goals. A divided house can’t stand, right?
@W3iGHTLESS:  Yes, but does agreement on one goal honor the diversity of our students? As long as the overarching goal is broad enough.
@lemino:  I think all movements have a defined vision, passionate leaders who define vision for others who run with it! We need that in education!
@tomwhitby: If educators cannot agree on where we are going, how can we ever get from where we are, to where we need to be?
@1katty:  Without a clear overarching goal, perhaps educators make themselves more vulnerable to the latest fad or trend.

@ShellTerrell:  What is preventing us from agreeing on one educational goal?
@michellek107:  Success defined differently by different people from different cultures and places.
@SECottrell:  Agreeing on realistic goals for students requires a vision of the world they will live in. 
@sjhannam:  Educators in a school may agree with goal, but interpret differently what that means. Uniformity unrealistic?
@CrudBasher:  Here’s a related question: Who currently determines the goal of education?
@tomwhitby: What if a parent’s goal for the child’s education is not in sync with the school’s?
@tracymercier:  Unfortunately, we are all mandated to teach specific content (NOT concepts) that limits the amount of autonomy we provide students.
@tomwhitby: Lifelong learning only happens when people control their learning. If that’s the goal,when do kids control their learning in our system? 
@sjhannam:  We need to ask why teachers are not involved in policy making.  What’s the point of educational policy? Why is it discriminatory?
@ShellTerrell:  Is education transformation halted by educators not agreeing on one goal or a few goals?

  Let’s not make excuses for why it is hard to achieve this goal and start focusing on accomplishing the task. 
@michellek107:  Schools, communities, and parents must partner together for children’s education.  Not in sync – need to meet and discuss.
@web20classroom:  Big goals must be supported with action steps that move everyone in the right direction.
@smitha834:  To truly disrupt education change needs to include the constituent stakeholders; if less are alienated more can make a movement.
@cybraryman1: Love to see us take all these wonderful ideas and meld them into our mission statement for education.
@smitha834:  My #edchat takeaway: my goal is to disrupt education by focusing on learners, community, and process. School is anywhere learning occurs.


To follow the complete discussion see here 

 For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

 As ever, there were some great links shared:

andycinek:  My goal this year in edu is to teach and learn without boundaries and to understand that I may fail http://bit.ly/cr4uDE  #edchat #edcamp

web20education:  #edtech20 #edchat Why Teachers Are The New Principals.: Read the full article at New York http://url4.eu/7DPBO

briankotts:  European Lifelong Learning Indicators (ELLI) places the Nordic nations at the top of the list. http://bit.ly/9rFqPW #edchat

TechCzech:  I think Becker’s results from 60s still hold. Students selforganize their efforts around institutional goals. http://j.mp/cZ4Pod #edchat

TechCzech: My take on the fate of goals in education: ‘A Becker attractor’ http://j.mp/9Vgo96 #edchat

DeronDurflinger:  New blog post #cpchat http://bit.ly/b6Itrw  Threat to the Status Quo, What are you doing to change the system? #edchat #vanmeter

malcolmbellamy:  RT @rliberni: @discomfortzone this is a great failing with our systems Ken Robinson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY  #edchat

cybraryman1:  @tomwhitby When students are ready how about Self-Directed Learning? My SDL page http://bit.ly/9Z9VLW  #edchat

lemino:  @W3iGHTLESS @discomfortzone Start by making learning fun. Knowledge – a game. http://bit.ly/cusRcw

andycinek:  Just completed a 2.46 mi run – In edu and learning the goal is not a finish line. #edchat. http://rnkpr.com/a9jo1p  #RunKeeper

Tina_Barr:  @Parentella I agree! http://bit.ly/90qspd  issues such as this make it hard to motivate the communitee

rliberni:  Some views on learning and edu Amy Tan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D0pwe4vaQo&feature =channel

rliberni:  and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fnh9q_cQcUE&feature =related Tom Woodward

rliberni:  and Edward de Bono http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjSjZOjNIJg&feature=related  #edchat

lemino: @lisalearner This reminds me of the question “what is peace?” here: http://bit.ly/diO6fu  #edchat

TechCzech:  Parents’ images of education are one of the factors behind the persistence of the “grammar of schooling” Cf http://j.mp/dpa9t1

lemino:  @ShellTerrell been watching @SirKenRobinson http://youtu.be/r9LelXa3U_I talk about revolution and not evolution. Goal?

CrudBasher:  @tomwhitby This is your brain. http://bit.ly/96rv55  This is your brain on #Edchat http://bit.ly/bS68pn

My name is Katherine Maloney, and I have been teaching IB English and Theory of Knowledge overseas for the past 12 years. I have a passion for reading, writing, the environment, traveling, art, yoga, and for using technology to enhance my students’ learning.  You can read more at my blog “KatScan”, or by following me on Twitter at 1katty

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


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!

September 10, 2010

Using blogs to help your writing skills, the how, the why and the what

This is the first of a 3-part series about writing and how you can explore ways in which to write for a wider audience than your teacher.

Finding an audience critical enough to help correct and enjoy what you write is not easy. Writing a blog, however, might just be the answer!

Before you leap in and launch your blog to an unsuspecting audience you need to consider three questions:

  • How?
  • Why?
  • Where?

How? that’s easy – just grab a blog site, sign up, throw down the ideas (think of a theme?) and away I go!

Why? – easy again – to practise my English (or another language) and network with people – hopefully someone will help me a bit with corrections?

What? –  no sweat, I’ll just do a kind of stream of consciousness thing with stuff that comes into my head!

Where? – now this is a bit more tricky,  teachers would love to see it and so would other language learners – this could be really cool! 🙂

OK, now steady on a bit!!

Let’s consider these questions and the possible implications they might have on your prospective audience, which you haven’t, as yet, considered by the way!

 Right, let’s rewind!


Blog readers are quite a critical audience. They are looking for good, helpful and inspiring information and have high expectations in terms of language and presentation. If you are planning to launch your blog on to the world at large then you have to be very confident that your level of language and breadth of vocabulary and usage is good enough. It might be better to start more modestly.

  • If you are in a class write for the class blog – what, there isn’t one? See if your teacher will set one up or why not do it yourself? A class blog is an excellent way to write in a controlled environment where your audience will be appreciative and helpful.
  • If you are a self-managed learner then look for a site where you can experiment with your blog and get some feedback. Some English language sites allow this. BBC (but you have to apply for this via email) English Club gives you a personal page where you can set up a blog,  Gapfillers has a blog option in member home (you can register free for this). Sites like these have peer correction and teacher support.
  • Or you could set up your own blog community and correct and comment on each other’s work.


Making your language real is very powerful and satisfying. While it’s a good idea to write in class or for your teacher and have this corrected so you can improve your skills, it is more of a challenge to write for a real audience. Blogging is a real and growing activity and it’s a good way to network, become part of a community and also practise our English skills.

  • If you are writing a real piece for a potentially large audience you will need to take extra care over it both for reasons of quality of language and personal pride. This in itself is a good learning exercise.
  • It is very exciting to get comments on your blog from people you don’t know and this will help to keep you motivated.
  • The more you do the better you should become. A blog requires commitment – it will do wonders for your writing if you work at it.


What you write about depends on you. What interests you? It will be easier to write about something that you are enthusiastic about. Think about your hobbies or your areas of interest.

  • If you choose to experiment using one of the English sites then see what other people are writing about. Do these themes attract you?
  • Do you follow a particular sports team? You could write about them. See what others are saying about your team and come up with a different angle – something like this would help you to build a following and get comments. You can then build a network with other enthusiasts and use this to develop your English skills further.
  • Above all write about what you know and love this way it won’t become a chore and you will always have something new to say.

 So now do your research. Look at other bloggers see what they are saying. Check out the sites and decide which ones would suit you best. Do a test run if you like – ask your teacher or a friend to check it for you.

Here are some posts you can start with.

 The best kept secrets of Edubloggers part 3  Karenne Sylvester

 Students as writers, teachers as audience  Clay Burell

On the ‘mechanics’ of writing:

7 Deadly sins to avoid in your writing   from this blog

7 glorious virtues to help you write well also from here

Now get going, have fun and improve your skills – I hope to swing by and post a comment one day!!

September 3, 2010

How do teachers, experts in education, gain a voice in the education reform movement that targets them as a problem?

#Edchat  8-31-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST  


Effecting Educational reform


Tuesday’s #edchat was something different to say the least! Firstly it was invaded by ‘tech Gremlins’ (as described by @esolcourses) with both moderators experiencing twitter and connection problems. (Thank you to all those edchatters who stepped in to rescue the situation!) At first two topics were making the rounds – but things finally settled down and in true PLN-collaborative-form #Edchat forged ahead.   The task of  writing the summary this week has been valiantly undertaken by Jarrod Drysdale (@knackisms). Although not a teacher, Jarrod works in the field of education and technology so he gives us a bit of a birds-eye view on this topic! Thank you Jarrod for stepping up to the plate to provide the summary of what was one of the strangest #edchats to date! See Jarrod’s bio at the end of the post.   

 While #edchat participants are frustrated with having a target painted upon their foreheads, they’re still motivated and excited to participate in education reform. Educators want to shift the conversation to the positive and work together with the community to make necessary changes. Educators desire respect and trust, and are willing to do the hard work. Conversations made clear that teachers need to get more involved with current events and focus upon the big picture rather than just the scope of their individual classrooms. In addition, educators need to better inform the public, including politicians and parents, of the challenges they face.  

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:    

  ●        Teachers need to stand up and communicate the reality of what is happening in schools.  

 ●        Change the story to focus on all the positive achievements by educators.  

 ●        Teachers need to get involved with local elections and the press.  

 ●        Trust is critical among teachers, administrators, and parents.  

 ●        Teachers face a lot of negativity in the press, communities, professional circles, and politics.  

 ●        Learning is the responsibility of students, families and educators together.  

 ●        It’s difficult to define what makes a teacher effective, but teachers are best equipped to evaluate their peers.  

 Here is a selection of some of the comments:    

  @MissCheska:  I think first and foremost to affect change is to encourage transparency in what’s going on in our own classrooms #edchat  

  @baldy7:   #edchat if educators/teachers want to have a voice, they need to stand up and be heard. Too much being done to them!  

  @cybraryman1:   Educators have to educate the policy makers and get more say in their decisions. #edchat  

  @blairteach:   Tchrs also need to take a leaf from the PR handbook & publicize the INCREDIBLE things going on in sch; counter-programming to bad. #edchat  

  @tracymercier:  Even if we are tenured, when you do say no, disagree/stand up you are ignored (just shut up & do it) #edchat  

  @baldy7:   #edchat education is perceived as a noble field, but one that “anyone” could do. we allow the perception to exist.  

  @ImagineLearning:   I am seeing a general thread that the school-home connection is an important step to this issue #edchat  

  @tomwhitby:  How can we get local communities on brd with tchrs not even knowing what to address?If we don’t get it, how can we expect others to? #Edchat  

  @PeacefulSchools:  Communication between schools and families can often be a great struggle. #Edchat  

  @TheDSCWay:  Teachers are easy to attack because they are the most visible and people know what they are supposed to be doing (or think they do) #edchat  

  @rgallwitz:  What makes a great teacher? Results or relationships? #edchat  

  @lisamireles:   #Edchat how about by changing the story? Talk about teachers as the solution not the problem…  

  @Smichael920:   #edchat the more parents r involved in their chdns ed, the more respect they have 4 tchrs. Mayb more politicians should spend time in sch!  

  @JasonFlom:   Think globally, Elect locally. Teachers need to be involved in their local elections. Call out misrepresentations by candidates. #edchat  

  @JasonFlom:   Teachers need to write letters to ed, op-ed pieces, and other bits of opinion to balance one-sided representation. #edchat  

  @TheDSCWay:   If you haven’t taught, it is hard to imagine all of the competing directions teachers are pulled in. It is a hard job! #edchat  

  @leaguelearn:   Public clings to tests ’cause that’s what they know & remember, need to see rigorous alt assess in person – student led portfolios #edchat  

  @michellek107:   As educators, & more spec, teachers, we need to encourage local media to come see what we are doing WELL! Beyond test scores. #edchat  

  @davidwees:   Politicians need to stop thinking of education as a short-term objective and more of a long term investment in our well-being. #edchat  

  @michellek107:   As a teacher, I MUST help my community understand that students’ edu needs are different than they were 5, 10, 50 yrs ago. #edchat  

  To follow the complete discussion see here    

  For the stats on #edchat participation see here    

  As ever, there were some great links shared:   

 @ImagineLearning: Newsweek gives case study of PLB helping the “Creativity Crisis” http://bit.ly/dj6W1F  

 @Parentella I interviewed @vickysaumell about using Project Based Learning: http://edition.tefl.net/guest/vicky-saumell/  

 CoCreatr:  @blairteach teachers can #innovate around pressures through developing “growth mindset” http://bit.ly/97XJFN  via @jorgebarba  

 briankotts:  Teachers, public sharply divided on key issues | BostonGlobe http://bit.ly/dzu1F3  

 leahmacvie:  I think the best way to assert your voice is to start a movement. Blog, tweet, gain followers. http://bit.ly/aoeO8Y  

 getschooled: One student drops out of high school every 26 seconds (1.2 million/yr). http://ow.ly/2xlF0  

 andycinek:   What will you say on day one? http://bit.ly/bF7aJG  #edchat #edcamp #ntcamp [Day one is critical, and this is great! ^CB]  

 joe_bower:  I am listening to Richard Byrne’s Reform Symposium presentation on Back Channeling. http://bit.ly/bUO9zU  #abed #edchat  

moehlert: #TED must watch! “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds” by Temple Grandin http://bit.ly/8XReoV  via @rkiker @dcinc66 #edchat   

ImagineLearning:  Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything West wing cilp starts at 40 sec http://bit.ly/aOEkoo   

davidwees:  @MissCheska Read this article I wrote about comparison between education and other fields of study. Much clearer. http://is.gd/eNDD6  #edchat   

SkippingRobyn:  We all want to help students succeed, but being a HS teacher can be tough work! Are you up for the challenge? http://ow.ly/2xpq4  #edchat   

CoCreatr:  @blairteach that is the point. Check Professor Carol Dweck’s research in the video http://bit.ly/97XJFN after #edchat 😉   

mikeoconnor1982:  Tips for Engaging Your Audience (be it students or adults) http://t.co/qbJqjvI   

fullonlearning:  http://tinyurl.com/2utphxf “If everyone could educate, we could educate everyone” #edchat #gtchat   

briankotts:  Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers | Newsweek http://bit.ly/apGE8h  #edchat   

cybraryman1:  My Education Reform page of links: http://bit.ly/diXT0v  #edchat   

web20classroom:   Cool Prezi On Problem Based Learning: http://bit.ly/9R3Ojc  #jccstech #edchat   

MatthiasHeil:  Children can learn from bad teachers! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10590460   

ImagineLearning:  research shows that kids who have 2, 3, 4 strong tchers in a row will eventually excl Newsweek #edchat http://bit.ly/btRz5c   

davidwees:   The death of the amateur mathematician. Why it is critical to invest in education. http://bit.ly/9Nmc5a   

Smichael920:  Short post on sharing good news w/children, govs & staff (Every) Photo (tells a) Story: http://wp.me/pvUIF-57  #edchat this helps us   

JoHart:  Other TZs post http://bit.ly/92XdGs  wth overview & rec link recent Edublogs Webinar “Your PLN what’s in it for all of us!” #edchat   

blairteach: Yeah, the long-term PD thing is tough. PLP was huge for this. http://bit.ly/aG6w0f   

smartinez:  Focus on results can make children do worse, study finds http://bit.ly/9IaEcA  #edreform #edparadox #edchat   

ToughLoveforXhttp://ilnk.me/41c8 Syllabus: My fav” (so far) 4. How Do We Know What We (Think We) Know? #edchat   

LesLinks: Plse read @ljconrads new blogpost… excellent call to arms for US ed system.. http://bit.ly/aVwqgT  #edchat #elemchat #gtchat #gifted #teach   

LesLinks:  It has been really interesting & exciting to be here will come again!! more info on #gtchat at http://www.ingeniosus.net/gtchat  #edchat   

ImagineLearning:  just used BlastFollow to follow everyone from today’s #edchat http://bit.ly/9ZEKpu   

blairteach:  I’ve been using http://youtu.be/nBJV56WUDng  to show that the way we always do something may not be the best way to do it. #edchat   

davidwees: New blog post: Every educator should experience being a bad student. http://bit.ly/9BfPGP   

Jarrod Drysdale is a professional designer living in Denver. He recently built and launched a new web application called Knack For Teachers, and is emphatically devoted to assisting educators via technology. Jarrod has worked on everything from movie websites to digital advertising to financial software, all for national companies and household brand names. He’s decided education is where it’s at. Four of Jarrod’s immediate family members are educators. He blogs actively at the Knack Blog   


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!   

●        Edchat: Join the Conversation   

●        Using Tweetdeck for Hashtag Discussions   

More Edchat          

If you would like to join others in transforming the discussion into action, please feel free to join the Edchat group on the Educator PLN ningJerry Swiatek does an incredible job of posting each archived transcript on the Edchat wiki created by Steve Johnson. This way you can look back at your favorites!  Find previous summaries here on this blog – see edchat category on right sidebar. Follow other Edchatters and make sure you are on this Twitter list if you participate in Edchat! Read summaries of the 7pm EST/1 am CET Edchat discussions.  


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.  

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