I believe all schools should allow students access to all forms of technology and their educationally beneficial applications. To allow anything less is an inexcusable ignoring of the most valuable educational tools available to us, a lazy way of avoiding the inevitable, and an irresponsible dodging of a very real public safety issue. I realize that any discussion regarding students being given access to the full range of technologies and their applications quickly becomes a mixture of issues which are as difficult to resolve as they are easy to cause offense to many. Few can agree on common definitions of "age-appropriate";...


It's a busy world we educators live in now. We are bracing for some kind of money situation-- it could be good, it might be bad. The world is in a flux. I feel a little bit like chicken little, but there's always respite in a great book that makes all the intricacies of our professional pursuits seem almost manageable. Enter Assembly Required by Lezotte and McKee (2002). I am not sure how this little jewel passed me by; I could have been "teaching like my hair was on fire" or wasn't paying attention when anyone else mentioned it. I ...


In his latest book, The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner issues a "call to action" for all those who are concerned with how we educate our students for the future. Wagner paints a compelling picture of how we should be preparing students and for the need to stop tinkering with our school systems and make meaningful and significant alterations. In the conclusion of the book, Wagner identifies three changes in our world that demand different methods for teaching and learning: All kids need new skills to thrive in a global knowledge economy. In the age of the Internet, using new ...


This won't be easy, but it's important, and I know you can do it. Just for a moment, imagine the intersection of the classroom with the world. We educate students to be guardians of the world they will inherit from us. We educate students for the world: scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs, economists, sculptors, train engineers, farmers, truck drivers; spouses, friends, colleagues, competitors. Students become citizens in this democracy and, at the same time, this "flat" world; each one a voter regularly faced with the awesome task of making decisions on complex issues that will have significant consequences for our future. Are ...


Tuesday was the first day of the ISATs for all 3rd through 8th grade students in the State of Illinois. This is a big deal for Illinois schools because the results of these mandated, high stakes tests will determine if our students attend “Meets” or “Does Not Meets” schools. Each school's percentage of students passing the tests will be published in all of the newspapers. Schools will be ranked and judged based solely on these tests. The pressure is on all of us: students, teachers, administrators, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, postal employees, UPS guys, and the milk delivery man. (OK, ...


For the past few years, researchers at the University of Minnesota have been working on a project titled: Beyond Immediate Impact: Study Abroad for Global Engagement (SAGE). Recently, some preliminary findings have been released. The study surveyed nearly 6,400 graduates across 22 colleges. In short, results of the study indicate that students who engage in short-term study abroad opportunities (less than four weeks) are just as likely to be globally engaged as those students who study abroad for several months or longer. These findings are huge! Let me repeat, this large-scale study indicates that short-term international experiences are just ...


I am of the belief that the best institute days are not so much about learning, as much as a commitment to it. They are not about moments of community but a continued commitment to it. They aren’t so much about the day but what the days ahead will bring. Those are the things I value when deciding upon and designing our institute days as was the case with our 2nd Annual Teachers Teaching Teachers Mini-Conference on March 2nd where we again tapped the shoulders of professionals in the classroom to give them a greater responsibility and a stronger ...


Every time we turn around, a new definition of educational leadership emerges with standards, benchmarks and, of course, expert research to back it up. It’s getting to be like adding new flavors to Baskin & Robbins 31 ice cream choices and you decide the flavor of the week. You can be an Instructional Leader, an Operational Leader, and/or a Policy Leader. Your leadership behavior can be distributed, shared, transformational, charismatic, situational or balanced. You can be a visionary leader, a democratic leader, a coaching leader or just a plain old mean leader! I don’t mean to make light...


Recently the HOPE Foundation helped to bring together top educational leaders to present the best thinking available on how to help improve education in America. (Click here for article.) Here is the core of what Obama and his team have been presented. 1. Assure Readiness: Success in the classroom requires that children arrive ready to learn – cognitively, physically and psychologically. 2. Provide Rich Learning Environments for All Students: All young people in America deserve rich learning environments that challenges their thinking, promotes learning by doing and focuses on higher-order thinking skills that encourage life-long learning and prepare young people to ...


[For my turn this month, I thought I’d share Post 1 for my guest blogging stint at The Des Moines Register. Click on each image to get a larger, complete version!] Archimedes said “Give me a lever long enough and I can move the world.” This week I will be blogging about 5 key levers that I think are necessary to move Iowa schools forward and help our graduates survive and thrive in this new digital, global age in which we now live. Today I am going to emphasize the work that is being done by the Iowa Department...


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