reflectively assessing my professional goals

Blumengarten (@cybraryman1) model writing by blogs

2r089bxoee0yjuiykgzb_normal.jpeg Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1)
2013-02-26 6:09 PM
Yes teachers should model their writing (blogs) & show students even quietest ones can now have a global voice through blogging #njed

The Reading Zone

My colleagues and I are currently in the second year of my favorite “experiment”.  Last year, inspired by Google’s 20% time, we decided to try a variation of the project with our freshman.  I am extraordinarily lucky because my colleagues are fabulous and we teach an integrated curriculum (Biology, English, Software Applications, and World History).  This means we control the schedule for all of the freshman every morning.  We are able to divide the time up between our classes in whatever manner works best and we do cross-curricular projects as often as possible.

So we decided we wanted to try our own version of Google’s 20% Project, which encourages Google employees to spend one day per week working on a project of their own design.  While we can’t devote one day every week to our experiment, we ended up with Free Form Friday.  Free Form Friday is an experiment- last…

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Badges – MozillaWiki #etmooc #bced

What is Mozilla’s Open Badges project?

Learning today happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. But it’s often difficult to get recognition for skills and achievements that happen outside of school. Mozilla’s Open Badges project is working to solve that problem, making it easy for anyone to issue, earn and display badges across the web — through a shared infrastructure that’s free and open to all. The result: helping people of all ages learn and display 21st century skills, unlock career and educational opportunities, and find new life pathways.

Sent from my iPad

Has 3Rs literacy expired? CEET asks us in Moodle meeting…

It’s next week’s #ETMOOC topic but I just started reading the introduction today and the opening backgrounder is a thoughtful reflection. What I found illuminating is the reference, despite pop media teeth gnashing, is that our schooling system has in fact been very successful. I think our educators have adapted to social and technological change with remarkable maturity, calmness and skill. Despite being harassed in the media almost daily as a failure( which I belief to be social anxiety response to rapid change) educators are developing skills and exploring initiatives with our kids well-being in their hearts. Educators are tackling obstacles parents, corporations, institutions, and governments are struggling to find solutions.

FROM #CEETOPEN Moodle meet.

Smack in the middle of a conversation with a colleague it occured to me with a flush of embarrassment that all my critiques of contemporary education have been entirely misplaced; not so much wrong perhaps, but certainly unfairly aimed.

Contemporary edcuation is not broken. Indeed, it’s wildly, unimpeachably successful. The contemporary model was never intended to do anything more than bring broad basic literacy–the Three R’s–to millions. In that it has been brilliantly successful. Between 1870 and 1979, illiteracy rates (the percentage of the population that could not read or write in any language) in the U.S. fell from 20% to 0.6%. That, by any accounting, is a stunning achievement. Instead of criticizing it, we should be throwing education a party; a retirement party perhaps, but one where we nevertheless congratulate ourselves on a job well done. (Even so, we will want to keep the old schools around in a consulting role for a while. Our current cry for reform glosses over the fact that the educational needs of all communities are not uniform. There are many places at home and abroad where we have not yet achieved basic literacy and for that we have a proven model to deploy.)

Sadly, our current discussions around educational reform are characterized by destructive and frustrating criticism and, worse I am afraid, shameful blame–on both sides. State authorities blame teachers for failing to meet prescribed outcomes; teachers blame authorites for failing to see those outcomes are losing their relevance. Perhaps those outcomes are out of step, but it won’t do either to replace them with yet another set, even if they are called something like 21st Century literacies. Swapping “literacies” says we have not significantly changed our thinking. We have to imagine a wholesale structural change, just as we did when we invented public schooling in the first place.(CEET)

Trying to ‘make history’ is lovely literary hyperbole but the viewpoint of connected learning initiatives that move the bar forward is valid. For public education to seek a deeper mandate of 3Rs literacy now that society has significantly evolved from Industrial Age needs is a legitimate goal. Literacy as only a read and write competency is terrific old definition and aspiration, but in our information digital age, other skills that drive a civil society sure seem needed.

Forgive the crude generalization, but we might say there are just two models of edcuation: the first and the oldest, an education for the privileged that was is meant to prepare a them for politics, business and higher study. Call this a liberal education. The second, only a century or two old, a basic literacy education, meant to prepare everyone else to take a place on the shop floor. But now that we have achieved the broad literacy that is the prerequisite for a broad liberal education we can seriously talk about delivering what was once reserved for the priviledged few to everyone.(CEET)

Visit > or Twitter #ceetopen

I’m tired too George yet… Wrights Room reblog response


20130220-210408.jpgI recently attended a teacher evaluation meeting and was taken aback by a few observations very appropriate to this blog because after 32 diverse and rewarding years, I too see myself as an inquiry teacher. At the dinner meeting, graciously hosted by my administrators, a cohort of teachers shared their Personal Growth Plans- an optional process for professional evaluation. I listened to brief reports from teachers that were indicative of some very sincere, passionate and progressive teaching practices and goals. Motivating examples of fellow colleagues, young and old, striving to provide excellent opportunities for teens. I disappointedly also recognized some flaws in how we provide professional development and deliver programs in our public school. I also heard our Principal and Vice Admin share their PGP work. hearing them share what they aspire to do to improve was a rewarding few moments. These passionate people, teachers and administrators, , like George Couros writes, have tired days. It’s a difficult task educating children in our complex times. We are tired. I suppose if we are not something isn’t right, yet we must find balance to remain effective and healthy. Each educator has unique challenges. As a teacher-librarian, my role is diverse and often misinterpreted but the inquiry teacher is more meaningful and also challenging than ever. I’m tired. 🙂 I seek long term collaboration and service but also get inundated hourly with the pressing needs of students and staff. Specialist, non-enrolling teachers are ducks out of water in our system in many ways yet they provide critical support in so many ways. The recent swing to inquiry process and project based learning, along with the technology web2.0 tsunami, has really put my expertise and roving access under demand. I’m tired. 🙂 So when I read Couros’ blog post and now Shelly Wright’s response, I was again rejuvenated by this new connected learning paradigm that allows me to stay engaged with such intelligent professionals so far away and yet so close to home. I’m tired but never feel alone. My school colleagues, my admin team and my PLN have given me new perspectives. If you are not connected to educators online you should be because the support, wisdom and joy of the fraternity refreshes those fatiguing days. Thanks George. Thanks Shelley. Thanks team.


8475376072_bd2422be64_nFriday afternoon, while sitting in an airport, I read a  recent post by George Couros entitled “I’m tired“. I was incredibly impressed, not just because he’s a friend, but because of the sheer audacity & frankness of his words.  How often are people in leadership that honest?  Reflecting on that post for the past three days has led me to writing this post.

I struggle.  I struggle with where I am & what I’m doing. I struggle with the educational system as we know it. I struggle with the painfully slow pace of change.  I struggle with people in power who say they care about kids, but don’t do the hard things to make a really huge difference in creating a learning environment that matters.  With all the research that exists, we know what’s good for kids. Let’s not pretend otherwise. I’m tired of all of the talking…

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