Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

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CCE Finland: Panel Discussion and Twitter Chat on Assessment Part 1

CCE Finland: Panel Discussion and Twitter Chat on Assessment


It is a career highlight to serve on a panel discussion addressing assessment.

My Basic Question regarding assessment is “How Do We Know if They Are Getting Better at Learning… and we do we blame if they Aren’t?”     

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JohnBarell-How Do We Know They're Getting Better

 

My question comes from my colleague John Barell who has written a book by this same title.

I asked this question to my national teacher professional groups and I received answers from many of them.

How do we know if we are sufficiently preparing the students of today for the challenges of the 21st century? Inquiry-based education leads to problem-solving and provides specific steps for pre, formative and summative assessment that informs instruction of 21st century skills.

 

 

Included in Dr. Barell’s book are examples that show how to use today’s technology in the classroom and how to use inquiry to develop and assess students’ ability to:

  • Think critically and creatively
  • Collaborate with others
  • Become self-directed learners
  • Adapt and become resourceful
  • Develop a sense of leadership, responsibility, and global awareness

Click this link for more information about Dr. Barell’s book

My PLN was a great resource of information. I received information, advice, and resources from educators in 10 states. Special thanks to Dr. Joyce King who provided so many timely resources.

One thing that stood out to me was the amount of summative assessment that currently occurs in U.S. classrooms. Specifically, testing days in the U.S. average 50 days out of 180 of state-standardized events plus 10 teacher-generated summative course-specific events per semester (20) for a total of 70/180 = 39%. The 39% figure does not count other forms of assessment such as formative assessment, reflection, student self- assessment, etc…

  • As educator Dr. A. Cross notes,”there is too much testing- and we are assessing the wrong things! The state level tests in Tennessee were given too early in the year for teachers to cover everything that was assessed for that grade, but then the results didn’t come back for months (over summer) so that data wasn’t used to improve teaching and learning- more as a punishment for educators when students scored poorly”-and- “they have a test as they leave grade 5 that heavily determines which middle school they can get into. Parents hire private tutors to give their students a leg up, which artificially inflates scores.”
  • As educator I. Ramirez explains, “we just find out that our school in Clark County will be rated (range 1-5 star school) base on student ACT performance. Therefore, our school system regarding standardized testing must change if we want to accomplish a 5 star rating. From now on students (freshman- Junior years ONLY) will be practicing 3-5 times per year taking a computer based test called CERT (CERT (College Equipped REadiness Tool). The output data from the student’s results will give us a prediction of how we’re doing as a school. In our math classes, for example, our warm up activities are ACT practice released problems. We want our students to get familiar with standardized testing vocabulary. We want our students to be considered proficient. In Clark County, ACT average composite scores are about 18 points. To be considered proficient, students must score 22 or more on the composite results. We know it will be a great challenge, however, myself I’m excited to fase this challenge. We know it will be a process to switch around from the low proficient to the proficient status, and also we know it may take some time to accomplish this academic goal, because we can do vertical alignment instruction. What I think is the real challenge is to create a culture of students interested to do well on these standardized assessments.
  • Upon reflection, educator Dave P. shared that “New York State implemented a ‘teacher assessment program’ and if teachers do not pass it they are put on probation and can be removed the following year if they do not show improvement – regardless of tenure. What I found interesting about this is that student assessment involves regurgitation of facts on multiple choice tests, even if the test includes open ended questions or work there is always a MC section. The teacher assessments require the observation of student involvement in the learning process, open ended questioning, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and other measures that go beyond the mere memorization of facts… [this] shows the state understands students need to do more than memorize facts, but this doesn’t match up to student assessments. Dave continues with this observation, “another part of the “teacher assessment” was that your students show “growth” over the year. So, to do this many teachers give impossible (“impassible”) BENCHMARK tests at the beginning of the year and compare the results on the final exam. Not exactly supported by science. My point; it’s all a game and depending on how you play it you can win without trying.
  • Jean H. provides a tidy summation and call to action.
    “When instructional practice is in alignment with the science behind the assessment, students and teachers can greatly benefit. That is where true differentiation of instruction that is impactful and uniquely perfect for each child is possible...currently, that is about as rare as a unicorn.”

Special thanks to these helpful folks:  John Barell, Dr. Joyce King, Dave P., Dr. Ashley CrossI. Ramirez, Jean H., Mark Barnes, Sylvia Ellison, Lev Vygotsky, Donald Schon, and Paulo Friere.

Check the blog tomorrow for my Top Ten Take-aways from the Panel Discussion.

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Weekend Ed. Quote ~ March 24

“Meaning-making occurs in tandem with acting upon new ideas and strategies” ~ John Barell, Moving From What to What If?: Teaching Critical Thinking with Authentic Inquiry and Assessments, 2016, p. 6

Moving From What to What If

Moving From What to What If?: Teaching Critical Thinking with Authentic Inquiry and Assessments Available from Google Books and Amazon

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More Weekend Ed. Quotes

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Weekend Ed. Quote~October 18

This week’s quote arrives from my friend Dr. John Barell, prolific author and creative thinker:

https://inquisitivetoafaultdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/milkywaythailand.jpgI would show my mother, Elizabeth Barell, a picture like this of Melotte 15, an emission nebula, and say, “Look, Ma, this is where stars are born–a stellar nursery.” She’d quickly respond, “How do you know?” I’d say, “Look, it says here `Astronomers say this is where stars are created.'”
And she would respond with such alacrity, “Well, how do they know?

I then used my very basic knowledge of astronomy to explain what I thought I understood. “How do they know? How do you know?” Two of the most important questions we should be asking about all sorts of things besides star formation. ~Dr. John Barell

 

Thank you, John!! I’ve learned so much from Dr. Barell’s many books, among them:

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow?: Teaching for Inquiry, PreK-5

Developing More Curious Minds

Problem-Based Learning: An Inquiry Approach

How Do We Know They’re Getting Better?: Assessment for 21st Century Minds, K-8

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Additional Ed. Quotes

Image Source

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Inquiry Learning Resource~Sally Ride Science

Just heard about this from my friend Dr. John Barell:

Dr. Sally Ride was the first women in space and an educator with continuing research in corporate inquiry mind sets and STEM.  Following the explosion of Space Shuttle Columbia, she concluded her investigation with these ringing words: “Ever NASA manager needs to be inquisitive to a fault.  You must ask and ask and ask.”  In person
she told me that, yes, this challenge did indeed apply to all walks of life and that science was an excellent way of fostering our inquisitiveness by asking “Why?”

Continuing in the spirit of inquiry, the website SallyRideScience (https://sallyridescience.com) is a splendid resource for all those conducting investigations about the natural world.

Give yourself some time to search for Curiosity Rover on Mars, Climate Change and with Antarctic research.  In the Antarctic research section, you’ll find the intriguing question, “How do penguins survive  in very cold temperatures?”  John wrote, “I thought I knew the answer, but learned more about the physics that I still don’t quite understand fully:  http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/cold_penguins.htm

Sally Ride ScienceSallyRideScience seems to be a safe, secure and child friendly. Conduct searches at STEM Central and Browse by
Category. John wrote, “Investigating the natural world  is that area of inquiry where we’re always asking What? Why? How Come?” Take a look at SallyRideScience.

Thanks, Dr. John Barell!

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Favorite Pinterest Board: It’s All About Wonder

Author, friend, and mentor John Barell emailed a great link for a Pinterest Board featuring his work on the subject of Wonder.

There are so many excellent educational resources on Pinterest. But I have not seen a board dedicated to the subject of Wonder.

Check it out! Did You Ever Wonder?

did you ever wonder

What is your favorite quote about Wonder?

 

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Questions in the Classroom

a good teacher asks questions

Great books on questioning techniques:

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow?: Teaching for Inquiry, PreK-5  by John Barell
My Review of this book

Problem-Based Learning: An Inquiry Approach by John Barell

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Inquiry-Oriented Instruction Video

Frequently, I am asked for specific examples of inquiry-oriented education. The questions usually have three themes:

1. How does inquiry-oriented education function in the classroom?
2. Just exactly how does it look?
3. How do I model this approach for my students?

Here, in a concise, video, author John Barrell, models this approach with a group of elementary students. 
This is a wonderful example of inquiry-learning in process.

Inquiry-Oriented Instruction Example Video

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The Creativity Crisis Part II

Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day. By middle school, they’ve pretty much stopped asking. It’s no coincidence that this same time is when student motivation and engagement plummet. They did not stop asking question because they lost interest: it’s the other way around. They lost interest because they stopped asking questions.

Excerpted from “The Creativity Crisis”, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, Newsweek. July 19, 2010

For further Goggling: John Barell and More Curious Minds, http://www.morecuriousminds.com/

Question: What is the most interesting question you have received in the classroom this year?

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Order This Book!

“Inquisitive minds are the safeguards of our democracy, now and forever.” John Barell

And they also may scare us to quivering mush!

Why? Because our perception is that questions may lead us away:

From the “right” answer-
From the prescribed time allotment-
From our plan and our pacing-
Toward a realm where the teacher is not the all-seeing, all-knowing Carnac of the Classroom. carnac.jpg

Thank Goodness! What a Relief!

Realize this and you will live longer and have more fun!

And you will have time to sit down, rest a bit, and read, “Why Are School Buses Always Yellow” by John Barell, Professor Emeritus, Montclair State University. (Corwin Press and Amazon)

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow” encapsulates years of theory into workable practice. I probably would have saved thousands in college tuition loans if this resource had blessed me decades ago! (virtual “Wish I’d had a V-8” moment)!

Barell reiterates that questions signal higher-order thought processing which is the goal of effective classroom interaction and innovation. He reminds us that student questions are the attainment of the highest thinking skills. It is what we trained for people!

Too many books declare WHAT an important concept inquiry teaching is. But, after the studies are noted and the experts quoted, there are very few pages left for the actual implementation: HOW TO DO inquiry-oriented teaching. It’s about time that a book came along that speaks to “HOW” to reach and develop inquisitive questioning.

Barell’s visits to classrooms and discussions with both teachers and students form a dynamic role-play model. You will no doubt relate to the student responses and learn from modeling Barell’s effective inquiry teaching practices. I also appreciate the structure of the chapters. Barell allows space for reflection, an often overlooked phase of learning.

Granny Newlen always admonished us kids to “Learn, discuss, then then get up and move.” She used such a phrase to get us up off the couch for learning-walk where we would tell her what we had learned at school.

Go on your own “learning walk” to the bookstore, online or F2F, and buy this book. 😉

barell-book.jpg

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