Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

December 14, 2010

School Policies: Helping or Hindering Student Learning?

#Edchat 12-7–2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

This topic is one close to many teacher’s hearts and the participating edchatters were no different. Ideas of good practice , bad practice,  hopes and desires all came out in the discussion. To capture the essence of this we are very grateful to Josh Stumpenhorst (@stumpteacher). He has done an amazing job in getting to the heart of the discussion and drawing out all the different threads. Thank you Josh. See more about Josh in his bio at the end of the post.

This weeks #edchat topic was about how schools’ policies are often hindering student learning in large part due to their restrictive nature. Many people had strong views about bad policies that were being imposed in their schools. One of the big ones that kept coming back up was the amount of filtering that takes place over the Internet. Most understand the need for filtering due to liability and the need for some form of filtering due to government regulations. However, teachers would like a middle ground and to be trusted to make educationally sound decisions on behalf of their students. Another theme that came out of this conversation is that often times the decisions that are being made about policy are being made by those farthest from the classrooms. To help solve this problem teachers and students need to be more vocal and collaborate with administration at every opportunity. In addition, administration needs to be more aware of the needs of students which is often done by simply being amongst students in the classrooms. At the end of the day, it is easy to point a finger for bad policy, but that won’t change anything. We must all work together, students, parents, teachers, and administrators, to write policies that reflect the need of today’s learners.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 
There were many themes that came out in the most recent #edchat conversation on 12/7/10. The central theme was how policies are hindering student learning and how to influence those policies to have a positive impact on student 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.

@ShellTerrell: Schools need to rethink filtering. We should take these learning opportunities to teach Ss about digital citizenship
@cybraryman1: Policies should be set collaboratively (students, teachers, admin and parents)
@cybraryman1: Have to give parents hands-on workshops on how tech is being used in classrooms to get them on our side
@stumpteacher: Tough thing is that policies are written by those farthest from the students and classrooms
@jorech: Biggest hindrance to learning: a curriculum, atmosphere centered around achievement on high-stakes standardized tests
@shamsensei: Change can only be done if u know how to do it

@ileducprof:  Too many school administrators are only concerned with what occurs in their district. Missing out on collaboration opportunities.

@shamsensei:  DO not wait until you KNOW how to make change. Start now. Fail and try again. Do not wait.
@jgmac1106: 2 me it boils down two types of leadership models: Fear and Respect. Which one does your school use? Model? when it comes to filters
@smitha834: If teachers aren’t allowed 2 model social media use we are not letting students know how to properly use it to learn
@stumpteacher: Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Don’t give up and keep pushing for change! Student’s learning MUST to be the corner stone! 
@ShellTerrell: One way to change the bad policies is by having these conversations in our communities w/ staff, students, admin, & parents
@bjnichols: The best way to change policy is to show how it could work better. Set up pilots, models, etc. Provide visuals  
@milenagarg: we have a kid check statement that we try to run all policies through so that we do what is best for kids
@MZimmer557: I don’t know if it is all bad policies, it is just there are so many policies that get in way of quality teaching.
@shamsensei: has any1 asked d kids wat they want to change?
@cybraryman1: Ask not what your school can do for you–ask what you can do for your school’s students.
@fliegs: A Policy should not be created to police the less than 5% that would use something inappropriately
@ShellTerrell: Can each of us make a goal to try & collaborate with others to effectively change at least 1 ineffective policy in our schools?

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

How do we move our classrooms and students to be driven by learning and mastery instead of by testing and grades?

To follow the complete discussion see here 

 For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

cybraryman1:  My Cyber Citizenship page is an important beginning with students: http://bit.ly/5fDZ4f

datruss:  My daily-ink: Twitter EDU – Some simple advice to set yourself up for success… http://post.ly/1In03

jamesshelley:  Check out the animation from @SirKenRobinson speaking at @thersaorg – http://youtu.be/zDZFcDGpL4U

TheHelpGroup:  We had a big drive to join our Facebook pg, then realized everyone had to wait to join until they got home :\ http://on.fb.me/9v6Oe8

shamblesguru:  Playing with #Rockmelt : Social Media Browser built on Chrome http://www.shambles.net/pages/staff/browsers/ #edchat #edtech #browser

missydow:  I love that a student shared this resource with me during a conversation about citing sources /giving credit. http://bit.ly/gzWKRa

datruss:  See http://bit.ly/aeVfuv  RT @ShellTerrell: Yes it is! RT @stumpteacher: Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than permission!

marketeducate:  #edchat Natl Ed Tech Plan calls for education transformation through technology. Already happening, isn’t it? http://bit.ly/dhiUEU

imaknight:  anyone familiar with Project Share (Texas) http://bit.ly/gaSXIW  #edtech #edchat

bhsprincipal:  New Post: Why We Use Tech in Our Class http://bit.ly/guItex  #edchat #edtech #bhschat

cybraryman1:  You have to periodically review your AUP (Acceptable Use Policies): http://bit.ly/9ViT9i

briankotts:  Korea and Finland top OECD’s latest PISA survey of education performance http://bit.ly/fvbRE3 /via @OECD_Edu  #edchat #eduswe #ukedchat

dcinc66:  Constance Steinkuehler examines the role of games and play as an integral part of learning. http://bit.ly/hiKmIB  #bif2010  #edchat

jonbergmann @alvintch Check our #revlearn and the flipped classroom. Works well with 1:1 http://bit.ly/bE6TCC

cybraryman1:  @ShellTerrell We really need a Twitter Academy to collaboratively show them how to really educate http://bit.ly/as9R0g  #twitacad #edchat

michellek107: It’s Time to Trust Teachers with the Internet via @web20classroom http://bit.ly/icCx9D  #policies #edchat

stumpteacher: We can’t be like John Mayer and wait on the world to change… http://bit.ly/e0dBbP  #edchat

web20education:  #edtech20 Web 2.0 #Resources for Educators #edtech20 #edchat http://goo.gl/fb/cneEb #uncategorized #bit #classroom

smitha834:  One thing that could help spur policy change is educators blogging both publicly and accurately #edchat http://ow.ly/3lnaV

baldy7:  posted last night. http://bit.ly/cbkhEO  What Do You Do. #edchat #cpchat

mizztcasa:  Giving African girls a chance to learn http://bit.ly/i01XpV  #edchat

TEDxUBC video #8 – Jeffrey Piontek -Teaching Jetson Children In Flintstone Schools http://t.co/rW5Hi2z  via @youtube #tedxubc #edchat #cpchat

brockgrubb:  Chris Rush (School of One) – to improve student outcomes, “assume anything can change” #bif2010 #edchat http://bit.ly/1SmCzT

web20education:  Here you can read more about eSafety #edtech20 http://teachlearnplayesafetyeducation.wall.fm/blogs/11  #edchat

eshwaranv: Blogged: Could you tell me something about it? http://bit.ly/e96tWX  #edchat #ntchat #elemchat #kinderchat #lrnchat

gret: Great post! “Know the Power of “Hello”” by @4thGrdTeach http://me.lt/4x0aF  #edchat

World4Children:  Disapp. 2 see only 1 educator @ #TEDWomen http://ow.ly/3lnsI  People concerned about #education need 2 join events like this! #edchat #cpchat

cybraryman1:  @Online4School My Educational Chats page with times and days: http://bit.ly/c6mAWB

royanlee: New Post: Why We Use Tech in Our Class http://bit.ly/guItex  #edchat #edtech

gmbondi: Let’s rename 21st Century Learning – call it Digital Dewey or Progressive Education http://bit.ly/dMEYcs   #edchat #cpchat #edtech

fliegs: Share Your Successes for Better Ed Reform http://goo.gl/fb/wJekv  -New Blog Entry #edchat #cpchat

Aminhotep:  Education reform begins in your classroom http://wp.me/tcfd  #edchat #educationreform

internet4classr:  Let students own the learning – http://tinyurl.com/28un686  (via @drmmtatom ) #ntchat #elemchat #edchat

MikeGwaltney:  An Education Policy Novice takes over the largest education system in the nation. Strange. http://nyti.ms/eEaUXG

MSTA:  We absolutely agree! RT @michellek107 It’s Time to Trust Teachers with the Internet via @web20classroom http://bit.ly/icCx9D  #edchat

joe_bower:  Student learning environment first, teacher’s work environment second. http://bit.ly/eXoN4N  #abed #edchat

tomwhitby: My Latest Post: To Be Better Teachers, We Need To Be Better Learners. http://bit.ly/hx697O  Pls  read & comment. #Edchat

lisalearner: blogpost: how to help your English learners get around Internet obstacles http://bit.ly/i9tYr5 #edchat #ellchat

iEARNUSA: @AsiaSocietyPGL PISA analysis on http://CNN.com http://bit.ly/fXXIuy  <= learn with, not just about, the world #iearn #edchat

EdEquality: Check out Michelle Rhee on NBC discussing her new organization: Students First. http://on.msnbc.com/fFwkYz  #edreform #edchat #edgap

Josh Stumpenhorst is a 6th grade Language Arts and Social Science teacher at Lincoln Junior High School in Naperville, IL. I have been in this same position for eight years and have not plans on leaving the students! I have a passion for using technology and empowering my students through its use in my classes daily. Twitter has changed my life and I thank each and every member of my PLN and those that participate in #echat for the valuable things you have taught me. You can read my blog at stumpteacher and you can follow me on Twitter @stumpteacher.

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!


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