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Steve Ransom

How Not to Be Alone - NYTimes.com - 17 views

  • Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat.
  • The phone didn’t make me avoid the human connection, but it did make ignoring her easier in that moment, and more likely, by comfortably encouraging me to forget my choice to do so.
  • The more distracted we become, and the more emphasis we place on speed at the expense of depth, the less likely and able we are to care.
  • ...6 more annotations...
  • Most of our communication technologies began as diminished substitutes for an impossible activity.
  • These inventions were not created to be improvements upon face-to-face communication, but a declension of acceptable, if diminished, substitutes for it.
  • we began to prefer the diminished substitutes.
  • it’s easier to check in without becoming entangled.
  • Each step “forward” has made it easier, just a little, to avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity.
  • My daily use of technological communication has been shaping me into someone more likely to forget others.
Steve Ransom

Principal: 'I was naïve about Common Core' - 32 views

  • The promise of the Common Core is dying and teaching and learning are being distorted.  The well that should sustain the Core has been poisoned.
  • Whether or not learning the word ‘commission’ is appropriate for second graders could be debated—I personally think it is a bit over the top.  What is of deeper concern, however, is that during a time when 7 year olds should be listening to and making music, they are instead taking a vocabulary quiz.
  • The Common Core places an extraordinary emphasis on vocabulary development
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  • Teachers are engaged in practices like these because they are pressured and afraid, not because they think the assessments are educationally sound. Their principals are pressured and nervous about their own scores and the school’s scores. Guaranteed, every child in the class feels that pressure and trepidation as well.
  • I am troubled that a company that has a multi-million dollar contract to create tests for the state should also be able to profit from producing test prep materials. I am even more deeply troubled that this wonderful little girl, whom I have known since she was born, is being subject to this distortion of what her primary education should be.
  • Parents can expect that the other three will be neglected as teachers frantically try to prepare students for the difficult and high-stakes tests.
  • Real learning occurs in the mind of the learner when she makes connections with prior learning, makes meaning, and retains that knowledge in order to create additional meaning from new information.  In short, with tests we see traces of learning, not learning itself.
  • They see data, not children. 
  • Data should be used as a strategy for improvement, not for accountability
  • A fool with a tool is still a fool.  A fool with a powerful tool is a dangerous fool.
Charles Fowler

Why I Gave Up Flipped Instruction - 42 views

  • It has nothing to do with videos, or homework, or the latest fad in education. It has everything to do with who owns the learning.
  • No. The thing that I didn’t expect was that my students created flexible groups, depending on what they were working on. They found peers who were working on the same concept they were, so that they could help each other. Sometimes they realized who they couldn’t work with on a particular day, and found a different group of peers to work with instead. And to solidify what my students were learning, we engaged in hands-on activities and labs that actually used the Chemistry concepts they were studying.
  • When I first encountered the flip, it seemed like a viable way to help deal with the large and sometimes burdensome amount of content
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  • I imagined the flip as a stepping stone to a fully realized inquiry/PBL classroom
  • Lest anyone think we were able to do this because we learn in a high-tech school, that’s not the case. We weren’t a 1:1 classroom. We used whatever devices my students had, which often was a couple of iPads, a few computers, and student cell phones.
  • Alfie Kohn’s book The Homework Myth
  • Learning isn’t simply a matter of passively absorbing new information while watching a lecture on video; new knowledge should be actively constructed.
  •  
    Great post by Shelly Wright. It's not about the videos.
Steve Ransom

Is Khan Academy a real 'education solution'? - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 55 views

  •  
    Great conclusions here!!
Steve Ransom

Khan Academy does not constitute an education revolution, but I'll tell you w... - 40 views

  • The curriculum in these classes is typically irrelevant to their lives, except for the need to earn grades good enough to placate their parents and impress college admissions officers. When the academic content assigned has no meaning to them, and their engagement with it is solely to attain extrinsic rewards, of course they’re not going to retain it.
Steve Ransom

Technology in Schools Faces Questions on Value - NYTimes.com - 9 views

  • Critics counter that, absent clear proof, schools are being motivated by a blind faith in technology and an overemphasis on digital skills — like using PowerPoint and multimedia tools — at the expense of math, reading and writing fundamentals. They say the technology advocates have it backward when they press to upgrade first and ask questions later.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      A valid criticism when technology implementation is decoupled from meaningful and effective pedagogy. You can't buy measurable change/improvement.
  • district was innovating
  • how the district was innovating.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Again, this is very different than how TEACHERS are innovating their PRACTICES. It's much more challenging than making a slick brochure that communicates how much technology your district has.
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  • there is no good way to quantify those achievements — putting them in a tough spot with voters deciding whether to bankroll this approach again
  • “We’ve jumped on bandwagons for different eras without knowing fully what we’re doing. This might just be the new bandwagon,” he said. “I hope not.”
    • Steve Ransom
       
      There's a confidence building statement for you....
  • $46.3 million for laptops, classroom projectors, networking gear and other technology for teachers and administrators.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Exactly... and how much was spent on equipping teachers to change their practices to effectively leverage this new infrastructure?
  • If we know something works
    • Steve Ransom
       
      And what is that "something"? New technology? If so, you missed the boat.
  • it is hard to separate the effect of the laptops from the effect of the teacher training
  • The high-level analyses that sum up these various studies, not surprisingly, give researchers pause about whether big investments in technology make sense.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Why does the argument for making schools relevant and using current cultural tools need to be backed with performance data? Give politicians and superintendents horses instead of cars and see how long that lasts.
  • Good teachers, he said, can make good use of computers, while bad teachers won’t, and they and their students could wind up becoming distracted by the technology.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Finally, a valid point.
  • “Test scores are the same, but look at all the other things students are doing: learning to use the Internet to research, learning to organize their work, learning to use professional writing tools, learning to collaborate with others.”
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Exactly. But somehow, "value" has been equated with test scores alone. Do we have a strong body of research on pencil effectiveness or clay effectiveness or chair effectiveness?
  • “It’s not the stuff that counts — it’s what you do with it that matters.”
  • “There is a connection between the physical hand on the paper and the words on the page,” she said. “It’s intimate.”
  • “They’re inundated with 24/7 media, so they expect it,”
    • Steve Ransom
       
      And you expect them to always engage enthusiastically with tools that are no longer relevant in their culture?
  • The 30 students in the classroom held wireless clickers into which they punched their answers. Seconds later, a pie chart appeared on the screen: 23 percent answered “True,” 70 percent “False,” and 6 percent didn’t know.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Okay... and you follow up with a totally trivial example of the power of technology in learning.
  • term” that can slide past critical analysis.
  • engagement is a “fluffy
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Very true
  • rofessor Cuban at Stanford argues that keeping children engaged requires an environment of constant novelty, which cannot be sustained.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      If that is so, why not back up your claim by linking to the source here. I have a feeling he has been misquoted and taken out of context here.
  • that computers can distract and not instruct.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Computers don't really "instruct". That's why we have teachers who are supposed to know what they are doing and why they are doing it... and monitoring kids while keeping learning meaningful.
  • guide on the side.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      But many teachers are simply not prepared for how to do this effectively. To ignore this fact is just naive.
  • Professor Cuban at Stanford
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Are they in love with Cuban or something? Perhaps they should actually look at the research... or interview other authorities. Isn't that what reporting is all about? I think this reporter must be a product of too much Google, right?
  • But she loves the fact that her two children, a fourth-grader and first-grader, are learning technology, including PowerPoint
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Again, the fact that any supporter is happy that their kids are learning PowerPoint illustrates the degree of naiveté in their understanding of technology's role in learning.
  • creating an impetus to rethink education entirely
  • Mr. Share bases his buying decisions on two main factors: what his teachers tell him they need, and his experience. For instance, he said he resisted getting the interactive whiteboards sold as Smart Boards until, one day in 2008, he saw a teacher trying to mimic the product with a jury-rigged projector setup. “It was an ‘Aha!’ moment,” he said, leading him to buy Smart Boards, made by a company called Smart Technologies.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Herein lies another huge problem. Mr. Director of Technology seems to base no decisions on what the learning and technology literature have to say... nor does he consult those who would be considered authorities on technology infused learning (emphasis on learning here)
  • This is big business.
    • Steve Ransom
       
      No kidding.
  • “Do we really need technology to learn?” she said. “It’s a very valid time to ask the question, right before this goes on the ballot.”
    • Steve Ransom
       
      Anyone who asks that should volunteer to have their home and work computer confiscated. After all, it's just a distraction, right?
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