Fellow RE@L BlogMeister and Chairman of the Board Dale LaFrenz found a powerful technology message on Twitter last week: “Technology is a tool.” Indeed it is!
Since that message lines up with our RE@L’s Systemic-Change™ mission (click here) for our recent blogs, we did a little more sleuthing on the Twitter hashtag: #TruDatChat. It’s hard to find a Twitter Hashtag Chat today that says so much in so few words. Read on!
What we found in our research are several Tweeters and sharers of new and enhanced ideas, all of which promote more learning for more learners. That’s one of RE@L’s primary mission goals too.
Check the poster on the right to see what Dale found on Twitter. Now, Twitter is a great place to look for new and good ideas. But it’s a lot like a fast running stream. It moves past us, often too quickly. To find ideas pertinent to our own interests, it’s best to enter a Hashtag (one of these: #) in front of a group of tweeters whose ideas we like.
If you like #RE@L, you’d like Bill Ferriter’s group #WhoDatChat and Bill’s blog called “The Tempered Radicals.” Click the link if you’d like more information. Well-tempered it is and full of harmonious ideas for needed change.
Here’s Bill and his “Tempered Radical” blog, below. He speaks to our shared belief that “Technology is a Tool and Not a Learning Outcome.”
Read on for his blog and more information on this important topic.
“THE TEMPERED RADICAL, A personal blog by Bill Ferriter:”
“This is the worst time of the school year for me. (RE@L would add only that it is for many!)
That’s because we are in the middle of the long slog to the End of Grade Exams — a series of high stakes tests that…are used to rate and evaluate everyone and everything connected with public education.
What’s crazy to me, though, is the VAST majority of the content assessed on our end of grade exams — particularly in social studies and science — is content that can be Googled.
Need some examples?
My students will need to know the difference between intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks, the difference between longitudinal and transverse waves, and the impact that density has on both light and sound.
They’ll need to be able to name both the male and female parts of plants, explain the difference between atoms and elements, and identify chemical and physical properties of matter.
They’ll be asked about the reasons for the seasons, the reason for eclipses, and the reason for tides. They’ll have to know the layers of the earth and the characteristics of habitable planets.
They’ll see questions about the focus and epicenter of earthquakes, the compressions and rarefactions in sound waves, and the lens and cornea in your eyes.
Now don’t get me wrong: I understand the importance of having foundational knowledge about essential content. It’s impossible to make new discoveries when you have no basic understanding of what’s happening in the world around you — and while it’s POSSIBLE to Google darn near everything in our required curriculum, it’s also incredibly inefficient and time consuming. Fluency with core ideas matters.
But it’s also important to understand that by tying high stakes tests to mastery of basic facts, we are fundamentally changing what happens in the science classroom.
As a teacher, I’m forced into making a decision between spending class time on wondering and investigation and collaboration OR spending class time covering as many basic facts as possible. Choose the former, and I’ll have students who are better prepared to be the kind of inquisitive scientists who make important discoveries that change the world. Choose the latter and I’ll have students who are better prepared to pass our state’s standardized exams.
I know what you are thinking, y’all: Why can’t you do both? Why can’t you integrate inquiry into classrooms where students ALSO walk away with a solid understanding of basic facts?
The answer is you can — as long as the list of “basic facts” that kids are expected to know is manageable. And at least now … that’s not the case. Our essential curriculum is massive and unmanageable.
That has to change.”
Indeed it does need to change!
RE@LBlog would only add that spring is a good time to be thinking about change, summer a good time for planting the seeds of change, and, lastly, this coming fall, when the students come through our classroom doors again, a great time to harvest the systemic change collaborative feedback provides .
RE@L’s systemic-change can permeate an entire K12 system, all for the betterment of all learners!