When I first started teaching 4th grade, I inherited a social studies unit on Ancient Egypt, a topic that is universally adored by students at this age level. Over the years of teaching this unit, the 4th grade teachers had developed a document - what we'd now call a knowledge organizer - of all of … Continue reading The Sad, Sad Story of the Hollow Curriculum
Frequent readers of this blog will know that I am the Director of Educational Technology at a 6-12 independent school. My role is to design and implement the strategy around online learning and train teachers how to integrate various online tools into their lessons. This post is a reflection on whether my beliefs about teaching … Continue reading Beliefs, Evidence, and Educational Technology
There's an interesting essay called "Five Meanings of Direct Instruction" where the author (Rosenshine, 2008) shows how even a term as commonly used as direct instruction can take on different meanings depending on who you talk to. Some people use it in the pejorative to refer to non-stop passive lecturing, while those familiar with the … Continue reading 5 Meanings of Student-Centered Instruction
Most teachers will be familiar with Khan Academy, or similar learning programs, that offer a mixture of 1) problems to solve and 2) instructional supports that students can use to learn how to solve the problems. Common instructional supports in online learning environments include partial hints (e.g., click here for a hint to get you … Continue reading Does More Learning Happen When Students are in the Driver’s Seat?
As a school leader, I'm often asked to read things that contain strong claims about the nature of learning. I was recently asked what I thought about a blog post by Robert Kaplinsky. I don't know anything about Mr. Kaplinsky, and I don't aim to disparage him or his work, but I was struck by … Continue reading A Fence at the Top or an Ambulance at the Bottom?
I read an interesting article about collaboration and worked examples today. Worked examples, for those not in the know, are teaching objects that explicitly show students the steps for how to solve a particular type of problem, such as the one below for how to add fractions: Example of a worked example, shared with me … Continue reading Do We Learn Best Collaboratively or Individually?
I was given the opportunity recently to preview a proof of a new book, Navigating the Toggled Term by Matthew Rhoads. Dr. Matt is also one of the lead authors of Amplifying Learning: A Global Collaborative, a book for which I am contributing the chapter on assessment and feedback. Navigating the Toggled Term is a book for teachers who, having … Continue reading Navigating The Toggled Term (Review)
Four years ago, I was just starting a PhD in online learning without ever having taught online. A few short years later and we are living in a world where almost every teacher has. When we first went remote, I was teaching Design Technology, a course for elementary students that was essentially "Makerspace" by another … Continue reading Summer’s Over. Now What?
My first grade teacher's name was Ms. Wee. Other than her last name, there wasn't much else funny about her. Ms. Wee was someone I would characterize as a warm-strict, traditional teacher. I still remember the contrast between how carefully she controlled our entry into the classroom on the first day of school compared to … Continue reading Memories of a warm-strict “DI-KR” teacher
I am the Director of Educational Technology at an independent school, which in normal times means I do a lot of coaching and strategizing around technology-enhanced instruction. I chair a department and a committee of pedagogically savvy EdTech coordinators and teachers, and we work on ways to improve the academic program. However, due to some … Continue reading Solving Problems is an Inefficient Way to Learn How to Solve Problems