Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What procedures support students so that they can build AMAZING, STUNNING and FABULOUS digital portfolios?

Ken Robinson  Creative Schools
Abraham S. Fischler   TheStudentIsTheClass   www.TINYURL.com/historyofnova  www.TINYURL.com/FischlerEbook    www.TINYURL.com/Fischlerposters
Dan Pink   danpink.com
Neil Postman  www.TINYURL.com/postmanquestions
Matthew J. Blazek   www.TINYURL.com/blazekprojects
Joe Bower  blog
Daniel Amen ANT Therapy (how to talk back to Automatic Negative Thoughts) and Building Better Young Brains www.TINYURL.com/sunamenants
Alfie Kahn  Alternatives to grades
Dennis Littky   BigPicture.org  www.TINYURL.com/LittkyRadio
Elliot Washor  www.LeavingToLearn.org
Eliot Levine  One Kid at a Time
AJ Juliani  EMPOWER  What Happens When Students Own Their Learning ?
John Spencer     "The Creative Classroom"  http://www.spencerauthor.com/
George Couros  The Principal of Change  and the Innovator's Mindset
ConnectedPrincipals.com

You might have heard some of these names.  If you are a parent, this blog post is my attempt to let you into the world of "transforming education."

What is "the transformation of education"?
Here's an excerpt from a blog post by Dr. Fischler (dated July 2006).

The Problem

At the present time, teachers are working hard but we are still not fulfilling the demands of our students or our society. Why not? The schools are set up with an agrarian calendar and teachers are responsible for teaching to a class as a unit. Time is fixed and the only variable is performance – some pass and others fail. And, if the persons who fail do not make up and achieve the proficiency that the test is measuring, they drift further and further behind. The consequences are numerous and punishing. How does this instill a love of learning? This approach does not take into account a truism: ‘all students can learn but they learn at different rates and have different preferential learning styles’.

Instead of asking the student to fit the administrative structure (i.e., the class and arbitrary time periods for learning subjects and achieving competencies), we must provide each student with the time and means to succeed. Rather than punish the student who learns more slowly than the arbitrarily chosen period, we must treat each student as the class.

We must find a way of doing this. Other industries have made similar changes* and it is now time for education to do the same.

*Take FedEx, who can tell you where any package is at any time. Look at banking, which is now available 24 hours a day through ATMs and you can go to almost any ATM to withdraw or deposit funds. Both industries invested in information and delivery systems to meet the needs of their clients rather than asking their clients to accommodate to a fixed structure. Now the automobile industry is enabling customers to order on demand rather than requiring them to accept whatever is available in the dealer’s lot. In the business world, however, there is competition that requires companies to adapt – education has not had this catalyst.

What is my vision and strategy for educational change?

I believe that we in education must make the investment to do the same for our clients, i.e., each student. What investment is needed?

There are three modes of instruction: 1) self-paced or CAI, 2) project or problem-solving and 3) discussion. Self-paced or CAI requires that each student have access to a computer and modem and access to the curriculum on a server on a 24/7 basis. Projects and problems should be relevant to students so they can relate to the given subject area.

For English and Math, we should implement CAI in the 1st grade (and continue thereafter). The reason English and Math are chosen is that these are the two cultural imperative languages. If you know these two languages and are motivated as a self-learner, you can teach yourself almost anything you want to learn. And, one of the goals of education is to create self-learners.

For all other subjects, the teacher can pose a project or problem that is relevant to the student. Once the problem is defined, the class can be broken down into groups of 4-5 students in order to research the solution to the problem. If complex, each of the groups may study an aspect of the problem. With these subjects, the student uses the computer as a research tool (after having learned to read). Students are taught to use search engines such as Google or Yahoo as well as the intranet made available by teachers gathering information relevant for the students.

Students working in a group learn cooperation, shared responsibility and communication (face-to-face as well as e-mail). Having produced a written solution to the problem utilizing the computer (power point) as a tool, they can then present to the class for discussion. They can also use email or a written report to other students as well as the teacher.

Arbitrary learning within fixed time periods would be eliminated, i.e., no 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. grades. Instead, students would be grouped chronologically with materials appropriate to their learning level and style using the CAI approach for English and Math, and the project/problem/discussion modes for other subjects. The projects given to the students match the level of English and Math competencies and are related to the students (their interests and their lives). For example, in 3rd grade, how would you study the amount of water that a plant needs to grow? I would utilize the students’ Math knowledge (learned through CAI) for science learning. Likewise, rather than studying history through memorization and chronology, it can be studied through problems based on the immediate environment for younger children and more abstract concepts in later grades.

What do we need to make this happen?
In order for this to be implemented, what do we need?

1) We need the people on board – parents, teachers, community leaders, etc.
2) We need the hardware – computers with modems and Internet access for each student.
3) We need the management system (many existing solutions can be adapted).
4) We need the curriculum – Computer Assisted Instructions (CAI) for Math and English and creative, relevant problems and projects for other subjects.
5) We need teacher training.


The procedures to "transform education" need to be listed.  Ken Robinson has some of the procedures in his book Creative Schools.
See the blogs of George Couros, John Spencer, AJ Juliani.
The writings of Gordon Dryden.
Here are 16 procedures that I've collected in a free download:  www.TINYURL.com/sun5Procedures.

Procedure 1:  Introduce projects that cover more than one subject
The Finnish Model

Procedure 2:  Writing is about rewriting.   
“Time is a variable”
Encourage students to improve and resubmit their work
www.TinyURL.com/delarosaSpeech  A. De La Rosa introduced the “time is a variable” flexible grading period to Miami Arts Charter School in August 2013.    

Procedure 3: Personal Learning Plans
Reading about personalized learning

Procedure 4:  Digital Portfolios
Ask students to display their best work
Read Tony Wagner   “the one thing schools can do”

Procedure 5: Presentations (Exhibitions in addition to tests)
“Stand and deliver”
exhibitions in addition to written tests
Turn to your neighbor:  Eric Mazur’s peer instruction network
In the
See pages 162-166 in Dennis Littky’s book, The Big Picture:  Education is Everyone’s Business

Procedure 6:  Alternatives to grading  (Narratives in addition to grades)
Read Joe Bower's blog http://joe-bower.blogspot.com/
See pages 154-161 in Dennis Littky’s book, The Big Picture:  Education is Everyone’s Business

Procedure 7:  Reduce lectures (flip the classroom)
Find other ways of presenting information to students
Peer instruction network  (Read Eric Mazur at Harvard)
Flipped Classroom
“Why I flipped my classroom” by Katie Gimbar  Youtube

Procedure 8:  Teach history in reverse
Read Personal History Workbook by Enrique Gonzalez

Procedure 9:  Publish a book and Build a Positive “Brand” (a positive digital footprint)
Read Jason Shaffer,  North Broward Prep School.  Search “jason shaffer huffington post personal brand”  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacey-cohen/why-every-personal-brand-_b_11285702.html
Social media “cleaning”

Procedure 10:  Offer certificates (MoneyBeforeDiploma.blogspot.com)
Certified Digital Footprint Specialist
Certified Conversation Assistant
Certificates through INACOL

Procedure 11:  Create and display posters
Use Canva.com and BingBanners.com to encourage students to put their observations on the walls, including their commentaries about “lyrics that inspire me.”  This procedure is used at SunEd High.  

Procedure 12:  Use smartphones to extend and reinforce the learning

Procedure 13: Teach students how to fight automatic negative thoughts

Procedure 14: Feed the brains of teenagers
Dr. Amen has a list of “things to do to increase blood flow to the brain” in his book, Magnificent Mind at Any Age.

Procedure 15: Invite students to serve each other with clicks.
Let’s teach students skills that they can use in the real world.  Let’s give them opportunities to take the initiative and create jobs for themselves.  Let’s ask them to find a service that they enjoy doing for others.  Turn that service into a website and advertise their service.   Let’s show student show to make money before they earn their diploma.

Procedure 16:  Quotes of the Day
Offer students items to look at before they go to sleep.

Any of these procedures will help.  Put several together and you'll transform a school.

Let's get started.
Let's chat.   (954) 646 8246
Steve   SteveMFlorida@gmail.com



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