Monday, August 27, 2012

Education Foundational Stance

This is a response I posted for the C&I 576 Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Design course I am taking. It's always good to go back and reflect on where you stand and what you stand for.

"Ornstein, Pajak, and Ornstein (2011) detail four educational philosophies: Perennialism, Essentialism, Progressivism, and Reconstructionism, which they refer to as the major educational philosophies that have influenced curriculum in America (p. 5). When I reflect on my ideals of teaching, my goals as a teacher, and my teaching methods I see that I clearly fall into the contemporary category and identify with aspects of both Progressivism and Reconstructionism.

Under the umbrella of Progressivism I employ ideas of promoting democratic ideals, that knowledge leads to growth and should be part of a life long process, that the teacher should act as a guide, or even a co-learner, and that the best learning is project based, inter-disciplinary, and relates to students’ lives (p. 6).  From Reconstructionism I strongly believe in the need to reconstruct society and that education should be part of that process (as opposed to a way to keep the status quo). Again, this is best done through projects that are relevant to the students and that support the ideas of equality of education (p. 6).

I like the idea of Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development between independent and guided problem solving (Gredler, 1997, pp. 256-7). In order to find out what students can do on their own and what they can do with guidance requires formative assessment to discover the range of skills that each class of students and each individual student’s range of skills. This involves the use of much more than simply tests to get to know students’ abilities, it requires questioning of prior knowledge, both within and outside of my content area, and getting to know the students as individuals.

To accomplish the educational ideals or goals listed above, and getting to know students and their backgrounds, is much like calls made by González, Moll and Amanti (2005) and by Bergmann and Sams (2012). The idea of getting to know the student strengths and weaknesses to help differentiate instruction and to become a better guide for my students is one reason that I am implementing the flipped classroom model championed by Bermann and Sams in my classes this year. For years I had already employed my Universal Reading Questions to find out what my students find interesting, what they did not understand or wanted to know more about and to challenge them to make connections. My goal is to maximize class time for projects, discussions, and assistance to provide more authentic learning for my students and to help them understand the contexts and connections the content in my classes (history) has to their lives, the outside world, and the future."

Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom: Reach every student in every class Every day. Eugene, OR:ISTE

González , N., Moll, L. C., & Amanti, C. (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. New York: Routledge.

Gredler, M. E. (1997). Learning and instruction: Theory into practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Nieto, S., & McDonough, K. (2011). “Placing equity front and center” revisited. In A. F. Ball & C. A. Tyson (Eds.), Studying diversity in teacher education (pp. 329-337). New York: American Educational Research Association by Rowman & Littlefield.

Ornstein, A. C., Pajak, E. F., & Ornstein, S. B. (2010). Contemporary issues in
curriculum (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Pulley, P. (2012). Universal reading questions. Available from:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reflection 2 for C&I 579 Summer 2012

What attitudes, skills, and concepts have you gained from participating in the course so far?
            Well, here we are coming up on the end of this “boot camp” and it has been a wild ride so where does one begin to sum it all up? As I have mentioned several times, I have felt overwhelmed by the vast amount of digital tools, ideas, and information coming in via the course content, blogs, Twitter, and other classmates. I am beginning to adjust my way of looking at this and to find ways of sorting through the volume to read only the most relevant. I just started using iGoogle based on the presentation I watched for the third discussion and it really seems to help now that I have gotten it set up and organized. Of course, the next day Google sends out an announcement stating that they are dropping iGoogle and it will be gone November 2013, at least I will have time to research an new dashboard.

            Skill wise, I finally got caught up enough to try out Camtasia for my final project (presentation?) and so far it seems super easy—of course I’ve been editing video for over a decade—I like what it can do in terms of trimming, uploading and placing the picture-in-picture (PIP). I am looking forward to using it and my new microphone to start recording some video lectures as early as next week. For quick recordings away from my laptop I found Screencast-o-matic very easy and Screenr seems to be similar. I will also be playing with a new app for my iPad called Explain Everything to help when I have a substitute in my classroom.

What have you learned in the course that you will not forget tomorrow?
            New concepts I have gotten from the class center around the Flipped Classroom model. I have been looking into the idea since C&I 407 last summer and had decided to try it next year especially since we are getting laptops for all the students. Of course, I am interested in seeing the impact the laptops will have, and I hope staff will get training to use them in innovative ways so that they are not “domesticated” to old routines (Rowan & Bigum, 2012). As Cummings, Brown & Sayers (2007) note, “for technology to change education, “has much more to do with pedagogy than with the technology itself” (p. 91). Given the lack of input the had on the process, I hope there is buy-in from them and that the professional development we get will be of the type needed, content specific and long-term (Harris, Mishra, & Koehler, 2009, p. 395). 

            Of the things I have learned from the course that I will not be forgetting, perhaps the most important to me is to plan for options when it comes to technology based education. It will not be enough to record and post my videos, I will also need to have media based versions available for those without Internet access at home or for those who leave their laptop and/or charger at school and can’t access in the regular manner. I hope that by posting downloadable versions, students without access can download them before they leave school so that they have a copy on their laptop. When it comes to communication, I have learned that the generation of students I am teaching (and some of their young parents) want feedback immediately (Tapscott, 2008) so I hope be able to meet those needs through My Big Campus and a new site I found called Remind101. Of course, some will still want emails, phone calls, or even letters home, but being able to reach and involve more parents is the goal. 

How will you apply what you have learned to your teaching and future learning?
            I have plans to implement several technological and new education ideas in my classroom in the future. I will be adopting a flipped classroom model in my social studies classes and possibly my communications classes as well. The flipped classroom, and the 1:1 laptops we will have at our school, will allow me to expand upon the changes I have already made in my teaching through the use of my Universal Reading Questions (URQs). My URQs were already designed to assess students’ prior knowledge and interests, as well has discover misunderstandings and misconceptions. In the past I have provided my students with background and additional knowledge to help make connections not only between events but also to the world today. With the flipped model allowing for more classroom time to engage in higher order thinking and collaborative work, and laptops for the students to research and discovery content with guidance, more of the knowledge they gain will be knowledge that they construct themselves.

            The online tools, blogs, and information networks that I set up during the class will be extraordinarily helpful in continuing to learn and improve my teaching in the future. I will continue to expand and refine the online learning networks that I have set up for the class and use my blogs to reflect upon and analyze the things I will be trying to implement in my classroom. I will also use these as assets when we set up our professional learning teams (PLTs) for professional development in our district next year.

Wish me luck future, and the same to everyone else.
Cummings, J., Brown, K., & Sayers, D. (2007). Literacy, technology, and diversity. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Harris, J. B., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), 393-416.
Rowan, L., & Bigum, C. (Eds.), (2012). Transformative approaches to new technology and
student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education. Dordrecht,
            Germany: Springer.
Tapscott, D. (2008). Grown up digital: How the net generation is changing your world. [Kindle
Version].  Available from

Friday, July 6, 2012

Final Project for C&I 579

Just finished recording and posting my final project for my educational technology class so I thought I would share it here as well.

Let me know what you think and wish me luck!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Flipped Classroom Infographic

Thanks to Kristen (C&I 579, Group 3) for mentioning this website in her discussion 4 post. I'm adding it here as a great representation of the Flipped Classroom Model.

You can click on the graphic to go to the Knewton website and see it in a larger format.

Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Discussion 4 C&I 579

I thought I would share this discussion post based upon Jackie Gerstein's blog post:

Summary of Basic Points

Jackie Gerstein includes several ideas about the ideas of the flipped classroom including a model for the process, resources for those who might want to try and perhaps most important to me, critiques of some who are trying to “hijack” the idea.

The model she includes of 1) experiences, 2) what, 3) so what, and 4) now what is similar to the ideas of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) that includes what, how, and why. She also notes in her slideshow similarities to other models like: the Experiential Learning Cycle, Experiential Learning, 4MAT, and models by Robert Gagne and David Kolb. In her practice she correctly points out that the initial “experiences” help engage students and provide a setting, the “what” becomes the flipped lecture, “so what” would be the old homework (now done in class) but using scaffolding to build to higher levels of understanding. Finally the “now what” is where students demonstrate their understanding.

Compare/Contrast Resources

The UDL resources mirror the ideas that Jackie has outlined in her post, all of which are models to try and move away from the Industrial Revolution model of one-way education to meet and address the needs and learning styles of 21st Century learners. I have see other complaints about Kahn Academy, and while this might be a part of the new education process, it is important to note that it is only a part. Rowan and Bigum (2012) note that technology can help change how education is done IF we allow it to change how we teach rather than “domesticating” it to how we already do things. She brings up and provides links to those who are “attacking” Kahn, but as Gerstein, Utrecht, Bergman, Rowan & Bigum and many others point out, the issue is more one of how Kahn is being presented, for that matter flipped classrooms as well. Both represent tools to use, not universal answers.

What new information, application, and/or issues did you discover?

I already had problems with much of “fervor” over Kahn academy, partially because there is little history, but mostly because of the procedural methods of his videos. (And don’t get me started on the support of the Gates Foundation). My wife is a mathematics professor and believes in cognitively guided instruction where students tackle new problems based on prior knowledge and present their answers. THEN the teacher presents alternatives and provides explanation. This way students gain an understanding of the concepts, not just memorize a procedure. Sadly many students that are “good at math are often good at memorizing procedures, conversely, those who are “bad at math” are really in need of understanding because they don’t memorize procedures well. This same idea is true in my area of social students; far too often it is “learn the facts” without making the connections. What I was happy to see is the number of people saying, wait; Kahn Academy is a tool to AID the teacher, not something that can REPLACE the teacher.

How could you use the flipped classroom approach in your teaching?

This is an idea I have been thinking about since last summer and with our school going to a 1:1 laptop program for all students I plan to implement the flipped model in my classes for next year. I had already gotten away from much lecturing and the presentations I already have can easily be adapted to this model. In my social studies classes I have students read new materials and when they read they have to answer my three Universal Reading Questions (URQs) and those become the basis for most of the discussions in class. (See my URQs post) With the laptops and new individual desks/tables I plan to have students research additional materials for the things they find interesting, and the questions they generate. That way instead of me sharing (telling) facts they can explore and become creators of knowledge and I can help guide them to connections and implication for their world today.


CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author. Retrieved July 3, 2012 from:

Bergman, J. (2012). Flipped learning, Turning learning on its head. Flipped Learning. Retrieved July 3, 2012 from

Rowan, L., & Bigum, C. (Eds.), (2012). Transformative approaches to new technology and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education. Dordrecht, Germany: Springer.

Utecht, J. (2012). Can there really be a revolution in education? The thinking stick. Retrieved July 2, 2012 from

Monday, July 2, 2012

Blog Post #3 C&I 579

In Response to the following blog post:

The Thinking Stick: Can There be a Revolution in Education (Jeff Utecht)

Jeff raises some interesting ideas about revolution versus evolution and students being the change agents. I wonder however if it should be what we are going to overthrow instead of who?

Did we revolt against King George III or the idea of being taxed, controlled, and generally treated like second-class citizens with no say in the matter…remember “no taxation without representation”? What we need to overthrow is the way we take new technology and ideas and adapting them to education. We need to adapt education to new technology and ideas instead. In the past technology has been “domesticated to the Industrial Revolution model of education (Rowan & Bigum, 2012).  Let’s use its capabilities to transform education instead.

You are correct in noting that it is the students (at least their needs) that are driving the current calls for change. Students have long adapted to using technology in one way at home and in a completely other way at school, but that is changing. The calls for change are louder and more frequent and pace of that change is accelerating.

I’m not sure the technology forward thinking teachers at ISTE want a revolution in the classic, or modern Arab Spring sense.  Precious few of us are willing to give up our lives or jobs. Perhaps they are tired of being called the cause of the problems in education, especially since they feel they have some inspiring answers to help address those problems. Perhaps it is an evolution of the word revolution.

At any rate, and semantics aside, I’ll settle for something in between. Not a revolution, but certainly a faster form of evolution. Step out of the way of us trying to prepare the students for the 21st Century and no one gets hurt. We all should learn something along way. 

This response focuses on the highlighted sections of this excerpt:

What is this education revolution going to be? Who are we going to overthrow? And the biggest issue of all.....revolutions means you are willing to die or at least get fired for your cause and honestly I don't know to many teachers who believe strongly enough about what this education revolution should change into to quit their jobs. 

So what we end up with is a social evolution and I think that's what we're seeing. This is why change is gradual in education. Those of us in power; administrators, teachers, etc like our having a job and therefore we can't cause a revolution. We can cause an evolution and that's what we're seeing.

So if teachers don't have the power to bring a revolution to education who does?

Parents? Yes....parents could decide not to send their children to school. Will that happen? I don't think so.

Which leaves us where?

Students....this is who will bring the revolution and this is who we need to be talking to if we truly believe there needs to be a revolution in education. Of course the revolution isn't coming so what we're getting is an evolution of education.

In my TEDx presentation I talk about students being the change agents....and if we are going to see a revolution it will come from them. Little did I know just 6 months after giving that TED Talk what I explained would play out in Egypt. Students and people taking to social networks and creating a revolution. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Universal Reading Questions

 I often make reference to my Universal Reading Questions (URQs) which I devised as a way to try and get my history students to interact with their history readings instead of just finding answers to a series of questions from the book. I wanted question one to give me what the students thought was interesting versus what I thought was interesting because sometimes these are wildly different. I recently added the "or important" part for my students who sometimes complained that "nothing was interesting."

Question two was important for me because I often found out in the middle of a class that something I thought all the students knew was in fact something that few if any knew. It helps me to find out their prior knowledge to build upon and to find out misconceptions that may need to be corrected.

Question three is the one that I feel is the most important, to make a connection. History should not be seen as a list of facts and dates, but a story to be told and understood. Without seeing the connections between events students will not be able to see how one action affects another and how things from the past influence their lives today.

So if you are interested, here they are. Feel free to use, or modify them as you see fit. If you can think of ways to improve upon them, let me know as I see them as a living document that is constantly being modified and hopefully improved.

1. List two things from the reading you thought were
    interesting or important and why you think so.

       Things that strike you as:

2. List two things from the reading that were unclear and/or
    that you want to know more about.

                 -Don’t get it? Let me know, we’ll find the answer.
                -Got it? Do you want to know more about?
-There is always more to know! (Pleas Be Specific)

3. Can you think of a similar situation (from the past or
    something more current)?     

What is the relevance of something from the reading to today’s world, your life, or the lives of your friends & family?

                 -This can be from history     -From other classes
-Events at school                  -Something at home
-From your experiences
-Or from pop culture such as TV/YouTube/movies

Blog Post #2b for C&I 579 "2b but Not to Be"

Excepts from Justin Reich’s blog entitled Don’t Use Kahn Academy without Watching this First, June 21, 2012

In a send-off of the Comedy Central classic Mystery Science Theater 3000, two teacher-educators sit in front of a Khan Academy video on multiplying and dividing fractions and offer their critical commentary. Dave Coffey and John Golden are the hosts here (they really do need at least one talking robot), and they clearly are not big fans of Mr. Khan or his patron Mr. Gates.

The two teachers systematically dissect the video, noting a variety of missteps. There are a few unquestionable errors of mathematics: Khan uses incorrect terminology at a couple of points. Khan is also inconsistent in his language about positive and negative numbers (using plus when he means positive, or minus when he means negative), which is perhaps a lesser sin, but poor practice and misleading for students. He's also inconsistent in his use of symbols, sometimes writing "+4", sometimes writing "4", never explaining why he does or doesn't. He making the kind of mistakes that would reduce his score on the Mathematical Quality of Instruction observational instrument, used in the Gates-funded Measures of Effective Teaching Project

Coffey and Golden are probably most savage when Khan makes these outright mistakes, but I think the true fuel of their satire is their broader critique of Khan's approach. Khan teaches students to memorize a small set of procedural rules for dealing with multiplying negative numbers, with essentially zero effort expended to explain conceptually what the symbolic manipulations represent. In fact, in the final minute of the video, Khan says verbatim, "In your own time, think about why these rules apply." 

For many math teachers, the most important work to do is to get kids to think about why the rules apply, to help them derive them where applicable, and to help them contextualize them when derivations are impractical. 

Khan Academy pulled down the video satirized in MTT2K, Episode 1 within a day or so of publication. It will be interesting to see if they simply fix the outright errors, or if they address some of the broader pedagogical concerns. 

My Response:

Once again you point out what should be obvious, but sadly is not. In mathematics today the ongoing debate about teaching for conceptual understanding versus procedures continues with the concept side losing, no doubt thanks to teaching to the high stakes standardized tests under NCLB. But as my wife (a PhD in Mathematics Education) would say, the debate continues among mathematics teachers themselves as many do not buy into the Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) ideas set out by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). 

Too often people who are “good at math” think they are because they are good at learning and memorizing procedures, yet they may not understand the concept or its applications. This becomes a problem if they become mathematics teachers as they can only tell students the procedure, which merely represents one way to solve a given problem, and they will not able to explain the concept or applications of the procedure. One result, people who don’t think or learn that way begin to see themselves as “bad at math” at an early age.

This may once again be a negative effect of “teaching to the test” and may actually be made worse by some aspects of Common Core standards as more ideas, in the form of procedures, are to be taught to students with little time devoted to conceptual understanding. 

As one of my professors says, the result is exposure to information that is, “a mile wide and an inch deep.”

Link to Justin's Blog: 

Blog # 2 for C&I 579 (Blog Comment)

Excepts from Justin Reich’s blog entitled Rethinking Teaching and Time with the Flipped Classroom, June 20, 2012

For me, the Flipped Classroom is about one essential question: What is the best use of our class time? More precisely, how do we ensure that students do the most cognitively demanding work inside classrooms?
In general, educators agree that listening and receiving content is not nearly as difficult as applying new ideas and practicing new skills. Watching a teacher demonstrate the solution to a problem is less cognitively demanding than solving new problems. Kids shouldn't go home to solve hard problems, they should do so in class with peer and mentor support. We can make that possible, by sending them home to watch content delivery.

For Jon and Aaron, the best part of flipping class is that after eliminating the need to stand in front of class lecturing every period, they can commit to making time to check in with every student, every class, every day. How many teachers can say that a personal connection with every single student is a routine part of every class? To me, the potential for this kind of personal connection and relationship building is the most compelling reason for experimenting with Flipping class. 

Note to reformers: if you try to use Flipped models to increase class sizes or supervise computer-using students with paraprofessionals, then you will miss out on the most powerful benefits. Let's spend time-gains on deeper learning, not on making school cheaper. 

My Response:


You hit the mark on what I see as an important goal of flipping a class, ensuring, “that students do the most cognitively demanding work inside classroom” and not simply as some new way of doing things. The goals of any instructional change should be to make education time (always too limited) used to promote collaboration, higher order thinking, and addressing misconceptions as needed. As you note, critics often think that this is a way replace teachers or increase numbers in the classroom but they miss the point. (In my opinion, any teacher who could be replaced by videos probably needs to be replaced.) You aren’t replacing the teacher, just turning the lecture into a shorter, reviewable part of homework, thereby freeing up classroom time for making connections and teaching understanding over procedures and facts. With the ability to link in other video clips hopefully it can be a more interesting lecture as well.

Note: As I mentioned in a blog post to Joe Bergmann, I’m trying for step 2 for next year—flipping an entire class.  I dropped one of my graduate classes this summer to have the time to start recording videos for my students. I have gotten my software (Camtasia) and hope to have my other items next week (a nicer microphone and a sound adapter for the laptop that will now be my classroom computer).  

I plan to flip at least one of courses for next year (History of Western Civilization) starting at the beginning of next year, and possibly my World Cultures class as well. My goal is to emphasize connections to see how prior events, geography, and decisions are connected and influence history. With the introduction of laptops for all students I plan to have them post their answers to my Universal Reading Questions and to group them daily by topics to research additional information to interact with the reading, build on their prior knowledge, and to make connection between events and to their world today.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Relection 1 (for C&I 579)

It has been a crazy almost four weeks and a lot has changed on the educational technology for this guy. I just finished a book review (for an course incomplete) on a book by Rowen & Bigum (Eds.) that looks at new points of view for using educational technology to address growing student diversity in our rapidly changing society. Lucky for me a lot of the ideas in it make it a perfect fit with this class, so sorry in advance for quoting it a lot.

I noted in an earlier post (Amusing Ourselves to Death?) that I felt overwhelmed with the vast amount of information coming in while following blogs and through Twitter, let alone things for this class and that Dr. T shares. I like to read through things thoroughly, but I have had to develop the skill of skimming to deal with the time I have available. Additionally, I have developed an new attitude, that of realizing that I can’t do all of the things I read about, so I have to just pick one or two and go from there. Big concept in terms of changing how I teach? It has, “much more to do with pedagogy than with the technology itself” (Cummings, Brown & Sayers (2007), “p. 91). Of course I plan to leverage the technology.

One thing I’ve learned that I’m sure I will not forget is that this technology-mediated learning requires a lot of planning and organization, nothing worse than a, “it’s due when?” moment. ;-)
I like things in one location, but I am adjusting.

I am looking to find ways in which I can have my students do more of the knowledge creation with me on the side. I want to use my Universal Reading Questions in a new way to have students use the technology they will have to find the information and make the connections. I think students today are good at finding information, connections…I think not, but the jury is still out. Hopefully I can guide them in the future by having them research the information versus me telling them and making connections for them. The connection will last longer if they make it themselves.

I also plan to try and find ways to connect to students and parents in ways that are outside traditional / formal school channels, ways that more closely resemble their technology use and communication outside of school. Currently I am playing with My Big Campus—our school is thinking about using it next year. I will probably do my final project using it instead of Wikispaces; it might end up being a pilot for the school for next year.

We are going with a 1:1 program for ALL our students next year and calling it a pilot, technology hasn’t been bought yet and available software / programs are up in the air (like MBC). I am also looking at Edmodo and will even open very limited Facebook account to see how the two interface. (Hey, I did two-person control of nuclear weapons in the army; I can be VERY confidentiality conscious.)

Hey, I’ll try to with the flow. I do think I’m getting individual tables and chairs for my classroom that can be grouped so hopefully I can try some Stanford d-school-like ideas.

Cummings, J., Brown, K., & Sayers, D. (2007). Literacy, technology, and diversity. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Rowen, L., & Bigum, C. (Eds.), (2012). Transformative approaches to new technology and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education. Dordrecht, Germany: Springer.

NETP 2010: In Favor...

Blog Pro Post (Pulley): (Sorry in advance, I got carried away)

The goals of the National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) for 2010 of transforming education in America in the areas of learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity are far reaching and necessary, not only if we wish to address the inequity in American education, but also aspire to making our country once again a leader in education in the world. Learning and teaching need to change to become collaborative situations where students becoming constructors of new knowledge based on scaffolding, to support and build upon prior knowledge (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005, p. 106). Assessment need to move from reforms of standardization and high stakes testing to a new way of thinking with a focus on, “change but not measurement, on the social, and not simply the technical, [that] allows us to identify the ways technology may help disrupt the traditional relationships: between schools and knowledge; knowledge and children; children and teachers; and learners and communities” (Rowen & Bigum, 2012, p. 26).

For any of this to take place, change must happen, not only in terms of infrastructure, but also in terms of equity. Rowen & Bigum (2012) assert that despite all the decades of technological innovation in the world, and the adaptation of that technology to schools, equity issues have not changed much:
The children at risk of educational alienation and failure in 2011 are the same groups of children at risk more that four decades ago: kids from rural and isolated areas, indigenous communities, language backgrounds other than English. Kids from low-socioeconomic families, single parent households. Kids with physical and intellectual disabilities. Kids who don’t match their world’s “mythical norm” (p. 47).

            As the report acknowledges, in today’s world finances are tight and monies need to be reallocated, but that reallocation needs to consider first the schools that are furthest behind by improving their infrastructures (including technology), not to punish them because they are behind and rewarding those already ahead. One byproduct of the new call to renew, update, and jump onto each new technological change is that the amount of time and money invested has resulted in calls to measure the results, something Rowen & Bigum (2012) call a distraction because of the domestication of technology that takes place, that is, “schools often use those technologies in old and familiar ways: integrating them into existing routines, deploying them to meet existing goals and, generally, failing to engage with technologies in ways consistent with the world beyond the classroom” (p. 22).

Much more important is to help teachers engage in collaboration to become 21st Century educators because they are a more important part of the solution than technology. Cummings, Brown & Sayers (2007), note that the failure of educational technology to achieve change, “has much more to do with pedagogy than with the technology itself” (p. 91).

Cummings, J., Brown, K., & Sayers, D. (2007). Literacy, technology, and diversity. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (Eds.), Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teacher should learn about and be able to do. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Rowen, L., & Bigum, C. (Eds.), (2012). Transformative approaches to new technology and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education. Dordrecht, Germany: Springer.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thoughts on Flipping the Flipped Classroom C&I 579 Blog #1B

David Thornburg at thornbugthoughts recentely brought up some good points about the Flipped Classroom movement (  I agree that there are issues and that one size or technology does not fit all, but I think we need to look beyond the tool to how it is used by people in education. Here is my response to David:

I believe the goal is not to do traditional homework in class, but to move it beyond recall towards sustained projects with inquiry and higher order thinking. Yes, the videos can be boring, but no more so than a lecture. But, if you want them to be more interesting, keep them short and link in other sources including primary sources, credible websites and even other videos. The videos are used to present the basic background information and then class time can be used in exactly the ways you suggest. 

The real problem to me seems to be that people think that technology will solve the problems, it won't. What can solve problems is using technology (or a technique) in creative ways by educators (people) to engage students by enlisting them as knowledge creators (not as vessels to be filled) and thereby making learning relevant to the world today. Of course as you point out, a flaw in this logic is the assumption that students will watch what they won't read. If there is no accountability for not watching, then they won’t. Basically, it isn't the tool, it is how it is used and as Jon Bergmann (who helped start the flipped classroom concept) notes, it might not work for all classes or grade levels. See:

Rowen and Bigum (2012) would call for us to be "sportively skeptical"of new technology ideas (p. 222).

Rowen, L., & Bigum, C. (Eds.), (2012). Transformative approaches to new technology and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education. Dordrecht, Germany: Springer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Webography Pulley C&I 579

Click on the link below to go see the list on annotated ed tech websites I've been looking at this week.

Webography Pulley C&I 579

Friday, June 8, 2012

Doing the Flip...C&I 579 Blog #1A

The Flipped Class as a Transition to Deep 21st Century LearningPosted by jbergmann on May 10, 2012 in Flipped Class

The Progression:
1.  Teacher Flips a lesson or a unit and find it to be successful
2.  Teacher decides to flip the whole class
     a. (At least at the upper grades.  At the lower grades I don’t see teachers flipping a class, but
         rather, flipping selected lessons).
     b. Often this step takes an entire year as the teacher needs to focus in on making the videos
        —assuming they make all of their own videos.
3. Teacher realizes they have more time and begin to explore engaging activities.  This is where the magic of the flipped class happens.  When the teacher moves away from the stand and deliver approach and realize there is more to learning than disseminating content.

Phil’s Response:

So I’m at step 1 (or trying for step 2 for next year). Like all of the blogs and Twitter feeds I’m getting, I’m feeling overwhelmed, but I’m sure I am ready to take the first steps on the journey.

How sure, I dropped one of my graduate classes this summer to have the time to start recording videos for my students. Tomorrow I’m off to see about getting my software and microphone ASAP, I’ve got work to do so my students can learn, and not who, what, when, and where, but WHY? Why are these facts important…today? How are they relevant in my students’ lives? How can I get them to figure it out on their own?

Wish me luck, persistence and faith in this endeavor to make learning better and more meaningful for those that count, my students.

That was my response to Josh, but it felt incomplete to finished thought:

I’ve used my Universal Reading Questions for several years now and it is time to take them to a new level. Students always had trouble with the last one, “Can you think of a similar situation from the past or the present?” I plan to add: OR What is the relevance of something from the reading to today’s world, to your life, or the lives of your friends or family?’ I hope this will get them thinking and get them to make the experience more meaningful. With a flip (and 1:1 next year) I can have students research the background and make the connections themselves, instead of me showing them to them. Next year, I hope to be the one guiding them.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rules...Who Makes the Teachers Enforce Them? C&I 579 Blog #1

C&I 579 Blog #1
From Josh Stumpenhorst, "Stump the Teacher"
"Rules...are for the Teachers" Posted Friday, May 4, 2012

Link to original post:

None of these discussions or potential rule changes had to do with student behavior but rather on staff behavior. Let me explain…

The gum chewing conversation came about because many teachers were not enforcing the rule and some sit in front of their class chewing it themselves. Yes, I realize gum chewing is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. However, if it is a school rule it must be enforced universally or it causes confusion among students and pits teachers against each other. I am labeled a “mean teacher” if I follow the rule we have in our handbook when others are not. So, this rule discussion was really not about kids chewing gum, but more about teacher’s enforcing a rule or not...

On a total sidebar, I laugh at the number of teachers who are constantly on their cell phones during school hours texting, emailing, updating status and playing games right in front of the students. What message does that send the kids when the staff won’t even follow the rules set for the students?...

Many of the other rules we discussed in the open forum had similar themes. More than once I heard, “it is too hard to enforce that rule.” I heard very few people mention what was in the best interest of the student’s and their learning environment. It may just be me, but I saw evidence that many of my school’s rules were a product of not keeping kids safe or protecting the learning environment. What I did see was rules being created because teachers were afraid to step up and enforce existing rules, or to step up and recognize learning opportunities and not punishment opportunities.

I wonder how many schools have rules established for the sake of the adults rather than for the sake of the kids. 

Phil's Response (7 June 2012):


I know exactly how you feel and precisely what it is like to be the “bad guy” because I enforce the rules. Yes, we have rules that I deem to be silly, but those are the rules that the administration or the teachers said were important, but they become a problem when some staff either ignore the rule or worse, blatantly do the opposite. Like you I often feel that the problem with most rules is not the students, but with the teachers.

On a side note, it is even worse if the administration will not do anything about the teachers who do not follow the rules. (Note to administrators, please tell the people who ARE breaking the rules, do not send an email to everyone.)

As for cell phones, we need to learn to make technology and communication inside of school more closely resemble those outside of school.