Skip to content

Archive for


Ted Talks – Can children really educate themselves?

Thanks to fellow blogger Nick Sauers I was introduced to Sugata Mitra's TED Talks presentation explaining his experiments that address the question of whether or not students can learn on their own if given access to web 2.0 technologies.  Nick's post highlights some points from the video…

These are tough questions/issues/realities for an educator to swallow.  How much of what we are doing can be done by the computer?  What about good schools and good instruction cannot be done by a computer?  Are we doing those things well – and measuring them? 

Here's the video:


Daggett – Change is Necessary and Urgent

Daggett's presentation today can be summed up in a few bullets:

  • It's the 21st century and we're still doing school like preparation for the assembly line.
  • Change is happening so fast that it's now the constant.  Get used to it.
  • MN needs to get it's act together in terms of standards, accountability tests, and policy.
  • Teachers working in departments creates "group think" and does not lead to the best decisions about what to teach.
  • School leaders need to step up and be leaders. 
  • Accountability is increasing – not going away.
  • Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships – the framework he has authored - is a great lens for discussing the quality of teaching and doing education.

His morning presentation sounded a lot like Thomas Friedman's work to make clear the need for change.  The afternoon was more on what the top schools are doing.  Check out his stuff at the International Center for Leadership in Education

So ISD191 folks – how do we create a culture of innovation, relevance, and rigor?  How do we instill a sense of urgency and create dialogue that is safe, values all, and invites cutting edge use of technology for learning? How do we move the vast majority of our teaching from quadrant A to quadrants B, C, and D?? 

Let's hear your input!!




Dagget talking Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships

Today I had the opportunity to listen to Bill Daggett sharing his wisdom on education, leadership, and 21st Century realities.  Here are some notes:

  • Criticism about having standards that aren't as high as other countries misses a critical fact…  We're doing something that no other nation has set out to do - Educate ALL kids.  It's not so hard to have high standards when the cream is peeled off the top. 
  • Biggest accomplishment he has seen in public education – his daughter, with epilepsy and severe mental retardation, was trained to use the bathroom…  Most countries don't tackle this in public schools.
  • His 5th child, after surviving a tramatic brain injury, remains handicapped but has earned a college degree and makes a solid living.  This is due to public education.
  • The issue isn't that we are not doing what we used to do…  The issue is that we ARE doing what we used to do.  The world has changed!
  • US public schools graduated more 18 year olds last year than any year in history.  Schools are succeeding at improvement.  Problem is – the trajectory of change/school improvement lags significantly behind the trajectory of change in the world around us.
  • It's a SKILL GAP.
  • 47,000 school buildings in America.  Team visited 100 most rapidly improving schools at each level (elem, middle, high school)
  • Comments are on what was found in the top 25 at each level.  MN didn't have one in the group.  Good is the enemy of Great afterall…
  • Story of Brockton High School in Maine… 147th to 3rd??  wow…
  • The finger pointing game has to stop.  By the end of the day today, we will have our fingers pointing at ourselves…  We are the education leaders. 
  • Round 2 of stimulus = $100 billion to k-12 education  $4 billion went to Race to the Top.  Education received the biggest chunk of stimulus funding.  What was the impact?  Not much.  So…  Washington has lost support to add $$ to the education formula.
  • How to create change?  Need a 3 year transition plan
  • MN accountability exams all test ability to perform in quadrant A…  Real life independence is all in quadrant D.  Some states have developed accountability tests that assess in quadrants B, C, and D.  Why hasn't MN?? 
  • MN also has way too many standards. We can't get past quadrant A because of the weight of the standards and the tests. 
  • 5 fastest growing economies -  Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Panama and China/India aren't going away.  Why isn't education talking about that?  Business leaders are!
  • Rigor and Relevance is a description (not a prescription) of what is found in the nations most rapidly improving schools. The Rigor Taxonomy and the Relevance Taxonomy. 

The Rigor and Relevance Framework can be found on the International Center for Leadership in Education website. 

  • Shooting to prepare students for college (college readiness) is setting the bar too low. 
  • Relevance makes Rigor possible for most students
  • The real world doesn't function in disciplines… only schools do. 
  • Highest performing schools eliminated department chairs and created chair positions of interdisciplinary teams. 
  • 2nd grade boys in his grandson's class understand angles, trajectory, and percents.  How?  Football coach.  Pass plays are all math problems.  Relevance.
  • Can't cut arts, PE, and tech ed.  It's relevant. 
  • Relationships – 43 of the high performing schools looped in 8th and 9th grade.  Yes that's two different buildings.  Changed the high school staff forever.  And they improved their teaching in 8th grade.  Helped the students in the difficult transition…
  • The top lessons from the top 1/3 of the teachers in the rapidly improving schools all fell into quadrants B and D. 
  • First step…  Creat a culture that supports change.
  • The changing landscape
    • technology
    • WolframAlpha – new search engine.  Paradigm change…
      • will be able to write your term paper
      • can do your math
      • does the homework… 
    • do employers want employees to use this tool??  Yes.  Schools?  Why not?

Break time.  More to come later.