10/31/2012

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If we don’t do standards right, will we have time to do them over? In previous blogs, I’ve noted that while standards-based reform efforts appear to have “raised the floor” on student performance, they’ve been less successful in “raising the ceiling” or unleashing the talent of our students at the upper-end of the spectrum. In fact, Harvard education professor Martin West noted that far greater percentages of students in other developed nations perform at the same levels demonstrated by the top six percent of students in the United States. Students also appear to be detached from the system of standards-based assessments and accountability that we’ve so carefully constructed over the past two decades—as evidenced by the fact that surprising students prior to taking a standardized test with a mere $10 bribe for good performance is enough to make them do significantly better on the tests. So what’s the answer? More bribes for students so they’ll play along with our accountability systems? While bribes may work to some extent, as I noted in a recent column in Educational Leadership, external rewards tend to have diminished results over time, requiring greater dosages (or payouts) to be effective. Moreover, the presence of external rewards can serve to undermine intrinsic motivation, which researchers have found can have a powerful influence on student success. In the video below, education author and speaker Sir Ken Robinson notes that raising standards is fine—indeed, there’s no sensible argument to be made for lowering them. However, if we only focus on what we want students to learn and not why we want them...
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One-to-one initiatives require a “core vision” Leslie Wilson co-chairs the National Steering Committee of One-to-One Directors and facilitates networking and collaboration among one-to-one visionaries. As a founding member and CEO of the One-To-One Institute based in Lansing, Mich., she created and implemented model programs and services based on Michigan’s Freedom to Learn Program. While leading Michigan’s one-to-one teaching and learning initiative, Leslie recruited McREL to facilitate technology training for the state and Leading for Technology staff. We are reposting her blog as a resource for schools, districts, and states that are implementing or considering one-to-one initiatives. You've Got 'Tablets' and Now You're 1:1? Really? By Leslie Wilson More and more districts are acquiring ‘tablets and saying ‘we are now 1:1’. I always ask what that means. What is 1:1? The definitions are many as districts glom on to sexy, inexpensive, long-life battery, lightweight devices instead of foundational, robust, multi-tasking, creativity devices (which also by the way, are lightweight, have long-life batteries, etc., etc.). One-to-One Institute’s work amplifies the message that a quality, student-centered 1:1 employment is complex, transformative work. The focus points are teaching and learning and not hardware, software, and apps. A shared vision, strategic project plan and leader must accompany the program from its embryonic inception. What are the goals? How will they affect the current culture and expectations? What kind of messaging, practices and policies need to accompany this effort? To transform teaching and learning to a student centered, personalized instructional setting, there are key components—project plan elements—that have to be addressed to...

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