Wednesday, January 26, 2011

this is what i've been saying

just came across this article in my inbox this morning. this is what i've been advocating for:

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/01/should_michigan_schools_replac.html

what do you think?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

snow day

As I write this post, most of the school districts in our area are out for a "snow day." We have already been out for three days and it looks like we probably won't have students at school tomorrow either. Both teachers and students like "snow days" at first but what we don't like is having to come on a Saturday or losing some of our break to make these days up. I'm wondering in this day and age why we even bother to reschedule classes that are canceled.
With the advent of the internet and web 2.0 tools, is there even a reason to reschedule a day that has been missed because of weather? Couldn't we and shouldn't we be able to place assignments on classroom websites and let students work on these assignments at times that fit their schedules? We could post videos to youtube, have discussions on edmodo, and twitter and text our students all from the comforts of our homes and the students could respond in kind from their homes.
Many schools have virtual learning environments already at use. What would make these "snow days" any different from what a student does in a virtual class with an instructor that is many miles away? Schools could save money by not running buses to make up for the missed days and students and teachers would both benefit by the ability to get work done on these days. Isn't it about time we begin to question why we do things the way we do them? Isn't is about time that districts have the courage to try and challenge the idea of "seat time?" Learning can take place at any time these days and we should begin to acknowledge that.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011

the new year is here and with it, some brief thoughts on education.

#1. we really need to rethink schools. from the ground up. the physical design, what the day looks like, what the teachers are doing and what the students are doing. the more i think about it the more i believe that what is really going to make a difference in education are the schools that innovate with regards to all of the above. it's not evolution we need, it's a complete revolution.

#2. for the above to happen, public education needs more $ and a commitment from the local community to make the change happen. if we keep trying to do education on the cheap then we are going to have schools where students are barely prepared. yes, i can teach my students about our national government but taking them to washington, dc and letting them watch it happen and being able to talk to the people who are making it happen is a totally different animal than hearing me talk about it. trips cost money, speakers cost money, and innovation costs money. the state funds don't get us there, people in the community can help.

#3. schools need to do a better job of telling their story. marketing and advertising didn't used to be a part of public education but it certainly is now. social media is a part of it but so are traditional forms of advertising. to get the public to care you have to be able to show them where you are doing well and be able to show them that you have a plan to take care of the things that you aren't doing well.

#4. schools have to engage students, teachers, and parents. i watch my six year old daughter play with an ipad or a dsi and i wonder why school can't be that fun? we need to figure this part of it out and get to it. there are moments when students don't want class to end but they don't come often enough. we have to figure out how to make it happen much more often.

just a few thoughts to think about today. i'll be back with more later.
happy new year to all!