Showing posts with label culture of OpenSource. Show all posts
Showing posts with label culture of OpenSource. Show all posts

The Effect of Student Engagement

“Imagine a 20 minute lecture where all your students back channel about what you're saying. Outside guests or experts are invited in. Someone acts as a "rudder" to keep the conversation on track. The discussion is displayed on a SMARTboard or with a projector. The chatcast is immediately dumped into a wiki. The rest of the class is devoted to reorganizing the wiki clarifying what was said, answering questions (student to student as well as teacher to student; and don't forget the people, students, teachers, mentors or parents beyond the glass walls of the room) summarizing the big ideas, reframing the discussion in terms of what needs to be explained again and where we're going next. Imagine the possibilities …” -- Terry Friedman, 2008 Talking about bringing Twitter into the classroom. 

In “Pleased to Tweet You,” middle school teacher Kate Messner used a TweetChat with an author and publisher to go along with a book her students had been reading in class. Her students happily chimed in with questions, answered on the screen before their eyes as the teacher tweeted them at the author. The English language teacher followed the children’s favorite authors and students tweeted questions such as “What are your favorite strategies for developing characters’ personalities?” which garnered responses from several published authors.

Twitter has also been used by some teachers to encourage collaboration across countries. For example, one American class had a conversation on Twitter with a Japanese class while they were studying Japanese world history. Many teachers have also used Twitter to talk to fellow teachers and improve their craft, organizing conversations by subject level such as #musedchat for music teachers and #langchat for foreign language teachers.

Sources and additional resources:
What do you think? Does Twitter have a place in the classroom? How about other new media technology?

mostly by Lindsey Cook

Lindsey Rogers Cook

Senior journalism and computer science student at The University of Georgia Honors Program.

lindzcook@gmail.com; 678-464-7351; @lindzcookwww.digitize-me-captain.com 

CrowdGov Re-Boots the System

Crowd Government Re-Boots the System
MyVote.uk has been crowd-sourcing votes in the UK with Parliment for some time. They announced back in Sept that they were going to be even more directly involved with the voting process. This is the only way for the future. We have millions with smartphones and wifi. We can access the issues from anywhere at any time. We can give our representatives our vote directly. CrowdGov is not only possible, it is here and it is working. MyVote.uk has shown us the way.

There is no website yet called CrowdGov.com. Someone owns it, but they aren't doing anything with it yet. But this is the path to the future, and away from Presidents who torture, and Congress who does nothing except spend $660 million on things we don't want. This is the way to be rid of people like the Koch brothers, and other super-rich who lobby and pressure and buy their way into pushing this country where we don't want it to go. This is the way to get rid of useless, unwanted bills taking time from the floor, and oversight committees around subjects we could care less about.

It can happen. Look at El Paso Tx Schools! Texas!! If that can happen, this can happen.


I Just Wrote about this, didn't I?

Ok, so I don' t want to jinx this. I really didn't  expect this to happen so soon. El Paso, Texas (of all places) has taken the step to become an e-Book learning environment, and also bringing in OpenSource Education, partnering up with cK-12cK-12 posted on their page: 
Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of our partnership with El Paso ISD, Texas to help them transition from printed to digital e-books across the district!
No I haven't forgotten this
Twenty-First Century Learning is a commitment to prepare the EPISD student body for the future by using the best in technology and techniques. As technology becomes a fabric of our daily lives,  it is imperative to be in our classrooms to be used effectively and efficiently. EPISD is the first large school district in Texas to take the bold and innovative step into the world of teacher-generated electronic books.
We collaborated with EPISD to understand the district teachers’ needs and how technology can help us meet those challenges. So, starting in October of this year, the district is doing away with paper textbooks and replacing with digital textbooks called FlexBooks. These are standards-aligned fully customized digital flexbooks built using the CK-12 platform, especially for EPISD.
The change will start with select high school science classes, with more school subjects to follow. EPISD has already created flexbooks for biologychemistry and physics.
epicoll1
El Paso TX is Doing It Right!
The process started when a committee of teachers gathered over the summer to put together the first FlexBook. They collaborated on the CK-12 platform, built science flexbooks to serve their needs. This is just the start however. Eventually, every teacher will personalize the digital text to fit with his/her lesson plans, making each book tailor-made. All free, all online.
“We are talking about user-generated content. A panel of our science teachers handpicked the information in the electronic test to custom fit the curriculum. It is a huge step, the days of outdated information are over,” said EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera.
FlexBooks are free. The information gathered in the electronic books is of no cost to the district. Twenty-First Century Learning is more than an academic initiative. It is a shift in the way the El Paso Independent School District teaches students and delivers knowledge. This collaboration allows teachers to meet students’ needs by customizing the curriculum for them in the digital flexbook they create.
Teachers should have a choice in designing their own curriculum to meet students at their own learning pace and in the modality choice of their learning. Partnering with EPISD on science books to start, and gradually to more subjects, we feel we can give teachers the flexibility they need and want from a content creation perspective” says Neeru Khosla, Exec Director of CK-12. <  end announcement 

Which is Great! Now... just a couple of questions-- though I know the answers. TEKS is still alive and well in Texas. There are things the Texas School Board wants to take out of the learning, like Climate Change -- because they worship Koch more than they worship Jesus. I mean, seriously, even the Pope is up on Climate Change. That is about as Right wing as you can get, yes? 
With the flexbook formats however, they will be able to change, and add what they wish. They will also be able to keep up with Common Core if they wish, easy to do even if you aren't using it as a curriculum guide. Typically cK-12 has focused on Algebra IGeometryProbability and StatisticsBiologyChemistry, and Physics. But really that's only because no one is writing ELS, History or Social Studies -- so Texas will be adding those and it is a real shame that they won't be good to anyone else. Actually, that's not true. We can use the content, and edit Moses back out of the Constitution. 


While I'm surprised it was El Paso, I'm very excited it has happened. Texas has long been looked to for what direction school text books are going to go, and other states tend to go in that direction (California as well, they are larger buyers). The impact, however, of having El Paso be the one to jump in, has the potential to be much greater than if, say, Los Angeles or Fresno made the move first. 
Here's hoping that all of the tech works for the kids. This is an exciting moment. Koodos to cK-12. 

Teachers and Parents need to Stop listening to Secondary Sources

Remember in school, when we learned the difference between Primary sources of information and Secondary sources of information -- and why the two are not the same? 
  1. primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include:
  2. Primary vs Secondary Sources

    www.princeton.edu/~refdesk/primary2.html
    Princeton University
A parent just asked me if I had answers for the problems with Common Core. Apparently the teachers in her district are looking for ways out of using CCSS. The problem is, the answers are in the Core. 

See, as soon as they succeed in removing CCSS from their school system, then life becomes seriously difficult, because as soon as Common Core is gone, then they are back to 10 years ago under ESEA and the No Child Left Behind hell of 2002. Since every school failed that impossible thing, and the 12 years are up, this means that the schools will be closed, until a new plan can be presented to the Dept of ED, and approved. Most of the teachers will be fired and likely the principal as well. Probably what will happen is the school will be sold to a charter corporation and then re-opned. ESEA and NCLB are laws, not suggestions. Moving into the Race to the TOP program using as a standard CCSS, allowed Obama to give your school an out, and get you from under that mess of a law, since Congress won't fix it.

Obama came up with the "patch" solution of Race to the Top, but to satisfy the requirements of ESEA and NCLB each state is required to have in place a set of standards which demonstrate an ability to "ready students for College ..."  The Gov.'s of each state, seeing that ESEA was going to cut their throats (the changes made by NCLB are simply impossible to achieve. They sounded good when they were adopted, even reasonable, but they didn't take into account the many realities of  education. Too many realities were ignored. In fact, so many that I do not believe a single public school district made the minimum goal once in the 12 year period given to them.) The Gov's came up with CCSS back in 2007, starting development in 2008. At 2010 they had it ready when Obama came up with his waivers and Race to the Top.

It is important to remember here that ESEA and NCLB are not policies or suggestions, they are laws. It falls to the Executive branch to enforce those two laws. Obama has no choice in this. But he also understood that it was impossible to achieve the dictates. 

NCLB -- since the schools were all at "Failure" for more than four years -- dictates that 1) all the teachers, plus the principal should now be fired and replaced with teachers capable of making the goals. (which is impossible for two reasons, 1) all of the teachers are fired, there are not enough to hire available and 2) all the goals are impossible to meet no matter who is teaching the kids) Next the State should take over the school directly OR the school should be sold to a private corporation -- wish I was making this up, but you can verify this here on my blog where I pulled out these amazingly daft dictates.

You'll notice this part --   Institute and fully implement a new curriculum, including providing appropriate professional development for all relevant staff, that is based on scientifically based research and offers substantial promise of improving educational achievement for low-achieving students and enabling the school to make adequate yearly progress.

That there is where Race to the Top comes in, and the need for a fully developed, heavily researched set of standards is needed to satisfy the law. The states had this, developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) The Dept of Education read over the CCSS, and gave their nod to Obama as being acceptable. 

That is and was Obama's only interaction with CCSS -- Simply to accept the DOE's assessment. I'll point out here too that it is against federal law for any Federal Office, including Obama as President, to involve itself with the schools directly at the local level... which is why he could not develop CCSS himself or have it created or suggest that it be created or anything else. The states had to do this themselves. 

So much for Federal plans of Indoctrination. All of this stuff about CCSS is BS. It is a very simple, unoffending, non-dictating set of standards. 


Common Core Lesson Plan on the Fly

Kids have some serious opponents between them and getting Common Core into their classrooms. Not many strong allies either. The President has helped all he can -- since he is forbidden by Fed Law from interacting with the local school system in any way. They really need all the help they can get. 
Why? Fair enough question. With everything on Fox News and conflicting information on the real news channels, What exactly, does Common Core offer our children and school system that is worth  the fight? 
Just a quick overview of our school systems. Since districts were formed back with Thomas Jefferson, each area has done things there own way. States control the public schools. Fed backed off.There was no need to be involved. 
A Department of Education was created in 1867 but was soon demoted to an Office in 1868. As an agency not represented in the president's cabinet, it quickly became a minor bureau in the Department of the Interior. In 1939, the bureau was transferred to the Federal Security Agency, where it was renamed the Office of Education. In 1953, the Federal Security Agency was upgraded and split into the Cabinet level areas of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was passed as a part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty" and has been the most far-reaching federal legislation affecting education ever passed by Congress. The act is an extensive statute that funds primary and secondary education, while explicitly forbidding the establishment of a national curriculum. 
So, with no National curriculum, States were empowered to do their own thing, without the worry about what other states were doing. This thinking drifted down into the districts. Minor kingdoms of belief and theory rose up across the nation. Most of them, I would guess 98% honestly guided by men and women who in their heart of hearts wanted the best for the kids. That was April 11, 1965. Our country was punch-drunk and terrified of Nazism, Communism, and Marxism. We were just finished tearing at our own throats with the Communist trials. The vision of a Federal curriculum was overshadowed with the swastikas of Hitler Youth.
At that time, there was no real reason that anyone should share anything, and the guard against indoctrination of our youth curled the fears of every patriot'. Things change though. The world changed. We are connected in ways impossible to imagine then. Fifty years has altered our landscape and created extraordinary variation to the definitions of what classrooms are, what are books, what are lessons.
Imagine that today you are the teacher of a 9th grade class. Ebola is sending panics on waves of Fox News broadcasting across the nation. Everyone has an opinion as to what should be done, and these opinions are given with the implication that they are sessile, and undeniable, like the man who yells across the parking lot, "They have to close the borders! What? Are they stupid?" 
You get to your class early and you know that your kids are going to need some answers. With the adults showing such high levels of fear, the kids are definitely going to be affected. So you need a lesson. A lesson about some of the topics that are coming up. The man in the parking lot was belligerent but ... why weren't we closing the boarders?  A lesson on epidemics then. Something that gives some answers, teaches them skills and calms them down. 
Not five years ago, you would not have had enough time to put together a serious lesson on epidemics before your classes began. But today, you open your laptop, and bring up the National Geographic Teacher's Work Room. You search for epidemics and find a lesson already prepared.  for 5-8 graders. Complete with activites, study guides and Common Core lesson plans.Mapping a London Epidemic. 
National Geographic, PBS Learning, OER (Open Education Resources) The National Archives, are all but a small lsit of departments, agencies, companies and corporations who are adding into the growing resources Common Core has allowed. It is the OpenSource movement of education. The lesson is absolutely free for you to use. No strings. 
Well, then, how good or reliable could it be? Understanding that National Geographic is a fairly solid company when it comes to information, we look at the credits
Researchers were Audrey Mohan, Ph.D. and Lindsey Mohan, Ph.D. 
Educator Reviewer: Lydia Lewis, M.Ed., Grade 5 U.S. History/Geography
Educator; National Cathedral School, Washington, D.C.
Then a mess of writers, editors and historians. 
That's how good and reliable it could be. 
The OpenSource culture loves to share knowledge and schools have always been a place they wanted to help and donate time to. But .. everyone was doing their own thing. Districts in the same State weren't even the same. There was no cross-boarder guide for development and even if you decided that one district was still worth your time and effort, next year a whole know set of standards and teaching requirements could make your project useless. 
With Common Core, we have a stable, and nation wide set of standards. Not a curriculum, just standards for education, and teaching. But that's all the OpenSource people needed. Just something stable to build on. And as a country we have already been through the upstart and blossoming of the OpenSource culture with Linux. So businesses like National Geographic aren't balking like they might have back in 2002 -- scared about all the new logics and how could it make profit if it was free and  the cost.. Who is paying for this?  No. They are all over it this time.
Not just companies, but the teachers themselves. With Common Core, you are all on a familiar ground with each other. Most of the site collections have ratings and comments right there with the lesson. NG doesn't fro some reason, but you are running out of time. Kids are going to be here soon. So -- Tweeter
 -       found this lesson on NG Mapping A London Epidemic? Anyone use this? Rating? Hints? Tips?
Instant connection to thousands of other teachers across the nation. By calling out, you are letting them know that you have found something. In answer they are giving you  experience, and insights you couldn't pay enough to receive. 
Next time I'll talk about what is between our kids, and this amazing resource that makes teachers more effective and brings into the classroom what millions of dollars could not accomplish. 
Looking for more Cool Stuff until then? Check out OER OpenSource Education Resources.

Bill Gates Proves his Monetary Goals for Common Core?



The comments on this video that I've seen on YouTube as well as personal - even company blogs, boarder on a level of  ignorance not often encountered in modern times. I'm most disappointed in the statements I've read which are reportedly from Teachers. 

The Rants, on the whole, explode out from this paragraph:

When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching. For the first time, there will be a large base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better. [Emphasis added.]


So, let's start with Perspective since no one seems to have any and their paranoia appears to love its absence.

1. Bill Gates current monetary worth is estimated at $50 BILLION (caps used to draw attention to this amazingly large number). Actually if rises and falls between 50-100 billion

2. Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, in 2006 turned away from Corporate life and invested all of their time and money into their Foundation which hemorrhages money every year so that people around the globe can have things like water, food, shelter, and education.

3. Bill Gates plunged over $200 Million into the NYC school system -- with the idea that smaller schools would work better than the goliaths they had at the time. Afterwards and for some years he felt that this was a mistake -- that there was very little change or benefit derived from the smaller schools. Between 2002 and 2008, the number of high schools in
NYC increased from just over 250 to nearly 450. Many saw this as a huge disruption for the kids of that time, with no positive outcome. A great deal of both professional and general publications criticizing Gates for "messing with things he doesn't understand" came out on the Internet and media venues like Fox News.
     a) Gates never lashed back
     b) Gate continued to seek out professional educators and educational scientists and move forward
*Note: it has now been ascertained that not only have the smaller schools helped the students, that graduation is markedly up and dropout rates notably down.

4. Bill Gates has --as many Billionaires before and since -- signed a commitment on the Giving Pledge to donate half of his monetary worth to charities and projects which improve lives and promote education.
*Note: that is, roughly $25 BILLION he plans on putting into educational efforts across the nation.

Clarity: I've made a passion out of hating Gates during my life.. I was a programmer and system administrator for more than 20years, and deeply into the OpenSource movement-- which was at direct and vicious odds with Micro$oft. If my cat had diarrhea, it was Gate's fault.  -- Since that time, paying attention to what and how he has done things, I've forgiven him for Windows ME, ... but not for Win 2k.

Vocabulary:

Common Standards -- mean to Bill Gates the same thing they would mean to anyone who creates systems or programs computers. A Common platform in which a community of programmers and developers can created widely different modules and libraries from, which will all work together, and indeed be able to enhance one another because they are all developed using this Common Stadard. Equal terms would equal API, Protocal etc.

Market: the Population of available, and interested users. Does not need to equate to money, only investment (such as time and effort investment into learning how to use a new thing).

Buy: As with Market, this does not necessarily refer to money, but can and does refer to time, money and space expenditures. Buy can also have a intelligence or mental meaning as in "Sure, I buy that" to express understanding or belief.

Now.. curriculum lining up to tests...  may or may not be accurate in the way that both Bill and myself understand it, but from observation over the last 12 years with NCLB it certainly appears to be the natural tendency demonstrated by thousands of teachers across the nation. This tendency has been criticized at many levels and from various degrees of experts, however Bill Gates and people like him, do not base development on "what should be" but rather "what is" and "what is" equals "Teachers teach to the tests.

Hopefully that will change in the coming years if Obama can ever get Congress to do their damn job and alter the ESEA as he has requested them to do over 50 times since 2008. Obama's requested alterations are :

Obama's Plan -- A fair accountability system that shares responsibility for improvement and rewards excellence, and that is based on high standards and is informed by sophisticated assessments that measure individual student growth;  A flexible system that empowers principals and teachers, and supports reform and innovation at the state and local level; And a system focused on the schools and the students most at risk -- that targets resources to persistently low-performing schools and ensures the most effective teachers serve students most in need.

NCLB Status Quo: Rely on unsophisticated bubble tests to grade students and schools.

The Obama Plan: Support better tests. The Obama Administration has invested $350 million to support states in their efforts to create more sophisticated assessment systems that measure problem solving and other 21st century skills and that will provide teachers will timely information to help them improve instruction.

Now, this next part you are probably unfamilier with, but Bill Gates is also very aware of, and influenced by the culture of OpenSource. He has invested a serious amount of money into attracting the OpenSource community to the Educational world.

However, this effort to attract the OSs has been extremely difficult because in the Educational community there have been no standards, no sameness -- everyone does their own thing across state lines and sometimes across district lines. 

Because of this there is very little intrinsic reward (being that good feeling you get when you have developed something that thousands of people enjoyed and used to improve their lives.. you know that feeling? Probably not.. but it is an amazing high... just take my word for it).  

So the talent and the willingness was there, but it has always been stunted by knowing that no matter how good your program or project was, the market base for it was atrophied by lack of population -- and next year, all of the standards you based your project on might be removed and replaced by something completely different -- so project lifetime was volatile as well.

Now.. looking at his "malicious and suspect" statement pulled out from Bill's speech..  Turn your attention to the wonder his foresight has created..

OER (Open Educational Resources)
https://www.oercommons.org/realizing-the-promise-of-the-common-core-together

Gates gave it a push, but then let it go. The community was hesitate for a long time, but it is growing by leaps and bounds now. There are 1000s of OER CCSS compatible lessons, books, modules, resources and even full curriculum available for teachers and schools across the nation -- 90% of them absolutely free. 

These projects are developed by PhDs, Educators, Scientists -- but also by hobbyist and novelist and artists. They are all peer reviewed, and critiqued for conformity to the Standards and effectiveness. Teachers who use them can post their own critiques, offer suggestions, make requests for changes, or additions. Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

That is just one site.

https://www.graphite.org/

There are at least twelve other huge hubs with 1000s of resources listed: Photos, recorded speeches, video, graphics, full software programs -- the list is growing even while I'm typing this.

This is the vision that Bill Gates had when David Coleman sat in his living room in 2007 and told Bill and Melinda about CCSS. This is what he is talking about, and if you watch him, in that video, he can barely contain his excitement,.. but at that time, the OSs haven't really invested into the idea yet so he is refraining from getting into this.

Bill Gates is a man, who if he finds $100 on the ground, loses money by stopping to pick it up, and people -- who seem oddly intelligent in other matters, are accusing him of Taking Over the Public School System for Profit. 

The  Money Market value of CCSS will have little meaning in five years -- how exactly did you believe Gates might make a profit off his $800 million current investment into the schools of the US? This premise is seriously flawed. For one thing, he has several other venues which deluge him daily with capital he can't spend fast enough now... he doesn't need to go after children's lunch money. Alright? 

If you (reader) are a teacher,  you might want to compose a thank you letter to Bill Gates, and Obama -- because Congress was just fine with letting you all go down in flames.  

If CCSS wasn't in place right now, last Tuesday (the 12th year mark of  ESEA) all of you teachers would have been fired, and the schools closed.. in every state. .. All of them. CCSS isn't a new way of teaching.. it is a reform for NCLB that qualifies and meets the requirements of the ESEA law, allowing Obama to keep the schools to continue for a few more years.

Think about that the next time you want to STOP CCSS from corrupting the schools...

.. just saying.





Dance of the Dead, by Goethe

The poem  Dance of the Dead, by Goethe  is a chilling and vivid depiction of a supernatural dance of the dead, an eerie scene where the dead...