School of One

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 6:10pm

Not an Integrated Learning System: A New Vision for Teacher Collaboration and Specialization

This week I went to see School of One, declared a futuristic, 21st century classroom (NYTIMES, GOTHAMSCHOOLS). And it has taken me a while to process.

I met with architect of the system, Joel Rose, last year. He described a vision of a learning environment that met students exactly at their levels with lessons adjusted to their individualized learning styles.  As he spoke, I thought to myself, this sounds just like an integrated learning system (ILS), except it is more complicated. Trying to be helpful, I even sent him a link to an ILS system after our meeting.

For those who don’t know what an Integrated Learning System is, this was the first cut at computer-aided instruction designed to let children learn at their own pace, be constantly assessed, and move up at their own levels. More sophisticated ILS systems started to aggregate content from a number of different content providers to offer students the best of breed content and meet their specific needs. Can you see how I might have been confused?

Joel’s vision went beyond the traditional ILS,...


2009 Innovative Principal Forum

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2009 - 6:02pm

PrincipalAt our Innovative Principal Forum 2009, we invited three principals of schools experimenting extensively with technology as well as the Director of New Schools to speak with 65 of their peers about following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the 21st century school? video
  • What are higher order 21st century skills? video
  • Why do they matter now more than ever?  video
  • What are the tensions between our accountability systems and teaching of higher order 21st century skills? video
  • How are these schools managing that tension? video
  • What examples of school innovation enhanced by technology are they experimenting with? video
    • School-Home Communication
    • Curriculum Reform
    • Access at the Learning Moment

We launched our Rubric for School Innovation and simple self assessment checklist, designed to outline a set of critical questions to guide school leaders assess themselves on a continuum of school innovation in a set of critical areas. A short...


Realizing the Promise of the 21st Century School: Leadership Forum

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 9:46am

21Cent Learning

We are pleased to invite school leaders to our Annual School Leadership Forum 2009! 

We have a fantastic  group of principals and other school leaders presenting on: 

Realizing the Promise of the 21st Century School: A Roadmap for Innovation

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115
Annual Forum for School Leaders

More information on the program is included below. Please let your school leaders know!

What is a 21st century school?  Technology is radically changing every sector of our society, yet schools remain largely unchanged. Or do they? Hear from a panel of innovative NYC school leaders on the vanguard of rethinking urban education. They will speak about their experiences regarding what is important, the challenges and what's possible!

• Alisa Berger: Principal, NYC iSchool
• Sarah Scrogin: Principal, East Bronx Academy for the Future
• Gregg Korrol...


PS 5 Students in the Bronx Document the Impact of the XO

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - 1:01pm

Check out the students at PS 5 in the Port Morris section of the Bronx and their amazing documentary about the history and impact of Nicholas Negroponte’s ground breaking XO pilot project in their school. The video speaks for itself.. I don’t want to give anything away.


Twitter and Facebook - Your First Source for Current Events in Social Studies?

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - 12:56pm
Iran Protests
Iran Protests

So I was thinking about the teaching opportunity presented by the Iran election. What a way to see democracy in action…   Yet, until a few minutes ago, where would my students get their news? Not old media.

I just spent an hour searching facebook (search IRAN) and twitter  #iranelection and couldn’t believe the video and posts I was finding.  For one, I found out I should wear green to show my support for the protestors and then watched a whole bunch of videos of riots and marches.

Yet, hours later, CNN finally got with the story. Tear Gas and...


The Middle has Spoken!

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2009 - 9:55am

Over 250 students from 25 New York City middle schools performed their own original poetry to an audience of their peers at Teaching Matters' 3rd Annual Spoken Word Event ! Students performed in breakout rooms and finalists took the stage at the 92nd Street Y (see photos!). Follow the journey of one of our finalists Aline, thanks to the quick video skills of our high school event volunteers.



Her passionate performance of “Betrayer” took her through to the final six! Students and teachers alike gave rave reviews to finalists and to our master guest poet Kahlil Almustafa.

...


Civic Activists for a Digital Age

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Friday, June 12, 2009 - 10:51am

HUNDREDS of New York students made their voices heard on critical social issues of the day spanning child labor to racial profiling as part of the Voices and Choices program with Teaching Matters!

Speaker Quinn Presenting to Students AND Students Workshopping Social Justice Campaigns with Real NYC Social Activitists With over 50 schools participating, students met with policy makers, the business community, and civic activists to present and improve their campaigns for social justice! Speaker Quinn urged hundreds of 8th graders and their teachers to continue their work in social justice just as she has been doing in the council for years. The students, who researched and prepared unique web-campaigns...


What if You Faced Virtual Students BEFORE You Took the Job

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Friday, June 12, 2009 - 10:50am

I had been waiting for someone to invent this. Simulations of some pretty challenging students to test the mettle and prepare pre-service educators. This video below says it all. It appears to be a pretty expensive model of teacher development, but the cost of figuring our classroom management on simulated students, not real ones, might be a few extra points on the ELA or Math tests. And we know that counts for quite a bit these days.


The Innovation Conversation Poised to Change the Education Debate

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Friday, June 12, 2009 - 10:43am

For those interested in education innovation made possible by technology you must read Bill Tucker’s new report - Beyond the Bubble: Technology and the Future of Student Assessment. Bill is reframing the debate between two key education camps.

Bill’s key idea is that, ultimately, we don’t have to choose between accountability systems and instruction that addresses a broad array of skills and deep content. Because whether you are Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, or Linda Darling Hammond, you have common ground on one thing. .. our assessments can be radically improved.

Over the last eight years, education took major steps towards holding schools accountable and measuring their progress. But our actual assessments, for the most part, took a few steps back. We automated the most basic forms of assessment, and states stopped experiments in performance-based assessments designed to measure the higher-order thinking our kids need to succeed in the future.

Now that the FEDS, the teachers union, and the governors, ALL...


Change You Can Believe In

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Friday, June 12, 2009 - 10:49am

For those interested in education innovation made possible by technology you must read Bill Tucker’s new report - Beyond the Bubble: Technology and the Future of Student Assessment.

Bill is reframing the debate between two key education camps. Bill’s key idea is that, ultimately, we don’t have to choose between accountability systems and instruction that addresses a broad array of skills and deep content. Because whether you are Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, or Linda Darling Hammond, you have common ground on one thing. .. our assessments can be radically improved.

Over the last eight years, education took major steps towards holding schools accountable and measuring their progress. But our actual assessments, for the most part, took a few steps back. We automated the most basic forms of assessment, and states stopped experiments in performance-based assessments designed to measure the higher-order thinking our kids need to succeed in the future.

Now that the FEDS, the teachers union, and the governors, ALL agree that we need national standards – this conversation about investing seriously in assessment innovation is extremely timely and relevant.

My vote for how to use some of this stimulus! For more discussion on this issue click here.