Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

October 14, 2011

How does giving students more control of their education affect the quality of the education?

This week’s #edchat summary has been beautifully created by Ian Simpson and generously hosted on his own blog. I don’t want to steal his thunder and so I urge you all to head on over there via this link


and have a look. There are lots of goodies in store for you there!

Thank you Ian for a job really well done and for giving me a week off!

Don’t forget to check out Ian’s bio, make sure you follow him on twitter and check out his other posts while you’re over there.

October 12, 2011

How can educators deal with the poverty and culture gaps that have such a devastating effect on standardized test scores?

#Edchat 10 – 4 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

This edchat topic was always going to be  a tough one and it aroused a lot of passion among the participants. I cannot think of a better edchatter to write this summary than LaRon Carter and he has produced a fantastic post which gets right to the heart of this topic. He poses more questions than answers and these are exactly what we discovered when we tried to tackle this massive issue. LaRon has shared some great videos to give you further food for thought and I encourage you to follow him and check out the web links in his bio at the end of the post. Thank you LaRon for a post that gives us all so much food for thought!

The foundation of a question searching for answers that connect solutions to challenges faced when crossing the bridge of standardized test scores sounds academic. Factor in hauling a backpack loaded with cultural differences and the pains of poverty and educators are as overwhelmed as the students taking the test.  This EdChat topic solicits feedback from educators on how to deal with it.  The conversation was only able to scratch the surface of solutions offering temporary relief to a much bigger set of systemic issues.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 
  • Worrying about poverty because of the tests is a bit horrifying
  • Correcting poverty is a moral thing to do
  • Teaching as a culturally sensitive pedagogic method
  • Success happens when teamwork happens between all stakeholders
  • Home visits promote healthy relationships early on
  • Teaching to the test is just plain bad practice
  • No food – No learning – Stressed teachers teaching test prep – No Learning – No win
  • Do you save all of a few or a tiny fraction of all?
Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

@davidwees: The topic for today assumes that we should be dealing with gaps in poverty & culture BECAUSE of tests, which is absolutely false. #edchat

@leahmacvie: #edchat fun fact: Finland got rid of state-mandated tests and replaced them with highly trained teachers+ problem solving assessments.

@TeacherSabrina: Part of prob is that tests are designed by people good at taking them. Will always favor their learning styles/ways of performing. #edchat

@harrelldewayne: @davidwees #edchat the word “test” will never show “true education,” it enables a school & person 2 feel a since of accomplishment

@ericconti: A start would be to provide high quality early childhood education for all children. #edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: Programs like AVID for 1st gen college bound students are supporting these students. We need more support for these students #edchat

@teachingwthsoul: My whole teaching/admin career based in schools w/high poverty & ELL Ss. Our scores soared! Worked as a team w/ all stakeholders. #edchat

@jessievaz12: RT @TeacherSabrina: .@davidwees @drdouggreen If a test consistently shows cultural diffs, it’s testing culture not academics. Throw it out & start over! #edchat

@kstansberry: Big question for educators: do we try to change culture or help students assimilate to dominant culture #edchat

@drdouggreen: @davidwees I think we should focus on opportunities for poor kids. The war on poverty started in the 60’s and hasn’t worked so well. #edchat

@TeacherSabrina: @drdouggreen @davidwees Actually it was working well until its gains began to be reversed under Reagan. #edchat Our greatest success w/ +

@ICTwiz: @cybraryman1 But standardised tests benefit ONLY a certain type of pupil. More formative assessments need to happen #edchat

@tomwhitby: If we recognize Poverty as a critical element in a failing education system, why is this not at the forefront of reform? #edchat

@ShackKyle: RT @tomwhitby: If poverty is a prime force in edu failure, how will any teachers feel supported when their rating/job depends on test scores? #Edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: More we break down barriers between students = more likely they are to communicate, collaborate & engage w/each other RT @rliberni: #edchat

@Kerry_EasyBib: @tomwhitby Poverty isn’t at the forefront of edreform b/c its the 1 issue even more seemingly insurmountable than edreform #edchat

@jessievaz12: For me, culture seems to be less of an issue bc we support international minded view. Looking at all cultures & perspectives. #edchat

@tomwhitby: If the culture within poverty areas is also counter to Edu that magnifies the problem freezing some schools in the failing zone. #Edchat

@teachingwthsoul: In high poverty schools, must meet the families where they are. Then build! Home visits/out reach were powerful tools. Care,support. #edchat

@cybraryman1: RT @weisburghm: School leadership is *so* important in driving achievement in schools serving poverty areas #edchat

@jgmac1106: It would also help if the teachers in high poverty schools looked like and shared experiences of their students #noteasy… On more macro level high poverty schools need to become community centers with open libraries, breakfast, TESOL adult ed, health #edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: I use my online discussions to present release questions then have students discuss them & brainstorm strategies for solving. #edchat

@rliberni: @jgmac1106 many schools here serve breakfast to kids some parents go to work very early #edchat

@weisburghm: Let’s develop more Ss as peer leaders, and let them teach and lead as part of their education #edchat

@TJwolfe_:  @teacherdebra Would be great to have more, split up responsibility between Admin and teachers, and visit more students at home #edchat

@38rg: When students aren’t engaged,can we honestly say they’re learning?

@jessievaz12: AMEN SISTER!=>RT @prlowe91: There is no need for teaching to the test if students are taught how to think & question. #edchat

@prlowe91: @weisburghm Totally get that single moms have it tough. We need to find a way to connect. #edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here
As ever, there were some great links shared:

 The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future (Multicultural Education) via @leahmacvie http://www.amazon.com/Flat-World-Education-Commitment-Multicultural/dp/0807749621/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317944684&sr=8-1

 One thing citizens must do his take our voice to the poles and hold our politicians accountable. #edchat http://t.co/p8d4zYt5  via @laroncarter


Shared my thoughts on good education & the importance of diversity in thought here: http://t.co/ikKcZVd1  Have to go, but great #edchat-ting! Via @TeacherSabrina         



http://laroncarter.com LaRon Carter creator of http://twitter.com/K12Live is an education behavioural strategist and author of Stop Crying in the Restroom [it ain’t that deep]: A Guide to Your Best Year Teaching With Smart K12 Goal Setting Methods.  Follow Carter “The Guest Teacher” @laroncarter http://twitter.com/laroncarter on Twitter


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!

October 10, 2011

What specific things can teachers do to promote creation of content by students?

#Edchat 09 – 28 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

This topic created quite a buzz in #edchat with lots of ideas and examples flowing from participants (see the links at the bottom of the page). It proved to be a popular session and extracting the main points to provide this summary cannot have been an easy task. So, hats off to Jessica Allen for her great summary this week. Everything you need to find out more about the ideas and opinions of this #edchat are here including the great links and she has provided us with the video above which gives us even more food for thought! Thank you Jessica! Find out more about Jessica from her bio at the end of the summary.


In my opinion it is one of the most topics that need to be discussed by teachers who are trying to implement educational technology in a relevant and meaningful way with students.  As the research, experts and edchat conversation suggests, we need to include students in not only using technology but using it to help them communicate their thinking and sharing their voice through the creation of digital content.  This is a key move that many teachers are unable to move to when first using technology.  It’s a push to go beyond using to incorporating necessary 21st century skills such as creativity, creation, expression and communication.

There were two main types of ideas that spread throughout the discussion. Theories on why it is necessary to implement more creation with students and Ideas on how to implement creation with students.  Below are the top bullet points in each category:

Theoretical Ideas/ Reasons:

1. Teachers need to use more group work and collaboration with their students which are based on student interest

2.  Teachers need to scaffold the experiences of creation and move from structured assembly to free unscripted creation

3.  Students need to be given purposeful, relevant projects which require problem solving and collaboration to create a product to inform or help others

4.  Teachers need to model creation and show that texts and other sources are only resources for curation to share learning and ideas with others

5.  Curriculum and teachers must explicitly give time and attention to understanding and doing creation of content to prepare for future needed skills

Ideas for Implementation:

1.  Ask students what they are interested in during their free time and use those ideas as a place to start

2.  Give students facts and information on an issue and let them determine the problems that need to be solved while resisting  the urge to help; instead give them the space to problem solve creatively in a group

3.  Have students use technology as the “collector” for all of their shared and created content; digital portfolios, blogs, wikis, interviews, edmodo, etc.

4.  Give students the final goal/ outcome/ concept that they need to understand and ask them how they would like to get there through their own questions and then design their learning around the questions

5.  Consistently provide choices for students to share and demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways

These were a few tweets that caught my eye:

There were so many great tweets that it was too hard to pick a few! Here is a selection of the best, each one starts with the person who sent the tweet (I highly recommend following that person if you liked their point of view!)

@USCTeacher: Teachers can promote creation of content by engaging students in projects & encouraging group work & collaboration #edchat

@davidwees: I’d like to make sure we talk about the difference between the Lego “follow the script” creation and unscripted creation. #edchat

@newtechnetwork: Much content and content creation tools are blocked…unblock for better access to relevant information. #edchat

@drmcgettigan: project based learning is key, so is collaboration at times–also having a purpose -as way to inform or help others #edchat

@Mimiotechnology: Could be digital or physical, but teachers need to create a space for content creation. Great example: http://t.co/DZLUiUGa #edchat

@delta_dc: Because the current educational system expects consumers of information, not creators, we must address this explicitly w/ students.#edchat

@newtechnetwork: Model content creation by using the textbook as a resource, not a manual and curating content yourself. #edchat

@aletheia_vox: Devices are secondary. Creativity comes first – the devices are merely the tool students use #edchat

@coreydahlevent: I think that if teachers MODEL creation of content, kids will follow. #edchat

@thenerdyteacher: #edchat – Once I let I let students create their projects, class engagement skyrocketed. Ownership is key.

@coreydahlevent: I think a major barrier students have in creation of digital content is the teacher. #edchat

@Kerry_EasyBib: If you want them to create, just ask students what they already make in their free time & start there #edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: When I ask students to create, then look at me w/a blank look. Many need guidance to develop these skills #edchat

@davidwees: Do some assembly, do some creation, push kids towards creation over time. Scaffold the experience. #edchat

@drmcgettigan: Give students a problem to solve and resist urge to help them–let them problem solve, use creative means to solve. #edchat

@drmcgettigan: Students so focused on “right” answers–need to get them out of that habit for creativity to flow. #edchat

@newtechnetwork: All of these ideas sound like #PBL #edchat

@KTVee: A great teacher is not one who is perfect, but one who is willing to reflect, search for growth, and open to improve always. #edchat

@birklearns: I think we need to teach kids to find problems, not give them problems to solve. Give them facts, let them determine issues. #edchat

@ctuckerenglish: Allowing students 2 approach projects through the lens of their passion might be a good compromise- allow choice #edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: Biggest hurdle 4 teachers in supporting creation of content is it takes more time to scaffold. Must sacrifice quantity 4 quality #edchat

@tomwhitby: Bloom Advocates: Creation is the highest form of learning. Tech tools for learning are engaging to students. Do we see a connection? #edchat

@MulgraveSchool:  Online social learning is about developing, not evaluating, student thinking online. So, our practice is never mark student blogs. #edchat

@davidwees: Is technology a necessary component in 21st century content creation? Can kids learn effective creation skills w/o tech? #edchat

@kylepace:  Meet students where they are consuming the content and guide them to create, publish, and contribute to it positively. #edchat

@kathycook1:  Allow students to question, challenge, make connections, and explore ideas and options. #edchat

@laroncarter: Have student (short) video document small group projects to stengthen blogs and family nights presentations. #edchat

@DataDiva:  We can A. create with the tools we have or B. seek out the tools we need to create. Depends on creator #edchat

@davidwees:  I think the question is, can skills kids learn related to creation transfer from non-tech to/from tech? #edchat

@coreydahlevent: YouTube is the perfect example of creating digital content. It’s what we do! Let’s do this in school! #edchat

@fereydoon1975:  The perfection & the beauty of what our Ss creating is not as important as the questions and problems they faced during the creation #edchat

@newtechnetwork: Students can publish and present rather than “turn in”. #edchat

@mauilibrarian2: Just coined a new word: “bookremarkable”. Definition: web term for a remarkable source that must be bookmarked. 🙂 #edchat #TLChat #HASL11

@birklearns: Can we teach concepts more than content, and have students use their interests/creativity to demonstrate concepts in a portfolio? #edchat

@jaymelinton: #edchat Show students/parents/admins that we need to value creativity and problem solving over test scores.

@bbray: Be co-learners and co-designers with your students. Students can meet standards by creating projects and pursuing their interests. #edchat

@jessievaz: After getting students involved in the topic, we ask “what do you want to know?” and creation follows from there. #edchat

@DRescigno: Beauty of #edtech is it allows students to not only create content but to share/interact/remix/collaborate, etc. Real life skills. #edchat

@MulgraveSchool:  funtion of admin is to create that environment where teachers are encouraged and expected to create, innovate #edchat

@coreydahlevent:  Should “creating digital content” become part of the eval process? I think so. #edchat

@USCTeacher: Think about the possibilities if students are creating content and sharing with other students thousands of miles away on a blog #edchat

@kathycook1: Student created content focuses on learning NOT teaching. #Edchat

@jheil65: Teachers shouldn’t be afraid to say to students, “this is the end goal” “how do YOU want to get there?”Expand possibilities #edchat

@tomwhitby: Content delivered from the front of the room should no longer be the model educators to focus on. OK ocassionally as needed. #edchat

@CTuckerEnglish:  Think about ways to use mobile devices as “curiosity amplifiers”- use to find info, empower kids & encourage creativity #edchat

@steveperchar: Teachers need to realize that it is through freedom that creativity, and thus learning, happen. #edchat

@aletheia_vox:  The teaching part is giving the students space to create

@kathycook1: Student created content focuses on learning NOT teaching. #Edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: Promoting creativity also required educators to think about how students define “creativity,” not how we define it. #edchat

@delta_dc: Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what you want to achieve, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

@tomwhitby:  If a kid gets excited abt creating content we’re going beyond a curiosity for learning & moving to passion for learning. Great Goal #Edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: Instead of markers, paper, glue & scissors, think Glogster, iMovie, Wix, Blabberize, etc. Let’s get them using tech to create #edchat

@mister_jim:  I agree but surely there needs to be a creativity revolution, not evolution. Current edu model does not fit this need. #edchat

@Schmidjon:  Very true, education is more than the workplace, it’s preparation for life. #edchat

Follow the complete discussion here:

These were useful links shared:

















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

How can we encourage teachers to see the value in becoming professional life-long learners?


I have been working in education and international schools for over 14 years.  I’m passionate about technology and inquiry learning and have been working for many years with the International Baccalaureate program (PYP) exploring where these two ideas meet.  I currently live and work in Santiago Chile and am enjoying learning more about Latin American cultures. Follow my blog to see ideas and thinking on inquiry, technology and the culture of change in education:  http://edu-mashup.blogspot.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


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!

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: