PLN Picks for the Week

The professional learning network comes through again. Here are some blog posts from around the web that piqued my interest this weekend.

The Multi-layered Curriculum: Why Change Is often Confused with Reform

… once states adopt curricular frameworks in science they will have only a passing similarity to the science content and skills that teachers will teach once they close their classroom doors. In the real world of age-graded schools, pedagogy, assessment, and professional development are thoroughly entangled while the official curriculum too often sails above the clouds loosely tethered to what happens in classrooms.

Larry Cuban finds four layers of curriculum in schools:

1. The “official,” state-mandated curriculum

2. What teachers teach

3. What students learn

4. What is assessed

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What Can the U.S. Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

We should not ask whether Finnish educational model would work in the United States or anywhere else. The question should be: What can we learn from the Finnish experience as high performer and successful reformer?

Finnish lesson is that good policies and overall well-being of people, including poverty reduction, are the corner stones of sustainable educational success.

Pasi Sahlberg (by way of Larry Cuban) underscores the key lesson from Finland, that a demonstrated alternative exists to test-based school accountability systems. The Atlantic also wrote on the topic.

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Study: Class size doesn’t matter

… we show that an index of five policies suggested by over forty years of qualitative research — frequent teacher feedback, the use of data to guide instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations — explains approximately 50 percent of the variation in school effectiveness.

If this becomes the new conventional wisdom, then independent schools will need to update their marketing messages. Independent schools are generally well-positioned to speak to highlight teacher feedback, tutoring, and high expectations and perhaps less well-positioned for data-informed instruction and increased instructional time.

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Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools

Teachers are resisting, saying that they prefer to employ technology as it suits their own teaching methods and styles.

Legislating computer use, especially if it results in teacher layoffs, would generate a strong reaction, wouldn’t it?

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LiveBinders Comes to the iPad

Sorting Out an Avalanche of iPad Apps for the Best of 2011

Free Tech for Teachers and The New York Times offer some quality app selections that may work well for schools. I am especially interested in presentation tools for organizing content, whether for student portfolios or other, more short-term purposes.

LiveBinders  Best of 2011


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