From my introduction to author Dan Pink through his book “Drive,” I was amazed at how he could write a book about business that pertained so much to what educators do. It was not in the sense of how to create widgets, which is often a business approach to education, but rather what incents people to do what they do in the best way possible. It was more than just the best way to drive students, but the best way to drive educators to their highest potential as well. For that reason, Dan has been recognized and engaged by national and international education organizations to address their memberships. I have listened to several of his keynotes with never a disappointment. In personal conversations, I have found him to be a really nice guy. I sought him out during a recent trip to D.C. to ask him about his new book, “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.” I was hoping to find his latest book to be as educator-friendly as “Drive.”
You say that today, like it or not, we’re all salespeople. (read more…)
Let’s rewind a little. In 2004, tablets were not yet on the drawing board, Facebook was available to a handful of college students and most folks’ definition of a digital textbook was a book that came on a compact disc. Fast forward to 2013, where you can hardly have a conversation about education that does not include mention of mobile devices, online learning and social-media platforms. You get the idea.
In the Pascack Valley Regional High School District in New Jersey, 2004 was the beginning of an educational transformation that brought technology, education and the community together. In 2004, the district implemented one of the nation’s first one-to-one initiatives and has been meeting achievement and budget goals ever since.
Don’t get me wrong, we have had our fair share of scrapes and bruises along the way, so for those of you looking to implement one-to-one, or in the midst of one, here are some of the most important things the last 10 years have taught us:
Leadership and community buy in
It is up to leadership at the district level to ensure that all stakeholders are engaged from the beginning, including staff and the community at large. (read more…)
The battle over standards-based grading, mastery learning and other progressive grading and assessment practices continues to be waged in classrooms, OpEd pages and PTA meetings across the country. Voices of those who miss the “way things used to be” argue with those who say it’s broken and we need to fix it.
From the moment that I brought a new grading system into my own classroom, I faced many questions: Why isn’t homework and participation affecting students’ grades? Why are you accepting late work? Why are you letting students retake tests and quizzes? It seemed like madness to some, and coddling to others.
The argument against these practices most often comes down to the idea that the real world is a harsh place and it is naive and counter-productive to shield students from failure. We need to toughen them up, traditionalists say, so that they will not expect success at every turn as adults. (read more…)
When I attend an IEP meeting, I have the distinction of sitting on all sides of the table. I am a parent of a child with special needs, so I understand the feelings a parent brings to the meeting. I also taught special education for many years so I can understand the special-education teacher’s frame of mind. Finally, I am a middle-school building principal so my lens is very wide when it comes to working with students with special needs.
Amid the push towards more inclusive settings — now more than ever — a building principal needs to develop staff members’ capacity to successfully meet these needs. Also, since high-stakes test scores are disaggregated, and in some instances, being attached to teacher performance, educational leaders need to have a wide lens when looking at achievement. The only way this can happen is to be in the classrooms and give feedback.
As more and more students are being given the opportunity to be in supported classrooms, more emphasis needs to be placed on working with general-education teachers and their role in supporting special-education students. (read more…)
Our school, Colegio Inglés, is a private 1:1 school in Monterrey, Mexico. We have established a very complete system and infrastructure in 1:1 technology implementation. In middle school, every student owns an Apple MacBook, which gives them access to a world of learning opportunities.
In addition, our kids have access to bilingual education that aligns with accrediting bodies in the U.S., with common core standards and with Mexico’s Secretariat of Education’s requirements. There are different divisions that tap into different kinds of technology to leverage learning. For instance, elementary uses iPads in their instruction, and middle school has embraced a 1:1 program with MacBooks.
The school has done a remarkable job at the infrastructure level and at the academic level, in regards to technology. There has also been a push in balancing content, pedagogical models and technology. None of these should be dominant. It is rather a perfect equilibrium of these that constitutes effective learning. (read more…)