Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kickin’ it old school and inventing the future

Speaking of Rotherham, here's Tom Vander Ark's response to his recent article (see my last em) about computers in schools:


My friend Andy Rotherham is old school–and that goes for many EdReformers.  They want the best version of old school for every student: talented teachers, high expectations, quality instruction, curriculum alignment, strong accountability, and enough standardized tests to verify all of the above. They support old school reforms because there is good data to support the no excuses teacher-centric model.  Every school district should have an old school reform agenda–they should be trying to get the most out of the old model classroom by classroom. But there are three problems.  First, it's hard to pull off.  It's a real execution challenge to do old school well classroom by classroom.  Second, even the best version of the batch-print system (i.e., grouping by birthday and marching through a print curriculum) doesn't work very well for many kids.  And, third, it's hard to scale up.  As Public Impact pointed out in Opportunity at the Top, we can't put a great teacher in every classroom–not with the current version of school. Public Impact concludes, "Our largest opportunity is to extend the reach of the best teacher." That means a new version of school that leverages technology and talent.Gov. Bob Wise came to the same conclusion: the only possible way to meet the triple challenge of stagnant achievement, a shortage of skilled teachers, and a fiscal crisis is blended learning–new school models that combine the best of online and on-site learning. These new blended versions of school have four distinctive features

·         customized learning: students learn at the right level, pace and mode

·         competency-based: students progress based on demonstrated mastery

·         productive staffing: teams of teachers work together for student success

·         expanded opportunity: more time and more access to good teachers/content/courses


Kickin' it old school and inventing the future

January 27, 2012 - by Tom Vander Ark

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