Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

March 2, 2012

Recent #Edchat Discussions January and February


I have got a little behind with the edchat posts so here is a digest of all the most recent.

These are hosted now on @TestSoup’s blog. I’ll add in some of the shared links here and you can get the flavour of the discussion  from John’s blog summaries.


cybraryman1:  @mikevigilant How about more Cross Curricular? : http://t.co/Ee94Y2si  #edchat

mathfour: @mikevigilant I’m inciting change (or a riot) with this: http://t.co/TcK3HI5n  #edchat

davidwees: Time isn’t just about daily schedules => Create a brick and mortar university where every course is open http://t.co/GNmZ6qGj  #edchat

DGalpert: Very interesting! Sweden debuts first classroom-less school http://t.co/5IjBxswk  via @NMHS_Principal #edchat #cpchat #edtech #jed21

davidwees: School Bells Interfere with learning: http://t.co/AsZUKNXJ  #edchat

eduk8andlead: Blended learning approaches that mix f2f & online can help tackle time & calendar issues. #edchat Carpe Diem schools http://t.co/2FhNH0zB


cybraryman1: My Parent-Teacher Communication page: http://t.co/zvwQ21nJ  #edchat 

InspiredICTeach: Neat tool to reward positive behaviour in class http://t.co/RDzTBcOb  #eLearning #ictcurric #edchat

pernilleripp: Is the report card obsolete? http://t.co/SC0DZki6   #edchat

davidwees: What mattered in 1825 on your report card was how many lines of scripture you had memorized. http://t.co/0C9yGqZY  #edchat

pernilleripp: Students define letter grades http://t.co/HFau3RqK  #edchat

pernilleripp: Why the report card should be getting an F http://t.co/p2bbZ8ES  #edchat


cybraryman1: Can infusing some Self-Directed Learning http://t.co/I5nudKaG  in a large class help teachers? #edchat 

cybraryman1: How about more student-centered learning http://t.co/uOkLzkdi  #edchat

politicalteach: What the class size research REALLY says. http://t.co/UxstT5dq  #edchat

vanroet: A blog about 1:1 schools! http://t.co/nBWxYq9b  #edchat #edfuture

@ncte: @MaryAnnReilly @CTuckerEnglish @cybraryman1 “More than a Number: Why Class Size Matters” http://t.co/JMCYuvFi  #edchat

politicalteach: Looks interesting re class size effects on achievement http://t.co/mcR0T1R1  #edchat


Mr_Brett_Clark: I can’t participate fully in today’s #edchat. Here are some things we do in our district: EVSC ICATS Website http://t.co/uHYnrAmB  

DrThomasHo: @MertonTech teachers have got to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for THEIR own learning http://t.co/KvcUjJ69  #edchat

Mr_Brett_Clark: Do any other schools/districts put together coach’s menus to differentiate PD? http://t.co/qMbDxlqX  I would like to see others. #edchat

daveandcori: Professional Development for Teachers needs to change – http://t.co/ET2VIMZd  #edchat

daveandcori: I hate when teachers will only go to learning event if it is for CEUs. Need to be always learning! #edchat http://t.co/H7HXoyfb

RobertBorgersen: I know I love and take advantage of our University Teaching Services every chance I get! http://t.co/ASN0BYw0  #edchat

NETC_Travel: Never stop learning! 12 Ways to Learn in 2012 http://t.co/aQgNTFLD  #edchat



There are no links available for this chat – but check out @TestSoup’s summary!


 kevin_corbett:  Digital Learning Futures [SLIDESHARE] http://t.co/4gq9jQP3  NEW & Awesome! Thanks @timbuckteeth #elearning #mlearning #gamification #edchat

studysync: Teachers talk tech use in the classroom at recent Portland conference: http://t.co/qKPZIPGE  #edtech #edchat

web20classroom: From @edutopia and @teachingwthsoul-20 Tidbits For New Teachers: http://t.co/NTK2I1rz #ntchat #edchat

lookforsun: I believe the #Educon principles lay positive foundation for tech use: http://t.co/6VcbkruZ #edchat

bhsprincipal: Students and teachers who are not comfortable using appropriate technology can no longer be considered literate http://t.co/rav0jyQd  #edchat

principal_kelly: Article on the digital divide http://t.co/hLUzjDZ7  #edchat

 drdouggreen: @davidwees SM has made it easier to curate the Internet for my readers at http://t.co/DMYqOAZP  #edchat

ShellTerrell: Why do we connect? Lots of educators, students, parents answer that in this video http://t.co/TTAkFIIf   #edchat

daveandcori: Social Media in Education – connect, share, learn, communicate and more http://t.co/DPe4q4vC #edchat

MertonTech: http://t.co/KcYdOT5A  SM’s value was predicted in 1973. #edchat

TeachersHelp01: SM granted me the ability & honor of helping teachers avoid the predatory 403b about 80% of teachers are in http://t.co/IOUZaLIB  #edchat

DrThomasHo: @ShellTerrell for students, digital footprint should be about their LEARNING is what I’ll say at http://t.co/3xn9LT61  #edchat

ShellTerrell: @cybraryman1: Great Why do we connect video from many of my wonderful PLN members: http://t.co/4fKwWVfF  #edchat

For the complete transcripts and more links go to the #Edchat wiki.

December 9, 2011

Will the idea of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) help or hinder education?

#Edchat 11 – 22 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

We have two great blog posts to link on this topic this week. The first is from Peri Nelson @apospirit on her blog.  This is a really amazing new way of getting technology into the classroom and the edchat group explored all options during this chat. Peris’ post captures the essence of this. Thank you Peri for your insights. You can find out more about the work Peri and her colleagues do on the blog.

Follow the link below to the post:



John (@Test Soup) has now made the #edchat  midday session summary a feature on his blog too.

Here is the link for his summary of this chat:


Here are some of the great links that were shared:

kathycook1:  7 Myths About BYOD Debunked http://t.co/OlKBdBCq  #edchat

ProjectAdvance: Are Silicon Valley execs making the right choice to send their kids to school with NO technology devices? http://t.co/vjKPwdkc  #edchat

andycinek: My digital lit students created a digital citizenship site. Would love some feedback http://t.co/6zE4dXiB  Thanks #edchat #bhschat

andycinek: Curious what #edchat thinks about focusing students on learning rather than an array of technology http://t.co/bPAv136B

cybraryman1: My BYOD (Bring Your Own Device page) http://t.co/b4tjHPou  #edchat

cybraryman1: My sites to get free/inexpensive equipment/supplies for the classroom (Digital Wish, Donors Choose…) http://t.co/vVLYogI4  #edchat


November 14, 2011

More and more Edcamps are springing up nationally. What are the advantages/disadvantages of edcamps/TeachMeets vs traditional PD?

#Edchat 11 – 01 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Last Tuesday’s #edchat summary has not only been written by (John Walters) @TestSoup but has also been hosted on the Test Soup blog! This chat introduced these new forms of PD to the very interested and motivated group of educators present at the discussion. Many people wanted to get started and organise their own and there were suggestions of collaborations afoot. This could be the beginning of an explosion of such events. It’s a great summary and captures the mood of the chat as well as the valuable content. Thank you John.

Head over to the Test Soup website to read the summary:


Here’s a video of our #edchat moderator @cybraryman introducing an Edcamp and below a few links to help you find out more or start up your own.

@cybraryman1: The #edcamp Wiki http://t.co/A22HQPps  TeachMeet schedule: http://t.co/eM87KlGv  #edchat

 @cybraryman1: My #edcamp/TeachMeet page: http://t.co/lz5tdqN1  #edchat

 @Navicomm: Edcamps or traditional prof dev, should k-12 and higher ed collaborate more? http://t.co/K8pLHWiE  #edchat

@tomwhitby:  Anyone can Join the Teachmeet/Edcamp Organizer Group They will help you with questions on edcamps. http://t.co/Wt9wQYVR  #Edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: After attending EdCampSFBay, I was energized, excited & ready to share what I learned. http://t.co/7pf99aiN  #edchat

@EdTechHawkeye about his first #edcamp experience this past Saturday at #edcampkc http://t.co/rxbd83vM  #edchat

 Be inspired!

November 11, 2011

What are some specific things we can do to involve parents in the education of their children?

#Edchat 10 – 25 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thanks go to Jeffery Heil for this #edchat summary. I like the easy manner of his prose. This is a topic that we address frequently in #edchat and I think you will agree that Jeffery has produced an excellent resume of the chat. Thank you Jeffery! See Jeffery’s bio at the end of the post

Overview (and my three cents):

This was a very interesting and informative #edchat.  The main themes are listed below.  The discussion was to a great extent, non-techie, which I think hints at the necessity to establish authentic relationships with our students’ parents.  I imagine many teachers would not be surprised by most of the themes that surfaced.  Of course it is important to make the parents feel valued and that communication is a major component of successful parent engagement.  One of the themes I want to highlight is the importance of understanding the relationship between culture and parent engagement.  In the United States, a country where the dominant cultural value is one of equality, I believe many of our parents of non-dominant cultures are often misunderstood at best, and marginalized at worst.  Rare is the parent who truly doesn’t want her child to receive a quality education; however, many parents from these cultures had negative school experiences themselves. In many of their minds, a school is a not an inviting place where they feel welcome.  As such, it often takes more effort from the school/teacher to truly reach these parents.  This is where the dominant cultural value of equality can interfere.  “I gave all my parents the opportunity to meet with me in their allotted time.,” says the well-meaning teacher who believes in equality over equity. First, this concept can be foreign to a parent who doesn’t see time as such a valuable commodity.  They may not make it to their student’s class precisely at their 3:46pm – 4:06 pm time slot. Such constraints, coupled with past experience, may make a face-to-face meeting difficult.  Second, the imbalance of power, either perceived or real, often scares away these parents, especially if we are talking about parents who do not speak English.  Teachers need to understand that there is a sociopolitical nature to the parent/teacher dynamic that is often either neglected or simply not understood. In addition, the socioeconomic issue can often cloud the cultural one.  This is where community involvement can go a long way to bridge this cultural gap. If a teacher can have a presence in the community, if member of the community can feel valued, if we can change the perception of schools as a place that perpetuates societal inequality, then we might start to see the type of change necessary to truly engage all of our parents.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  • Using technology to increase transparency of what is going on at school (blogs, wikis, FB, Twitter, etc.)
  • importance of making parents feel like their input matters
  • Having teachers involved in the communities where their students live
  • Communicate with parents often, especially to relay positive news- avoid negative communication (communicating with parents only when student does something wrong)
  • Teachers need to be mindful that some parents had negative school experiences and may require more effort to achieve engagement
  • Schools should consider creating spaces within schools for parents to use technology, to learn/communicate, etc.
  • school should be inviting for parents– conferences/workshops should have food, space for siblings
  • teachers/schools need to be aware of the challenge of involving parents who both work
  • teacher/schools should take a close look at current model for parent engagement – what is working, what is not?

Short, but Tweet:  Highlights from the #edchat participants:

This was a very lively discussion.  I have chosen to highlight what I believe to be both the positive aspects of how we might increase teacher engagement and some of the key obstacles of which teachers/schools may not be aware.

@cnesbitt1811: make use of online resources such as FB and possibly dedicated website areas were parents can receive support #edchat

@hadleyjf: Teach parents about the tech tools that their kids are learning, get them to respond to sts. blog posts #edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: Parents who can “see” what is happening in the classroom get more involved = increased communication & transparency are needed #edchat

@K_shelton: I make it a class policy, when possible, student must CC parents on all email, invite to all google docs, and to e-portfolio #edchat

@tomwhitby: I would replace those worthless back to school nights w/workshops for parents on topics to help their kids. Hmwk/Study/Tech/Bullying.#Edchat

@csteenst: #edchat- Help parents help kids by making an online presence with your stuff and links to help explain classwork- make them learners too!

@ShellTerrell: Parent engagement means parents get to be part of the decision process when it comes to their children’s learning #Edchat

@Joe_Mazza: Now matter how cool, convenient and efficient using technology for communicating is, it will never replace face to face dialogue #edchat

@TestSoup: @FinEdChat Keyword: “weekly” — a parent shouldn’t only hear about their kid’s progress once every quarter. Info is key. #edchat JJW

@ShellTerrell: Just like we dont give up on kids who dont seem engaged, we shouldnt give up on their parents #Edchat

@Caplee62: Our parent conference day was not a day but a week and more. & tchrs went 2 their jobs/homes if necessary to make positive contact. #edchat

@chrismayoh: Allow parents to attend ‘drop in’ mornings/afternoons where they can come and see what happens in your classroom day to day #edchat

@EmmanuelleEN: Some parents are terrified to get involved in schools : feel inadequate, or schools bring bad memories to them. #Edchat

@jogyouon: We ask parents about key issues in school, publish overall findings and change if necessary – so important to listen! #edchat

@drdouggreen: @ShellTerrell Obstacles: Bad memories of their school days, Time, distance, interest, intimidation by school staff, #Edchat

@chrismayoh: Go OUTSIDE in the mornings to greet students AND families. Anything you don’t NEED to do as part of your job is always appreciated #edchat

@kelrjen: What if teachers became more visible in the community OUTSIDE of school #edchat

@doc_crawford: Transparency re: info, pedagogy,& expectations are also key to parent involvement #Edchat

@wmchamberlain: I have a lot of parents that had bad experiences at school when they attended. School is not their favorite place. #edchat

@cybraryman1: Plan hands-on workshops for parents (provide refreshments, child care) on how their children use tech in school #edchat

 To follow the complete discussion see here

As ever, there were some great links shared:
@lindayollis: Great way to involve parents in their child’s education: Family Blogging Month! http://t.co/R6AAfAIW   #Edchat #elemchat
@shellterrell: In this post, @Larryferlazzo talks about schls distinguishing btwn parent engagemt & involvemt. Let’s engage http://t.co/XISW7uQn  #Edchat
@WatchKnowLearn: I video my centers weekly and post to my online classroom.Parents are excited to see what’s going on in class. http://t.co/SOMnfag0  #edchat
@ShellTerrell parents ought to be wild (in GOOD way 🙂 about student #PORTFOLIOS #EDCHAT http://t.co/hduCVKRG  #education #domoreedu…
@cybraryman1: @TestSoup Yes, must start with best way to communicate. My Parent Communication page: http://t.co/zvwQ21nJ  #edchat
I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:How can educators learn more about the deeper cultural elements of their non-dominant students?@jheil65
I have been a teacher with the San Diego County Office of Education’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) for over 13 years.  For eight years, I taught high school in a self-contained shelter for homeless teens in downtown San Diego. Currently, I am a technology resource teacher where I work with JCCS students and teachers to integrate technology into their curriculum.  I am deeply committed to issues of educational equity and social justice in schools.  In 2005, I was selected as a Distinguished Teacher in Residence at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), where I taught full-time in the School of Education during the two years I was “on loan” from JCCS. I still teach at CSUSM as an adjunct professor, where I teach courses on diversity and inclusion as well as educational technology.   

 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 would like to join others in transforming the discussion into action, please feel
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
●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!

November 8, 2011

What forms of formative assessment do you use, and do you grade them for the overall average?

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

Thanks again to Sarah Fudin for this  #edchat summary.  I’m sorry that we have got a bit behind with these but should be caught up by the end of the week.

Thank you again Sarah for yet another insightful piece! See Sarah’s bio at the end of the post.

Not being a teacher at this current time in my life, it’s hard for me to give the most validated response to this question, but I’ll try.  From my short time teaching in the past and my current time building a community of teachers, I’ve found that the learner is in charge of the learning.  Formative assessment that keeps the learner involved the whole way through seems like the best type of assessment — self-assessment, highly involved feedback and many chances to measure improvement seem to me to be of top importance.  As far as grading formative assessment for the overall average, I’m not sure I agree — different types of assessment for different learners will most likely yield drastically different results, some weighing in more important than others.

These were some of the main points discussed

  1. What exactly is formative assessment? — Feedback given to students to improve their understanding.
  2. Explore many types of formative assessments: stop lights, targets, short answers, hands-up, interactive whiteboards, written assessments, self assessments, wikis, and polling.
  3. Monitoring learning throughout a lesson is important — modify if students are not understanding.
  4. Formative assessment is ongoing not just something you do at the end of a term or year.
  5. Keep in mind that not all students learn the same way or react the same way to certain assessment.
  6. Poll anywhere AKA polls via mobile devices are a great way to bring learning outside the classroom as well as get some immediate feedback.
  7. Getting your students to think about the feedback and not the grade can be challenging, but it’s important.
  8. Schools can help teachers use formative assessment to meet student needs — a schools outlook, flexibility, and culture can encourage an atmosphere where effective and variable formative assessment are possible.
  9. Allowing students to set goals and then talking with them, not at them, about your feedback and theirs may be an effective form of formative assessment.

These were a few tweets that caught my eye:   

  1. @jessievaz12: ongoing, observational, exploratory, student focused, bite-sized (in response to adjectives to describe formative assessment)
  2. @weisburghm: assessment of learning, for learning, and as learning. Formative is the last two, right?
  3. @FinEdChat: What about using ‘poll everywhere’ so the students can be engaged using
  4. their phones? A great method for student collaboration
  5. @west4me: I think it is fine to grade formative assessments, but do you use the grade for you or them?
  6. @mingchri Yes, assessments are not just for students, but for teachers to see if concepts were achieved by students
  7. @rliberni: polls on mobiles are gr8 for this, finding out quickly what stds have grasped & what needs reviewing
  8. @CoachCreach: I use twtpoll.com for FA. It allows me to gain a better understanding of the studts learning process and grades me on my teaching.
  9. @CTuckerEnglish: Building in time to reflect is key to growth & dev. Most kids don’t slow down to think about feedback.
  10. @delta_dc: We need to find ways to support learners’ ability to take responsibility for their own formative assessment.
  11. @TestSoup: Formative helps you get there. Summative analyzes performance there.
  12. @CTuckerEnglish: I love showing students the self-editing I do on my own writing-red pen explosion-so they see all writers need to edit
  13. @chiyanlam: Grading is about applying a value judgement; not the same thing as providing feedback and “marking” an assignment.
  14. @tomwhitby: If Formative assessment is for the tchr to see how much kids get it in order to adjust the lesson,why assign a grade to the student?
  15. @cybraryman1: No grades for #edchat but thanks for your outstanding participation & my wonderful co-moderators @rliberni @ShellTerrell & @tomwhitby

These were useful links shared:   

  1. @DrThomasHo: http://drthomasho.visibli.com/share/Ws5oVH — getting students to reflect on their work vs their grade.
  2. @weisburghm: http://www.thewritingteacher.org/writing-blog-home/2009/1/15/how-to-introduce-the-6-traits.html — Suggestions on how to give feedback on writing.
  3. @FractusLearning: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=179866995428249&set=a.178156932265922.44868.165101000238182&type=1 — Cartoon: Calvin’s thoughts on homework.
  4. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/04/11/edutopia_projectbased.html — Project-based learning via edutopia.
  5. @keelygriffiths: http://keelygriffiths.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/dont-let-formative-assessment-become-summative/ — not letting formative assessment become summative.

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

What makes someone a great teacher candidate? —  is it their schooling, their background, or their experiences?

Sarah Fudin is a Community Manager for the University of Southern California’s Master of Arts in Teaching program, which provides aspiring teachers the opportunity to earn an online teaching degree.  USC also partners with Teacher Certification Map to offer information on teacher salary by state.  Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.




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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!

August 2, 2011

In light of education reform, what will a teacher look like and be doing 10 years from today?


#Edchat 08 – 26 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Great video isn’t it! I love the idea that we will be able to access the internet EVERYWHERE! I learned about this video from a student who works for Corning and he told me that all of this is possible now. The incredible flexibility of glass as a material for technology is mind-blowing and to think that it is such an ancient product – it makes you think! Can you imagine greeting your students on the door of their refrigerator each morning  before they come to school? It’s so exciting! And how about the whole wall that turns into a screen – awesome!  I want one in my classroom! The world might look SO different in 10 years from now.

This was our topic last week at #edchat and we have a really amazing summary here written by Tracy Brady @mmebrady) who is a vibrant and innovative edchatter and this was a great ‘blue-sky thinking’ #edchat session. Tracy has really captured some of that excitement and buzz that was flying around twitter during the hour. I’m sure you will love reading her summary here and you can find out more about Tracy and her work as a French teacher in New York at the end of the post. Thank you so much Tracy for this great post 🙂

This topic provided for a phenomenal opportunity to discuss our “educational wishlists” and imagine the future.  Thinking back 10 years at how different things were, I think most of us realize that although much has changed (technology) sadly, much still remains the same (bureaucrats, the have-nots, row seating, farm-based schedule, standardized tests…).  Many of the ideas put forth were fascinating, exciting, thought-provoking, fill in your own blank.  Looking to the future is always a fun exercise, but it was also pointed out, that we need to focus our efforts on the classes of 10 minutes from now — exert control over our own realm.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  •  Classrooms will be paperless
  •  Will the digital divide widen or narrow — (between students as well as schools)  will the bureaucrats still be in control? where should the $ be spent?
  •  Classrooms should be more student centered with passion based learning and more individualized instruction — “communities of inquiry”
  •  Teacher prep needs to change significantly
  •  Communication will be improved as learning continues outside class walls and time (perhaps year round?) — mobilization, globalization, and collaboration
  •  There will be more flipped /blended classes — the human element (interpersonal) will always be necessary
  •  PLN/PD needs to be ongoing — teachers will need to continue to develop their own skills to continue to be relevant
  •  We should see the end of standardized tests — authentic assessment should replace it
  •  flying robots — it is hard to envision the future based on how different things were 10 years ago — like predicting a hurricane
  •  We will see the end of filtering websites, and  teach digital citizenship  instead.  We will take advantage of the digital native status of students AND teachers — byod
  •  We will see new learning spaces (not just formal rows inside classroom walls)
Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

CoachB0066 Looking at the economic landscape I believe that BYOD programs will be more popular than pure 1:1 programs

USCTeacher 10 years-teachers will be even more tech savvy, assignments will be submitted paperless, and schools will continue refining tech use

inquirebook @mmebrady I think tech will continue to change so fast that everybody will have to constantly learn and adapt.

inquirebook Technology is really just about connecting students to teachers and to each other, and connecting all to information.

stumpteacher My hope is that in 10 years our government listens to teachers and not businessmen/cheaters

stumpteacher @cybraryman1 I would hope the teachers continue to step back and empower students. Give up more control of learning to students.

NoodleEducation @rliberni would like to see technology provide objective assessment on a more holistic level for indiv students to replace STD tests

allisonletts @MarkWinegar one step: students pursuing a passion during classtime–learning how to learn independently about something fascinating

USCTeacher @rliberni Think about the communities that will be able to form! Not 1 building, 1 community, but 1 world

2footgiraffe @NathanSandberg @stumpteacher agreed. Tech is not the answer in education. It is just one part of student engagement.

CTuckerEnglish I’d like to see a move to customize & individualized instruction using tech integration to meet diverse needs if students

lauwailap1 In 10 yrs:Hoping teachers will have more control + input in the curriculum, which should be flexible+allow us to constantly innovate.

love_teach Schools need to prep them on how to facilitate learning and how to guide students to discover their own knowledge and tools

after_school 10 yrs from now more kinds of people will be recognized as teachers: museum/library/afterschool staff, kids leading othr kids.

CrudBasher I predict in 10 yrs, the most valuable skill in the world will be the ability to learn anything at anytime.

saraallen91 2 prepare tchrs 10 yrs from now, we have 2 prepare them 2 constantly challenge their thinking, experiment w/ new tech, & take risks.

Akevy613 In 10 years learning should be mobile and global and move way beyond the walls of a classroom

I hope in 10 years teachers start to get respect again

inquirebook @cybraryman1 I hope augmented reality is ubiquitous–another change to our relationship with information.

drdouggreen @ShellTerrell Let’s stop building schools with rows of identical classrooms and more open areas. Some are.

ShellTerrell Perhaps 10yrs from now we have better solutions to improving schools rather than firing teachers

mrbarranca @drdouggreen @beyondtech1 That’s a great point. Can’t teach new teachers 1980-1990 practices and expect them to then be cutting edge

CrudBasher You can plan the education system in 10 years in the same way you can plan a hurricane. #beyondcontrol

drdouggreen @jenniferg92 All teachers must be comfortable learning from students. It empowers both.

MaryAnnReilly The division we know among teacher, student, coach, mentor, and community member will blur. We will need new language to name.

chrisemdin I love the idea of predicting what you want things to be like in 10yrs. Imagination is the seedbed of possibility

 To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

ShellTerrell: Educators on Google+ http://bit.ly/oz4qK8  #edtech #edchat

CoachB0066:  We need to focus on educator prep (teachers and admin) to change pedagogy #edchat We can infuse all the tech… (cont) http://deck.ly/~WT9C4

cybraryman1:  What role will Blended Learning http://tinyurl.com/483kbhl  have in the future? #edchat

briankotts: The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here http://bit.ly/dT2u47  #edchat #ukedchat

SnaPanda: RT @rscon3: Check out: Sharing values in the classroom: When, How, Y & Y not http://bit.ly/pJdN41   video by @brad5patterson #eltchat #edchat

findingDulcinea: Awesome commentary on EdTech RT @mcleod My opening remarks at Iowa Education Summit http://t.co/8Oul1kM  #edchat #sschat

iObservation:  New York State Education Department Approves Dr. Robert Marzano’s Teacher Evaluation Model http://bit.ly/mnnS86  #cpchat #edchat

Kerry_EasyBib: @NMHS_Principal was featured in USA Today in a great article about social media and the future of the classroom http://ow.ly/5NHL6  #edchat

drdouggreen: @malcolmbellamy Colleges serve to widen gap between haves & have nots. Check my summary of Academically Adrift http://bit.ly/oCig5G  #edchat

cybraryman1: What role will Augmented Reality (http://tinyurl.com/346ogtf ) play in education in the future: #edchat

cybraryman1: My Student Centered Classrooms page: http://tinyurl.com/454czsq  #edchat

rliberni: Here’s a great vision for the future with tech everywhere! http://youtu.be/6Cf7IL_eZ38  #edchat

cybraryman1: Personalized, passionate learning http://goo.gl/fb/jJhR3  #edchat

iObservation:  Video: Robert Marzano on His Career in Research http://youtu.be/G0yOZpPSu7s  #edchat #education

cybraryman1: I can see more Self-Directed Learning http://tinyurl.com/3yzrakm  with teacher there to faciliate the learning #edchat

drwetzel: What is the Technology Footprint in Your Classroom? http://t.co/9A67ruv  #edtech #edchat #elemchat #teaching #education #web20

tuchodi:  @ShellTerrell From our school district http://bit.ly/q7JzvN  #edchat

web20education:  Pls rt I work #edtech20 #socialmedia #curation project gateway to knowledge in #education20 , I need #PLN help #edchat http://t.co/WvMFXQh

cybraryman1: @lauwailap1 See Open Doors School-Business Partnership (left column down) http://tinyurl.com/4zyk5qq  #edchat

engaginged:  Interested in global collaboration? Here’s a great project: Challenge 20/20: http://t.co/CyxrsYo  #globaled #edchat

AAEteachers: #Education is hurt by #politics according to Arne Duncan. #teachers – what do you think? | http://is.gd/xIS2v3  #edreform #edchat

CrudBasher: @SamGliksman Reading expressions online. http://bit.ly/nzWq8I  #edchat

Social_LMS: 2011 Learning Tools Directory : http://t.co/YjZLRGb  #lrnchat #edchat #ednewschat

mjgormans:  10 Steps to Transform Past Lessons for 21st Century .,, If u r at #BLC11 plz stop in at 1 of my sessions http://t.co/XNrOJ9A  #edchat

OECD_Edu: PISA – Against the Odds: Disadvantaged Students Who Succeed in School http://bit.ly/nbEIdO  #edchat #ukedchat #finnedchat

joe_bower:  Assessment wagging the dog http://t.co/iT9TXPe  #abed #edchat #edtech

web20education:  I update #curation story #googleplus gateway to #semanticweb #web30 in #education20 http://t.co/EOISqqY  #edtech20 #edreform #rscon3 #edchat

My name is Tracy Brady  I am a French teacher (middle and high school) in Central New York.  I strive to push against constraints of time and space to globalize my students’ learning experience.    I am a strong proponent of BYOD and thinking outside the box to bridge the digital divide.  My colleagues don’t always know what to make of my wild ideas, but then again, neither do my 2 beautiful daughters (Florica and Aline).  Sometimes it takes a little bit of crazy to get the job done.  #edchat is an invaluable tool in my PD arsenal, and I am honored to have been asked to write this summary.  My blog can be found at http://mmetechie.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!

July 15, 2011

6262011 – Special ISTE edition – How are education conferences to stay relevant in a free Internet

#Edchat 06 – 21 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Mea maxima culpa! This is sooo late. Apologies to everyone and above all to Doug Green who prepared this fabulous post. A combination teaching and then a horrible throat infection 😦

This truly is a fabulous post. But was truly a fabulous #edchat with all that energy coming from the ISTE11 conference and all those great edchatters in one room! I think Doug has done a great job in capturing some of that energy and although the benefits of online PD via online conferences was explored and acknowledged to be invaluable, the sheer power coming from the delegates at ISTE11 couldn’t be ignored and there is a need to meet face to face and have that boost of learning that only a live event can give. Thank you again Doug for a great post. You can find out more about Doug and his amazing productivity in the field of education in his bio at the end of the post. Please take some time to visit hos blog to find out more!

Modern education conferences are changing to allow for more interaction and participation online by those who cannot attend. There is agreement that there is no substitute for face to face meetings and that ideally educators can profit from both face to face and online sources of professional development. It’s hard to match the hands-on benefits conferences offer.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • Some were concerned about the costs of conference registration and other associated costs. A great deal of online activity is free.
  • Modern conferences allow for some level of participation of people who cannot physically attend.
  • Face to face meetings are not the same as online meetings but both are valuable. Ideally you can have both. The hands-on aspect of conferences may be the most valuable part.
  • Thanks to back channels, modern conferences already combine face to face and online aspects.
  • Some people wouldn’t know about things like Edchat and other valuable resources if they didn’t attend conferences like ISTE11.
  • Following conference hashtags can extend the conference in time. You can start to participate before you get there, check the back channel at the conference, and follow it after you get home. You also interact online with people you meet after the conference.
  • Many people would like conferences to be more interactive with shorter presentations and/or presentations available online. The TED model of presentations was cited by some as an improvement over longer presentations.

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 @stumpteacher absolutely agree that the human connection is important

DrDougGreen There is no substitute for face to face. The trick is to keep the cost down like #140conf. I would be in Philly if iSTE charged $140 #edchat

agutierrezIT Can stay relevant by continuing to having great Keynote speakers, accepting unique sessions/presenters, & strive to be unique

blairteach Conference sponsors are going to HAVE to have wireless access or they will appear “dated” & out-of-touch

tecjtromom ed conferences need to model using tools from the web in all topic areas

daveski61 Personal interaction remains critical. A virtual handshake isn’t as good as a physical handshake.

malalande Asynchronous is great for some activities, but not ideal for hands-on where I-to-eye feedback is relevant

blairtech IMO, conferences offer great opportunities to connect f2f w/our online colleagues & there’s great value in building relationships.

techtrimom @web20classroom: face to face contact will never die and so these conferences are invigorating and very important

blairtech Conferences can be very motivational; the online PD can extend the enthusiasm kindled at the live event.

earthspacequest Physical presence has more power to inspire than online friendships!

elanaleoni @ShellTerrell Human connection is def important but we need to reinvent conference structures to become more relevant.

elanaleoni Instead of lectures & ppts, let’s do interactive/collaborative workshops where participants can try things & fail & try again 🙂

tkraz A real place to gather as a community will always be important. It’s what makes the community stronger.

rjwassink @drdouggreen Its not the random relationships, but meeting virtual friends in real life after getting to know them digitally is key

davidwees How many educators here actually pay 100% attention during a 1 hr lecture? PD should be more interactive.

I’ve been following the #iste11 hashtag since October and will continue to follow it. No more one shot conferences.

tkraz Conferences are getting tougher to pay for with so much available for free online

caroljallen @davidwees Agree and in my case I find a ‘hands on’ element the most useful

bjnichols Discussion is great either f2f or virtual…I am more interested in the action that results from discussion

davidwees You should expect teachers to engage in PD somehow. Extrinsic motivation like money will serve to kill interest and passion

MrBernia I’d love a flipped conference, where attendees listen to a presentation before, then attend and collaborate with the presenter.

davidwees Suggestion: If you are running a conference, offer at least one option for unconference style learning

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

Wow, what a lot this week!

@jpk38:  http://t.co/o6769ql  #iste11 #edchat Collaborative notes, please share and add to. Lets learn from the whole as well as r parts!

@ILT2012: Experience Some of the International Society for Technology in Education Conference without being there: http://t.co/uHiBoUN  #ISTE11 #edchat

@MoodleMcKean: Cool Websites – 21st Century School Teacher http://bit.ly/ieF5i8  #edchat #lrnchat #edtech #elearning #webtools #websites #tlchat #education

@businesscardsav: and who would I give my business cards to w/out ISTE? #edchat http://bit.ly/h3OIKg

@rkiker: Sneak peek at my Emerging Google Tech preso in the Google Teaching Theater at 12:30 Wed. Come by! #ISTE11 http://goo.gl/OVh96  #edchat

@KevinfMcCabe: take look at this @DavidPriceOBE: New on Blog: Michael Gove and ‘respect’ for teachers: http://t.co/TjQuWL3  #edchat #ukedchat

@SErwin: Great tool. “@russeltarr: YouCube: Students choose 6 relevant vids for a topic, then present them with this: http://t.co/vFijP7Q   #edchat

@NextGenLC: Schools Blend Computers With Classroom Learning via @nprnews http://ow.ly/5pVRj   #edtech #edchat

@amckiel: Magical Moments http://bit.ly/kgIXgG  #edchat

@aaallain: Let Me Learn My Own Way- fantastic article on Jungian learning styles with a math twist! http://bit.ly/lMdnZZ  #math #edchat #homeschool

@azjd: Separate process of work from the product of work – by @davidwees http://is.gd/la9fA7  #edchat

@davidwees: Here’s an example of what I mean. “The Best Professional Development of My Life” http://t.co/PalivcP  #edchat #iste11

@tadawes: 13 Things You Pay For That Your Library Has For Free http://bit.ly/lg8erv  #bibliotek #edchat

@ekendriss: WiFi nonaccess @ f2f conf #edchat #ISTE RT @jranck: Epidemiology and social media: conference fail http://j.mp/jEICM0

@MarjieKnudsen: The 3 most important questions in education – Wash Post http://t.co/xLLSDxb  #edchat #parenting #education

@joycevalenza: Camilla will share list of great ipad apps for ed in wiki #iste11 Leadership Symp. Wiki http://t.co/7UplyzC  #tlchat #edchat

@RealLifeUnplugd: Sweden Tackles Gender in Classroom http://bit.ly/mDI64m  #k12 #edchat

@drtimony: You see this badge? http://ow.ly/5qydn  This is MY town, errr, presentation. #edchat #iste11

@gingerconsult: @humekaren: How kids are affected in the age of multi-tasking http://ow.ly/5ndap  #edchat #edtech #adhd #education

@azjd: Is this the future of learning? Sophia – Social Learning Community – by @InnovativeEdu http://is.gd/yLPPAG  #edchat #edtech

@EdutopiaBetty: Thanks for a great day, #ebc11! My Report from EduBloggerCon11 at #ISTE11 http://bit.ly/meDZfh  #edchat

@joycevalenza: Camilla will share list of great ipad apps for ed in wiki #iste11 Leadership Symp. Wiki http://t.co/7UplyzC  #tlchat #edchat

@8Amber8: darn it #edchat!!! Quit bng so engaging!! http://lockerz.com/s/114374558

@drtimony: Teach like this: http://ow.ly/5qyoC  trust your students, no matter who they are, collectively possess much info #edchat #iste11

@DavidPriceOBE: New on the Blog: Michael Gove and ‘respect’ for teachers: http://bit.ly/iEOjTn  #edchat #ukedchat #clvfestival

@lookforsun: Looking for a 15 minute option? See this picture. http://bit.ly/j3xSG8  #edchat

@ILT2012: Experience Some of the International Society for Technology in Education Conference without being there: http://t.co/uHiBoUN  #ISTE11 #edchat

@azjd: So You Want to Integrate Technology – Now What? Via @4thGrdTeach http://is.gd/YcSnGW  #edtech #edchat

@azjd:10 videos that WILL ignite a discussion – Part 5: great resource from @justintarte http://is.gd/uZVyru  #edchat #cpchat

@tcbird1: I love this article! Teachers are the educational experts http://t.co/26m2TUt  #edchat #edreform #politics #education

@blairteach: Admins & Tchrs: Would appreciate additional input on value of PLN (if you haven’t already contributed).Thx. http://bit.ly/kKKR2V  #edchat

@davidwees: This picture describes to me the value of the unconference model of PD. http://t.co/8FiZ3Br  #edchat #iste11

@blairteach: @web20classroom Sometimes use this article to prompt discussion of change: http://bit.ly/9hSKFt   #edchat

@EDREFORMERIFFIC: INEPTION http://post.ly/2FWx3  @NBCNews @AdamVerdugo @meetthepress #StandUpNJ #Edchat

@dlpd17: @teachingwthsoul: @BuckleyLibrary G-Doc with Twitter Chat schedules~>> http://tinyurl.com/66ar5v9  #edchat #iste11

@stumpteacher: @mbteach Any newbies need help with twitter/tweetdeck feel free to share some tutorials on my page. http://j.mp/f5RUbv  #edchat

@azjd: Look where you want to go and steer in that direction: How a blog started a school – via @ktenkely http://is.gd/l87ian  #edchat

@KTVee: holy schmoly – next time someone says there’s “nothin’ on twitter” show them this! http://t.co/S2PaMkM  (Thanks @ljconrad) #edchat #ISTE11

@HappyTeacherLA: @PatParslow this is kind of heavy, but this is one of my guides of what’s my point. http://t.co/lAT5TYu  #edchat

@gwynethjones: Lady GaGa Librarians Unite! http://t.co/uelGRG9  #ISTE11 #TLChat #EdChat @ladygaga #SIGMS

@johnnybevacqua: Love is not enough http://t.co/5hN0uHM  by @DrTroyRoddy #bced #cpchat #edchat

@cybraryman1: My all about #EdChat page with pictures from today’s session at #ISTE11 http://tinyurl.com/4f8pqfn

@DelaneyKirk: @michellek107 @mrsalander Michelle-great post on building PLN! OK if I link to on my blog? http://t.co/rvWfHXe  #edchat

Dr. Doug Green. @drdouggreen

I have been an educator since 1970. After teaching chemistry, physics, and computer science, I became an administrator for the next 30 years with experience at the secondary, central office, and elementary levels. I have also taught a number of leadership courses for The State University of New York at Cortland and Binghamton University and authored over 300 articles in computer magazines and educational journals. In 2006 I gave up my job as an elementary principal to care for my wife who had Lou Gehrig’s disease. After her death in March of 2009 I decided to see how I could use my expertise to help busy educators and parents hone their skills and knowledge. Doug’s blog can be found here.

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!


June 14, 2011

What advantages could be gained by using criteria other than age to group kids in classes?

#Edchat 06 – 08 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thank you to Pam Wesely (@pamwesely) for this summary on what turned out to be a very interesting chat. There were many ideas and many reservations too which all made for a very thought-provoking discussion. Pam has captured all of this to great effect in this summary. Thank you Pam for a great roundup of the ideas and themes and a thoughtful commentary on the topic. Find out more about Pam in her bio at the end of the post.

The participants in this #edchat talk all heartily agreed that grouping kids by criteria other than age has been under explored in current educational practices.  We were able to identify an array of positives to grouping by things other than age, often focusing on the ability to individualize instruction and encourage peer-to-peer mentoring and cooperation more effectively.
    Beyond this response to the initial prompt, participants in this #edchat discussion addressed several other related topics, notably: WHAT CRITERIA the alternate groupings would have, WHAT SCOPE the alternate groupings would have, WHICH LEVELS of students are grouped by age (and which should be), and WHY we currently group students by age.  As I tend to be more conservative in the #edchat discussions, I was pleased to see participants even offer reasons why this grouping does make sense in some cases.  
    Upon reflection, I see lots of areas where educators can expand on this discussion, notably in including and considering other stakeholders in education; developing the notion of groupings that vary throughout one child’s day; and considering the ways that peer mentoring can become more a part of classroom practice.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • Decisions about promotion that completely disregarded age (as @LHoog eloquently put it, putting the «child genius who’s 8 with 14-year-olds”) was not seen as preferable.  Participants still felt for the most part that age (or developmental level) needed to be considered in grouping students.
  • Participants shared personal experiences about observing older and younger students working together – both well and not-so-well.
  • Types of alternate grouping suggested included interest/project grouping, ability grouping, mastery grouping, achievement grouping, and grouping in peer-mentor relationships.
  • Perhaps the most common rhetorical flourishes critiquing age grouping were references to non-school-based contexts – the idea that «ages are mixed up in X context, why do we force such an unnatural grouping in schools!» with X context being playgrounds, adult workplaces, sports teams, etc.
  • Where some participants thought that avoiding age grouping would help students find like-minded allies of any age, others argued that the academically adept but socially underdeveloped would suffer if advancement were based on academic criteria.  
  • An important point of contention that emerged at the end of the discussion involved how, exactly, teachers would decide how students would advance to the next level, if not somehow by age.

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

 @nancyrubin: Group stronger academic students with those that need a little more help for peer mentoring opportunities.
@MertonTech: The biggest issue is that academic maturity and social maturity are not always the same.
@USCTeacher: Many factors could be used to categorize students: age, gender, economic standing, performance – how are we to determine what is fair or works?
@tomwhitby: If age was not an issue, social promotion or non-promotion would not be one either.
@darcymullin: Multi-aged groupings (or other methods) also force us to look at our pedagogy and re-think what and how we deliver instruction.
@QZLPatriotHawk: This is not a one-size-fits-all debate. I believe you have to look at the students as individuals. Schooling is so much more than about academics.
@CTuckerEnglish: Maturity can be an issue, but there’s value in having older kids lead, support & guide younger students.
@rliberni: I think the older kids also learn from the younger ones – re-igniting their curiosity.
@JasonFlom: I think there need to be opportunities for ages to mix, regularly, but social development is so key early on.
@ShellTerrell: I’d like to see parents, students, & teachers collaborate in placing the student.
@karimderrick: We should also not group by subject….but instead by project! How great would that be!!
@tomwhitby: Ability should be a part of it but too much emphasis on any component will affect the result. Balance is the key.

@coreydahlevent: Is the question about age or ability, or is it about TEACHERS allowing or NOT allowing extended learning?
@karimderrick: Mixed-age groups would ultimately be more natural – same age groups is a product of factory schooling.
@Sam_EnglishEd: In mentoring group, 17-yr-old to me: “I don’t want to be with these little KIDS.” These KIDS were 14-15. Complaint often heard.
@BrandiJClark: Focus on the learning, not the sifting and sorting.
@malcolmbellamy: We mature at different rates, and not according to the year we were born.
@mrmadden77: I’m still concerned with ability grouping – worried that focus will become too much about curriculum, not enough about the child.

@JohnMikulski: For ability grouping to be successful, there has to be fluid movement from one group to next when student shows improvement.
@JasonFlom: “Fluid movement” for a teacher is one thing. “Fluid movement” for students in social groups is another.

To follow the complete discussion see here  
For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

@NextGenLC:  What’s been your experiences with programs like this? “Some schools grouping students by skill, not grade level” http://ow.ly/5caH4  #edchat
@NextGenLC:  @pamwesely This #edchat has me thinking about Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ argument about cutoff dates for kindergarten http://ow.ly/5cbf0

@NextGenLC: @brandiheinz Me too. Just found this post about the “Outliers” argument: http://ow.ly/5cbqX  #edchat

@allisonletts: the Changing Ed Paradigms Video by @sirkenrobinson http://ow.ly/5bgEa  #edchat

@davidwees: Here’s a study about pros and cons of older/younger sibling pairs. Some good stuff, some not so good. http://bit.ly/iHBGZ1  #edchat

@nancyrubin: Collaborative Learning: Group and Teams in the Classroom http://t.co/yAndKbk   #edchat

@karimderrick: Assess perf in proj orientated groups NOT using criteria – but comparative judgement http://bit.ly/dP6O8E  Bye, bye stand tests #edchat

@darcymullin: @JasonFlom check out this awesome school in Aus. Very cool http://bit.ly/lefZ72  #edchat

@pamwesely: @rliberni That’s true after I tweeted that I remembered this great film abt a 1-rm school – Etre et Avoir http://imdb.to/8r71Rt  #edchat

@ToughLoveforX: @WendyGorton @ShellTerrell Crowdsourcing Authority in the Classroom http://ilnk.me/8d36  by @catinstack

@mister_jim: #edchat sorry, a bit behind but aren’t we missing the point? Teachers enable learning situations. Shouldn’… (cont) http://deck.ly/~kiq6j

@irasocol: http://www.fsd.k12.ca.us/menus/k8/addmat.pdf   #edchat the K-8 advantage

@irasocol: Philadelphia K-8 analysis http://www.csos.jhu.edu/new/Comparing%20Achievement.pdf  #edchat

@johnpassantino:  Students progress at own pace: Adams County District Standards-based Education model http://bit.ly/lO5ut3  #edchat

@tomwhitby: My latest Post dealing with Filters, Bans & AUP’s: “How do we fit the policy to the need?” http://nblo.gs/iM77n   #Edchat


Pam Wesely is an Assistant Professor of Foreign Language and English as a Second Language Education at the University of Iowa. She teaches teachers and people who want to research education.  Her research interests include K-12 student, teacher, and parent beliefs about foreign language education.  She also harbors a growing interest in how teachers use Web 2.0 tools to connect and teach their students.  She is a former middle school French teacher and Concordia Language Villages counselor/administrator.  You can see her professional website at: http://sites.google.com/site/pamelawesely

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