Change for the Better

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we love sharing school success stories! Being a catalyst of change is an overwhelming task, and taking on a failing school system is no exception. Read this success-in-progress story of one struggling school in Massachusetts that was recently highlighted in a New York Times post.17wed2-blog427

And we would love to hear YOUR success stories. We know there are many school leaders working tireless to bring about positive change in their communities. Tell us your story and you could be featured right here on ShiftED! Email us at rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com

What We Don’t Know

Effectively integrating technology into a learning environment is never as easy as it seems. Last week ShiftED highlighted an article about why ed tech is not transforming the way teachers teach. This week, we take a look at the effects this “ed tech gap” will have on young people’s earning potential and on the workforce of the future. Head over to the study by Change the Equation for the hard hitting facts and some practical solutions to get things moving in the right direction.

WhatWeDontKnow

Hot Topic for a Hot Day

So, it’s finally hot outside.

94dd9c00-c8c2-45c3-bcf8-5b85774899db_463x347And, speaking of things that are hot: let’s talk about evaluating teachers. Almost every state is talking about how to do it right. We at ShiftED are all about empowering teachers so they can empower students. Like folks in any profession (and, not coincidentally, just like students), educators’ performances improve most when they are given thoughtful, constructive feedback and specific guidance based on classroom observations. Check out this article from the NY Times on a thought-leading professor from the University of Michigan who might just have a formula worth trying.

What do you think about the subject? We want to hear your thoughts on positive solutions for teacher evaluation. Comment below!

The Ed Tech Gap

“When learning experiences are focused solely on the technology itself, with no specific connection to grade or content learning goals, teachers are unlikely to incorporate technology into their practices….” tech-counts-digital-teaching-desks-515

Anyone who’s worked in the K-12 trenches knows what a struggle it can be to integrate technology into your curriculum in a meaningful, transformative way. As this delightfully quotable EdWeek article demonstrates, the roots of this challenge run deep through the foundations of the American educational. Read on for insights on how school leaders can support teachers and students in getting the most of the technology available to them.

Extra Credit

In business and in education good leadership is key to the success of an organization. Just as we want to continually celebrate achievements of innovative teachers and enterprising students, we at ShiftED believe it’s just as important to celebrate school leaders who strive to be agents of positive change in their communities, districts and individual buildings. Do you know school district leaders who have brought fresh, successful ideas to their school communities? Nominate them here for EdWeek’s Leaders to Learn From profile for 2016. Then tell us right here in the comment section about the school leader you nominated and why. We want to feature you and your innovative leader on ShiftED!

http://www.feegrade.com.au/school-leadership-professional-development-and-mentoring.cfm

Gates Ways

Some of America’s favorite innovators are college dropouts. And educators can feel more than a little daunted when defending their value in the face of multibillionaires’ successes sans formal education. In response to edu-skeptics (and in support of higher ed) Microsoft’s Bill Gates published a reflection on the importance of obtaining a college degree. A New York Times article bolsters Gates’ post with even more research. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/04/upshot/bill-gates-college-dropout-dont-be-like-me.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=0

Our favorite highlights:

‘“The problem isn’t that not enough people are going to college,” Mr. Gates writes. “The problem is that not enough people are finishing.”’

“Education, as David Autor, the M.I.T. economist, notes, is not a game of musical chairs. More educated societies generally become richer, healthier and better functioning over time.”

Graphics and Glitter and Gaps, Oh My!

How to Keep Your PD on Point

Sylvia Duckworth, an “AIM French teacher and techno-geek” out of Toronto, shares “10 Things Teachers Want for Professional Development” in a happy little infographic. The value of the list is threefold: 18121142350_682ac1f50a_m

  1. PD Content creators ought to constantly keep these in mind when researching and developing curriculum for educators
  2. School leaders should use these as an evaluation tool when selecting programs for in-house training and in recommendations for offsite training for their teams. Additionally, there are a few reminders on how to remain a team player when attending professional development activities with your team.
  3. Although the infographic speaks of what teachers already want, it’s a good reminder on what to look for when seeking out your own development opportunities.

More artful edu-wisdom from Sylvia can be found on her twitter @sylviaduckworth or her about.me page.


 “I will never miss the glitter…”

No time is a bad time to share stories that restore faith in humanity. And this reflection on the saints who are preschool teachers is no exception. If you’ve ever parented a 3-year-old, cared for a 3-year old, or observed a screaming one in the aisles of a Wal-Mart, you know that wrangling even one of these angels is not for the faint of heart. So head over to the Huffington Post to read about just a few of the things we ought to thank preschool teachers for, then go find a teacher and thank her yourself. Faith in humanity: restored. 

Want to share a story of an outstanding teacher? Tell us: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com


Gaps and Overlaps

When considering the achievement gap that plagues our at-risk and under-privileged youth, we think of the traditional classroom and efforts that can be made to close that gap during the school year. What we often overlook is the perpetuation of the achievement gap that occurs during the summer months, when students with fewer academic resources at their disposal face a continued lack of resources: a viable network for finding employment.

According to the superintendent of school in Rochester, NY, “There is no other time in the lives of minority and poor children in the nation where the opportunity gap is so widened than during the summer time.” But all is not lost! Read on in this EdWeek article to see what proactive cities across the country are doing to empower the youth in their community this summer.

Is your community linking youth with opportunity? Tell us about it: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com


Direct Yourself

We’re always looking for schools who are “doing it right” when it comes to the 21st century learning movement. Change is never easy, and enacting meaningful change when it comes to education comes with a lot of bureaucratic red tape, budget limitations and a well-padded comfort zone that must be overcome. So when we find schools that seem to have found a way over or around those hurdles, we’re excited to learn more and share their inspirations with the world. Prepare to have your mind blown by – that’s right – seventh grade chemical engineers. Read it here

Do you know of a school doing progress, disruptive, impressive thing? (Bonus points if it your school!) Email us: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com


 Readers Gonna Read

If you happened to read “Five Ways to Keep the Pencil Sharp This Summer” on the Lumen Touch blog last week, then you received a little nudge about reading outside your comfort zone. If you’re still stuck on where to go, check out this week’s book recommendation:

Remember when the crazies at Duke University gave every incoming freshman an Apple iPod? The catalyst of that hair brained brilliance, Cathy N. Davidson, writes about the experience, as well as her other experiences with disruptive learning in her book: Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. Read a full summary here. Or buy it here.

Do you have book ideas to contribute? Email us: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com


 On the Blog

This week on the blog, find out what competitive cooking, reality TV and project-based learning have in common. A few ingredients may leave you queasy, but we hope the recipe itself helps you cook up some delightful project ideas!

Share your project-based learning ideas! Email us: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com