In her early teaching years, Wanny Hersey learned how hands-on projects—which would eventually become known as “making”— could engage and motivate her English students like nothing she’d seen before. She’d witnessed the heartbreak of watching a one-size-fits-all education system fail to engage students who needed it most. And the joy of nurturing students’ natural desire to solve problems and create.
Great ideas and extraordinary teaching happen in public school classrooms all over the country, but these pockets of innovation often don’t get the attention they deserve. More often the schools held up as models for the future of learning started with a carefully articulated vision around change, a hand-picked staff, and even some startup capital. Changing the traditional approaches to teaching and learning that have been in place for decades within an existing school is extremely difficult work. Read more…
When Kristine Riley looks back on how she used to teach her students, she sees order and control. Her third, fourth and fifth grade gifted-and-talented classes had been structured and orderly, and students sat in designated seats. She had assigned the same tasks to every student and had hoped for roughly the same answers from all of them. She used to believe that it was her responsibility as a teacher to impart information to her students. Riley had decided what was important and students were expected to learn what they were taught.
If you think data—in education, or any field—is cut and dry, think again. Working with data in the classroom, especially, can be either exhausting or exhilarating—depending on your fitness level. Data can be big, but also quite small. It’s often quantitative, but is increasingly qualitative. It’s predictive, but not always inclusive. It’s private, but not always protected. But one thing’s for certain: data has enormous power to impact teaching and learning.
Mention big data in a grade level or team meeting of teachers, and you’ll often hear a cacophony of complaints about the test scores that the state collects to rank and judge schools. The chatter beyond the classroom, however, continues to be about how the rise of big data will be a disruptive force in the ways teaching and learning are taking place.