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The bi-monthly resource for Texas ASCD members

Leadersof Learners

July 2010 Vol. 3, Issue 4

5

The Future of Educational Technology: Ed u c a t i o n 3 . 0

3

Letter from Texas ASCD

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Building Brain Fitness to Improve Reading and Learning

11

Book Review: Brain Powered Science


Leadersof Learners

July 2010

Vol. 3, Issue 3

Contents

Features Future of Educational Technology 5 The Education 3.0

Brain Fitness to Improve 9 Building Reading and Learning Review: Brain Powered Science 11 Book by Thomas O’Brien

In Every Issue 3 Letter from Texas ASCD

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12

Calendar of Events

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Texas ASCD Membership Application President Ellen V. Bell, Ph.D. Vice President Janis Jordan, Ed. D. Secretary Alma Rodriguez, Ph.D. President-Elect Al Hambrick, Ph.D. Past President Gena Gardiner Yolanda M. Rey, Ph.D. Executive Director

July 2010 Leaders of Learners

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Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Texas ASCD) is a nonprofit educational organization that improves learning through supporting all educators and school children of Texas in their educational endeavors. Leaders Learners is an official journal of Texas ASCD. If you 2 News andofEvents

have comments concerning Leaders of Learners, please send them to texasascd@txascd.org. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily the opinions or endorsements of Texas ASCD or our membership.

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Change – It’s Everywhere by Yolanda Rey, Ph. D. Executive Director

“The New Normal” is the key phrase that I heard again and again this past weekend at the ASD Leader to Leader (L2L) event in Washington, D.C. Dr. Gene Carter, Executive Director for ASCD, conveyed this phrase effectively at the beginning of his message to a roomful of educators. This powerful phrase captured everybody’s attention quickly. He continued to express the idea that “Everything must change” now for the future and that this the foremost leadership challenge before us. We have to think of what has happened in the past and present, but always focus on the future in order to prepare students for the tomorrows of the real world. Dr. Wesch explained a transformational change in a simple way, with the example of progressing from using a Walkman to using an IPod (transactional). The change occurred, but it did not transform the result – you still listen to music or audio book, etc. SO WHAT DOES THIS CHANGE LOOK LIKE? But a total change that contributed greatly was the How does the culture of transactional change creation of iTunes. It changed the music industry. make the transfer to one of transformational. You did not have to travel to any store, physically, One thought-provoking cultural anthropologist and buy a CD. You just download and purchase and digital ethographist, Dr. Michael Wesch, any music from your home using the iTunes assistant professor at Kansas State University, website or others websites that shortly followed stated that a transformational change is one that the creation of iTunes. changes something dramatically and that claims total change. This is the type of change that is These transformational changes are evident now, needed for the future. He is interested in the and others will be exploding in numbers in the effects of social media and digital technology on current future. A news source announced that global society, as people become interested in India has created a computer that is affordable to many -- $35 for a computer, and soon the price transformational changes in their lives. will drop to $10. How does this change the equity issue for students? Will this computer be part of ‘The New Normal?” Dr. Carter shared that educators need to have the learning come from within, to not be ordinary but exceptional, and for all to participate. In this manner, collectively anything can be accomplished.

July 2010 Leaders of Learners

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Change - It’s Everywhere...continued from page 3

Mindboggling? Hopefully not to all. Creativity, resourcefulness, and inventiveness are everywhere. Opportunities are plentiful. But then in contrast, as preparation is seen for the beginning of school everywhere, students with their parents are buying crayons, pencils, paper, etc. With, what appear boundless aisles of school supplies in stores, the culture still includes the tools of past years. AND, WHY NOT? These tools are mere instruments for these exceptional students that get involved and can imagine transforming current conditions to “The New Normal.” Educators facilitate the opportunities for students to become involved and experience the power transformational change. This creates the need for educators to interact with other educators for the knowledge, the strategies, and the tools that are necessary. One tool created recently for this purpose is a Ning for Texas ASCD addressing the integration of technology across the curriculum. You can become a member to this ning, at no cost, and interact with many other educators (http://texasascd2010.ning.com). Educators populated this Ning with text and videos for their colleagues, and to also seek assistance for themselves. As you read the articles in this issue of Leaders of Learners, focus on the power of technology and the minds of students. This is a compelling combination for “creativity, resourcefulness, and inventiveness” in transformation for “The New Normal.”

Register Early and Save!

www.txascd.org/development or call 1.800.817.2723

Texas ASCD

2010

Annual Conference

Featuring: Curriculum and Technology Integration Curriculum Design Addressing Challenges and Change Multiple Measures of Assessment Instructional Coaching and Leadership Building Community College and Career Readiness

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K e y n o t e

P r e s e n t e r s

Andrew Hargreaves

Eric Jensen

Debra Pickering

Ken Kay

Lee Crockett

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The Future of Educational Technology: Education 3.0

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by Steven McClard

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Thinking of what education might look like in the next decade, one quickly realizes that the trends in technology are leaving a large number of our students behind. We no longer live in an age of visible movement when it comes to progress and innovation. Today is an age of exponential change. New and ever-improving technologies are popping up every day and in every corner of society.

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Educating the best and the brightest in this brave new world will take a new and improved educational paradigm. Allowing our educational tools to age in the corner of the classroom will be the mistake that may cost us our future. Throwing away masses of children to inequitable access will ensure that we languish at the bottom of the global pool of employable workers for decades to come.

The New Toolbox I was at an auction a few years ago and noticed a few old woodworking tools that I thought I could use. For a few bucks, I was able to snag an assortment of hand tools that may have been in someone’s toolbox for a generation or more. As the next decade passed, I used these tools in my shop for a wide variety of projects until my projects outgrew these old, dull tools. My woodworking creations continued to improve as did my skills and artistry. I quickly discovered that using improved tools would translate into improved craftsmanship. As any woodworker will tell you, new tools require new skills.

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The Future of Educational Technology...continued from page 4

Woodworking is a great metaphor for shaping and molding students. There is simply no good substitute for a sharp tool. If you want to build the best projects possible, you need to use the best tools possible. Thinking in terms of the next decade for our country, we will be sorely disappointed in our projects if we fail to improve our tools. My main focus in this articles is this idea: Transforming the student from being a passenger to becoming a “user.” I will attempt to show the amazing possibilities that lay before us if we will simply walk through the doorway of opportunity that is open to us. You may be wondering what I mean by this. Let me explain. Ask yourself what it means to be a “user.” A user is not simply a person who uses. For the student, being a user should involve using the latest technology in a free and autonomous manner. This newfound freedom will allow the student to become an active participant in

Current educational curriculum and individual assessment is arbitrary at best. Being able to accurately asses a student can only be achieved by using modern tracking and database technologies. The means by which we can make this a reality is readily available and only needs to be taken off the shelf to be used. If Congress is looking for a shovel-ready project, this may be the one. Imagine a world where every child has a tablet computer with ready access to the App of virtual photographic memory (internet). Further, imagine that every student can access all the knowledge of humankind freely at any moment in time. Continue to imagine a world where a misspelled word brings up a spelling challenge application instead of an auto correction. Try to contemplate what it would mean for a teacher to have a database of every misspelled word, every misunderstood concept or every missed equation for each of their students. Try to envision a teacher with the ability to customize the experience of the individual “user” with minimal effort. Imagine the curriculum being automatically targeted to the user through an intuitive educational platform that knows every strength and each unique weakness. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

New technology will not only allow us to receive an education, but also develop an education. his/her education instead of a passive passenger. No other time in history have we been so able to make this a reality. In our current technological society, being a user also means being tracked. Tracking has become a major part of our daily lives and is precisely the engine that should drive our educational process for the foreseeable future. Tracking a student means having the ability to target education toward weaknesses and strengths. The ability to accurately customize curriculum to the individual has been the holy grail of educational philosophy for many years. This golden age of technological development may soon enable this dream to become a reality. July 2010 Leaders of Learners

The company that makes this standard available to the educational community will be the company that shapes the future of humankind. Will it be Google, Apple, Microsoft, or some other yet unknown pioneer? Continuing from the thoughts in my last post, I would like to elaborate on the idea of the student as a user of a new standardized educational platform. It is obvious to me that the future of education will always mirror our everyday lives in one way or another. If you examine how technology has influenced your daily life already, you begin to put together a snapshot of what it will mean to be educated in the next decade. 6


The Future of Educational Technology...continued from page 5

In the last few hundred years, most individuals would consider an education as something you receive. You often hear the question asked, “Where did you receive your education?” As we proceed through the next decade, education will slowly move away from reception and toward being custom designed for the individual user. New technology will not only allow us to receive an education, but also develop an education. The question we might ask in 10 years is, “How did you develop your education?” The question of where will still be important, but the how of the matter will be the focus that defines the individual. To make this a reality we will need a standardized platform from which to develop a student’s unique education. This standardized platform will allow us to tailor a custom curriculum that will be matched to talents, interests and life goals. For the educator, a standardized platform will create a way to assist the student in discovering a true purpose in life through a unique educational experience. The basics of reading, writing and arithmetic will not be taught as much as they will be discovered and used. Learning will become a reciprocal experience between the teacher, the student and the machine. Under a standardized platform, each of these three participants will have a role to play. The teacher will be the facilitator, assisting the development of the curriculum and inspiring the direction the student takes. The student will be the user, gathering resources, skills and knowledge in an efficient and measured sequence. The machine will do the work of data gathering and analysis, which will assist the teacher and student in refining the curriculum. This data July 2010 Leaders of Learners

gathering work of the machine will also free the teacher from the burden of record-keeping and tedious tasks that currently distract from the real job of teaching and learning. Under a standardized system, grade level will be far less important. Achievement and progression will be measured by accomplishment and intelligence as a benchmark for success. The question of failure or success will be irrelevant and replaced with a standard and consistent measurement of potential and overall intelligence. Information will no longer be missed but continually rehearsed and monitored for retention by the machine. In our current educational paradigm, the teacher is in charge of arbitrarily constructing curriculum. This approach to curriculum development is based on inexperience in some cases, outdated materials, inadequate funding and a shortage of time. Measuring the success of a specific curriculum is currently impossible. With a standardized system, comparisons of curricular success can be made across the entire spectrum of education and then continually reformulated and enhanced by the machine. Sadly, teachers today are bogged down with an assortment of mind-numbing tasks that would be better suited to an off-the-shelf automated system. Tasks such as data tracking, reporting and record keeping are currently accomplished manually. These tasks could easily be delegated to an intuitive database. 7


The Future of Educational Technology...continued from page 6

Developing a standard to follow would eliminate these tasks and free the teacher to do their main job of teaching students. Education 3.0 Throughout history, man has sought to pass on knowledge to the next generation. This process started with oral tradition, storytelling and writing. With the advent of the printing press, knowledge and information slowly became available to the masses. The amount of information that could be gained by one human in a lifetime was severely limited by his access to printed materials and wealth. The majority of learning was gained through observation and imitation. We can call this Education 1.0.

treasure a soul can possess. I use the word may in the last sentence because there is the chance that we will miss this golden opportunity. Access to Education 3.0 will only be gained through investment and universal standardization. If we continue to divert wealth toward fruitless goals and corporate greed, this opportunity will be lost or hopelessly delayed.

Education 2.0 starts around the late eighteen hundreds with universal literacy movements throughout newly industrialized regions of the world. Improvements in education slowly transitioned from apprenticeship to formal education and training. Despite our movements toward universal education, access to knowledge and opportunity continues to be inequitable throughout the world. Even with the arrival of the computer revolution, access to the tools of learning continues to define the learner.

Education 3.0, when it arrives, will be the age of universal enlightenment. Platforms for education and learning will slowly standardize and become globally accessible and affordable. The poorest to the wealthiest will have access to the machine that runs the platform. The thought on your mind at this point is most likely wondering what machine I keep referring to. The machine in question is the one we have been so busy teaching and training since roughly 1969. You’ve probably guessed it by now that I am referring to the Internet. The great cloud of knowledge that we call the Internet is precisely the mechanism that we will use to build the platform of Education 3.0. When the platform is finally in place, the decade to follow will see the greatest amount of wealth, discoveries and use of human potential that we have witnessed during our time on this earth. The only question that remains to be answered is the point at which I will leave this series of articles.

The next decade may mark the moment in history when all men are granted equal access to the greatest

When will we allow the user to use the machine to its potential?

About the Author Stephen McClard has been the Director of Bands at Bolivar High School since 2002. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and started his teaching career in Southeast Missouri before moving to Illinois where he taught band for 8 years. In 2006, Mr. McClard was named by SBO Magazine as one of the 50 Directors Who Make a Difference. His first book, The Superior Educator, A Calm and Assertive Approach to Classroom Management and Large Group Motivation was published in July, 2009.

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Building Brain Fitness to Improve Reading and Learning by Sherrelle Walker

Educators often hear about the importance of physical fitness for children, but what about brain fitness? Every teacher at every grade level knows the experience of watching a student struggle to extract information and construct meaning from what they read. Often, this struggle plays out again and again — despite the child’s best efforts and the hard work of teachers, reading intervention specialists, and parents. Like two sides of a coin, there are two sides to the learning process: brain fitness is on one side and teaching & content are on the other. Both sides are critical components of a solid foundation for learning success. Indeed, students experiencing the same high-quality teaching and research-based curriculum can have very different learning experiences based upon the preparedness of their brain to capture, process, and retain information. The good news is that the brain can change, at any age. Cumulative breakthroughs in neuroscience research reveal that the human brain can continue to develop and improve its processing efficiency throughout life. This is called brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to change itself. How does this apply to students who struggle to read and learn from the text they encounter inside and outside school? Neuroscience research shows that reading is a demanding activity, calling for many specific events to take place simultaneously in the brain. Thus, the challenge for at-risk learners is not only solved by good teachers and good curriculum, but by improving the underlying cognitive skills that build brain capacity.

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Building Brain Fitness...continued from page 8

Proven curriculum, when combined with brain fitness exercises to improve brain processing efficiency, can accelerate the learning process. How? There are four key cognitive skills sets — memory, attention, processing rate and sequencing — that when developed together, improve learning and reading. With these skills, a student can effectively: • Store information and ideas • Focus on information and tasks, and ignore distractions • Accurately perceive and manipulate information (e.g. distinguish speech sounds, and identify letter and word forms to create meaning) • Place the detail of information in its accustomed order (e.g. the order of letters within words or words within sentences) The strengthening of these cognitive skills results in a wide range of improved critical language and reading abilities, such as phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, decoding, working memory, syntax and grammar. In addition, when students can process more effectively, all other learning activities are accomplished more efficiently, and the dedication of teachers and the investment in other learning programs yield better results. Further, students are more motivated to learn and have better self-esteem. By exercising their brains and boosting their brain fitness, students can develop the skills to gain knowledge from any text they encounter in any subject — and eliminate the struggle once and for all.

About the Author Sherrelle Walker is chief education officer of Scientific Learning. She has more than 25 years of experience in education as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and is a former member of ASCD’s Executive Council. July 2010 Leaders of Learners

Did You Know?

Did you know that your brain has no pain? This is do to the fact that your brain doesn’t have nerves to register pain within itself. It is obvious that there is no need to describe how important your brain is to your survival, however what’s not so clear is the many interesting facts there are about the brain. I have put together a list of the most fascinating facts that are associated with the brain.

Top 10 Brain Facts 1. Every minute about 750ml of blood pumps through your brain. 2. Your brain makes up about 2% of your body weight. 3. A human brain is about 75% water. 4. A human brain is made up of 100 billion neurons. 5. A human brain weighs about 1350g. 6. Your brain stops growing at 18 years old. 7. The brain is pink because of the blood that flows through it. 8. The brain has 2 sides. The left side controls the right side of your body, while the right side controls the left side of your body. 9. A newborn baby’s brain grows about 3 times in their first year. 10. While you are awake your brain generates about 25 watts of power. 10


Book Review New Books Inter view w i t h for Tex aEducators s A S C D M e m b e r, C a t hy

Br yce

Brain-Powered Science: Teaching and Learning With Discrepant Events Thomas O’Brien (May 2010) Grade Level: Elementary School, Middle School Author Thomas O’Brien takes more than 30 science inquiry activities to a higher level in this book for educators who love to surprise and challenge their students with unanticipated results. Using experiments based on the science of a “discrepant event”—an experiment or demonstration in which the outcome is not what students expect—O’Brien shows how learners can be motivated to reconsider their preconceived notions and think more closely about what has actually occurred and the underlying scientific explanations.

Reader Review

by Claudia Fetters, retired biology and earth science teacher from Alexandria, Va. This is an excellent collection of discrepant events that could be used in a physical science or Earth science classroom to help students understand difficult concepts. Each section is clear and concise, describing the concept to be covered and activity to be done. Written by a professor with experience in teaching K–12 as well as future educators, the book includes complete, ready-to-use activities. Each has a title, an expected outcome, and explanations of the science concepts being examined. Science education concepts are also addressed, and this is followed by a list of materials. Procedures include clear safety recommendations and sample questions to ask students, and extensions and internet connections are included. The book would benefit from some reproducible pages for students to help teachers use these activities, but it’s still worthwhile. The first section explores the use of analogies, mobius strips, and the trick of burning a candle at both ends as an introduction to the use of discrepant events. The next section focuses on perception with activities such as optical illusions, sounds, and smells. The final and largest section includes discrepant events for a number of commonly taught concepts: batteries, convection, magnetic fields, currents, and Cartesian divers, to name just a few. The emphasis is on what kinds of learning activities work best with students and on how to convey new ways of thinking. The book contains references to the National Science Education Standards and a complete list of references as well. It’s highly recommended for any physical science teacher. Brain-Powered Science is published by the National Science Teachers Association. You can read an excerpt from the book at their website: www.nsta.org/store. Do you have a book you want to talk about? Good or bad, write a review for Leaders of Learners and send it to amcgarity@txascd.org. Be sure to include your name and contact information along with your complete review. July 2010 Leaders of Learners

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CALENDAR OF Events September September 23th Effective Questioning Strategies for Secondary Math CaLandra Pervis Greenville ISD September 29th - 30th Using Graphic Organizers and Assessment Tools to Make Mathematics Content More Accessible to Struggling Students Beatrice Moore Luchin Session One of Three Galena Park ISD

READ ALL ABOUT IT! Leaders of Learners is just the beginning - stay Informed with all the Texas ASCD Publications. Leadership: The Bimonthly Texas ASCD eNewsletter, providing member news and resourceful information. One Liner: The weekly email solely dedicated to providing TEA news and updates

October October 24th - 26th Texas ASCD Annual Conference Westin Galleria - Houston November November 3th - 4th Using Graphic Organizers and Assessment Tools to Make Mathematics Content More Accessible to Struggling Students Beatrice Moore Luchin Session Two of Three Galena Park ISD February 2011 February 10th Using Graphic Organizers and Assessment Tools to Make Mathematics Content More Accessible to Struggling Students Beatrice Moore Luchin Session Three of Three Galena Park ISD July 2010 Leaders of Learners

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Designing Boundless Futures for 21st Century Learners Mark your calendar for the 2010 Annual Conference! This year’s conference will focus on best practices through: Curriculum and Technology Integration Curriculum Design Addressing Challenges and Change Multiple Measures of Assessment Instructional Coaching and Leadership Building Community College and Career Readiness

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Leaders of Learners  

The bi-monthly magazine for Texas ASCD members and partners.

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