Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 09/21/2016

  • "Online Resources for Teaching About the Presidential Campaign             In this article in Education Week, Madeline Will shares five free classroom resources for teaching and discussing this year’s election: -   Letters to the Next President 2.0 www.letters2president.org – Students’ letters to the 45th president will be published by PBS member station KQED and the National Writing Project. -   Teaching Tolerance Election 2016 Resources www.tolerance.org/election2016 – These include a civility contract, civic activities, and PD webinars. -   iCivics www.icivics.org/election_resources_2016 – Materials on the basics of democracy, with an interactive digital game in which students manage their own presidential campaign. -   C-Span Classroom www.c-spanclassroom.org/campaign-2016.aspx – Primary sources with historical and contemporary video clips and related discussion questions, handouts, and activity ideas. -   Join the Debates www.jointhedebates.org – Curriculum materials for collaborative discussions on issues in the campaign and debates.   “Educators Grapple with Election 2016” by Madeline Will in Education Week, September 14, 2016 (Vol. 36, #4, p. 1, 12-13), www.edweek.org "

    tags: empathy management leadership gratitude generosity evaluation check-in collaboration parent-teacher conferences PLC English poetry math election 2016

    • “While people usually gain power through traits and actions that advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration, openness, fairness, and sharing, when they start to feel powerful or enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade.”
    • Behaviors like these undermine leaders’ effectiveness by depressing the performance of those around them, and are ultimately self-defeating.


    • power puts us in something like a manic state, making us feel expansive, energized, omnipotent, hungry for rewards, and immune to risk – which opens us up to rash, rude, and unethical actions.” But it turns out that simply being aware of those feelings – “Hey, I’m feeling as if I should rule the world right now” – and monitoring impulses to behave inappropriately helps keep those behaviors in check.
    • When Keltner works with up-and-coming executives, he counsels them to remember and repeat the virtuous behaviors that helped them rise in the first place and develop three essential practices: empathy, gratitude, and generosity.
    • To practice empathy:


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Ask a question or two in every interaction, showing genuine interest in the subject.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Paraphrase important points made by others.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Listen with gusto, orienting your body and eyes toward the person speaking and verbally showing interest and engagement.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->When someone comes to you with a problem, don’t jump right to judgment and advice but say something like, “That’s really tough” or “I’m sorry.”


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Before a meeting, take a moment to think about the person you’ll be with and what’s happening in his or her life.


    • To practice gratitude:


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Make thoughtful thank-yous a part of how you communicate with others.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Send colleagues specific and timely e-mails or notes of appreciation for a job well done.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Publicly acknowledge the value that each person contributes to the team, including support staff.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Use the right kind of touch – pats on the back, fist bumps, high-fives – to celebrate success.


      • To practice generosity:


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Seek opportunities to spend a little one-on-one time with people you lead.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Delegate some important and high-profile responsibilities.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Give praise generously.


      <!-- [if !supportLists]-->-   <!--[endif]-->Share the limelight – give credit to all who contribute to the success of your team and your organization.

    • “From Silicon Valley to New York, and in offices across the world, firms are replacing annual reviews with frequent, informal check-ins between managers and employees.”
    • One observer called the traditional performance evaluation a “rite of corporate kabuki” that restricted creativity, generated mountains of paperwork, and served no real purpose. It was also an incentive to put off bad news until the end of the year, at which point both manager and employee may have forgotten what the problem was.
    • There’s one more reason: once-a-year reviews focus on past performance rather than encouraging current work and grooming talent for the future.
    • The alternative mindset is that people can grow professionally and managers can change the way people perform through effective coaching, management, and intrinsic rewards like personal development and making a difference.
    • employees, especially recent college graduates, learn faster from frequent, detailed feedback from mentors and superiors. Second, companies realized they needed to be agile to survive and thrive in the competitive, ever-changing marketplace and real-time performance monitoring and feedback led to more rapid adaptations. And third, managers saw that teamwork was key to innovation and productivity and moving from forced annual ranking to frequent individual accountability was more conducive to teamwork and better results.
    • Studies of the workplace show that the time employees spend helping others is as important to their evaluations and chances of promotion as how they do their jobs. And Grant’s own research on “givers” (who enjoy helping others) and “takers” (who are focused on coming out ahead) shows that givers consistently achieve better results.
    • on the most difficult part of his exams – the multiple choice section – if a student was unsure of an question, he or she wrote down the name of another student who might know the answer – like asking for a lifeline on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” If the classmate had it right, they both earned points; one person’s success also benefited a classmate. Grant reports that this made a big difference – more students joined study groups, the groups pooled their knowledge, and the class’s average score went up 2 percentage points compared to the previous year. Why? Because one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else, and that’s what was going on in the groups.
    • There was something else going on in the lifeline idea: transactive memory, or knowing who knows best and taking advantage of their knowledge. It’s easier to get help if you know where to look.
    • In this Chronicle of Higher Education article, Ellen Boucher (Amherst College) says the “pressure of perfection” is causing lots of stress for students in their teens and twenties, contributing to the rising suicide rate in this age bracket.
    • The burden of multiple obligations can seem insurmountable.”
    • Sociologists have shown that students from less-privileged backgrounds often have trouble understanding the unwritten rules of college life – the so-called hidden curriculum… [A]sking a professor for an extension doesn’t always come naturally. It might not even occur to them as an option.”
    • all students can elect to take a two-day grace period on any paper, with no questions asked.
    • “Since changing my policy, I’ve seen higher-quality work, less anxiety, and fewer cases of burnout.
    • Rebrand. A more inviting name for these perennial meetings is “progress conferences.” This is more positive and doesn’t seem to exclude foster parents and guardians.
    • Finesse the childcare issue. “To pay a babysitter to watch your three younger siblings so a parent can attend a conference is not going to happen,” says Ohio high-school teacher Allison Ricket. She invites parents to bring along other children and provides crayons and paper in an area at the back of her classroom where they can entertain themselves during conferences.
    • Accommodate. Some parents need an interpreter (children shouldn’t be asked to translate) and support with disabilities.


    • Change the dynamic. It makes a difference if a teacher sits side by side with family members and doesn’t hold a clipboard or pad of paper; open hands suggest an open mind.
    • Involve students. Progress conferences are much more helpful when students are at the table reporting on their progress, challenges, and goals. Advisory group meetings focus on preparing students to lead parent conferences and lobby their parents to attend.
    • Listen. “Parents usually come in having an idea of what they want to talk about, so I like to be open and ready for whatever they need,” says Ricket. Although she has students’ grades and portfolios on hand, she lets parents go first and is careful to empathize with any concerns they have.
    • “mathematics is better taught when everyone shares in consistent language, symbols and notation, models and schema, and rules that support developing learners. The idea behind this comprehensive agreement is not unlike a schoolwide behavior management policy – whereby children hear the same phrases, share identical expectations, and experience practices that are common and consistent year after year across classrooms and throughout the school.”
    • Language – Moving from less conceptual language – borrowing, carrying, reducing fractions, the “Ring around the Rosie” property – to more mathematically appropriate language – regrouping, simplifying fractions to the lowest terms.
    • Symbols and notation – For example, writing fractions with a slanted bar 3/8 may confuse students who think the bar is the numeral 1 and think it’s 318.
    • Models and schema
    • Number lines or graphics should be consistent through the grades, for example, a graphic showing two parts next to one whole.
    • Rules
    • “This unified approach is particularly helpful for students who struggle,” conclude Karp, Bush, and Dougherty, “as it provides a recognizable component to new content. Additionally, all learners in a school can make connections among ideas in a unified and collaborative culture that promotes stronger learning in mathematics.”
  • This post summarizes a HBR article on how organizations can better consider the view point of a change-resistor so that when changes are rolled out, they are better received.

    tags: resistance change innovation management admin

    • For education at present we face a deluge of reports that the pace of change shall only accelerate and its scale become more absolute.
    • The resistor is that person or even group of people who are seen by advocates of change to be habitually irrational and averse to change.
    • It is perceived as an aspect of their personality, a response to their fear of change, an irrational reaction rather than a considered response to the change or its representation.  Rather than trying to understand the rationality of the decision to resist attributions are made that this is typical behaviour from that individual and that in time they will get on board with the change. This reference from Ford et al (p366) touches on the effect of this response ‘By dismissing this scrutiny as resistance, change agents not only miss the opportunity to provide compelling justifications that help recipients make the cognitive reassessments required to support change but also increase the risk of inoculating recipients against future change’.
    • For teachers who are strongly committed to providing quality pedagogy poorly articulated change agendas can fail to meet their criteria for a change that would deliver enhanced learning for their students.
    • Resistance to change is more likely to be the norm where the change is mandated externally or from management without consultation with those who must implement the change.
    • 'When we start with “why,” we enter the realm of purpose.  While everyone resents new requirements imposed on their day-to-day practices — which is the realm of “what” — people welcome conversations of purpose.’
    • When the situation is reversed and input is sought, understanding grows from the purpose of the change towards the co-construction of a solution.
    • Input to the change and the agency that comes with having input may allow the change to be embraced more readily.
    • Too many organisations are clear on what they do but miss the important first step of clarifying why they do what they do.
    • When an organisation is clear on its why change can be driven from within the organisation as all team members are able to envision pathways that are in keeping with the ‘why'. Understanding of the organisation’s ‘why’ allows for diffuse decision making without loss of direction.
    • The forces for motivation are described as purpose, autonomy and mastery. Purpose comes from being a part of something that matters,
    • Autonomy requires that individuals have opportunities to determine how they will engage with the work that they do
    • Mastery is the sense that the individual can achieve high levels of competence in doing what they do and again this is not possible without individual input to the process.
    • With no clarity on the ‘why’ and without motivation resistance to change is almost inevitable even in situations where the change could otherwise be seen as positive.

    • "An alternative to relying on hierarchy for change is to identify and make allies of local influencers, the people who, regardless of position or functional role, have a disproportionate amount of local influence."
    • Rather than mandating change and hoping it will stick identifying the right people in an organisation to play a part in developing and then implementing a change initiative is crucial.
    • Somewhere in the middle are those who have a reputation for adopting change based on considered evaluations of the affordance it brings and these are the ones with the most significant influence on a change’s longer term survival.
    • The voice of the resistor may not be what change agents wish to hear but it is a voice they should heed if the very best outcome is to be achieved.
  • Nine recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatricians about children and screen time.

    tags: parent CATIE parenting screen time

  • This article summarizes a report that stipulates there will be an increased demand for STEM professionals over the next 10 years. It offers six broad ideas about how to bolster STEM education.

    tags: stem STEAM

    • analysts predict that over the next five years, major American companies will need to add to their workforce a total of nearly 1.6 million employees versed in STEM: 945,000 who possess basic STEM literacy and 635,000 who demonstrate advanced STEM knowledge. Other data suggest that at least 20 percent of U.S. jobs require a high level of knowledge in at least one STEM field, according to the report.
    • Accessible learning activities that invite intentional play and risk.
    • Educational experiences that include interdisciplinary approaches to solving “grand challenges.”
    • Flexible and inclusive learning spaces. Teachers and students need flexibility in structures, equipment and access to materials in both the classroom and the natural world, as well as environments augmented by virtual and technology-based platforms.


    • Innovative and accessible measures of learning.
    • Societal and cultural images and environments that promote diversity and opportunity in STEM.
    • The ideal future of U.S. STEM education would emphasize problem-solving, interdisciplinary approaches and the value of discovery and play, according to a new 10-year vision from the American Institutes for Research for the U.S. Department of Education’s STEM Initiatives Team.
    • Recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, for example, show that 43 percent of white students and 61 percent of Asian students score at the proficient level in eighth-grade math, compared to 19 percent of Hispanic students and 13 percent of black students. Eighth-grade students with disabilities and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch scored nearly 30 points below their peers in science and mathematics; English learners scored nearly 40 and 50 points below their peers in these two subjects.
  • tags: coding making AI

    • By contrast, the report’s short-term developments, online learning and makerspaces, have a distinct yesterday’s news vibe about them. But make no mistake, they still hold some of the biggest long-term promise in the report.
    • six trends, six challenges, and six so-called important developments.


    • Take online learning and makerspaces for example, which are now expected to find their way into even more classrooms during the next year.
    • In the next year, coding as literacy and students as creators are listed as two major drivers. Are the panelists trying to tell us that some combination of physical-digital making is likely in our short-term future?
    • It’s not hard to envision individual elements, such as makerspaces or even coding, losing steam over the next few years as new technologies and trendy teaching styles enter the conversation. But it’s much harder to imagine student creation disappearing entirely.
    • Certainly coding and content creation are currently driving tech adoption in schools, and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Assuming that holds true, collaborative and deeper learning (the trends expected to drive tech adoption for the next three to five years) appear a natural progression as schools look to capitalize on the creative mindsets they’ve helped foster.

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