Note: Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington, is guest-posting this week. It's been a real pleasure to air some ideas with you this week. Sincere thanks to Rick and the AEI team for lending me the space. Thanks also to my CRPE colleagues whose work and ideas fed these posts. Finally, thanks to readers for all the Star Wars comments! May the force (of evidence) be with you... If you like, follow our work at crpe.org or @crpe_uw. For some final thoughts, I'm turning to an issue that's ...


Note: Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington, is guest-posting this week. As almost everyone admits, the traditional teacher evaluation system is about as useful as the old Mac Plus buried in my basement. As we work to improve it, we find ourselves immersed in meetings, studies, and nasty political fights. The friction is fine; we need change, and change begets conflict. But all of this talk is missing a critical question. We're so focused on the evaluation tools themselves--mechanical issues, like how to factor in student performance indicators and what ...


Note: Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington, is guest-posting this week. Chapman Snowden was really interesting last week, wasn't he? (Plus, he has such a cool name.) I loved that he pushed the tech industry to pay more attention to the needs of end users. But Chapman also mentioned a big problem we have to face up to: "Too often," he wrote, "schools throw tools into the hands of teachers without consideration for the specific conditions needed for success. While these conditions can be policy based, more often than not ...


Note: Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington, is guest-posting this week. A few weeks ago, CRPE released a study of Washington State's first-year implementation of federal School Improvement Grants (SIG). Unfortunately, in our corner of the world we saw little evidence of the "bold, dramatic" turnarounds that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he wanted to achieve with the more than $3 billion that have gone into SIG schools. What we saw instead was mostly the same tinkering that public schools have been doing for decades. Typically, schools receiving SIG ...


Note: Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington, is guest-posting this week. When your kids make you watch "Star Wars: Episode III" for the 29th time, your attention can't help but wander, and the characters start to seem like they're talking to you. During a recent viewing, it occurred to me that Obi-Wan's attempt to warn Annakin away from the dark side--"Only a Sith deals in absolutes"--perfectly describes my frustration with the dichotomous thinking that has come to characterize the conversation on education research and policy. Here's a prime ...


Note: Chapman Snowden is the founder of Kinobi and an innovator in training at 4.0 Schools. Evidently it's easier to send people to space than it is to fix education reform. At the 2012 SXSW Interactive Conference, Peter Diamandis, CEO of the X Prize Foundation, announced that he was looking to create an X Prize for Education. The X Prize Foundation creates and manages large-scale, high profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. Diamandis is most famous for his Asari X prize, which awarded a $10 million prize ...


Note: Chapman Snowden is the founder of Kinobi and an innovator in training at 4.0 Schools. So I casually mentioned the entrepreneur's tension between confidence and hubris in yesterday's post. It is not a tension to be taken lightly, as it is an important factor in our success as ed tech entrepreneurs. From day one of existence entrepreneurs are navigating stormy weather. Funders will tell you your idea sucks. Co-founders and employees will screw you. Policymakers will ignore you. And researchers will throw their best practices garbage at you. Confidence will get you through that storm--to be confident is ...


Note: Chapman Snowden is the founder of Kinobi and an innovator in training at 4.0 Schools. First let's welcome Stew Stout from Kickboard back to the table--he's helped me with this post. Ed tech entrepreneurs need to work with teachers and school leaders to understand their needs. This is what should happen. The bigger question is how ed tech entrepreneurs work with teachers and school leaders, because it certainly is not easy. We can hopefully all agree (yes, that means you too, policy wonks) that the process of getting fully functional tools into the hands of teachers is beyond ...


Note: Chapman Snowden is the founder of Kinobi and an innovator in training at 4.0 Schools. There's no better way to title a post about ed tech than a quote from one of the most underrated hip hop groups of all time, Mobb Deep. I promise it's relevant. Last week a friend forwarded me a fantastic article commenting on the use of technology in education. As I read it, I found myself quickly developing "aggressive head-nodding syndrome." In particular, this section, referencing a report from the Ford Foundation, struck me: ... [there are] gaps between what Federal and state funds ...


Note: Chapman Snowden is the founder of Kinobi and an innovator in training at 4.0 Schools. First of all, thanks to Rick for letting me blog in his absence. I'd also like to thank his readers for allowing me to hopefully entertain and inspire them with my musings over the next five days. Finally, I'd like to thank Stew Stout, the Marketing and Outreach Manager at Kickboard. Stew and I have worked together on this post, so when I say "we" know that I'm not just referring to an imaginary friend. A tip of the cap is due to ...


The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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