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Chapter 11 Innovation Through Technology

James A Bellanca Solution Tree Press ePub

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There is no turning back. The Internet has become integral to life in the 21st century—a place for work, play, communication, and learning. It is easy to lose sight of just how integral it has become, and how knowledge-based the world economy has become. The combination of human ingenuity and digital tools has led to innovations that have, in some cases, become viral (Foray & Lundvall, 1998). The statistics are staggering: in 2009, the mobile world celebrated its four billionth connection (Global System for Mobile Communications, 2009); over one trillion unique URLs have been registered in Google’s index (The Official Google Blog, 2008); there have been nearly sixty-one million views to date of the YouTube most-watched video, Guitar (Jeong-hyun, n.d.; Shah, 2005); on average, nine hundred thousand blogs are posted every twenty-four hours (Singer, 2009); over 2.5 billion tweets have been sent (Reed, 2008); YouTube was sold to Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion (Associated Press, 2006); over one hundred million users are logging onto Facebook every day; and approximately 2.6 billion minutes globally are dedicated to using Facebook daily, in thirty-five different languages (Singer, 2009).

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Chapter 5 The Shift in Assessing Results: Informing All Stakeholders

James A. Bellanca Solution Tree Press ePub

CHAPTER 5

The Shift in Assessing Results

Informing All Stakeholders

The most important things we need to manage can’t be measured.

—W. Edwards Deming

At Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas, the principal is in the driver’s seat driving Miss Data. Since 2007, this school’s scores have climbed steadily upward. By 2011, a 50 percent free-and-reduced lunch, diverse student population has outperformed the state of Texas and Manor Independent School District in the percentage of students passing state standards in three of the four subjects tested on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The English and social studies scores are at 95 percent, mathematics scores are at 71 percent, and science scores are at 86 percent.

“We are a data-driven school,” Principal Steve Zipkes commented. “Some would say we are obsessive, but data give us the information for reaching our goals. We have 100 percent of our students going to college, no dropouts, and now the entire district wants to copy our style. When compared to the rest of the state, the results are even more awesome.”

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Chapter 6 The Worst of Times, The Best of Times

James A Bellanca Solution Tree Press ePub

Chapter 6

The Worst of Times, The Best of Times

Tony Wagner

In 2008, I published The Global Achievement Gap, which outlined the new skills all students need for work, learning, and citizenship in the 21st century. The global achievement gap is the disparity between these new skills versus what is taught in the overwhelming majority of our public and independent schools. One conclusion of that book is that a test-prep curriculum increasingly dominated classrooms around the United States.

Since the book was published, we have continued to see fundamental changes and disruptions in our economy, as well as a dramatic increase in the number of so-called education reforms. Frighteningly, these reforms have done nothing to close the gap between the skills that all students need more urgently than ever and what is tested and taught in even our best schools. But we have also seen the creation of new networks of schools and districts that are genuinely innovating in learning and teaching. They are working together to reimagine—not merely reform—schools for the 21st century. Borrowing from Charles Dickens, education today is experiencing the worst of times and the best of times.

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Chapter 1 Five Minds for the Future

James A Bellanca Solution Tree Press ePub

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Educational institutions change very slowly. In some ways, this conservatism is positive; it discourages faddism and encourages educators to build upon tried-and-true methods. Of course, such conservatism can go too far. I remember a revealing experience I had in China more than twenty years ago. I was invited to observe a college course in psychology and was dismayed to find that the class consisted entirely of students simply reciting the textbook content verbatim. Afterward, with the interpreter by my side, I engaged in a ten-minute debate with the instructor. I emphasized that the students all knew the rote material and suggested that it would be far more productive to raise provocative questions or ask the students to draw on the memorized material in order to illuminate a new phenomenon. The instructor was not the least bit convinced. Indeed, after we went back and forth, she finally cut off the discussion with the statement, “We’ve been doing things this way for so long, we know it is right.”

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Chapter 6 Stopping to Think: A Lifetime of Learning to Learn

James A Bellanca Solution Tree Press ePub

Louis H. Falik and Refael S. Feuerstein

Educators have watched the debate over thinking and its infusion into classroom instruction for a long time. From Sophocles to the authors of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), different sides have contested the best ways and means for enriching student thinking and problem solving. They have long contemplated the proper balance between content-centered curricula and the cognitive curriculum. The movement toward adoption of the CCSS, which is politically contentious, is a response to this, and somewhat of an antidote to the emphasis on testing and many of what we consider the pedagogical negatives of the No Child Left Behind movement. This intellectual wrestling has not served the interest of U.S. students nor enlightened educators in other countries, such as Japan, Singapore, and Germany, who are also struggling with how to ensure their students will be able to respond to our rapidly changing technological world in which critical thinking and problem solving are much needed.

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