Hypothetically, if you had an opportunity to meet over coffee with the person who was going to be your state’s highest ranking education official for the next four years, what would you say?
photo credit: powerbooktrance
Would you talk about laptops for students and teachers, the importance of having access to digital curriculum which facilitates differentiated instruction and learning, the need to address special needs children in a vision for charter schools, or something else? Remember, you just have sixty minutes, and you can’t talk about too many things. You need to be focused. You need to speak about important issues, but not in abstract terms: This is an opportunity to have a dialog about educational policy.
What should have top priority in your meeting agenda, assuming you get to set at least part of that agenda?
Hypothetically speaking, of course.
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On this day..
- 15 Things I Love About My Classroom (and teaching situation!) - 2022
- Tips for Parents Paying for College - 2016
- Blogs I Follow (From a Feedly OPML Export) - 2014
- Transitioning from Print to a Digital Learning Ecosystem by Richard Culatta - 2012
- Opening Remarks by Janet Barresi: Oklahoma Digital Learning Summit - 2012
- Remembering April 19, 1995 - 2010
- A Slidecast on Designing School 2.0 - 2009
- links for 2008-04-19 - 2008
- Be careful, be critical - 2007
- Permission to fail - 2007
I would want to talk about the utility of researching and teaching about FOSS solutions for schools. I would, however, talk about increasing the technology training of our schools. I have encountered IT Admins who did not know about Google docs. Then, when presented with Docs, responded, “It’s not as good as Microsoft.” There is an obvious lack of continuation training with these groups of technical leaders in our schools. Many of the IT people I have run across who are working in schools were trained 10 or more years ago, and have just picked things up as they went along.
While we require our teachers to be continually learning, it seems as if the support structure for the schools has been allowed to slide by with trial-by-fire. I know that this is probably not the case, but what school has not encountered issues with the tech department not keeping up with the cutting edge of possibility?
Why, for example, do we not have any schools running EyeOS? It’s a web-based OS that can be pointed back to a centralized server. Student’s don’t need to worry about viruses because they’re not able to download anything. They can do video editing, audio editing and word processing online, and store all their projects on a local server. I approached an IT person with this idea once, the response was, “It will never work.” I am quite certain that I had not fully explained the idea, which would save the district thousands in computer costs, so how could he make that decision so quickly?
Anyway, I could continue, but I shall stop… Increase the training for the computer personelle.
I’d try to impress on him that there are no “top” ranking education leaders. That education should be a democratic process, and that the real leaders are the students.
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I would talk with them about opening up the way we do training. There are multiple ways of gaining knowlege that is underutilized. I would talk about leveling the playing field for us with other professional career fields. For example my wife was able to neogiate into her contract having her boss pay for continuing ed and professional development. I have found it interesting that teachers are required to stay current on teaching practices but unless it is a building/district endeavor the continuing ed comes out of their pocket.
Also I would discuss the need for more trained para-edcators in the classroom for all teachers. After having spent 2 years as a classroom para and seeing how helpful it was to those teachers. What was nice is that by giving me the day to day paperwork (grading, attendenance, writing up letters, worksheets, small group work) the teacher was opened up to do more teaching and touch base with more students.
No tech talk for me. I’d want to know what sort of evidence they consider demonstrates deep understanding. Tech needs to come after we know what sort of learning we are hoping for.
Maine will have an interim commissioner next month and then a new administration next year! My conversation with the lead educator would be very similar to the one I have with classroom, school, and district leaders…How will s/he walk the talk of moving all stakeholders closer to their vision of exemplary teaching and learning for what remains of the 21st century?