Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A reaction to "The Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher"

“The Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher” has been finding its way into my digital devices from a variety of sources in recent days. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is an insightful essay by Michael Godsey that appeared on The Atlantic’s site  (http://t.co/F0RJhFCHfV).

I think I am accurately summarizing of Godsey’s article: He describes the changing landscape of teaching, learning, and schooling and illustrates the changes with examples of strategies and digital tools that are influencing educators’ work. My career appears to have paralleled Godsey’s, and I can confirm the devices foisted on him as an English teacher have been foisted on me as a science and math teacher who joined the dark side of educational technology.

Godsey appears to have captured the landscape well; the work of dispensing information is being transferred from educator to technology. Today’s educators have access to amazing and previously unimaginable sources of information, and we can leverage those to our needs. (The recent allegations notwithstanding, I used Walter Lewin’s lectures when I last taught physics because he was a far better lecturer than I am.) Godsey uses the familiar “sage-on-the-stage” to “guide-on-the-side” metaphor to illustrate the changing nature of teaching.

I would share Godsey’s apparently cynical outlook on the future of our profession (indeed my colleagues would confirm my cynicism has equaled and exceeded his at times), were it not for the fact that many of the initiatives he references have failed. Online learning is probably the premier example. Despite much rhetoric, it still appears to be a largely marginalized endeavor, and students’ reactions to online learning experiences are the embodiment of ambivalence.

When I encounter a student who demonstrates this ambivalence, I try to engage him or her in conversation about the experience. These informal conversations typically focus on the fact that there was no personal connection with the teachers, and that contributed to a lack of motivation and engagement they felt. Without that engagement, the most wonderful online lecture cannot be an educative experience.

The un-engaging nature of much online learning can be attributed to the largely absent sense of community and culture. Being together and sharing stories, feedback, and informal advice are all part of becoming educated in the culture of the subject that is learned in school. It is through this (formal and informal) social interaction that we learn the essential lessons of our educated society.

I have searched in vain to find the article I read at some point in the last couple of years that added “mentor-in-the-middle” to the emerging roles of educators. The model seems to be a far more accurate summary of the future role of educators than the familiar “sage” or “guide.” Consider the relationship between graduate faculty and graduate student: As mentors, faculty help students identify relevant and important problems, they help them define and articulate and gather data to address the problems, and they facilitate groups of students to critique and improve each other’s work. These are the important roles of teachers in the 21st century landscape of infinite credible information.

As I read Godsey, I see another theme, and it is more distressing. Educators—Godsey and me along with our experienced and knowledgeable colleagues—are being replaced as the experts on teaching and learning. I can understand the politician, philanthropist, and businessperson who can gain political and public relations credibility and using his or her “expertiness” (with apologies to Stephen Colbert and his writers) to advocate for “school improvement”. I cannot understand the educational “leaders” who ignore what they learned in their educational research and learning science courses about data and learners as they allow destructive practices and dubious advocates to gain access to their communities.

I am hopeful that Godsey’s article motivates educators to accept greater role in defining the future of their professional. Actually, that is not my hope.

Educators must demand that we craft education that reconciles our past history as dispensers of information with the new need for students who gain wisdom as consumers of information and more importantly as creators of knowledge and wisdom.
 


Monday, March 23, 2015

Twitter feed from NELMS 34

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fwd: Annual Conference Early Registration Extended



-- Gary Ackerman, Ph.D.


Begin forwarded message:

From: nelms@nelms.org
Date: March 5, 2015 at 9:42:45 AM EST
To: "Dr. Gary L. Ackerman" <gary@hackscience.net>
Subject: Annual Conference Early Registration Extended
Reply-To: NELMS <nelms@nelms.org>

March 5, 2015 Blast E-mail
nelms logo

Massachusetts Conflict Avoided

You may be able to attend the Annual Conference after all

DESE has given school districts the option of moving MCAS testing. Check with your district. If there is no conflict click here to register for the Annual Conference.

 

Snowmageddon Update

Because of the resultant problems caused by the overwhelming amount of snow the region has received early registration rates for the NELMS Annual Conference have been extended until 3/12/15.

 

Annual Conference Program Book and Grad Credit Syllabus Online

The AC program book is off to the printer but you don't have to wait to look up all the great sessions being offered. If you are a graduate student going to the conference the grad credit syllabus is ready to dowload. Click here for your copy of the program book and/or the syllabus.

 

The Annual Conference is almost here
Have you registered?
Check out the list of sessions, descriptions, & strands

March 23 & 24, 2015
RI Convention Center
Providence, RI

Want to see a list of sessions and descriptions before you register? Click here for a pdf of sessions, descriptions, and related strands.

Thinking of coming to the conference and wondering who will be the keynotes?
Kim Campbell and Rick Wormeli will give the keynotes and speak at the ticketed luncheons.
Click here to see a YouTube video of Kim Campbell in action: Motivating the Middle!

Click here to see a YouTube video of Rick Wormeli on Standards Based Grading and Assessment.

Remember early registration only sgoes until March 5 so register soon to reserve your place.
For more information please click here.

Hope to see you there.

 

Coming to the Annual Conference?
Book your room now!

The Omni Hotel has a limited block of rooms reserved for Annual Conference attendees. Our block of rooms won't last much longer so reserve your's today.
Click here to make a reservation.


Scholar Leader Awards 2015

This program is intended to give public recognition to two students from each middle level school in your state who have distinguished themselves in terms of outstanding scholarship and leadership. The selection of these two students, who are being recognized as representatives of all young adolescents who might qualify, will be the responsibility of each school, in accordance with the Selection Criteria accompanying this announcement.

The students selected, along with their guests, will be invited to attend the statewide Awards Banquet. The Governor, the Commissioner of Education, and other dignitaries will be invited. Each student will receive a plaque with his or her name on it signifying the honor. A photograph of the Scholar Leader receiving the award will also be given to each of the students.
Click here
for more information about this very popular program.

 

NELMS Middle Level Scheduling Workshops

ARE YOU…
Challenged by your schedule?
Looking for ways to create a schedule that "works" for your particular school?
Then NELMS Scheduling Workshops are designed for you!

Attend this workshop to:
gain information about components of a middle school schedule
look at a variety of schedule types
think about the pluses and minuses of your current schedule
take time to identify your school's non-negotiables
identify priorities
share challenges and solutions with colleagues
begin the work of revitalizing your schedule

April 9, 2015–East Lyme Middle School, Niantic, CT
For more information about these workshops and/or to register please click here.

 

scan of wizardNELMS Branded Clothing

For the Annual Conference this year the NELMS theme was "Magic in the Middle". Now you can own a bit of 'magic' with the purchase of a tee shirt, polo shirt, or fleece jacket with "Magic in the Middle" sewn on.
Click here to go to the NELMS bookstore and check out the styles.

 

From our sponsors & partners

VAMLE Annual Conference coming up

VAMLE Annual Conference is on March 10. If you would like more information please click here.

renaissance logo

Join your colleagues at this complimentary forum on K12 Assessment at the classroom level.

The Many Forms of Formative Assessment

This forum's presenter, Dr. Gene Kerns, observes that, while our nation focuses on standardized testing, there is growing concern about the absence of formative assessment at the classroom level. According to Dr. Rick Stiggins, founder of Assessment Training Institute, "Because the standardized testing light has been shining so brilliantly in our eyes, we haven't seen past it to another application of assessment in schools that promises even greater impact on student learning. This is the classroom level of assessment. We have neglected to put into place day-to-day classroom assessment practices that set both teachers and students up for success, and that's a crisis."
For more information please click here for a pdf.

 

 

34th Annual Conference
Providence, RI
March 23 & 24, 2015
To learn more
click here

Join us on Facebook and Twitter

facebook logo


 

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fwd: Annual Conference Keynotes - Kim Campbell and Rick Wormeli



-- Gary Ackerman, Ph.D.


Begin forwarded message:

From: nelms@nelms.org
Date: January 8, 2015 at 8:58:54 AM EST
To: "Dr. Gary L. Ackerman" <gary@hackscience.net>
Subject: Annual Conference Keynotes - Kim Campbell and Rick Wormeli
Reply-To: NELMS <nelms@nelms.org>

January 8, 2015 Blast E-mail
nelms logo

What's planned for the Annual Conference?
Kim Campbell and Rick Wormeli are the keynote speakers

March 24 & 25, 2015
RI Convention Center
Providence, RI

Thinking of coming to the conference and wondering what will be offered? Kim Campbell and Rick Wormeli will give the keynotes and speak at the ticketed luncheons.
Click here to see a YouTube video of Kim Campbell in action: Motivating the Middle!

Click here to see a YouTube video of Rick Wormeli on Standards Based Grading and Assessment.

Remember early registration only goes until March 5 so register soon to reserve your place.
For more information please click here.

Hope to see you there.

 

Save the Date!
Scholar Leader Awards 2015

Click here for more information about this very popular program.

 

NELMS Middle Level Scheduling Workshops

ARE YOU�
Challenged by your schedule?
Looking for ways to create a schedule that "works" for your particular school?
Then NELMS Scheduling Workshops are designed for you!

Attend this workshop to:
gain information about components of a middle school schedule
look at a variety of schedule types
think about the pluses and minuses of your current schedule
take time to identify your school's non-negotiables
identify priorities
share challenges and solutions with colleagues
begin the work of revitalizing your schedule

January 23, 2015�Medomak Middle School, Waldoboro, ME

February 6, 2015�Essex Middle School, Essex Junction, VT

April 9, 2015�East Lyme Middle School, Niantic, CT
For more information about these workshops and/or to register please click here.

 

scan of wizardNELMS Branded Clothing

For the Annual Conference this year the NELMS theme was "Magic in the Middle". Now you can own a bit of 'magic' with the purchase of a tee shirt, polo shirt, or fleece jacket with "Magic in the Middle" sewn on.
Click here to go to the NELMS bookstore and check out the styles.

 

 

 

34th Annual Conference
Providence, RI
March 23 & 24, 2015
To learn more
click here

Join us on Facebook and Twitter

facebook logo


 

You are currently subscribed to nelms as: gary@hackscience.net
Add nelms@nelms.org to your email address book to ensure delivery
Forward to a Friend  |  Manage Subscription  |   Subscribe  |   Unsubscribe
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Thursday, January 1, 2015

On assessment


Michael B. Horn, who is associated with the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation posted this blog entry focusing on testing:


I finally found time to compose my response:


When faced with a malfunctioning system that comprises Cisco devices, I would be grateful for the assistance of one who had passed Cisco’s assessments. I am convinced he or she would have the expertise needed to solve the problems.

I am equally convinced that there are many jobs that require skills and knowledge that cannot be measured in a meaningful way with tests such as I understand are included in the Cisco Networking Academy assessments.

As an educator, I encounter more “wicked” problems than I do tame problems. The wicked problems I encounter are complex and arise from many interconnect and frequently contradictory (and often unknown) causes. If the causes are identified, they are likely to change before a solution can be identified; and in many cases, there is no consensus surrounding the causes (or even existence of the problem) and different people judge the solution differently.

My children are now adults (one has begun his career in management, the other is finishing his undergraduate studies and working and interning in his field of study), and I talk with them about the problems they encounter in their professional lives.  Their experiences confirm my own: The information we can test is a minor part of the knowledge and skill they need and use daily.


It is impossible to quantify with in a valid and reliable manner to what extent testable skills are necessary in work, and of course the answer depends on the nature of the job. I do know that flexibility to manage and solve wicked problems is a common demand placed on my children and me in our professional lives. I hope we keep that in mind as we define what it means to be educated and how we figure out who is educated. If I had to predict, I think we (and our students and their future employers) would be disappointed of we rely solely on Cisco’s model.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fwd: Weekly blast from NELMS for December 11, 2014



-- Gary Ackerman, Ph.D.


Begin forwarded message:

From: nelms@nelms.org
Date: December 11, 2014 at 10:07:56 AM EST
To: "Dr. Gary L. Ackerman" <gary@hackscience.net>
Subject: Weekly blast from NELMS for December 11, 2014
Reply-To: NELMS <nelms@nelms.org>

December 11, 2014 Blast E-mail
nelms logo

Watch a Spotlight School receive the acclaim it deserves

On Wednesday November 19, 2014, Wamogo Regional HS hosted a Celebration of Excellence award ceremony to recognize the recent awards the school has earned. These awards include being named a 2014 Blue Ribbon School, a NELMS (New England League of Middle Schools) Spotlight School and a four time national award winning FFA Chapter. Congratulations Wamago! Click here to watch.

 

NELMS and Keys to Literacy Fall Literacy Event:
Essential Literacy Instruction for Middle
School Teachers

January 7, 2015
Wyndham Andover Boston
Andover, MA

A  small investment in your time can result in developing student literacy skills that will last a lifetime.
Join us on January 7, 2015 for the second part of our workshop series – Essential Literacy Instruction for Middle School Teachers and learn how to immediately apply instructional strategies needed to develop effective student thinking, reading, and writing skills. These strategies are based on the most current research and give educators the tools they need to implement the Common Core.
The workshop series consists of four instructional routines – Comprehension, Close Reading, Content Writing, and Argument Writing. Discounts are available for attending multiple sessions or having multiple teachers attend from the same district.
The day consists of day-long instructional workshop options.

For more information please click here.

 

NELMS Middle Level Scheduling Workshops

ARE YOU…
Challenged by your schedule?
Looking for ways to create a schedule that "works" for your particular school?
Then NELMS Scheduling Workshops are designed for you!

Attend this workshop to:
gain information about components of a middle school schedule
look at a variety of schedule types
think about the pluses and minuses of your current schedule
take time to identify your school's non-negotiables
identify priorities
share challenges and solutions with colleagues
begin the work of revitalizing your schedule

January 23, 2015–Medomak Middle School, Waldoboro, ME

February 6, 2015–Essex Middle School, Essex Junction, VT

April 9, 2015–East Lyme Middle School, Niantic, CT
For more information about these workshops and/or to register please click here.

 

scan of wizardNELMS Branded Clothing

For the Annual Conference this year the NELMS theme was "Magic in the Middle". Now you can own a bit of 'magic' with the purchase of a tee shirt, polo shirt, or fleece jacket with "Magic in the Middle" sewn on.
Click here to go to the NELMS bookstore and check out the styles.

 

 

 

Essential Literacy Instruction for Middle School Teachers
NELMS &
Keys to Literacy
Andover, MA
December 8, 2014
&
January 7, 2015
To learn more
click here

 

34th Annual Conference
Providence, RI
March 23 & 24, 2015
To learn more
click here

Join us on Facebook and Twitter

facebook logo


 

You are currently subscribed to nelms as: gary@hackscience.net
Add nelms@nelms.org to your email address book to ensure delivery
Forward to a Friend  |  Manage Subscription  |   Subscribe  |   Unsubscribe
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