April 2010

I highly recommend that you take a look at the 2010 Midwest Great Lakes Regional Conference as a great opportunity for professional development, and at the same time experiencing a new mode of learning … online staff development.

The 2010 Midwest Great Lakes Regional Conference will be held May 12 and 13th in Grand Rapids Michigan. But the good news is you can watch it virtually from the comfort of your own … well, from anywhere you want to be comfortable!

Here is a video telling you about the conference.

Check it out, they have some great speakers lined up, and I think it would be well worth your time!

School change down under

by Steve Wyckoff on April 30, 2010

I have no idea what the school change movement looks like in Australia, but I did get to speak to a class of perspective educators last evening. I was sitting comfortably in my living room, in my recliner, with my laptop on my lap. At the same time my good friend Ian Gibson was in front of the class in Sydney Australia. I occasionally Skype into his glass to have a conversation on some educational topic.

I tell you this because it is actually fascinating. We are approximately 11,000 miles apart, as the crow flies, yet having a conversation like we are sitting in the same room together.

This morning I had a conference call on Skype with a group of educators in Kansas to discuss an upcoming conference. One of the discussions centered on a communication problem we are having. The school where the conference is being hosted does not allow the use of Skype. It’s blocked. The network Nazi’s will not allow its use.

In fact, the representative of the aforementioned school district has to join these conference calls from home, because she’s not allowed to Skype from her office.

Think about it. We have the technology to connect individuals anywhere in the world. In fact that’s how the real world operates. But not schools. Okay, I understand we have to be careful what and who we expose children to … no pun intended. But there are ways to protect the safety of kids and still use the technology to connect anywhere in the world.

If we really want to achieve school change and bring them into the 21st century we are going to have to figure out how to use 21st-century tools AND protect the safety of our kids. In my mind it is not an option to simply say they can’t use the tools. However, it appears that in the minds of school administrators is perfectly acceptable to completely isolate our kids from the realities of the world. – Steve Wyckoff

School change: Are parents capable of choosing an appropriate education for their kids?

April 28, 2010

In writing about school change the other day my blog post included a suggestion for parental choice. Well that blog post prompted comment from a friend who asked, “Who would question a parent’s ability to choose an appropriate education for their kid?” I literally laughed out loud. Being a proponent of school choice I have […]

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School change: two suggestions

April 27, 2010

We’ve  kicked school change around a lot without much success. Schools look very much today like they did 50 years ago. So what that I would like to make two small suggestions that I think might make a huge difference. 1) Schools need to have autonomy, and not autonomy to do what the government tells […]

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School change: Are we suffering from the “Normalcy Bias?”

April 25, 2010

There seems to be a denial among educators that we are in imminant danger of public education becoming irrelevant.This coupled with the financial crisis we are currently enduring has created a perplexing situation surrounding school change. I’ve written before that I believe educational leaders would rather fail conventionally, rather than succeed unconventionally. However, I was […]

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School change: The “Death of education, but the dawn of learning?”

April 24, 2010

My friend Allan Milbradt sent me a link with information about the 2010 Midwest Great Lakes Regional Conference Virtual Conference. In the information there were two videos featuring Prof. Stephen Heppell. He’s talking about school change in a very compelling way. But what really got my attention was one quote. He said we may be seeing, […]

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School change: Would we rather fail conventionally than succeed unconventionally?

April 23, 2010

You hear it all the time, “we need school change”, but as I watch school leaders grapple with what to do about declining resources, it has become clear to me that they would rather fail conventionally rather than succeed unconventionally. Over the last many weeks I have watched three panels discuss viable alternatives to what […]

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School change should lead to students who are passionate, inspired, and remarkable.

April 20, 2010

If you want a goal for school change how about this? How about we focus on the antonyms that describe our kids in school on a regular basis? I think that every child in their own way can be passionate, inspired, and remarkable …  just not in school. Over the last 10 years I’ve asked […]

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As we attempt to change schools, are test scores indicators of learning?

April 19, 2010

It seems to me that the only acceptable measure of school change is standardized test scores. I have a real problem with that. It’s not that I devalue standardized test scores completely, I do believe that they are one small indicator of how we’re doing. But when I see the over emphasis on standardized test […]

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School change: everything is okay as long as you follow the old rules!

April 15, 2010

School change is always part of the conversation among educators. Over the last two days I’ve attended the state Board of Education meeting, visited with the new executive director of educational Association, had dinner with a State Senator and a state Board of Education member, attended the meeting for alternative schools, and listen and watched […]

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Will the financial crisis lead to real school change?

April 14, 2010

It’s mid April 2010 and schools once again are in the midst of making cuts because of the financial crisis. I keep watching with great interest to see if the financial crisis will lead to real school change. So far, I don’t see any evidence that school leaders are looking at the real core issues […]

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School change: the myth of the one-size-fits-all school

April 13, 2010

When we talk about school change we automatically fall into the mindset that what ever changes we make should apply to all schools. Every elementary school should look like every other elementary school, every middle school should look like every other middle school, and every high school should look like every other high school. But […]

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Real school change would mean changing high school curriculum

April 12, 2010

Yes I know blasphemy! But real school change would mean changing the high school curriculum. The high school curriculum has been part of what we believe schools must be for so long that we assume that it has to be that way. In fact our core curriculum has changed very little in 115 years. In […]

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Real school change has to include a focus on student learning not teaching

April 8, 2010

If we really want  real school change we have to consider how students learn, not just measuring traditional student learning. Students, in fact everyone, learns by doing. Ask anyone to recall their most memorable learning experiences and they will invariably tell you about doing something. I’ve written before about the steps involved in learning so […]

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Would a new school mission lead to real school change?

April 7, 2010

The school mission is a ubiquitous assumption that impedes real school change. Everybody in education will tell you that their mission contains something about preparing every student to be a productive member of society. They may not use those exact words but the meaning is still there. And that’s about the end of schools having […]

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iPad: will technology lead to school change?

April 6, 2010

I had the opportunity yesterday to play with the new iPad and as I was putting it through its paces I kept wondering, “is this the new technology that will lead to school change?” My friend Kevin Honeycutt had pre-ordered the new iPad and sat patiently on his front porch Saturday until it arrived. This […]

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School change: Does the U.S. Want what China Wants to Throw Away: The Role of Testing in Two National Education Reform Plans

April 5, 2010

Yong Zhao has written a wonderful blog post about the role of testing in China and the United States. It is a must read for educators as they ponder the direction they want to take our schools relative to standardized tests. I’ve written before about my objections of standardize tests and their impact on school change. […]

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Standardized Tests: School change at its worst.

April 3, 2010

I was involved in the discussion the other day about school change when I was asked why I am so opposed to standardized tests. So I thought I would take a few minutes to justify my position. It’s not that I believe standardized tests are inherently bad. They’re like many other things they are neither […]

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Online learning: Will school change happen as a result?

April 2, 2010

Online learning hasn’t led the school change in K-12 schools. But it seems to have had a tremendous impact everywhere else. I really thought with the financial crisis we would see a rapid escalation of online courses for high school kids. They just haven’t happened. At least not in my state. When I analyze how […]

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