Blog posts from 2010

August 16, 2010

A senior administrator from a major public university said recently, about technology, “We could say we use technology, that it’s in all our classrooms and labs—we spend enormously on IT—but really it’s not an effective improvement.”

He was alluding to a point that there really are two fundamentally different ways of applying technology. The first is in support of existing practice. The second way to apply new technologies is to use them to enable fundamentally new kinds of learning. To be successful this often requires combining innovations in technology with innovations in school models.

August 13, 2010

The schooling system of the United States needs to live within its means—now more than ever. In this post Jim Wartman, an advisor (teacher) at Minnesota New Country School, describes how teacher-control in decision making at that school leads to better management of money in times of financial stress.

August 11, 2010

In this budget climate the four-day school week is hot. Districts across the country are moving to it, in an attempt to cut costs. Instead of rethinking school, the four-day week represents a simple continuation of the squeezing of the five-day week. It is not strategic, and in fact decreases productivity - the worst possible outcome.

Yet the onset of the four-day week may have an entirely different effect, releasing students from 20 percent of their obligatory time to instead pursue learning in other areas.

August 9, 2010

Languages and math are the first two areas where technology is evolving to enable effective learning without a teacher, or by connecting students directly with expert teachers and peers that can meet them where they are. There is enormous potential for personalization, particularly with cooperation among students.

August 6, 2010

During this Great Recession a system that was already being squeezed is following the instinct of centrally-managed systems to harden. This may be the precise wrong thing to do. In this post a teacher-manager of a school argues more discretion should be given to the ‘users’ of the system to figure out how to best meet learning goals with the resources available.

August 5, 2010

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) recently received a grant from the American Federation of Teachers (MFT) to develop a 501c3 to serve as an authorizer of chartered schools in Minnesota. AFT made the investment as part of its innovation fund. Some of the initial news reports stated the MFT itself will apply to become an authorizer and others reported it would make them the first union in the nation to do so.

August 4, 2010

One effect of the recent stimulus-bill funding for K-12 has been to create an impression that schools are suffering today because of the economic down turn. This is true. But the downturn is not the sole reason for their financial pains…nor is it the principal reason.

August 2, 2010

In this new paper from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), Paul Hill and Marguerite Roza look to other industries to see what it takes to begin improving productivity in K-12 schooling.

July 30, 2010

Three winners of Education Innovating blog-post contest are announced, and receive a copy of Clayton Christensen's Disrupting Class.

July 30, 2010

Doug Thomas, Executive Director of EdVisions, describes how the EdVisions cooperative organizes its members into site teams to run schools, and supports teacher-run schools throughout the country.