Monthly Archives: November 2010

USA DOE has a National Education Technology Plan

Have you seen it?  Click here, but be forewarned – this is not all written as a “user-friendly” document.  It is, however, a well thought out and fairly complete series of documents.

The model for learning presented in this plan assumes that we will develop, adopt, and ensure equitable access to a technology-based education system that provides effective learning experiences, assessments, and teaching and a comprehensive infrastructure for learning to support both formal education and all other aspects of learning. It also assumes we will incorporate many of the practices other sectors regularly use to improve productivity and manage costs and will leverage technology to enable or enhance them.

For those of us interested in “data driven decision making”, the following part of the plan is of interest:

Design and validate an integrated approach for capturing, aggregating, mining, and sharing content, student-learning, and financial data cost-effectively for multiple purposes across many learning platforms and data systems in near real time.

And not to be out done, the measurement and effectiveness of assessments is in there too:

Design and validate an integrated system for designing and implementing valid, reliable, and cost-effective assessments of complex aspects of 21st-century expertise and competencies across academic disciplines.

This is of particular importance to me as I learn more about the difficulties of measuring effective teaching.

All-in-all, this is a good read if you are interested in seeing what direction the US is headed as regards tech in education, and really, education in general.  It goes much further than saying we should all have 1-to-1 ratios and smartboards and all will be well – this is deeper thinking on how technology can positively impact learning from the ground up.




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McGuinty Government Launches Bullying Awareness And Prevention Week

Reprint from: website

Ontario has designated the third week of every November as Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week.

The week is a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of bullying-related issues and make a difference in school communities across the province. Since 2004 the Ontario government has supported a number of safe schools initiatives to create safe and inclusive school environments including:

  • Safe schools teams in every Ontario school
  • A partnership with Kids Help Phone to support over 50,000 students who have been bullied or faced other issues
  • The Keeping Our Kids Safe at School Act, which requires all board employees to report incidents of bullying to the principal, and requires principals to contact the parents of victims. Ontario is the first province in Canada with legislation of this kind; making schools even safer and leading the way for its students to succeed.

A safe and positive learning environment is an important part of the province’s Open Ontario Plan and is essential for student success.  All students have the right to feel safe and welcome in their school community.



Filed under Education, Redistribution

The surprising truth about what motivates us

On merit pay and the science behind what motivates us.  This video has perhaps had the greatest impact on my developing ideas on how to measure effectiveness and reward our teachers.



If you watch no other video that I have ever put or will ever put up on this blog, watch this one.

It makes sense.  But watch for one thing that I worry puts a lot of it “at risk” – there is a point where he says “pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table” – this is an issue –  because that point is a hugely varying point. For some that number might be $50,000.  For some it might be $100,000.  For others it might be $200,000.  So – how do we fix that one?

Amazing video – well thought out, well presented and it’s really got me thinking.



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Merit pay and Value Added Measures

I’d say that I am wondering if I am being corrupted by all these teachers that I have befriended, follow and interact with on Twitter, but…  maybe I am just learning more about how this all works.

In reading the Diane Ravitch book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, I have been all over the map. It’s been interesting reading it on my iPad, because iBooks lets you take notes and highlight things – but I can almost write my own book now with all of the notes, the questions, the issues I have had on all sides being presented.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I hope to come to some sort of direction as to what I think the answer to this is. In the mean time, have a quick look at this video on merit pay and the current panacea of teacher evaluating, Value Added Measures.

You’ll probably agree that this one doesn’t work either.



-nb- how many Tweets does it take to change someone’s mind?  I have been exposed to well over 10,000 on this subject by now…   ya gotta wonder.  🙂

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Only 55 per cent of Quebec public school students complete their schooling within five years

Is it just me, or is this just an awful headline to read?

Brenda Branswell of The Montreal Gazette this week wrote:

The on-time graduation rate is even less impressive. The overall percentage of students who graduated on time after five years of high school in 2008-09 was 61 per cent, and only 55 per cent at public schools.

55% at public schools? Yes, we can fiddle with the number and somehow conclude that we should now be looking at a 7 year “success rate”. but the bottom line to me and many others is 55% graduation rate. In the time we used to expect students to finish in.

That’s just plain awful.  That spells C R I S I S.

So what are we doing about it?

Well, we have new partnership agreements that the provincial government has signed with school boards. We have Management & Educational Success Agreements that the school boards have signed with schools. We have goals. We have measures. Kinda.

But is this really any different than what we had 10 years ago?  I don’t see it. We had “educational projects” in schools. We had “success plans” that encompassed our “educational projects”. We had “strategic plans” signed with the Gov. So what is different?

We had an special education summit in Quebec last week. From what I was told from certain delegates in attendance, there was some good talk about what could be done. And then, the new Minister read from a prepared speech – yes, a speech that was written BEFORE she listened to the “feet on the street”. So you can imagine how the delegates felt that their input had been taken to heart. There was some real *listening* going on there.

So – what have we done?  What are we going to do?

Are we really willing to accept a 55% graduation rate from public schools?

I say NO.

So let’s change it.



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A home-to-school-connections guide

Edutopia, sponsored by HP, put out the Edutopia-home-to-school-guide.

This guide is chock full of ways to improve communication between home and school, and we all know that this communication is good for kids.

What’s more, students with involved parents tend to do better regardless of familybackground. From better social skills to more regular attendance to increased graduation rates, kids of all socioeconomic levels show gains across a variety of indicators when their families connect with school, according to research by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.

This guide includes a detailed “Top Ten Tip” list, with lots of digital resources to help lead the way.

As usual, I love what Edutopia puts out – this one is worth the time, again.



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