Blog posts from 2010

September 7, 2010

The LA Times story evaluating teacher performance has reignited debate about whether testing students is a suitable way to measure teacher success. Instead of arguing over the relative merits of imperfect tools, why not try flipping the process of teacher evaluation entirely, from the outsiders to the teachers themselves?

September 3, 2010

In this guest post Will Fowler, program director at the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco, describes a partnership between AFSF and San Francisco Unified School District to create opportunities to allow students to demonstrate expanded forms of achievement from the usual schoolwork.

September 1, 2010

Chicago Public Schools is beginning to move on use of the iPad, bringing them into 20 schools this year. How the devices are picked up in the schools, and what trends of adoption and use emerge, will illustrate the potential and limitations of this new kind of technology in traditional schools. More and more as technologies advance learning models will need to be rethought to accommodate the capacity of technologies, instead of trying to fit new devices into existing schools and programs.

August 30, 2010

The senior vice president of retail for Apple Computer recently described how Apple successfully brings thousands of customers each year from inexperience to proficiency with their software, for a relatively small cost. In the One-to-One program, for one hundred dollars per year customers get one hour per week with a Mac Genius.

August 27, 2010

Laura Weeldreyer is deputy chief of staff for the Superintendent of Baltimore City Public Schools. In this guest post, pushing against a recent report from the Fordham Foundation, Weeldreyer describes the reasoning behind that district’s move to create conditions inside the district that provide more autonomy to innovative schools and programs.

August 26, 2010

The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based incubator program for individuals with visions to remake schooling. They award competitive fellowships to help individuals with ideas and the talent to develop their ideas and bring them to reality. They are taking 50-word statements of intent now, from prospective applicants.

August 25, 2010

Against the tide of comprehensive reform asserts that problems do not arise themselves but are the result of conditions. Instead of trying to foresee all possible problems, and seeking to know all answers, wouldn’t it be more effective to create the best environment at the school level for self-improvement, and to productively identify and work on problems as they occur?

August 23, 2010

Research shows that as teachers are given greater control over their work, job satisfaction increases. University of Pennsylvania professor Richard Ingersoll shows that teacher turnover goes from 50 percent to near zero as they are given greater amounts of influence in schools.

August 20, 2010

In this video Linda Peters, a lead teacher at the Advanced Language and Academic Studies (ALAS) bilingual high school in Milwaukee, describes how the school makes management and finance decisions by including teachers. ALAS has been able to function as a school run collectively by teachers because the Milwaukee school district and the local union agreed to grant the teachers autonomy and authority. The teachers saw the opportunity, and took it.

August 18, 2010

Instead of asking what technologies work, and how can they be scaled up, ask: What conditions make it most likely that teachers will be motivated (and able) to take up new technologies to make learning more productive?