daily 100


  • 2017.11.11 The Next Battle for Openness: Data, Algorithms, and Competency Mapping * the enemy is us...


2017.10.24 Coding? Reading an article on the future of education by via Mauldin. He along with many others are on this every kid needs to learn to code kick. There are definitely elements of coding that are useful and easy ways to get kids to practice important life and learning skills - critical thinking, problem solving, cause and effect, ... However, the framework is narrow and potentially off-putting. If it works for kids, great. For the rest of the kids who aren't buying into this vision, we need to have other frameworks to learn and practice these skills. Lots of kids don't think that the projects Hour of Code is fun or relevant. What else can we do? Some more social and beneficial theme will better serve this kids now and in the future. Yes, and...

This is also the problem with engineering as it is defined and taught today. You have to be all in from about sixth grade because that is when the fundamentals of math and science are taught that provide the framework for all the course work required in high school to get into engineering school and be successful in engineering school. Don't have great math and science teachers in mddle school? Too bad, You can't be an engineer. Surprise, there aren't as many engineers as we need. Medicine on the other hand has always had many paths and levels of professional participation and practice. Not everyone needs to go to medical school. In fact, that is actively discouraged, when there are so many other options available. Yes, there are a few programs like apprenticeships for engineering related trades but they have their own barriers and gatekeepers. Where are the engineering functional equivalents to Physicians Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, nurses, dietitians, technicians, .. that are pervasive in medicine. These important and rewarding careers do not require the same preparation as medical school entrance requirements. There is still a lot of work to do to enter and complete these programs, but these can be achieved with interest and determination.

2017.10.17 feedback byxbee
https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/10/15/developing-students-ability-to-give-and-take-effective-feedback/ *

2017.10.12 typing
So, what are we doing in the Technology Lab at a K-8 Science and Technology? Typing! Yup, that's right. And the kids hate it. They will do aaanything to to avoid this. There is a requirement that kids must be able to meet ?? minimum targets for words per minute (wpm) and accuracy. Kids come for 40 minutes once a week. They have been "assigned" typing practice challenges to complete in each session. Most kids complete them all, some don't. Now kids are working on testing using ?? The text presents a page of copy text. The timing starts when the typing starts. The current word is highlighted. Mistakes are shaded and can be corrected as they are are noticed. Some of the passages are really difficult - CAPS: and weird words. Others are relatively easy to read, remember and type. Kids must achieve the minimum scores for both wpm and accuracy six times before they can be signed off. It is amazing how many kids can complete this. Yes, I tried it. I met the standard with my semi hunt and peck in all but the one "hard" passage. I felt compelled to correct all the error as I went which pulled down my wpm score but my accuracy score was consistently over 97%. * Lots of issues with this whole business. The state tests are all computer-based so that is the reason given for requiring the prescribed level of keyboarding proficiency. There are some written responses required in these tests. If the kids don't type well enough they will be disadvantaged in the testing as they will be preoccupied with the mechanics and not able to focus on composing their response. High stakes testing that requires a skill as well as critical thinking. * keyboarding - The school provides a 1:1 tablet (without keyboard) for every kid K-8 as of this year. There are usually 4 PCs in each classroom as well. There are two computer labs with 25+ PCs for whole class activities. So actual keyboarding per week can be limited because it isn't necessary. * time on task - Weekly training isn't very productive for achieving typing skills. If the objective is to achieve the specified speed and accuracy goals, most programs recommend daily 20-30 minute sessions over 4 weeks or 9 weeks, depending on the level of proficiency to be attained. * copy typing / touch typing - There are several stated goals with conflicting solutions. The typing tests and requirements are usually assessed using one of the copy typing tests. Text is displayed on the screen and must be reproduced in the textbox on the screen. Depending on the training and trainer, practice environment and test administration, hands may not be visible - often a cardboard blind is in place. Typing position - feet, wrists, fingers may be strictly enforced or not. But who copy types any more. By now, every kid has already mastered "copy and paste". What is surprising is that no kids appear to be trying to game the typing test with copy and paste. This has been done elsewhere. There is a trick to when to paste so that the typing speed looks about right, not unbelievably fast. * composing - The rationale for insisting on this level of typing proficiency to to ensure that the typing process is not the focus, so the kids are free to concentrate on the composition. This brings up a lot of second and third order effects. How fast do kids think? How fast can they compose and print or write in cursive or type? What is the limiting factor? What impact does the transfer to text method have on the composition process? some interesting "facts" about words per minute. ?? If kids can type about 12 wpm, they probably have the typing skills that is roughly equivalent to their writing speed. Adding a margin for error of 50% is still only 18 wpm. What are kids writing at these speeds? Oral dictation? Composing original thoughts? Responding to prompts for short answers. sentences, paragraphs? Where did the 20-25 wpm requirement come from? Why was this picked to be the target? How about the accuracy number? How will the kids be assessed on the computer based tests? Are their points deducted for spelling (or typos) and how is this determined? * I know myself that I tend to think and write at about the same speed when I am composing. I do a lot of self editing because I can't just blast out a stream of consciousness. When I'm getting ideas down, sentence fragments, bullet points, string of words with minimal punctuation work for me. * I am always impressed by middle and high schoolers who can type really fast. Some took keyboarding classes. Some just figured it out. One thing that I have seen usually sitting next to someone on an airplane, is really fast typing looking just at the screen, but they spend most of their keystrokes hitting the delete key - sometimes 100s of times to produce a paragraph. What's the point of that? Some are just the wrong letter - hand position issues. Others are trying to type a half-baked idea, and typing words that come to mind then deleting and retyping. Is their composing any better for this? * The "worst" was teaching an online course that was part of a Masters program. All the students were higher education instructors, many with Ph.D.s and extensive academic research publications. These folks were great typist but their stuff was awful to read. Hundreds of unnecessary works, poor discussion of the key points, bullshit mostly. I limited submissions to 500 words and deducted a grade for going over. Needless to say, there was a huge outcry about how unfair this was. Unfair to whom? I had to read this stuff as part of my job. ?? said I would have written a shorter letter if I had more time. * So what is the objective for the kids? * the kids hate typing - This is pretty complex. What don't they like? The repletion? Lack of choice? Lack of visibility on actual progress? No idea why they have to do this? No idea what's in it for them? Because it is a state requirement? What would they rather be doing? What other activities do they do in the weekly Technology Lab sessions? Do they like these better? Do they equate technology with boring typing? * suggestions - Serious look at the whole landscape here. What is required and why? Some of these are probably in conflict. What is negotiable? What accommodations can be made? Is there a better way to do this - where, how? Is there a way to satisfy the requirements and reach an outcome that will be a better use of the time and resources including the kids willingness to actively engage in the program?


2017.10.5 prior knowledge struggling readers

2017.10.5 STEM is an acronym, a superficial list of topics

2017.10.1 Threats and behavior
The ultimate goal of discipline is to have children responsible for their own actions. However, there are still adult authority figures working with k-5 kids who use threats to maintain control. This just doesn't seem right, but is it effective? This is an after school program. Kids are supported to spend an hour on homework or individual reading. Two days a week 10-12 tutors - mostly volunteers from a neighborhood church come to work with the kids. Some are retired school teachers, although not all. The kids are brought by bus from two elementary schools nearby. They have a snack and then are supposed to be ready to work on homework. Some times they are noisy and take a while to settle down. Then the threat technique starts. If you don't settle down nobody will get to go out and play after homework time. Respect the tutors. They are here to help you and you are being disrespectful by being noisy. Sit quietly until there is complete quiet (often several minutes to the point where even the best forth graders start to figget and an eternity for first graders). Sometimes these are accompanied by long lectures about how bad the kids are and how they aren't going to amount to anything. You have a great opportunity and you aren't making use of it. You will be reported to your parents, ... This really takes the joy out of anything that follows. Homework is a nasty chore, a punishment with punishment.
  • Research indicates that punishment is sometimes accompanied by significant negative side effects. Students who are regularly the object of punishment may over time show a drop in positive attitudes toward school (resulting in poor attendance and work performance), have a more negative perception of teachers, and adopt a more punitive manner in interacting with peers and adults
Many kids get help and encouragement from personalized attention for a couple of hours per week. So the good news is the kids get some or all of their homework done. But at what "cost"? Where is the curiosity? What is encouraging self-directed learning? How does this develop learning skills and a love of learning? How detrimental is this to these kids? What are the alternatives to this form of authority? How else could the situation be managed in a more positive way?

2017.10.1 Global learning development
The Global Learning XPRIZE advisors determined that offering a serious of escalating cash prizes would encourage developers and educators to come up with scaleable solutions to the looming education crisis. Without at least basic literaices in reading and math, millions of young people will not be able to participate in the global economy. One of the foundations is access to education. Although not deployed everywhere, the technology exists to provide universal access to mobile networks and learning content that can be delivered via open software and educational resources. Because these are free - without cost to the user, someone has to pay for the development of these resources, the hardware, distributions and ongoing maintenance and improvements. The Global Learning XPRIZE money is enough to kick this off but it isn't adequate to sustain the entire solution. Some commercial providers expect to make enough money from paid subscriptions and services to cover the cost of providing some services free of charge to these other users, in the expectation that they too will be able to pay their way in due course. Some providers are promoting themselves as non-profits and soliciting donations and sponsorship to cover the costs. Longer, term, it ishard to predict which models will be successful. This is important work and it is exciting to follow progress.

2017.9.30 Access to education by 2030

2017.9.29 Beyond comfort zone

2017.9.24 Curation
Collecting and cataloging are serious hobbies and just plain fun. Picking up interesting shell on a beach or rocks along a hiking trail. Baseball cards, Barbie dolls, classic cars, works of art, ... With the internet new collections are becoming popular - Facebook friends, Pinterest pins, and social book marks. The term curation has traditionally been to take charge of (a museum) or organize (an art exhibit) for example to curate a photography show.; or to pull together, sift through, and select for presentation, as music or website content. Curation is fast becoming a favorite hobby for many digital packrats. Online tools such as Diigo and Pinterest can be used to gather, organize, display and share collections of web-based objects and artifacts. Finding and presenting images and articles are great activities for encouraging kids to explore and refine what interests them. Better than nick nacks and curios as they don't require dusting.

2017.9.21 MOOCs for K-3
In a sense the Global Learning Xprise solution could end up being a MOOC for little kids. Currently as defined, the objective is to load up Android tablets with apps and infrastructure so that they can be deployed by the thousand to areas where formal education with qualified teachers is impractical or impossible. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project had similar goals with custom hardware. Noble goal, but just too many obstacles and too far ahead of its time?

2017.9.20 MOOCs and me
Yup, I did it again. I signed up for a bunch of MOOCs starting in the next couple of weeks. Having participated in the first one ever - CCK08 with Stephen Downes and George Couros, I love the possibilities. MIT had been making its course lectures and some teaching materials available as Open Educational Resources (OERs) for a number if years - since xxxx. The term MOOC came along later, but the massively open online course was the whole idea - a new way to open up learning to everyone. Interesting content with enough issues and opinions to get conversations going. Outreach to a global community of self-directed learners who were interested and willing to participate in this new adventure. The organizers provide plenty of opportunity to contribute and plenty of technology to support the whole thing. In addition to Moodle discussions, there was a daily "publication" that automatically collected all the blog posts and tweets with the course hashtag and provided a nice email summary of comments and commentary. The organizers were "present" replying to many of the individual posts and tweets that were then reflected in the news too. Lurking was encourage. Occasional participation was fine. Major contributors found their voices and their "people" - the Moodle discussion evolved into the space for "serious: academic debate (long winded, rather pedantic posts IMHO). Posting in personal blogs that included the course hash tag was brilliant. The contributor's work was clearly and permanently included in the author's body of work. Comments made about the post were attached to the original post. The course facilitators were truly guides on the side. No formal lectures. No assignments or exercises. Summation and comments. No grades, badges or assessments. This wasn't for everyone, that's for sure. Needless to say, after a couple of years, the serious institutions of higher education and by some accounts highjacked the MOOC movement. Very formal "open" courses and infrastructure evolved to provide MOOCs that were just traditional college course materials - lectures, assignments, assessments online. Everyone was doing it. Some were really bad ideas. Sure it was cheap and easy to have your lowest level (failing) students take remedial reading and writing as an open online course. Surprise, they lacked the skills and motivation to learn in this environment so the concept of MOOC was subsequently rejected as having any value in higher education in many scholarly papers. Fast forward several years. FutureLearn out of the UK introduced a framework and collection of courses that are well suited to lifelong learners as well as students in many specific courses of study. One of the ongoing problems was getting beyond the host institution and facilitator getting paid from their largess. Pay to continue to have access to the material after the end of the course. Pay for recognition - certificates of completion or badges. "Learning is free. Credit costs money."

2017.9.19 Kids today
MS2: Today's kids don't have many life experiences that provide an opportunity to practice the fundamental skills. In the past, mom gave the kids a $5 bill and sent them off to the store to buy some grocery items and they needed to be back with the correct change before 5 o'clock. Today many kids never go out alone, and certainly not to run errands like shopping in a store by themselves. Nothing is purchased by the kids. Any purchases are made with plastic, so there is no opportunity to determine what change is owed and that what they get back is correct. And time - lots of kids have no sense of time, some recognize time on a digital clock but are unable to tell time from an old fashioned clock with hands. Teaching this stuff is tough when the kids have no frame of reference and no first-hand real world experience with the subject matter.

2017.9.18 Supporting teachers
An experienced teacher . new to the school came to the principal to say that they should look for a replacement for the teacher. She was having a number of personal problems that along with getting settled in a new school with different expectations was overwhelming. She didn't want to have her issues detract from the impressive culture of learning that should be happening in her class too. Understanding the situation after further discussion, the principal said that they would not look for a replacement. The new teacher was a valuable asset within the school community. The school had a number of resources - para-teachers, administrators, special educators, who where available to support the teacher. Nice to hear that such immediate and caring support was available and provided. It doesn't happen everywhere so it when it does, it is worth highlighting and celebrating.

2017.9.17 - You didn't get it
It is pretty clear that we don't all make the the same connections given the same information. I pass along some information that I think adds to the topic being discussed. You don't see the connection and ask for an explanation or clarification. I provide what I think will connect the dots. You still don't get it. Hmm. Now what? How important is this? Not important enough to spend any more time trying to explain the connection differently or try to figure out why there is this disconnect. Ok, so just move on on this one. But it does raise and interesting point about information processing. Does this have anything to do with curiosity? Or personal learning style? If you only learn what you almost know, this suggests that there is some model or framework for seeing new information in context. If there isn't a place for this information to latch onto, then it is bewildering and/or not useful. Is it just a matter of processing this until the connection can be found and there will be an aha moment sometime in the future - minutes or days later? Must look to see if there is any research or literature about this.

2017.9.16 - Teachers' Social Media Presence
Teachers need to have a social media presence so that they can work with kids to prepare them for the real word. Reality - most employers today will google job candidates as well as require a resume. Better to start no later than 9th grade to have kids learning to use social media appropriately. What is appropriate, what's not. You google a restaurant for meal. Parents should be able to google the teacher who is going to be with their kids for a whole school year.

2017.9.16 - When technology doesn't add to learning
George Couros talks with guest about various ways for school leaders and teachers to use technology. For some things and some people, just jump right in and try stuff out and learn along with the kids. However, getting a basic understanding of the tools may work better so that pitfalls can be determined in advance. Best to determine the learning need, then find a technology to help support the learning. They talked about some examples of technology not working as well as non-technology. For example discussing the implications of an image presented to spark discussion in social studies brought out great ideas and thoughtful responses without technology. Switching to discussion technology and the discussion never materialized. On the other hand, collaborating with another class of indigenous students to discuss issues they faced was much more authentic and insightful for the kids than discussions within their class or reading about the issues in a textbook. Often others - teachers, media specialists, can suggest technologies to address a specific learning objective.

2017.9.15 - Typing practice
Typing - what is the objective for having every kid in K-8 spend a 50 minute period once a week working on a typing program / game? What are the kids learning? Is this a productive use of their time? Some articles suggest that kids won't have the hand size to touch type until middle school. If kids aren't being taught proper technique - wrist position, fingers on correct keys, look at the screen not the keys, bad habits will be difficult to correct later. Third graders and up likely have dexterity and letter recognition to derive some benefit from these sessions. There are questions about the effectiveness for k-2 kids. What is the relative merit of total time? There are discussions about length of sessions and frequency of breaks for fingers and eyes. Is there any literature that addresses frequency - one 50 minute session per week? Does practice need to be shorter more frequent (daily) sessions?