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Tony Richards

The Atlantic Online | January/February 2010 | What Makes a Great Teacher? | Amanda Ripley - 0 views

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    "What Makes a Great Teacher? Image credit: Veronika Lukasova Also in our Special Report: National: "How America Can Rise Again" Is the nation in terminal decline? Not necessarily. But securing the future will require fixing a system that has become a joke. Video: "One Nation, On Edge" James Fallows talks to Atlantic editor James Bennet about a uniquely American tradition-cycles of despair followed by triumphant rebirths. Interactive Graphic: "The State of the Union Is ..." ... thrifty, overextended, admired, twitchy, filthy, and clean: the nation in numbers. By Rachael Brown Chart: "The Happiness Index" Times were tough in 2009. But according to a cool Facebook app, people were happier. By Justin Miller On August 25, 2008, two little boys walked into public elementary schools in Southeast Washington, D.C. Both boys were African American fifth-graders. The previous spring, both had tested below grade level in math. One walked into Kimball Elementary School and climbed the stairs to Mr. William Taylor's math classroom, a tidy, powder-blue space in which neither the clocks nor most of the electrical outlets worked. The other walked into a very similar classroom a mile away at Plummer Elementary School. In both schools, more than 80 percent of the children received free or reduced-price lunches. At night, all the children went home to the same urban ecosystem, a zip code in which almost a quarter of the families lived below the poverty line and a police district in which somebody was murdered every week or so. Video: Four teachers in Four different classrooms demonstrate methods that work (Courtesy of Teach for America's video archive, available in February at teachingasleadership.org) At the end of the school year, both little boys took the same standardized test given at all D.C. public schools-not a perfect test of their learning, to be sure, but a relatively objective one (and, it's worth noting, not a very hard one). After a year in Mr. Taylo
Andrew Williamson

What should students do once they can read? - Richard Olsen's Blog - 1 views

  • the only evidence presented to support the assertion that Victoria’s education outcomes are not improving is the report “Challenges in Australian Education: results from PISA 2009: the PISA 2009 assessment of students’ reading, mathematical and scientific literacy”
  • While it doesn’t seem unreasonable to want our students to be able to accurately perform these kind of tasks, these tests are not a true or accurate representation of the skills and competencies our students need in today’s technology driven world.
  • We need to understand the new social world that both our students and our teachers live and learn in.
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  • A world where the experts are no longer in charge, a world where autonomous self-directed learners are skilled at co-constructing new knowledge in unknown and uncertain environments
  • A world where knowledge is complex and is changing.
  • Our students need to be immersed in the modern learning, made possible by modern technology and free of the compromises that up til now our education system has been based on.
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    Looking at the New Directions for school leadership and the teaching profession discussion paper, the only evidence presented to support the assertion that Victoria's education outcomes are not improving is the report "Challenges in Australian Education: results from PISA 2009: the PISA 2009 assessment of students' reading, mathematical and scientific literacy" Specifically the New Directions paper focuses on reading literacy, where in 2009, 14,251 students were given a two-hour pen and paper comprehension test. To get an idea of what types of competencies the reading test is assessing we can look at the sample test , with questions range from comprehension about a letter in a newspaper, the ability to interpret a receipt, comprehension around a short story, an informational text, and interpreting a table. While it doesn't seem unreasonable to want our students to be able to accurately perform these kind of tasks, these tests are not a true or accurate representation of the skills and competencies our students need in today's technology driven world.
Roland Gesthuizen

NAPLAN-style testing has 'failed' US schools - 5 views

  • Professor Darling-Hammond said Australia would be wiser to follow the examples of Finland, Korea, Shanghai and Singapore, whose 15-year-olds achieve the best results in numeracy, literacy and science in comparisons with other developed nations.
  • While the basic skills literacy and numeracy tests were designed to help teachers identify children with learning difficulties needing assistance, they are now being used as a competitive measure of school performance on the federal government's My School website.
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    NAPLAN-style testing and reporting has failed in the United States by narrowing the curriculum and corrupting education standards, says a chief education adviser to the US President, Barack Obama. .. The US tests have been criticised for narrowing the curriculum to reading and maths and multiple-choice formats.
anonymous

Tis the Season | Technology Medley - 0 views

  • found a stress test on the internet, so please begin here to assess how stressed you may be. If, after taking this very scientific test, you determine that you are moderately stressed, check out some of the following links and have fun!
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    found a stress test on the internet, so please begin here to assess how stressed you may be. If, after taking this very scientific test, you determine that you are moderately stressed, check out some of the following links and have fun!
Roland Gesthuizen

Test-Taking Cements Knowledge Better Than Studying, Researchers Say - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.
  • students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.
  • What we recall becomes more recallable in the future. In a sense you are practicing what you are going to need to do later
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  • the struggle involved in recalling something helps reinforce it in our brains
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    Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.
Kerry J

Skype premium test - 0 views

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    If you're near your Skype account and Skype device tonight (Wednesday, 11 April, 630pm Adelaide time) - I'd welcome your participation in a test call to kick the tyres on Skype premium. Details on my blog: http://kerryj.com/2012/04/11/skype-premium-test/
Tony Searl

In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis - Henry Giroux | Paulo Freire, Critical Pedagogy, Urban Education, Media Literacy, Indigenous Knowledges, Social Justice, Academic Community - 2 views

  • Yet, teachers are being deskilled, unceremoniously removed from the process of school governance, largely reduced to technicians or subordinated to the authority of security guards. Underlying these transformations are a number of forces eager to privatize schools, substitute vocational training for education and reduce teaching and learning to reductive modes of testing and evaluation.
  • Teachers are no longer asked to think critically and be creative in the classroom.
  • Put bluntly, knowledge that can't be measured is viewed as irrelevant, and teachers who refuse to implement a standardized curriculum and evaluate young people through objective measures of assessments are judged as incompetent or disrespectful
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  • teachers are increasingly removed from dealing with children as part of a broader historical, social and cultural context.
  • Removed from the normative and pedagogical framing of classroom life, teachers no longer have the option to think outside of the box, to experiment, be poetic or inspire joy in their students. School has become a form of dead time, designed to kill the imagination of both teachers and students
  • Under this bill, the quality of teaching and the worth of a teacher are solely determined by student test scores on standardized tests.
  • Moreover, advanced degrees and professional credentials would now become meaningless in determining a teacher's salary.
  • In other words, teaching was always directive in its attempt to shape students as particular agents and offer them a particular understanding of the present and the future.
  • Rather than viewed as disinterested technicians, teachers should be viewed as engaged intellectuals, willing to construct the classroom conditions that provide the knowledge, skills and culture of questioning necessary for students to participate in critical dialogue with the past, question authority, struggle with ongoing relations of power and prepare themselves for what it means to be active and engaged citizens in the interrelated local, national and global public spheres.
  • fosters rather than mandates
  • respects the time and conditions teachers need to prepare lessons, research, cooperate with each other and engage valuable community resources.
  • In part, this requires pedagogical practices that connect the space of language, culture and identity to their deployment in larger physical and social spaces. Such pedagogical practices are based on the presupposition that it is not enough to teach students how to read the word and knowledge critically. They most also learn how to act on their beliefs, reflect on their role as engaged citizens and intervene in the world as part of the obligation of what it means to be a socially responsible agent.
  • As the late Pierre Bourdieu argued, the "power of the dominant order is not just economic, but intellectual - lying in the realm of beliefs," and it is precisely within the domain of ideas that a sense of utopian possibility can be restored to the public realm
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    teachers are being deskilled, unceremoniously removed from the process of school governance, largely reduced to technicians or subordinated to the authority of security guards. Underlying these transformations are a number of forces eager to privatize schools, substitute vocational training for education and reduce teaching and learning to reductive modes of testing and evaluation.
Rhondda Powling

The Best Ways To Create Online Tests | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day… - 3 views

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    From Larry Ferlazzo. List and links to test-creation sites - not in any order of preference. They each offer very distinct features that could work in different situations. All free.
Tony Searl

Turning Children into Data - 4 views

  • The teachers understood that learning doesn’t have to be measured in order to be assessed. 
  • It focused on teachers’ personal “connection[s] with our subject area” as the basis for helping students to think “like mathematicians or historians or writers or scientists, instead of drilling them in the vocabulary of those subject areas or breaking down the skills.”  In a word, the teachers put kids before data.
  • All that does is corrupt the measure (unless it’s a test score, in which case it’s already misleading), undermine collaboration among teachers, and make teaching less joyful and therefore less effective by meaningful criteria.
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  • kids should have a lot to say about their assessment.
  • we want to create an environment where students can “experience success and failure not as reward and punishment but as information."  
  • students’ desire to learn?
  • The more that students are led to focus on how well they're doing, the less engaged they tend to become with what they're doing. 
  • A school that’s all about achievement and performance is a school that’s not really about discovery and understanding.
  • teachers’ isolation, fatalism, and fear (of demands by clueless officials to raise test scores at any cost).
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    "While some education conferences are genuinely inspiring, others serve mostly to demonstrate how even intelligent educators can be remarkably credulous, nodding agreeably at descriptions of programs that ought to elicit fury or laughter, avidly copying down hollow phrases from a consultant's PowerPoint presentation, awed by anything that's borrowed from the business world or involves digital technology. Many companies and consultants thrive on this credulity, and also on teachers' isolation, fatalism, and fear (of demands by clueless officials to raise test scores at any cost). With a good dose of critical thinking and courage, a willingness to say "This is bad for kids and we won't have any part of it," we could drive these outfits out of business -- and begin to take back our schools."
Tony Searl

#PLENK2010 Assessment in distributed networks « Jenny Connected - 2 views

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    So how to assess large numbers. Traditionally this been done through tests and exams which can be easily marked by assessors. Whilst these make the assessment process manageable for the tutors, they offer little more than a mark or grade to the students - since very often there is no feedback-feedforward loop associated with the grade. Also tests and exams are not the best assessment strategy for all situations and purposes.
Peter Shanks

cloZure - 0 views

  • a free web tool written by Peter Shanks that generates cloze tests from wikipedia articles.
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    cloze tests generated automatically from wikipeida article abstracts
David Raymond

Professor Angela McFarlane - BLC07 Keynote | November Learning - 0 views

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    Professor MacFarlane discusses many issues which ring true to me. In particular: - lack of vision for what education could be like with new technology (around 4 min mark) - the web2.0 and technology revolution is great for the 15% of people who have a good life anyway because of their suituation and culture (5:30) - others don't benefit from the access to the technology - they need help (6:00) - no change in classroom over last 20 years with computers and in danger of no change in next 20 years (7:30) - instruction vs. construction (8:30) - expect learning to change with introduction of technology (10:30) - but hasn't really done so - student self-directed learning is separate from school work i.e. at home and not related to school (14:30) - much of what kids do on computers at home is trivial (16:00) - the ones that do have good experiences are the same 15% (16:30) - kids that are missing out have a computer at home probably but no access to the community that enables them to have these experiences (17:10) - doing something by themselves does not really benefit them - it is being part of a community that had benefit for learning - what are we dong for these people? (19:10) - talking about missing pedagogical model for how to teach (22:00) - teachers are expected to use technology to provide innovative learning but no model against which to do so, some don't use it at all, some use it inappropriately - there maybe some individual examples but not overall (23:00) - schools bad at connecting with their communities in a learning sense (26:00) - talks about chinese online writing community and how they comment, collaborate (34:00) - community (47:30) - communitites aren't formed when people are brought together in schools etc. - need to have a common problem or interest (48:30) - Plant's definition? - in education the problem is because assessment is done individually (49:00) - so forming groups and sharing ideas is not attractive for students - worried about not getti
Kerry J

On national standardised testing on Flickr - Photo Sharing! - 7 views

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    A student's view on national standardised tests
Andrew Williamson

National testing hurts teachers: expert - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) - 0 views

  • An international educator has criticised the practice of national testing of schools for literacy and numeracy.
Tony Searl

http://tsheko.wordpress.com/2009/11/01/what-have-i-learned-from-vce/ - 3 views

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    November 1, 2009 by tsheko This article in The Age resounded with me - Surely there's a better test was written by Alexandra Adornetto, Year 12 VCE student at Eltham College and, at 17, already an author of a popular children's trilogy starting with The shadow thief. This article in The Age resounded with me - Surely there's a better test was written by Alexandra Adornetto , Year 12 VCE student at Eltham College and, at 17, already an author of a popular children's trilogy starting with The shadow thief."
John Pearce

Khan Academy and the mythical math cure - 1 views

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    "So I'd like to get more specific about what I think is wrong about the Khan Academy approach by writing about things I see as wrong with the way we teach math in the US. No matter if we agree or not about Khan Academy, I'm fairly certain we can agree math learning is not going as well as we'd like (to say the least.) Too many people are convinced by the system that they "hate math", and even students who do well (meaning, can get decent test scores) are often just regurgitating stuff for the test, knowing they can safely forget it shortly afterward."
Chris Betcher

I dare you to measure the "value" I add « No Sleep 'til Summer:: - 5 views

  • But never will you be able to judge me or my students by one day or one test. Never will I give one iota of care about your tests, no matter how hard I work to help my students to do their best on it, knowing they aren’t meant to pass it because it is written far above their reading levels, and were written with native English speakers in mind. You can’t measure me as a teacher, because you haven’t imagined teachers like me or classes like mine. Their experiences are outside yours.
  • Tell me how important your data and tests are, and I will tell you how I don’t value your data because it tells me so little about my students yet so much about your educational system.
  • Your data says one thing: your system is what fails my students.
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    Tell me about the algorithms you applied when you took data from 16 students over a course of nearly five years of teaching and somehow used it to judge me as "below average" and "average".
Chris Betcher

Test if any website is Blocked in China in real-time - 1 views

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    Test site to see if specific URLs are blocked in China
Mark Boyle

edublogs: Angela McFarlane @ BLC07: Why do we build communities? - 0 views

  • I think eduBuzz.org has helped create not just this, but far more in terms of explicit reflection that wasn't there before. I'm wondering whether reflection is, in fact, a personal, private thing rather than a community issue, since often the community at large may not choose to be 'interested' in what you have to say. Take live blog posts, for example, written for the author more than the audience. The biggest problem of online communities, and we've seen this, too, in East Lothian and eduBuzz.org, is that novices in particular find it hard to filter information. Angela says that the problem is one students have, but so many of our teachers and managers also have trouble filtering what is important, what is of interest and might be important, what is of interest but might be a waste of time, and what is of no interest at all, personal or professional. Teachers and students are guilty of not knowing how to question the authority of an information source, other than to say blogs must be relatively poor quality and the BBC must be of relatively high quality (both, of course, had had their moments). And again, not just students but for many teachers, too, it is not cool to have an extensive vocabulary to express oneself. We see a resistance in students to use words to say how they are feeling beyond 'good', 'bad' and fine (and I'd be advocating the use of sites like We feel fine to both educate our students and help counter this claim to some extent), and we also see resistance from some teachers to use a more extensive vocabulary to think about teaching and learning. Finally, both teachers and students, because we over test, tend to not want to do anything that doesn't fit into the test. We cut and paste without engaging with material, we can take tests but cannot learn.
    • Mark Boyle
       
      From Diigo
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