I recently returned from Charleston, SC where I attended the 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) conference. This conference is geared toward educators, practitioners, researchers, and policy makers interested in issues of comparative education, international education, and development education. This is one of my favorite conferences of the year. At this conference, a person can hear lectures ranging from online leadership training of school leaders in Oman to comparative perspectives on citizenship to HIV education in Uganda to measuring global engagement of students who study abroad. In other words, the range of conversations, the diversity ...


While I often discuss systemic change and the need to break free from the complacency that is pockets of innovation, these talks perhaps fail to provide guidance on all levels instead usually focusing on the role of upper adminstration (oy! I dislike the sound of that). Thus, this is the first in a series of posts with secondary department heads/instructional supervisors/team leaders in mind. Driving Questions For the past two years, I've talked about the need to focus on the essential questions of what does it mean to be well-educated in the 21st Century and what does that ...


A great passage from The Prince by Machiavelli reminded me how difficult our work is with the current economy and demands for improved performance of public school systems. "It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of ...


Last week, I attended a regional special education law conference. One of the keynote speakers was attorney Jose L. Martin from the Richards Lindsay and Martin law firm of Austin, TX. He also conducted one of the breakout sessions which was titled, "Understanding the Modern Requirements for Considertation of Research Based Interventions." He talked about what both IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) and NCLB (No Child Left Behind) say about either scientifically based research or peer-reviewed research. NCLB calls for the use of "scientifcally based research" as the foundation for many education programs and for classroom instruction. IDEA states that ...


In today’s instructional technology, many people are still arguing about what operating system is right for contemporary classrooms: Apple, Linux, or Windows? This, however, is the wrong conversation. First and foremost educators should always be talking about curriculum and how technology can enhance the delivery of instruction. However, that is a whole separate discussion. When it comes to a delivery component, the real debate should not be about the operating system, but about the browser. In the last few years, we have seen an explosion of educational content that is online. The academic world is beginning to catch up ...


The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has been working hard to get feedback from teachers and administrators on the new draft National Educational Standards for Administrators (NETS*A). The Draft Nets are available at Draft NETS*A The full kit of evaluation materials is available at NETS*A Toolkit You are invited to do the process potlined in the toolkit and submit your comments at NETS*A Survey I have been fortunate to lead two such sessions so far, one in Nanjing, China this last Summer with Administrators from all over the world, and one this last week ...


"Simon says, 'Touch the sky'" Meg Dimmett (age 3) Read a little about the current state of education and you will likely encounter explicit statements decrying the state of our schools and our emphasis on standardized measures of student achievement. I, too, struggle frequently with traditional education's focus on these one-size fits all summative assessments. My recent work with district administrators has sought to shift the focus beyond the usual metrics to also include measures of engagement, leadership, and collaboration. What does it look like to measure student achievement in more expansive terms? How do we retool evaluation so that ...


I have been reading (with great interest) several posts by a variety of noteworthy edubloggers about the use of various handheld technologies in our classrooms - most notably cell phones and iPod Touch kinds of devices. Coincidentally, I also happened to have a wonderful conversation with our district's network consultant about the availability of wireless access in schools, policies regarding students bringing their own equipment for use on district networks, and the like. He shared many people in districts he worked with had serious concerns about students using cell phones and other personal handheld devices to cheat. We have been ...


There is much to be learned from the life and work of our 16th president. Not without reason is he revered for his leadership during the bloodiest crisis in our nation's history. Dorothy Kearns Goodwin has written an insightful book (Team of Rivals) on Lincoln's political genius, in particular, as he worked with his cabinet during his presidency. Here are some lessons for leaders of any organization to take from this remarkable man. Learn from loss, failure, and mistakes while keeping an optimistic outlook. Lincoln had many personal losses including the death of his mom when he was 9, the ...


Cross posted on Creative Tension. A new blog for school leaders. The gap between vision and current reality is also a source of energy. If there were no gap, there would be no need for any action to move towards the vision. We call this gap creative tension. Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline I have had this quote hanging on my office wall for years but during the past year it has become much more meaningful to me. More meaningful because the gap between the vision that I have for schools and the current reality seems enormous. This large gap ...


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