Archive for Uncategorized

Standards V & VI- Reflections

Standard V: Productivity and Professional Practice

Several years ago, using calculators in a school setting was considered “technology integration.” Today, for many teachers, Microsoft Office is “technology.” For our students, “technology” means cell phones and iPads. Is technology changing that fast? Or is our definition of technology shifting steadily with each new development? What is considered “technology” for one generation does not receive the same label. It is as though something is only “technology” if was developed after our birth (Hartman, Moskal, & Dziuban, 2005). However, with each new advancement comes new potential. This standard is, at its core, about tapping into that potential and affecting the way educators operate on a daily basis, changing everything from teaching and learning to community communication to participation in professional growth activities (Williamson & Redish, 2009). One of the most important things I can do as an educator and as a technology facilitator/leader of the future is to encourage my colleagues to commit themselves to learning. Technology certainly has a role in this, especially with the rise of social networking sites such as NingPlurkFacebook, and Twitter for the purpose of expanding an educator’s practice and professionalism. It would be all too easy, however, to say that this standard is about finding new and creative ways for teachers to use new technologies that will make their lives easier/simpler/faster/cheaper. It would additionally be a gross oversimplification that radically misses the heart of the message presented by Williamson and Redish who, citing Michael Fullan, argue that, “addressing productivity and professional practice in schools… requires leveraging technology to support the ‘reculturing’ of schools” (1999; 2009). Through the use of technology, I am called not only to help teachers implement new tools that will support their own learning and productivity and their students’ learning and productivity, but also completely change the culture of the organization. This can only occur if I have facilitated a culture of learning and change. The organization itself cannot change nor can it learn unless the members that make up that organization are themselves learning individually (Senge, 1990/2010). This, then, is my call: facilitate an environment and even a culture of learning within the organization of which I am a member and thus model what I expect to see from my coworkers. Innovation and a culture of change starts with me.

Standard VI: Social, Ethical, Legal, and Human Issues

This standard might be the most pressing issue facing technology in education today. There has been much talk over the past several years about the difference between today’s students and teachers, even to the extent that they have been labeled based on this difference (Prensky, 2001). Narrowly defined, the issue is what to do with ethical and moral issues that technology use brings with it. In the arena of social, ethical, legal, and human issues, I have worked diligently, even before knowing that it was considered a tenet of being a successful technologist. In surveying the educational landscape, I am keenly aware that today’s teachers, almost exclusively members of older generations, believe today’s students to be inherently proficient with technology. Further complicating the issue, because many in older generations are not as comfortable with the latest in technology, they have opted to disengage from the dialogue that must occur to keep our students safe, productive members of a digital society. There are indeed unique challenges that the proliferation and ubiquity of computer use and Internet access have brought upon our schools, particularly with the introduction of web 2.0 and social technologies (James, 2009). What I find most interesting is the intersection of my own story with the story of public education, particularly in the area of technology. As schools face challenges adapting to new styles of learning and different educational needs expressed by students, along with the social and ethical issues raised with “digital natives,” I have realized that I have found myself with a foot on either side of this chasm. On the one hand, I myself am a digital native. I “speak the language” if you will. My own learning preferences are in tight alignment with those of my students and, in reading many different articles and pieces about how to relate to the “Net Gen,” I frequently finding myself asking if the author was genuinely ignorant of that topic prior to their discovery of it or if they really believe they point they are trying to make is ground-breaking. As such, I am faced with the proposition of attempting to relate and work with “digital immigrants.” So, in reading about how to relate to my own generation, I am learning more about how to relate to the generations that I will be responsible for moving forward in my career as a technologist. Keeping in mind, naturally, that just because people are born in one generation or another does not make them ignorant nor proficient with technology. Instead, research is increasingly showing what Prensky hinted at and what was later illuminated further in a report released in aggregate by Educause: experience with technology matters more than your birth date (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005; 2001). Thus, the issues of digital equity, privacy of electronic student records, students’ online safety, and copyright infringement must be addressed and we must actively engage ourselves in promoting policy and procedure that “promotes benefits for all and the exclusion of none (Williamson & Redish, 2009). Kids don’t inherently know what is right or wrong, even though they’ve always had technology around them. Teachers haven’t spent enough time learning about these pressing issues. The result, of course, is a major disconnect and one that must be closed if we, as social architects and culture-shapers, are to develop a system that is engaging and relevant, not just for children, but for the nation as a whole.

Full Reference List

References:
Bransford, J. & Cocking, P. (1999). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Dewey, J. (1902/1966). The child and the curriculum. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Fullan, M. (1999). Change forces: The sequel. London: Falmer.

Hartman, J, Moskal, P, & Dziuban, C. (2005).Preparing the academy of today for the learner of tomorrow (Excerpted from Educating the Net Generation), Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/Resources/EducatingtheNetGeneration/PreparingtheAcademyofTodayfort/6062

James, C. (2009). Young people, ethics, and the new digital media: a synthesis from the good play project (Kindle edition), doi: 0262513633

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century (Kindle edition)
Oblinger, D., & Oblinger, J. (2005). Is it age or it: first steps toward understanding the net generation[Excerpted from Educating the Net Generation, 2005]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.educause.edu/Resources/EducatingtheNetGeneration/IsItAgeorITFirstStepsTowardUnd/6058
Paige, R. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Public Affairs. (2004). A guide to education and no child left behind Washington, DC: Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/overview/intro/guide/guide.pdf

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E.R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Prensky, M. (2001, October). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On The Horizon9(5), Retrieved fromhttp://www.marcprensky.com/writing/prensky%20-%20digital%20natives,%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf

Schacter, J. (1999). The impact of education technology on student achievement: What the most current research has to say. Retrieved from http://www.mff.org/pubs/ME161.pdf

Schrum, L, & Solomon, G. (2007). Web 2.0: new tools, new schools (Kindle Edition)Senge, P. M. (1990/2010). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization (Kindle edition)
Wagner, M. (2006, December 16). Passion and professional development: four philosophies for lead learners [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://edtechlife.com/?p=1551

Williamson, J, & Redish, T. (2009). Iste’s technology facilitation and leadership standards: What every k-12 leader should know and be able to do. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Advertisements

Standards I & II– Reflections

Standard I: Technology Operations and Concepts

TF/TL Standard I: Technology Operations and Concepts ensures that schools have skilled personnel” (Williamson & Redish, 2009). This standard is specifically in place, first and foremost, to provide the overall framework for the remaining seven standards. Further, it sets the standard (no pun intended) for what is going to be required of facilitators and leaders in regards to their own skills. In my own experience, I have found that (while not impossible) it is very difficult to teach what you are not proficient in yourself. How would I be able to help a teacher begin using Excel to disaggregate student test scores if I wasn’t able to do this myself? How can I be expected to provide leadership and vision regarding technology if I am unfamiliar with it to begin with? Further, since this is the standard that is most closely related to the credentials or credibility of being able to lead and train other educators, it is imperative that I am familiar with appropriate training methods such as modeling and giving specific, meaningful examples that can be easily transferred (Bransford & Cocking, 1999). This standard can, in my humble opinion, be rephrased as “the basics you need to know; try to keep up.” That is to say, it is important that you have a baseline understanding of certain technology principles as well as the willingness to be a “lead-learner” (Wagner, 2006). This is probably the easiest of all the standards and simultaneously the most daunting. It’s certainly one thing to believe you are comfortable with computers/technology and another entirely to try and keep up with current trends and changes in technological innovation. My mentor actually experienced this phenomenon when I convinced him to go to the TCEA 2010 conference. As the campus lead technology teacher, his knowledge and skill with regards to technology far surpassed that of the nearest faculty member. However, after attending a couple of sessions and discovering the world of social media (etc.) he quickly realized just how much he had to learn.

Standard II: Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences

Today’s students are not the same as the peers of current educators as they passed through the educational system. The students staring blankly at us (or, more likely, staring at the phone they are trying to hide under the desk) are quite different indeed. They are enveloped in a world of social connection, just-in-time information, and tabbed browsing. Schools have not only the obligation, but the opportunity to help students move from just playing with these tools into actually using them constructively for a specific educational purpose. As noted by education authors Lynne Schrum and Gwen Solomon, “the role of teachers will be to guide students in using the new tools for academically rigorous investigations and presentations” (2007). Standard II, Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences, is essentially that. However, there are a number of disagreements that arise within the context of instructional design with regard to educational technology. The perceived main area of disagreement is the role of technology within the classroom. Some teachers feel that the learning environment is obtruded by technology. Technology will distract students from their learning goals, they might say. Some teachers feel as though technology is a nicety for occasional projects (typically of the “research” variety) but couldn’t possibly be implemented on a daily basis. Yet another group of teachers feel as though technology is “the answer.” These are the ones you might hear in the hallway saying, “if only we had more computers, then these kids might be engaged.” (To this, perhaps most dangerous attitude, I respond, “technology doesn’t fix instruction.”) Another group still believe that technology is merely another medium in which to educate. That is, the learning environment can be drastically altered by technology, but not for technology’s sake. Instead, the learning environment and learning activities are drastically altered for the explicit purposes of their namesake: learning. Another important issue that arises within the framework of this standard is that of access. Will all students have the opportunity to use the same tools? Will learning activities be designed in such a way that they specifically meet the needs of each of the diverse learners? As Schrum and Solomon note, “as society and the world of work change, the skills that students need to live and thrive in it also change” (2007). This standard, then, is ensuring that this can take place as it designs the very place where these skills will be developed as well as the process by which they will be developed.

Final Reflections– EDLD 5364

These five weeks have probably been the most formative and powerful in the entire graduate program. Ultimately, as each person enrolled seeks to augment their skills and abilities regarding the implementation of technology into the curricula, we are essentially asking the same question, “How do we teach with technology?” While I actually believe this question will be completely irrelevant in the future (much in the same way if you asked someone today how they planned on incorporating each child having a pencil they would give you a funny look), it is something that, at least for now, must be addressed. The main ideas that I drew from this course, reinforcing ideas already living deep within, were as follows:

  1. Every child should have the same opportunities to learn and thus, the same access to the curriculum (CAST: udl questions, 2009)
  2. Students should be responsible for creating their own learning, which looks very different than the schooling their teachers had growing up.
  3. Students should be working both collaboratively and cooperatively in order to create their own learning.
  4. Educators must constantly look for ways to assess student learning that accurately reflects their knowledge of the content.
  5. Educators must become co-learners with their students, designing curricula collaboratively and in a way that meets the four criteria mentioned above.

 

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) must be the way that all educators (certainly not just technology integrators) view their course design. All students must have access to the curriculum. We all inherently know this, but we don’t always design or create their learning environments with this understanding at the forefront of our minds. Many times we only think of IEP’s and making sure we have printed off the class notes for the children that need them. UDL, however, provides a larger framework that addresses the “what,” “how,” and “why” of learning, differentiating the learning experience so that it is relevant to all students, regardless of ability or disability (CAST: udl questions, 2009).

 

As students begin constructing their own learning, the teacher moves from the role of “purveyor of knowledge” to that of co-learner with the students. This, paired with the notion that information (that is, raw data) is ubiquitous, means teachers no longer have the corner market when it comes to the distribution of knowledge. This, I believe is rather empowering for the students. This means that instead of spending time with information acquisition, educators can instead focus on the application, synthesis, and analysis of information. (Sowash, 2009)

 

Naturally, this leads to the question that is quite the hot topic for political debate: how do you assess this kind of learning? I was fortunate enough to attend a training in the summer of 2010 with Dr. Kay Burke where she discussed ideas from her latest book, “Balanced Assessment: From Formative to Summative.” In this book, Dr. Burke argues that we must use varying forms and types of assessment and that assessment (gathering information to make instructional decisions) differs from evaluation (collecting information and making a judgment about it). Assessment is more important than evaluation, since it inherently means an on-going cyclical process of assessing, teaching, and discovering (Burke, 2010). When assessment is taken hand-in-hand with the numerous technology tools available, the possibilities are truly limitless. As is pointed out in “Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works,” “it should comprise not only teacher-designed tests and projects, but also students’ self-assessments, peer assessments, and automated assessments generated by hardware and software” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). Further, with the ability to put technology into the hands of students, “Perhaps the most obvious use of Web 2.0 tools for assessment would be for students to be able to show what they know in a wide variety of media” (Solomon & Schrum, 2007).

 

Enter this course’s group project. We were to work collaboratively in teams of three to five to develop a lesson, teacher professional development, assessment, intervention strategies, and more, all created with universal design principles in mind. It was a great experience working with my team (comprised of Tammy Bybee, Rachel Fickenscher, and Janette Hill) and a great learning experience on how curricula should be developed. We all spent hours reading, researching, and developing content (including, but not limited to: ebooks, videos, websites, and lesson plans) so that the students we were developing this for would be given equal access to the curriculum and a relevant, engaging lesson that could easily be applied to an existing classroom. Our lesson actually ended up being a school-wide curricular unit dealing with weather patterns, cultural studies, geologic events, and more (Bybee, Fickenscher, Garner, & Hill, 2011).

 

By implementing the very tools we were reading and learning about in a collaborative experience, I believe the project (and the skills required) became very “real” in that we now have experience seeing how the process should play out in our jobs. I am excited about taking the knowledge and skills acquired in this course and implementing them at the campus at which I work. I am confident that the potential exists for a sea change in student learning and assessment, but I know that it rests (at least partly) with me. Will I take the initiative to make it happen? Or will I sit and wait, thinking that someone else will take the big ideas (see previous reflection; Week 5) and implement them?

 

References:

Cast: udl questions and answers. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/udl/faq/index.html
Sowash, J. (2009, November 6). Google-proof questioning: a new use for bloom’s taxonomy [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://electriceducator.blogspot.com/2009/11/google-proof-questioning-new-use-for.html
Burke, K. (2010). Balanced assessment. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 39.
Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New tolls, New schools, Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education

 

Bybee, T, Fickenscher, R, Garner, G, & Hill, J. (2011, March). Teaching with technology: team awesome. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/teachingwithtech2011/

 

Teaching with Tech, Week 1– EDLD 5364

One of the things that I thought was very interesting as I read through the articles assigned to us was that these were topics that I (inherently or otherwise) already believed and understood. Perhaps it had to do with my business undergrad degree or the fact that constructivism and connectivism are foundational to a successful 8th grade classroom in the year 2011, but I had no problem following along with the idea that students build or construct their learning on top of their prior experiences paired with the idea that their learning is interconnected with everything else in the world.

One of the things I teach (or, rather, one of the ways in which I conduct my classes) is that it isn’t what you know, but do you know where to find it. I don’t care if you the expert of a question as long as you’re the expert of where to find the answer to that question. A great example of this was provided in Watson (the IBM super computer) soundly drumming two formidable opponents on Jeopardy! earlier this month. The great Ken Jennings may know the answers, but we are rapidly entering an age where rote memory doesn’t really matter. As the cell phone becomes less about one-way communication or even phone calls and more about being our external brain (think: Evernote, Google, etc), we are going to see less emphasis on the memorization of knowledge and a clearly defined shift to the application of this knowledge. This, I believe, is a very good thing and is nicely facilitated by the implementation of constructivism and connectivism.

Week 5 Reflection- ELD 5366

Over the past month, we have worked on digital graphics, animations, and desktop publishing. The assignment that I found most challenging was the task of creating my own personal logo. Understanding the elements of design is one thing. I can very easily look at something and analyze it. However, it is something entirely different to create from scratch based on those principles. Further, it is even more difficult to create something that should be a visual representation of yourself. It was never more important to heed the advice of Socrates, “Know thyself.” The clothing company “GAP” has been blasted as of late for their newest logo redesign, being labeled as “boring” with the suggestion that GAP wasn’t being true to its roots. In looking at the designs of other classmates as well as well-known logos from major companies, it’s clear to me why graphic design can be a very well-paid career choice. Personally, while I have the ability to recognize that which is good, I struggle to create it myself. In the end, I chose a simple, text-based design that would be easy to replicate and even modify as needed.

The assignment of creating an animation was fun and the use of animation in the classroom has great potential. Despite several warnings that extra time would be needed, the process only took about an hour to create a 30-frame animation using Stykz, a free downloadable program.

In today’s classroom students are used to 30-second video clips, tabbed browsing, MMS communication, and multitasking. We cannot afford instruction that rivals their experiences in the rest of their lives (Jenkins, 2009). Instead, we must leverage newer technologies and teach in new ways (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005). The content may remain the same, but we must always look at news methods of delivery. By being attentive to the aesthetics of our work as well as incorporating visually appealing animations (etc) we can engage our students and motivate them towards higher quality work, higher retention rates, and more creativity (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).

References

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century (Kindle edition)

Oblinger, D., & Oblinger, J. (2005). Is it age or it: first steps toward understanding the net generation[Excerpted from Educating the Net Generation, 2005]. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/Resources/EducatingtheNetGeneration/IsItAgeorITFirstStepsTowardUnd/6058

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E.R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

EDLD 5366 Week 3- Animation

Here is my animation for the Week 3 assignment for EDLD 5366. I used Stykz to create this 30-frame gem. Enjoy!

EDLD 5366 Week 2

This week, we had to create our own personal logo. Here is the process/journey I went on to create the logo (at the end).

List of words that describes me: Rebellious, unconventional, driven, compassionate, energetic

What were my initial goals for the logo? Establish a visual identity for myself; build/create various levels of meaning; create a simple, easy-to-replicate logo

What design elements did you include in your logo?

Contrast- I chose two starkly different colors (bright green and black) on a white background. This provides a high level of contrast and ensures that you see each piece of the logo.
Repetition- I chose to use the same font face for the green text as the black exponent. Additionally, I used the same green for the brackets as for the “g” inside them. This helps to tie it together and demonstrate the relationship between each element.
Alignment- The logo is almost center-aligned. However, I chose to use the exponent to off-set the balance of this design, putting more weight up and to the right of the overall design. This is a small break from convention, that might have kept everything “center, center.”
Proximity- The exponent has been kept close to the green text and the brackets have been kept extremely close to the letter “g.” This creates a simple, easy-to-follow design that is quickly recognizable.

Describe how this logo reflects you as a teacher, learner, or person:
You will notice three main parts to the logo. The brackets are a reference to my love of mathematics. In the order of operations, brackets are only used after you have used parentheses to denote another operation. This is significant since it represents that something else is going on inside those brackets. The second part of the logo is the single letter “g.” This is first and foremost a reference to my name(s), Greg Garner. However, it is lowercase, which represents the lack of formality that I have always felt regarding business and life in general. This is really personal to me and is quite intentional, although it might be confused with my missing the shift key. The third piece of the logo is the exponent. In mathematics, exponents are used to greatly and quickly increase the value of what is being raised to a higher power. My name, Greg Garner, has two G’s and so G-squared is rather appropriate in addition to my drive and desire to always move to a higher level in terms of quality, effort, etc. I chose two striking colors that are easily visible but stand apart from each other. The two colors specifically were carefully chosen. Black represents how we must all, at times, conform to the status quo and that it also provides a great vehicle for change (thus, the exponent). However, I don’t believe my identity to be tied up in this single instance. Instead, I chose a bright shade of green. This serves as both high contrast to the black (representing non-conformity) and also a slight reference to my love of pop culture as a popular movie once said “Geniuses choose green.” The character that statement was directed towards, interestingly enough, was named Greg as well. The font face that I chose is slightly messy with a few “holes” here and there, showing that I don’t believe that I have all the answers and that I do have a tendency to be unorganized. However, the formation of the “g” is more traditional in its nature, another homage to my desire to leverage conformity for social/societal change.

EDLD 5366 Week 1

Despite its age, Sultan Baybars’ Quran is visually stunning. It is incredibly beautiful in its design. The only real contrast (since it is mostly text on a page) comes from the color choices of darker brown on the faded, yellowed page. There are sporadically interspersed beautiful graphic designs the provide a definite contrast against the text on the other pages. These designs are repeated (with some variations) and there are also small medallions used to denote every fifth and tenth verse. Text is centered vertically and slightly off-center horizontally, cheating slightly to the interior binding of the book. It would be easy to mistake some of the pages as mirrors of one another, as they are so perfectly aligned to one another. For the periodic images, the graphics are well aligned and mirror one another across the vertical axis of the binding. The text is fairly even spaced vertically as well and the periodic medallions are proximate to the specific line of text they are denoting.

School Law EDLD 5344 Week 1

Response #1

How do school staff members feel about the IEP process as a whole? Is it stressful? Do they feel it represents a true collaboration between parents and staff members to best serve students?

I think most school staff members have a fairly ambivalent view of the IEP process. Obviously, it’s a good thing and is very useful for the students’ overall success, but I think there are a number of educators who view it more as a nuisance or as a necessary evil. They feel that it interferes with or even dumbs down their curriculum. One of the things I think frustrates teachers is that many parents aren’t as involved as they should be (at least in the opinion of the teacher), which is particularly frustrating since you’re dealing with a child in need of special/extra services, which results in greater need for support at home. If the parent(s) shirk the responsibility, that can result in them not actually providing input for the IEP and the educational goals/objectives are left entirely to school employee(s).
Response #2

Which aspect of the IEP process most confuses or discourages team members?

I think team members seem to be most frustrated with IEP that aren’t very explicit in their instructions. For example, a student that has accommodations for math, science, reading, and social studies, but not for electives or CTE courses. This means, technically, that teachers in those subjects do not have accommodations that they have to follow, even though it would be in the students’ best interest. Also, I think many educators are discouraged by the “just business” approach to ARD meetings and the IEP process. That is, instead of realizing the lifetime of consequences our choices in each of those meetings, we treat it like a formality and just move through because we have “more important things to do” whether we acknowledge that belief or not. I have found that it is true, after all, that actions speak louder than words and even though a fellow educator may give lip service to the IEP process, seeing another educator or administrator treat this as though it were just more paperwork can be disheartening.

 

Response #3

How does your school/district determine whether students are eligible for special education?

Our school district utilizes testing based on the referral process that teachers go through to nominate the student for that testing. If there is a student, for example, that seems to be struggling in class (which may or may not be related to their behavior), our district starts a three-tier series of interventions that try to determine if the student does indeed need the services of special education or if the student would best be served in an accelerated instruction class, tutorials, or some other type of intervention. If the student’s performance is not impacted by these other interventions and the appropriate documentation has been completed, the student may be nominated for testing. The testing is very comprehensive and detailed and, based on those results, determine whether the child should be placed in special education or not.

 

Response #4

What do IEP team members say can be done to better improve the process?

IEP team members think the process could be improved by better/more follow-up and accountability. Additionally, they believe that all teachers could benefit from specific training about the actual implementation of the various accommodations. They argue that while a teacher sees “Extended time for assignments” on the IEP, they are left to ascertain how much constitutes “extended time.” The wording is very broad and leaves much to the interpretation of various teachers, which is far from best practice and does not provide the best educational experience for the individual student.

 

Response #5

Are students’ IEPs effectively implemented at your school? What can be done to improve implementation?

Our school does a fairly good job of implementing IEPs and making sure that teachers have the right information when it comes to servicing our special education students. While we may be given the IEPs for the students on our roster, specific, relevant training would be extremely beneficial, especially to our less-experienced teachers. Some examples of this would include what to do when a student refuses to abide by their own IEP, what some of the accommodations actually look like in a specific classroom, and how to document the services given to a student within the classroom.

 

How has NCLB affected your school?

How has NCLB changed the way my school operates? I suppose I could give a pat answer that details the effects of increased accountability, federal standards, AYP, and all of that, but in reality, I’m not at a place to answer this question. I was in middle school when the bill was passed, so asking me in 2010 how a nearly decade-old policy affects a school I have worked for since last year assumes more than I am able to provide. Naturally, I see how concerned everyone is with the ripple effects of this legislation, but since I really have no other frame of reference (since standardized testing, the TAAS, was already in place when I moved to Texas in 1994) it is essentially impossible for me to fully answer this question, clearly posed by those of much more experience and tenure and with little regard for those of us in similar situations as me. Some of the effects of NCLB that I see (again, keeping in mind I have no point of reference) are: endless meetings about data disaggregation, demographics, and sub populations while teachers are asked to not only be good educators, but good administrators, dealing with arduous paperwork and excessive amounts of administrative tasks that are of no direct correlation to the instruction of students. However, when the government says “jump,” you jump. Rather, you ask “how high?” The most common attitude I run across is that No Child Left Behind is, in reality, leaving more children behind than if the legislation had not been passed to begin with. This is not to say that standards and accountability are bad things; quite the contrary in fact. But the implementation and methodology in which accountability is leveraged is a primer in what not to do unless you are dually prepared for a massive influx of students who have been passed along from grade to grade without true mastery, all the while blaming each teacher from the year prior while not holding the child accountable.

« Previous entries