Thursday, July 02, 2015

A Tale of Two Cities - ISTE & School

 "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness . . ." - Charles Dickens

  This week I feel as if I have had my feet in two different worlds. I have been attending ISTE via Twitter and the Google+ NOT AT ETC community.  I've also been providing instructional technology support to reading remediation camps.
Remediation camp is for students who didn't score high enough on their end of grade tests or their end of year reading assessments. By state law the school district must provide the option for students to attend a camp with reading instruction. Unfortunately on some levels the camp feels like punishment. The lessons are tightly scripted and leave little room for student or teacher creativity. Students are assessed repeatedly during the short camp and then retake a paper and pencil test on the last day.
At ISTE, educators are talking about teacher collaboration, the maker movement and differentiated instruction. In camp, students are completing worksheets and receiving the same instruction regardless of their instructional needs. There was pressure to provide cookie cutter, sage-on-the-stage style instruction. Some of the teachers bucked the system and provided innovative, creative instruction that empowered and engaged students, but we need much more of that!
As Scott McCleod said, "the work of transforming school systems is slow work." I couldn't agree more, Scott. Education is a tale of two cities. We are at once in the age of wisdom and the age of foolishness. We have to keep pushing to get the foolishness out of our schools and implement best practices everywhere!

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