Sunday, May 8, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: Instructional Googling

CURMUDGUCATION: Instructional Googling:
Instructional Googling

Robert Pondiscio is in US News sounding the alarm about teachers who develop their own materials either on their own or by googling their way to instructional strategies, on his way to noting that the "dirty little secret" of education is that the quality of instructional techniques is an afterthought, and probably not so great. But I think he's managed to mis-represent the problem and add to it all at once.

Here's the cold open.

If you caught your pediatrician Googling "upset stomach remedies" before deciding how to treat your child and homebrewing medications over an office sink, you might start looking for a new pediatrician. So how would you feel if you learned that Google and Pinterest are where your child's teacher goes to look for instructional materials?

If my pediatrician was stumped by a tricky diagnosis, I would expect her to consult other experts in the field and go look through the literature about the ailment. And because my pediatrician is a trained professional, I'd be unlikely to view treatment that she developed and used based on her professional knowledge and judgment as a "home brew." 

So right up front, let's dispose of the notion that Google and Pinterest are automatically bad news. For many teachers they have become the modern equivalent of walking across the hall and saying, "I can't quite get Chris to understand how to work with mixed fractions. Have you got anything that you've had success with?" Google and Pinterest (and few dozen other sites) make it possible to walk across thousands of other halls and ask millions of other fellow professionals what professional advice and materials they might have to offer. This is not a bad thing.

Like any tool, it can be misused. Teachers need that most important of 21st century research skills-- the ability to tell Good Stuff from Crap. And of course the interwebs can enable lazy teachers, but this is not a new phenomenon-- it's simply the 21st century equivalent of your old teacher who just 
CURMUDGUCATION: Instructional Googling:

ICYMI: Some edu-reading for the day

Many a varied readings for today.

How Not To Explain Success

Remember all that noise a year ago about the "triple package" of traits that lead to success. Yeah, that was probably baloney.

Why the New SAT Isn't As Transparent As the College Board Wants You To Believe

What?! David Coleman's College Board is busy blowing marketing smoke?! I am shocked. Shocked!!

Black and Brown Boys Don't Need To Learn Grit; They Need Schools To Stop Being Racist

Yes, it's been said before. It should be said repeatedly until the message sinks in.

DPS sickout a sympton of Lansing's ill behavior

The Detroit Free Press has a few things to say about the Detroit teacher sick-out and just who is responsible

School Vouchers Are Not a Cure for Segregation

At Jersey Jazzman, Mark Weber has been writing a three-part (so far) explanation of just how much voucher systems do not help segregation. Essential reading, with charts and graphs and facts and stuff.

Rely on Local Actors Instead of Faulty Information To Make Judgements About School Quality

Reform fans Jay Greene and Mike Petrilli have been dialoguing about the finer points of testing and evaluation etc, with Greene attacking some reformster orthodoxy. Here he answer the question of what to do if the test data says the school sucks but the people there think it's great. Shouldn't be a radical notion, but that's where we are...

You Won't Believe This (Unless You Know Chicago)

The Chicago Public School system has decided to try to take down principal Trot LaRaviere. Here's his own account of the sequence of events. If this doesn't make you angry, I'm not sure anything will.

We Did Everything the State Asked-- Didn't Matter

A teacher in Georgia gives voice to the frustration of trying to make a reformster regime happy. 


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