December 2009 Archives

I have tried harder in the past years to journal and do more reflecting, but it still seems to end up where I do most of my reflecting at the end of the calendar year and around my birthday. So, here we are at the end of the calendar year and a new beginning just around the corner. I can't help but think about how the school year is going and reflect on if we are making the progress I had hoped for at the start of the school year. I had blogged a few months back about wanting to ...


In our last blog, we wrote about relationships that develop in schools. We discussed how the familial bond between people may stifle the growth of a staff due the stagnancy it can foster. However, in this holiday season, the other side of the family in schools needs to be heard.


In the daily rhythms of the classroom, there is a thin line between a routine and a rut. The very best teachers have mastered the art of daily routines: those practices and systems that frame all good instruction. Like dancers, the routines provide a foundation-- a consistent flow-- so that improvisation, expertly timed, can flourish; so that creative energy can be reserved for the more nuanced moves. There can be more artistry and risk taking. When the daily routine is mastered-- it becomes invisible. Like good magic. The organizational structure, the daily tasks, the consistent action, the behaviors that kids ...


Cross posted on Creative Tension I would love to hear more about how school leaders are using today's tools as modelers in a digital-age learning culture. As a school leader, where do you stand on the following? On Blogging Are you blogging on your school's website? If so, who is your audience and what types of topics do you cover? Do you allow for comments? Any interesting stories regarding problems or issues that you faced that you care to share? Are you blogging for personal or professional growth? If so, do you have certain rules or guidelines that you follow? ...


Educators, whether they are active in the blogosphere or not, are saying great things about all the rich professional development content and interactive experience available through this year's K12 Online Conference  -- and it is free. The conference is truly a gift. Given annually by volunteer organizers of this teacher-inspired event, who are, by-the-by, evangelists.  There are dozens of presentations, a NING community, a blog and a wiki. As the event slogan says, it's "the conference that never ends" -- and you can tailor your virtual "attendance" to your own schedule. It's underway right now. If you can't enjoy the...


Reading a brief history of computers in education was an interesting walk down memory lane. I remember mainframes, punch cards and learning fortran in college. I remember our first family computer, a Commodore 64, and I remember getting Acer computers in my classroom in 1996. What caught my attention however, was a pattern I noticed in the movement from big universities installing mainframe computers to high schools and elementary schools starting computer labs and now the work being done to put laptops or netbooks in the hands of students. Clearly educational institutions have recognized the need to provide students with ...


The Texas Legislature has agreed to allow individual districts to decide whether to continue requiring credits of health, PE, and computer applications for graduation. The issue of whether or not computer literacy should be a requirement to graduate from high school raises interesting issues. One argument for the elimination of the requirement is that today's students are so immersed in technology - starting in kindergarten - that by the time they take a basic computer class in high school the content is already mastered. Is there a problem assuming students will learn everything they need to know simply by progressing ...


Last week I heard Sir Ken Robinson mention the Death Valley Bloom of 2005. He suggested that we check it out on the Internet. I did, and I thank Sir Ken for leading me to explore this amazing phenomenon. Death Valley, California is unique because it contains the lowest, hottest, driest location in North America. Nearly 550 square miles of its area lie below sea level. It is one of the hottest places on earth, attaining the second-highest temperature ever recorded, 134 degrees F. in 1913. It contains the lowest point in the western hemisphere -- 282 feet below sea ...


I recently taught a Web 2.0 workshop to a group of 25 principals who were relatively new to the use of the Read/Write web in their professional lives. I helped them understand the need for school leaders to model the use of tools such as blogs, wikis, Skype, delicious, etc. My objectives were to teach why today's "digital natives" require a different form of instruction, why and how school administrators must use these tools and then expect teachers to incorporate the use of such tools into their lessons, and to help the participants create their own blogs, wikis, ...


Last month, Scott McLeod and I published an article titled "Where should educational leadership authors publish to get noticed by the top journals in the discipline" in Educational Administration Quarterly. Our purpose was to understand which journals have been recently cited by scholars who publish in the field of educational leadership. We recorded the name and number of occurrences of journals that appeared in the bibliographies of articles published in Educational Administration Quarterly and Journal of School Leadership from 2000-2007. In the article, we compiled a list of the top 25 cited journals. This list is handy because it adds ...


I saw this blog post from Diane Ravitch with the title "Why Business Leaders Should Not Run Schools" and found it an interesting read. Like most blog posts and blog links, I found the comments to be about as interesting as the blog itself. While I tend to run conservative on most issues myself, I have never understood the preoccupation with trying to apply "free-market solutions" to education. I always viewed basic services like defense, education, highway systems, air traffic systems etc. to be a lot more stable and predictable for the nation's overall security when there was more consistency. ...


CASTLE has been doing a great deal of technology leadership training for the School Administrators of Iowa, some of the Iowa Area Education Agencies, some of the Minnesota Service Cooperatives, and other school organizations across the country. One of the discussion activities that we've been doing lately asks session participants to think in groups about the impacts that the Internet and other digital technologies have had on various sectors of our society: newspapers, magazines, and the news industry banking, money management, and personal finance television, movies, and video maps, travel agencies, and the travel industry radio, CDs, and the music ...


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