Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

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Nine Things You Didn’t Know About Twitter

July 4, 2012
Maybe you use Twitter already but would like to learn a little bit more. Perhaps you know nothing about Twitter but would like to learn a little more in regard to what its all about. In either case, the following is a nice article about Twitter.

~ROB KOVI
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Thoughts on Taking Learning Seriously

May 9, 2010

An article, Taking Learning Seriously, by By Lee S. Schulman, president of The Carnegie Foundation for
the Advancement of Teaching and Professor of Education, Stanford University poses some interesting questions about learning and discusses what the author calls pathologies of learning.  The “major pathologies of learning involve malfunctions of memory, understanding, and application and can be called amnesia, fantasia, and inertia. Most interesting in this discussion is the author’s reference to another item termed nostalgia.

Nostalgia is an item which was discovered while studying the other pathlogies and is the item which aligns most deeply with my own educational frustrations. Nostalgia is “marked by a common symptom—the firm belief that whatever the educational problem, the best way to combat it is by reinstating the ways through which the observers had been taught when they were the same age as their students.” Of course, these methods often involve a back to basics approach and an emphasis on the rigor of course content- rigor being measured of course by the quantity of material presented and the quantity of the work performed by students.

With legislation like No Child Left Behind and the emphasis on standardized test scores school leaders more often turn to standardized teaching practices. But as the article states, “Teachers can teach in the same manner to three classes in a row and experience different consequences each time.” While this seems like a any easy conclusion to understand, teachers are continually burdened with more frequent testing and increased work load. Teach more and test more.

Being an educator concerned with the integration of technology in the classroom, the teach more test more plan is frustrating. Too often my use of technology has been seen as fluff or a distraction from curriculum rigor. Nostalgia makes no place for individuality and experimentation… gone is creativity and innovation because if it is not on the test than it can’t be worth anything.

When discussing student’s inability to succed in high level classes with teachers the reason often stated is that the student couldn’t ‘do the work’. Yet in my discussions with students regarding the same topic the most common problem is not completing the work but rather keeping up with the work load. Often, no one assignment is terribly difficult or beyond a student’s comprehension but when piled high with multiple assignments and readings only the most diligent and resilient succeed.

The following quote supports perfectly my belief that our focus as teachers must be on depth and not breadth. We must be more concerned by how we teach than how much we teach. As stated by Schulman, if we are to take learning seriously we must take teaching seriously.

“Our kids don’t match up well with their international counterparts. The very best explanation for the differences in performance lies in our very different ways of teaching. We define rigor as teaching our students more, however superficially. Other countries bring a much smaller set of ideas to students, then elaborate and deepen them pedagogically. They don’t cover as much material, but the students understand more robustly what they have studied.” ~Rob Kovi