Saturday, August 1, 2015

Diagnosis and Design for School Improvement : Review

Diagnosis and Design for School Improvement : Review

The problem with school improvement programs is that they are not created for your school.  It is entirely unreasonable to assume that a school in need of improvement can study what another school is doing, copy it down to the last detail, implement it to perfection, and be successful.  Why? Because schools are not the same.  They do not have the same students, the same teachers, the same leaders, or the same situation.  Yes, lessons can be learned and important knowledge gained through research.  But success lies in the thoughtful data-driven application of this knowledge.

To make the changes necessary school leaders must have a deep understanding of diagnosis and design principals.  Spillane and Coldren's book Diagnosis for Design provides a balanced framework for analyzing how a school is functioning and making structural changes.  

Their analysis includes:

  • identifying leaders in the school using social interactions and responsibility for analysis
  • alignment between actions and the school's vision; and
  • a situational analysis using routines and leadership tools. 

Their book includes tools and strategies to analyze the organizational structure of the school.   Additionally, they provide an analytical approach to improving schools.  Their book is based on almost a decade of research that the authors have undertaken.  

The decades of school improvement efforts in the US has focused on improving teacher's instruction.  The result has been that we have more highly trained teachers.  Yet, our schools are not making the goals that have been set for them.  Maybe, we also need to improve schools. 

Oh, the balloons?  Not a party . . . a physics experiment.  Demonstrating the importance of deep diagnosis.  

Their book can be found on Google Books for a little over $15.00.  

Spillane, J. P., & Coldren, A. F. (2015). Diagnosis and design for school improvement: Using a distributed perspective to lead and manage change. Teachers College Press.

A review: by Rob Koch

Friday, August 29, 2014

Open Educational Resources to Improve Student Achievement

A recent review from the What Works Clearinghouse (2014) reported that a study of the effectiveness of using MOOC’s as part of a blended classroom environment resulted in higher test scores. This report and several others indicate that open educational resources (OER) when used in a blended classroom result in higher levels of student achievement. Welsh and Dragusin (2013) discussed the business aspect of OER in relation to post-secondary institutions, concluding that they need to adjust their practices. They identified potential problems that might arise in the future such as revenue models, accreditation, course completion rate, and student achievement. I believe two things to be true. First teachers will always be an essential component of the educational system. Secondly, the work of teachers and organization of schools in their current state is quickly becoming irrelevant. The question that begs to be considered is what is the potential effect of OER on the public educational system? How do public schools need to adapt to capitalize on the vast potential of OER? How do we prepare teachers to provide education in the 21st Century?

References
Welsh, D. H., & Dragusin, M. (2013). The New Generation of Massive Open Online Course (MOOCS) and Entrepreneurship Education. Small Business Institute® Journal, 9(1), 51-65.

What Works Clearinghouse (2014). Interactive online learning on campus: Testing MOOCs and other platforms in hybred formats in the university system of Maryland. WWC Quick Review. Retreived from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/quickreview.aspx?sid=20121

Rob Koch

Robkch@gmail.com
Educator
Google

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gamifying






 Gamification

   Educators can learn a great deal from the science of games.  Children learn at an early age through playing different games.  In fact many of these games are games that they made up themselves.  The benefits of playing games extends beyond learning to the wellbeing of students.  Play relieves stress, improves brain function, stimulates the mind and boosts creativity, improves relationships, and energizes.  

Gamification
What is gamification?  Gamification does not mean reducing learning to simplistic tasks or creating a game.  It means making learning more fun and engaging while preserving the credibility of the lesson (Muntean, 2011).    



                         Gamification v. Classroom Instruction (typical)
Elements
Instruction
Gamification
Set achievable goals within participant’s zone of proximal development.
X
X
Sequential graduation of difficulty
X
X
Generalization of skills
X
X
Engage students to learn
X
X
Anticipatory Set
X
X
Frequent checks for progress and understanding
X
X
Provide models
X
X
Guided Practice
X
X
Independent Practice
X
X
Utilizes social learning and collaboration
X
X
Consequences for not getting the right answer the first time
X

Allows multiple attempts until the learner solves the problem

X
Provides immediate feedback (a condition of flow)

X
Requires mastery of topic before moving on

X
Students earn points to achieve different levels of mastery

X
Students provided with intrinsic and tangible rewards as the learn
sometimes
X

Related Topics:

Video Games
Video games has been shown to significantly improve a variety of metal abilities including reasoning, mental rotation, spatial attention, memory, reasoning, and reaction time (McLaughlin, Gandy, Allaire, & Whitlock, 2012).   However, there have also been numerous studies that indicate that videos games can have a detrimental effect as well.    Addictive behavior towards games, loss of educational time, increase in ADHD behaviors, tie away from other activities such as education or physical activity, and increased anti-social behaviors have all been associated with extensive video game playing Bavelier, Green, Han, Renshaw, Merzenich, & Gentile, 2011).

The Effect of Play on Health

Individuals from low SES environments tend to suffer from higher a higher allostatic load or the amounts of biological repercussions associated with stress resulting from the release of stress mediators such as cortisol (McEwen & Seeman, 2009).  Over time the release of stress mediators can accumulate and have negative effects of various organs leading to diseases (McEwen & Seeman, 2009).  A study of 1207 found that adults with a childhood history of low SES who engage in shift-and-persist strategies had lower allostatic loads (Chen, Miller, Lachman, Gruenewald, & Seeman, 2012).  Playing games involves the skills of reforming a problem and persisting until mastery is accomplished.  


By Rob Koch


References
Bavelier, D., Green, C. S., Han, D. H., Renshaw, P. F., Merzenich, M. M., & Gentile, D. A. (2011). Brains on 
      video games. Nature Reviews Neuroscience,12(12), 763-768.

Chen, E., Miller, G. E., Lachman, M. E., Gruenewald, T. L., & Seeman, T. E. (2012). Protective factors for adults
      from low-childhood socioeconomic circumstances: The benefits of shift-and-persist for allostatic 
      load.Psychosomatic Medicine74(2), 178-186.

Deterding, Sebastian (2011). Meaningful Play: Getting>>Gamification right [Slideshare Slides]. Retrieved 
      from http://www.slideshare.net/dings/meaningful-play-getting-gamification-right

Muntean, C. I. (2011, October). Raising engagement in e-learning through gamification. In Proc. 6th International
        Conference on Virtual Learning ICVL (pp. 323-329). Retreived from http://icvl.eu/2011/disc/icvl/
        documente/pdf/met/ICVL_ModelsAndMethodologies_paper42.pdf

McEwen, B., & Seeman, T. (2009). Allostatic load and allostasis. In Allostatic load notebook. Retrieved 
     from http://www.macses.ucsf.edu/research/allostatic/allostatic.php

Chen, E., Miller, G. E., Lachman, M. E., Gruenewald, T. L., & Seeman, T. E. (2012). Protective factors for adults from 
                  low-childhood socioeconomic circumstances: The benefits of shift-and-persist for allostatic 
                 load.Psychosomatic Medicine74(2), 178-186.


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