Thursday, January 31, 2013

1,500 Indicators for the Common Core Is Like Playing the Penny Slots

Casino Royale
I grew up living with my grandmother. Fondly called "G-ma" by me and my friends, my grandmother was notorious for offering all kinds of inappropriate advice about boys, bikinis, and blonde highlights.

However, there was one topic on which she was truly a master: penny slots.

Although my grandmother frequented the casinos in Atlantic City, she would never, ever (ever!) play the penny slots. If my grandmother even heard a rumor about someone else playing penny slots, she would hang her head in deep despair and shame.

Her reasoning was this: "If you break something into such tiny pieces, how can you ever amass anything worth actually winning?"

I was recently reminded of her advice as I cruised the web for resources with the Common Core Standards. Several different vendors and curriculum companies are offering their "broken down" versions of the standards. Some of these products actually boast between 1,500 and 1,800 learning targets. 

Really?

If you break down the standards into such tiny pieces, how will you ever reach complex performance in your classroom? 

Remember,
Skill + Skill + Skill ≠ Complex Performance

Mastery of isolated skills does not always equal complex performance. Often, skills learned in isolation are forgotten or remain unused when messy problems arise.

Instead of tiny skills, use broad competencies to organize your learning goals and curriculum. This will help you to provide students with lots of opportunities to use lots of different skills and knowledge at the same time. 

Isn't this: Argue your position by using compelling facts from compelling sources.

Better than this?: Identify the topic of the paragraph.

Don't turn the Common Core Standards into a trip to the penny slots. My grandmother would disapprove.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Inquiry Breaks Down Rigidity



This past weekend, I attended my third Educon at Science Leadership Academy. While I always enjoy this annual event, I found this year's conference to be particularly helpful.

Specifically, Chris Lehmann's session on structured inquiry helped me consider a critically important point:
Inquiry breaks down rigidity.

What? 

Well, as someone who works with essential questions and structured inquiry every day, I can write a pretty mean essential question. I also know that asking kids open-ended questions makes the learning environment more unpredictable, fluid, and interesting. However, I hadn't considered the role of inquiry in progressive problem resolution.

Ok-- Let me paraphrase Chris' story--
Chris aptly stated that most arguments have a point which is commonly answered by a counterpoint. In communities or cultures that value inquiry, however, most points are not answered by counterpoints. Instead, they are answered by QUESTIONS.  

Interesting, huh?

So instead of becoming mired in your opinion, you have to reconsider your stance over and over again. It helps people to consider the different ways that someone can approach a problem without aggressive or non-productive confrontation.

So instead of:
Point <---> Counterpoint

Try:
Point <---> Question <---> Think <---> Answer <---> Question

Having tried this myself several times since Sunday, I can tell you that it's working quite nicely. Instead of inviting confrontation, a good question seems to engage me and my various discussion partners in conversations that lead to blended solutions.

How will you wield the power of inquiry today?


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Confessions of a Digital Hoarder: Encienda Educon

Here are the slides from my presentation today at Encienda Educon. Enjoy!



If you'd like some context check out the recent post below from my #etmooc blog:

      #ETMOOC colleagues, I have a confession to make. I used to be
a hoarder. No, I wasn’t the kind of hoarder that stored piles and piles of
pennies in peanut butter jars. I was something a little more covert: I was a
digital hoarder.

    Consider my experience with Pinterest last spring. It began innocently enough. First, I
pinned a few educational videos and infographics for work. Suddenly, six hours
had flashed by and I was still in front of the computer screen. I found myself
pinning recipes for green kale orzo smoothies and laundry whitening tips.
(Important note: I don’t drink smoothies and I don’t even separate my laundry!)

     In that moment I realized that I was no longer merely saving interesting things; I
was hoarding. There’s a fine line between storing and hoarding. In short, I
crossed it.

     Hoarders stockpile online information for their use ONLY. They have no intention to
share it, remix it or even think deeply about it. Such information isolation is unhealthy and unproductive. It’s not something to model for colleagues or students.

     However, all was not lost. I found redemption by beginning to store information with a
larger purpose: to share it.  

     A paradigm for describing this shift is called User Generated Learning.

Curation, reflection, and contribution are all equal components within this model. Curation requires learners to evaluate information and organize it. Reflection encourages
learners to unpack their learning in public spaces, such as blogs. Contribution
demands that learners “give back” to both digital and face-to-face communities
either through discussion or production. By engaging in all three parts of this
model, educators can ensure that they adequately synthesize and consider
important artifacts. This process is a far cry from simply storing and
organizing “cool stuff.” 

     After engaging in the User Generated Learning process for almost a year, I can attest
that it results in rich, social learning. I only save that which is aligned to
my goals and the goals of others with whom I connect. I have fewer links,
videos, and interactive sites, but I have more conversations and perspectives
to consider. I’ve joined this course as a way to increase my focus on
community, not content.
      
     Collect less; share more.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Four Ways to Share Evernote Style


My good friend and trusted colleague, Nick Provenzano, recently wrote an eBook exploring the best ways to use Evernote in education. While the book had some great general tips and tricks, the one section that really resonated with me was on sharing.

Nick notes that there are four ways to share:
  1. Sharing with teachers
  2. Sharing with students
  3. Sharing with administrators
  4. Sharing with parents
Certainly, each of these audiences has different needs and different information requests. Being able to effectively and empathetically share appropriate information with these audiences is something that every teacher must do. However, it can be challenging at times! Nick provides some great advice, including "keeping a paper trail without paper."

Be sure to check out the book. You can find it on Amazon here!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Setting Norms Without Saying It: Locus of Control

I spend a lot of time with other educators discussing curricular design and the craft of teaching. Given the tremendous challenges facing teachers today, these conversations can get hopelessly off-track and stunningly negative. Fast.

In an effort to help guide these ideas to more positive, productive places, I've been using Covey's concentric circles. These are sometimes referred to as Locus of Control.

I wanted to share this strategy with you because it's had a host of positive consequences that I didn't quite anticipate. In short- it's a great strategy to frame a tenuous or delicate discussion.

First, teachers begin by working in small teams to brainstorm everything that's in their control, everything that's in their influence, and everything that's out of their control. There is often healthy discussion at this point as people disagree about what is in their influence and what is actually within their control.

Next, have an open discussion about what each team identified within their Locus of Control. Remind folks that everything "up for discussion" today has to be within their control. Perseverating on things outside of one's control only lead to frustration and helplessness. Undoubtedly, we need to be aware of factors we cannot control, but we cannot allow them to consume the day!

Then, as the day and discussion proceeds, you can point to the circles as a visual reminder to stay internally, proactively focused. Saying "refocus your locus of control" is a powerful way to shut down unproductive talk. It ends up being a great way to set norms without actually having a list of do's and don'ts.

This strategy has been really helpful for me when guiding, leading, and learning alongside teachers. I hope you find it helpful!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is Social Learning Stickier?

Right now, I'm facilitating conversations in a virtual book club. As everyone explored various curation tools, Brette shared that she had completely forgotten about her iTunes U account.

Hmmm. I happened to be in the same situation as Brette. I haven't even logged into my iTunes U account in the last six months. Simple information delivery just isn't enough to keep me engaged anymore.

Yes... social learning. It's a must for me. But.... is it deeper? Stickier?
Without people to help me, cajole me, and coach me along the way, it's hard for me to persist when things get murky or cloudy. I need to share my ideas, brainstorm, and get feedback regularly. When those elements are present, my learning feels unstoppable. My Twitter network, my work network, and my publishing network give me social ways to learn and grow.

But does that mean the learning's deeper when it's social?

I think so.

Learning is an active, connected process. Sharing and feedback facilitate learning, especially for adults.

So, I'm going to keep finding the tools that help me share, interact, and connect. It's a journey worth traveling.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Using Digital Media to Enhance Educational Transfer

Note: This is cross posted at Smart Blog on Education. 



Educational transfer is the point of education, right? If students can’t use what we’ve taught them in new, real-life situations, then we end up with students who are good at school and bad at life.  

Recent research from National Academies Press reminds us that one of the best ways to promote transfer is to balance students’ cognitive load while they consume or create multimedia. Every time students are presented with a new idea or situation, the following three processes happen simultaneously:
·      Extraneous processing – This type of processing handles all of the “extra stuff” that occurs within a situation. Extraneous processing is not related to the task at hand, but it drains brainpower for kids. Consider what it would be like to write a drum beat in a bowling alley. Filtering out all those crashing pins would certainly take some work! 
·      Essential processing – This is the processing that is directly related to the task at hand. It is the basic comprehension of the problem. Think of this as the “main idea” of the learning situation. This is brainpower well spent.
·      Generative processing – This is the most important type of processing. This is where students make sense of a situation for themselves. In doing this, students commit concepts to long-term memory where they can be retrieved for future situations. (This type of processing directly promotes educational transfer.)

In today’s digitally enhanced world, we often ask students to create or consume something rooted in multimedia. This allows our students to experience many different versions of the same idea. However, how often do we consider which specific multimedia designs actually balance cognitive load and promote long lasting learning and transfer?

Check out this awesome chart from National Academies Press that summarizes twelve simple, research-based strategies for multimedia design:

Given this, here are my three goals for 2013 regarding the creation and consumption of digital media with educators and students.

1. Use words in a conversational style. Although tradition has made me think that formal language is required when I interact with educators and students, this may actually inhibit their ability to personalize and transfer what I say. In short, I’m going to use kid-friendly language as much as possible with all audiences I serve. 

2. Pairing graphics and narration without on screen text. I love words. I really do. However, I’m going to try to use less text when creating and consuming multimedia. Even labels and citations will be off limits this year. (I’ll put citations at the end, of course!)

3. Adding more and more pictures. I want to increase the number of pictures I share (in my writing, my online courses, my workshops, my model lessons, etc.) by a factor of 3. Providing pictures with narration assists generative processing, so it will be well worth the effort!

Given that we want to develop students who will be able to solve problems that don’t exist yet, educational transfer is a very worthy goal. Promoting it via multimedia design is an important step for connected educators.

If you’re interested in reading the entire research report recently released from the National Academies Press, it can be downloaded here for free. (It’s a great read!)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Find Insane People To Write Your Curriculum

Insane
Last Sunday afternoon, in an act of pure procrastination, I found myself deeply entrenched in a (somewhat) serious conversation about curricular change with Gerald, Nancy, and Ray on Twitter.

At one point, Nancy astutely proclaimed:

At first, I just laughed. We clearly don't want insane people in charge of designing reality for students. Or do we!?!?

So leaders, here are my 3 reasons for finding the most "insane" people to write your curriculum:
  • Insane people are way more likely to take risks. If our students are going to have a real shot in today's world, they clearly need learning experiences that depart from the status quo. We need curriculum writers who will innovate with time and space to create opportunities for anytime, anywhere learning. 
  • Insane people are passionate. I often think of the word insane and passion concomitantly. If we want students to be successful, then we need curriculum writers who are willing to invest time, energy, and creativity. Yup, they need to be insane!
  • Insane people probably didn't do so well in traditional school. People who were highly successful in school tend to replicate what worked for them. However, we know that these structures of compliance don't always equal success in the real world.
If curriculum needs to reflect the changing demands of the world, then it just might be time to get crazy.

CC Photo Credit: Insane by Fraleyla

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lesson Study: Promoting Transfer and Authentic Problem Solving

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that promoting authentic transfer in education is one of my fervent passions.

A few weeks ago I had the tremendous opportunity to co-design a lesson with Jason Pane, an amazing eighth grade educator at SpringfieldTownship Middle School. Jason and I have known each other for a few years, and he is incredibly dedicated to one thing: improving learning for kids.

As with lots of professional opportunities in my life, the collaboration germinated on Twitter:

After countless emails and discussions between me, Jason, and David Newdeck, the instructional technology coach, we finally settled on a design. Here’s what it looked like:

Note: We had a cart of 30 iPads to use during the lesson. Yea, I know—it was sweet.

Stats:

  • 25-30 Eighth Grade Students
  • 80 minute block periods
  • Projectors, WIFI, iPads

Introduction:
We began by having students read the following article from the New York Times here. The article describes FEMA’s strategy for detecting crisis quickly during a hurricane, including the shortcomings of this model during Hurricane Sandy.

As they read, students underlined/highlighted the plan as outlined by Fugate, FEMA’s president.

Whole Group Article Debriefing:
We had students summarize the article as a whole class. Jason and I would throw out prompting questions, such as “How did Fugate’s plan work?” and students would pass the conversation amongst themselves until we felt there was a shared basic comprehension of the article. Importantly, Jason and I allowed the students to run the conversation. We offered very little corrective feedback, and we encouraged students to debunk each other’s misconceptions as the discussion proceeded.

Setting the Role for the Task:
Next, we gave students an authentic role and the parameters of the task. We mostly used this letter to set expectations for students. We also showed students a Symbaloo with some overview resources to get them started.

Research and Planning:
Students worked in teams of 3 to research and brainstorm an improved plan. This was where the real synthesis, question-asking, and evaluation happened. Jason, David, and I floated to each group asking questions like:

  •       What information will you need to determine if that’s feasible?
  •       What ideas do you have so far?
  •       Can you think of any problems with your current plan?

Finalizing the Plan:
Students use the app Explain Everything (worth the hefty $2.99 price tag because of all its export options) to create 3 very crude visual aides to support their plan. Students simply sketched and drew their ideas.


Sharing the Plan:
Students shared their plans with the rest of the Hurricane Strategic Planning Department (the class). Students had to use “What if?” questions to help students identify weaknesses in their plans and consider other alternatives. Students were also encouraged to praise teams that developed ideas they hadn’t considered.  This section of the class really encouraged critical thinking. Students tried to form arguments to defend their ideas and critically evaluate the ideas of others. All of this was done respectfully, but passionately. We could have easily spent an entire class period doing this!

Post Lesson Reflections
1. First of all, 80 minutes was not enough time to really “dig in” to the academic discussion that was budding in the classroom. And although we didn’t prioritize the product via Explain Everything, everything seemed really rushed. If we wanted to really prioritize argument, claims, and counter claims, we needed at least 2-3 additional class periods.

2. If we had allowed more time for the activity, we could have encouraged students to import and cite maps for their Explain Everything slide decks. This would have likely increased the ability of many groups to share their ideas clearly.

3. The kids were engaged the entire time. There was very little off task behavior in the room, even though we taught the lesson just before the upcoming holiday break. Students “got into role” pretty easily. When we asked students why were were doing this, many of them responded with comments such as “You wanted us to think,” “Or you know that kids can be used to solve problems with creativity.”  They clearly saw the larger goal of the task.

4. The iPads enabled students to have instant access to potential answers to their questions. Many of their “Googles” didn’t yield accurate results, and many students needed guidance and prompting to interpret their searches. This could certainly be an area of follow up.

Want to try it? I’d love to hear how it goes in your classroom!

Photo Credit: Springfield TMS Twitter Feed

Friday, January 4, 2013

Moving Forward: Part 4


This blog post is part of a four-part series in response to the recent report by the National Academies Press entitled Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century. The purpose of these posts is to summarize the most salient points of the research and provide context for your personal journey with instructional design. The entire research report can be downloaded here at no charge.


Yesterday we looked at several research-based strategies to increase the amount of transfer that occurs in your classroom. In today's final post, we'll explore specific ways to move forward now that you're armed with this cutting-edge research.

Given that the research cited in the report probably requires sweeping changes to the structure of your curricula, it's unreasonable to attempt all of the changes at once. I offer five "bite-sized" ways to get started this year.

1. Define your locus of control. 
What is within your immediate control that you can change? Given that Marzano reminds us that the teacher is the number one factor affecting student achievement, there is probably more in control that you realize! (That's great news, of course!) Once you've identified the things that you can do immediately, you're ready to tackle the next four steps.

2. Become familiar with the disciplinary practices of the new standards. 
Be sure to review the math practice standards, the domains within the ELA standards, and the thematic elements of the new science standards. Don't teach math or ELA or science? Well, check out the practice standards anyway. It's really critical to identify where you can embed these ideas subject areas within and outside of their respective subject areas. 

3. Organize learning experiences around competencies, not content. 
Ok, this might look different depending on your specific situation. If you're an elementary teacher, you may have greater flexibility in this area. What if you rename reading and writing "Crafting Good Arguments" when you're working on that competency? What if you rename science "Finding Good Questions" when you begin an inquiry-based unit on the rock cycle? If you teach in a departmentalized classroom, this can be a little bit trickier but it's not impossible. Consider the competency that you wish to emphasize within each unit you teach. If possible collaborate with your colleagues to emphasize similar competencies as similar times. (This helps students to explicitly see the connections between different academic disciplines.)  What if you morph "linear equations" into "analyzing and using trends?" What if you change the study of the Civil War into "investigating empathy?" Making the competencies within your learning experiences explicit will help both you and them.

4. Write formative and summative assessments that focus on authentic problem solving. 
It is well within your locus of control to give kids really stimulating, challenging assessments. For example, I recently revised a simple paper and pencil test on natural disasters. Instead of choosing the correct answer, students revised Fugate's method for identifying areas suffering extensive damage with a more refined protocol. Each "Hurricane Strategic Planning Department" read their orders and presented their plan to FEMA within 72 hours. Not only were student more engaged in the task, but they also spent the time that was previously wasted "cramming" doing active research, evaluation, and synthesis. While you may not be able to change every assessment in your classroom, see if you can make one change during the next semester. 

5. Check (and then check again!) to make sure that your goals are aligned to the standards, your assessments, and the learning activities you select. 
If you value competency, then you must constantly ask yourself if "the way you do business" in your classroom reflects your values. It's easy to get swept away with what you've always done, so be careful. Think about each learning activity or structure. Does it promote active problem solving? Does it emphasize empathy and choice? While you can't redesign everything immediately, an awareness of your goals will ensure you move closer and closer towards them!

That concludes the four-part series on the role of competency and transfer in education. If you are interested in learning more, be sure to check out the entire report here. As I plan to embark in a major curriculum design project this year, I hope to use this research about competencies and transfer to guide my choices. I'll be sure to share my learning here! Happy New Year!



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Curricular Designs That Promote Transfer: Part 3


This blog post is part of a four-part series in response to the recent report by the National Academies Press entitled Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century. The purpose of these posts is to summarize the most salient points of the research and provide context for your personal journey with instructional design. The entire research report can be downloaded here at no charge.

considering a career in tennis

Yesterday's post explored the single link between competency-embedded learning experiences and meaningful learning: Educational transfer. Today, I'll share some specific strategies shared in Education in Life and Work to promote transfer for students.

Education for Life and Work states:
Similarly, in solving problems, transfer is facilitated by instruction that helps learners develop deep understanding of the structure of a problem domain and applicable solution methods, but is not supported by rote learning of solutions to specific problems or problem-solving procedures.

Simply put, we need to stay away from teaching our kids "recipes" that will only apply to a few situations successfully. Instead, we need to present them with difficult problems that they can solve themselves, effectively creating their own, personalized methods and strategies for facing new situations. 

The report also cites 6 specific strategies to enhance transfer in the classroom. These will not likely be new to you, but they are certainly worth remembering!
  • Using multiple and varied representations of concepts and tasks
  • Encouraging elaboration, questioning, and explanation
  • Engaging learners in challenging tasks
  • Teaching with examples and cases
  • Priming student motivation
  • Using formative assessment

Another general way to promote transfer cited in the NAP report is that teachers must actively balance cognitive load. There are three types of cognitive processing that occurs with every task: extraneous, essential, and generative. Extraneous processing is that which does not pertain to the task at hand. Essential processing requires the learner to mentally represent the material. Generative processing requires the learner to make sense of the material and assimilate it into long term memory. Transfer is promoted when extraneous processing is reduced, leaving more space and effort for essential and generative processing. Practically, this means that you should carefully craft learning assignments that focus on the competency that you want students to transfer. Be clear about your goals, and ensure that each learning activity aligns to your goals.

We should be using these strategies all the time in our classrooms. Students don't need to have mastered every piece of content before they can begin to engage in educational meaning-making and transfer. 

Tomorrow's post will give you a few simple strategies to move forward with your curriculum designs this year using the research as a guide.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Transfer as a Vehicle to Competency: Part 2

This blog post is part of a four-part series in response to the recent report by the National Academies Press entitled Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century. The purpose of these posts is to summarize the most salient points of the research and provide context for your personal journey with instructional design. The entire research report can be downloaded here at no charge.

spring driveway
Yesterday we discussed the need for students to develop complex competencies if they are to be successful in today's increasingly polarizing modern job market. Today, I'll share my thoughts on the role of educational transfer in response to competency-embedded learning experiences.

In short, educational transfer is the path to competency. Transfer is the ability of a person to use knowledge and skills independently in novel, unfamiliar situations. However, the path to transfer has been riddled with failure over the last 100 years. A review of the research reveals that transfer is difficult to achieve, but it's not impossible. Education for Life and Work states:
Research to date suggests that despite our desire for broad forms of transfer, knowledge does not transfer very readily, but it also illuminates instructional conditions that support forms of transfer that are desirable and attainable.
It is important to note that there are two different types of transfer: specific and general. Specific transfer, sometimes called near transfer, happens when learning is used in two different situations, but commonalities exist. General transfer, on the other hand, happens when the initial learning broadly applies to lots of different situations or contexts. Obviously, general transfer is the ultimate goal, and it is no easy feat!

General transfer relies on the use of broad competencies to tackle new problems. Essentially, transfer is the thread that connections competencies to independent performance. 

Consider this flow:
learning experiences embedded with competencies ---> transfer to novel situations ---> meaningful learning

In our classroom designs, the fastest way to get to transfer is to abandon our "love of content." (Especially content for the sake of content.) Moje, one of the authors cited in the NAP report, argues that students' understanding of how knowledge is produced in the subject areas is more important than the knowledge itself.

So, knowing how a discipline works (i.e. the language/world of math) is much more important than mastering many different pieces of content. Think about the implications this holds for the design of curricula, generally. Given that it is more important for students to grapple with meaningful problems using a variety of competencies, how will you spend your time? Knowing that rote learning does not promote transfer (our link between the competencies and meaningful learning), how will you reduce the amount of time students spend purely acquiring knowledge and skills?

Simply stated, we must reevaluate how we spend time in our classrooms. Do we give students opportunities to transfer independently after competency-embedded learning experiences? If not, how can we change that?

Tomorrow's post will explore specific curricular designs that promote EDUCATIONAL TRANSFER. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Why We Need Change: Part 1

This blog post is part of a four-part series in response to the recent report by the National Academies Press entitled Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century. The purpose of these posts is to summarize the most salient points of the research and provide context for your personal journey with instructional design. The entire research report can be downloaded here at no charge.

Everlasting / 永遠
We need change. What was needed less than 15 years ago is not needed today. Our workforce is polarizing rapidly based on the availability of computer technology to automate routine tasks. 

Consider the following excerpt from Education for Life and Work:
More recently, Autor, Katz, and Kearney (2008) analyzed data on wages and education levels from 1962 to 2005. The analysis supports the argument that computers complement workers in performing abstract tasks (non routine cognitive tasks) and substitute for workers performing routine tasks. However, it also suggests that the continued growth of low-wage service jobs can be explained by computers' lack of impact on non-routine manual tasks. Noting that these tasks, performed in service jobs such as health aides, security guards, cleaners, and restaurant servers, require interpersonal and environmental adaptability that has proven difficulty to computerize, Autor, Katz, and Kearney (2008) suggest that low-wage service work may grow as a share of the labor market.

Our students increasingly have two options: non-routine, low-wage service work or complex, high-wage problem solving work. To better prepare them for success, we need to ensure that our curricular materials give students many opportunities to solve murky, real-world problems on their own. In short, students need to be competent.Competent students are more likely to obtain meaningful, high-wage work which is inextricably linked to improved outcomes in life and the workplace. 

Competency has been defined by many different organizations across the years, and its most recent label has been "21st century skills." Education for Life and Work synthesizes these concepts with the following clarification:
In contrast to a view of '21st century skills' as general skills that can be applied to a range of different tasks in various academic, civic, workplace or family contexts, the committee views 21st century skills as dimensions of expertise that are specific to-- and intertwined with-- knowledge within a particular domain of content and performance. To reflect our view that skills and knowledge are intertwined, we use the term 'competencies,' rather than "skills." 

Our curriculum must integrate many different skills, allowing students to both gain deep, disciplinary knowledge and actually use that knowledge. Outdated practices won't give us the results we need. Luckily, the new standards documents are written with the intention of moving schools and classrooms in the right direction.

The report asserts:
Goals for deeper learning and some 21st century competencies are found in standards documents, indicating that disciplinary goals have expanded beyond their traditional focus on basic academic content.

So, what does this mean? Simply stated, we must revise our current practices using the new standards documents as a framework to ensure that all of our students are competent. This will increase their chances of have satisfying work available to them after they leave our K-16 institutions.

Tomorrow's post will look at the link between competency and meaningful learning: EDUCATIONAL TRANSFER. Stay tuned.



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