Thoughts from a reflective educator.
My friend, whom I met when I worked in an international school in Bangkok, worked in a bilingual school in Thailand before the school where I met him. He said it was an interesting job, but he was glad to be working at a school with a different emphasis.
The school he worked at had pretty good test results, some of the best in the country. Students would consistently score well on the state standardized tests held all over Thailand. So my friend went to observe the best teacher in the school, as measured by how well her kids did on the standardized tests.
I just read this article from 2007, originally posted in the Boston Globe, but available here online. The point of the article is that participation in an Arts class helps students learn skills which may not be present elsewhere in their school as a result of a narrowing focus of schools on standardized testing.
This afternoon I had a great conversation with David Miles and Fred Mindlin. David works as an Academic Coordinator in a private school in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Fred works as an educational consultant for the Central California Writing Project.
Both of them are extremely articulate and intelligent people who have a lot to say about education. I've known David for about 5 years now ever since we worked together in London, and I met Fred for the first time this afternoon.
I asked David through Skype, and I invited Fred through Twitter, and we all met in a Skype group chat. We decided to continue the conversation from #edchat and talk about educational reform.
This idea for a Conversation With Educators is from the podcast @betchaboy does, The Virtual Staffroom and is something I hope more teachers do. Talking with educators from around the world about what we do is a terrific experience. I hope to chat with more of you next week.
For now you can listen to this podcast episode below, or subscribe to this podcast in iTunes here. This podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license so please feel free to remix it and share it, so long as you give proper attribution to the original work.
For those of you who are curious about the production of this podcast, it was recorded using a program called Skype Call Recorder on Windows, and slightly edited using Audacity.
Last night @RobinThailand invited me to join a Virtual Staffroom podcast. So I fired up Skype and accepted an invite from someone I didn't really know before, @betchaboy. I was following him but I don't think we had chatted much before last night.
Tonight I was at a birthday party for a young boy; I was invited as a result of my son being about the same age as the birthday boy. While we were dolling out the ice cream and cake for the 5 boys at the party, I was struck by the realization that there was a relationship between their choices for ice cream and cake, and how we need to look at education.
Here's what each boy wanted for this ice cream and cake.
A common problem that is discussed on Twitter between educators is that they don't have full access to the Internet due to a filter installed either at their school or at the district level in their area. There are a number of arguments for and against the existence of these filters, summarized in the table below.
Today's #edchat on Twitter was about how we can break free of the echo chamber that is #edchat. We all have great ideas, but how can we turn those great ideas into action? Our objective is not to stop our great conversations but to also move beyond our conversations into concrete action.
Update (2011): This absolutely as relevant for the 2011 conference as it was for last year's conference.
First, I want to preface what follows with the stipulation that although I had the complaints listed below, I really, really enjoyed attending ISTE and will attend again. I'd just like the conference to be more environmentally conscious.
The ISTE conference is over, and I'm finally able to unwind and get a chance to reflect on the experience. The conference was awesome for many reasons, but there was a reoccurring theme that happened during the conference, which to me was the most important part of the conference.