February 2013 Archives

"Schemas are context-sensitive connections that help us understand," said Matthew Peterson, Chief Scientist and co-founder of MIND Research Institute at a recent Neuroscience Symposium. "Experiences that build and apply these connections are called learning."


The Digital Learning Now! Smart Series is a group of collaborative papers that bring together top thinkers on the current trends in teaching and learning to explore the implementation challenges at the intersection of digital learning and the Common Core.


Moss Pike was raised in Las Vegas, studied Physics at Cornell University, and after a summer class in the classics found himself working on an M.A. in Classics at UCLA. He teaches Latin at the Harvard-Westlake School (HW), is the Middle School Dean of Faculty, and a regional leader in Greek and Latin linguistics and pedagogy.


Running the San Diego County Office of Education seems pretty tame after tours of duty as state administrator in Oakland and Compton, but Randy Ward argues that county offices are more relevant than ever. With half a million kids and 42 districts there's plenty to worry about.


Performance contracting is a services agreement with clear outcomes. States and districts have been using performance contracts for public charter schools, private school special education placements, information and business services, and for energy efficiency partnerships.


Despite steady progress on achievement and graduation rates, big gaps remain. Earlier this month Ted Kolderie, Education Evolving, addressed state charter school leaders. He made six important points addressed in this blog.


Have you ever thought about bringing great education to the world's poorest neighborhoods? Now may be time. Bridge International Academies is expanding and Pearson is investing in the growth of similar networks across the developing world.


The Literacy Design Collaborative is a network of teachers and partners "building out a template-based approach to the literacy demands of college and the workplace, as defined by the Common Core State Standards." The concept is to give teachers tools (mostly offline but soon to be online) that enable them to transform the Common Core into classroom action by giving teacher the literacy resources to build student's college ready literacy skills through their existing content lens.


A Literacy Specialist in the Eden Prairie School District said, "I am thinking about the thousands of iPads being handed out to kids right now in districts around the Twin Cities and I'm curious to see what we will be able to do with them and to what degree we will be able to differentiate for our students."


We envision the math police acting in a similar fashion to the grammar police. They will be citizens who point out the poor use of math by others and will not tolerate people who joke about being bad at math. And just like the grammar police, they may be annoying at times. However, they will send the critical message that it is not okay to be bad at math in America.


The garlic capital is home of the top scoring new elementary school in California--Gilroy Prep. Veteran educators James Dent and Sharon Waller opened the charter school two years ago after visiting all the best schools and "reverse engineering from site visits."


For several months now, Tom Vander Ark has been issuing rich installments in his Smart Cities series, building a detailed map of where innovations in learning are happening. Here, we profile an organization connecting Smart Cities--the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust)--and its work helping city-based organizations support the emergence of high-quality blended learning.


Not surprisingly, the biggest private employment sector in metro D.C. is defense and aerospace. But the nation's capital is also the most important confluence of online learning organizations on the planet.


"The combination of high school college counselors and industrial grade financial aid seems to be changing D.C. into a real college preparatory school district," said Bob Craves, one of the Costco founders who has devoted himself to running scholarship programs in Washington D.C. and Washington State.


Thirteen years ago, when his daughter was six, Ron Packard was a dad searching the Internet for math lessons. He started what became the world's largest online learning provider, a public company with annual revenues close to $1 billion serving 110,000 full time students in 33 states.


The way we build, manage and maintain public school buildings is inefficient and exacerbates some of the biggest challenge in public education. With the recent growth of the public charter school sector, the rise of tech-infused learning models, and the migration of student populations across options and geographies, it's time for us to rethink the relationship between learning programs and public facilities. It's time to decouple the delivery and the ownership of school buildings.


Oklahoma Chief Janet Barresi points to Howe High School in Southeastern Oklahoma as a digital learning leader. Superintendent Scott Parks leads a 1:1 district that makes extensive use of online learning. "It is amazing what they are accomplishing," said Barresi. The state board will be visiting Howe this month.


Districts across the country are starting to see the blended learning light. We're encouraged by the growing number of forward-thinking leaders who are past the point of needing to be convinced about the potential of blended learning; and are now ready to get serious about implementation.


After spending a day with Microsoft Innovative Schools and before visiting BETT, I toured Cornwallis Academy, a K-12 school outside of London and managed by the Future Schools Trust. The leadership team demonstrated lookred®, an information system key to their approach to "personalise" learning and "pastoral care."


Denver seems to be blessed with more talented advocates per capita than any city I know. To some extent it's imported talent because it's a great place to live. The advocates form partnerships that benefit families and kids.


An Education Leaders Briefing concluded the World Education Forum in London this week. Greg Butler from Microsoft (who helped my district go 1:1 in 1996) moderated the session that I participated in with Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor at Pearson, and Microsoft education lead Anthony Salcito.


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