The day started with a keynote by Yong Zhao who gave a talk that was a great antidote to the Opening Keynote, that upon reflection, becomes stranger and stranger. Here is his presentation on YouTube, but the essential message was be careful what you measure with students because they measurement can easily take-over the learning. Also refreshing was his skepticism about the wonders of Common Core standards, with a the great quip, “I’m for the Common Core, as long as it’s not common, or the core.”
For the first session I went to was a BYOD on Tools for Bloom’s Taxonomy presented by Cory Plough, Michelle Baldwin, and Amanda Dykes. It featured them sharing tools they used, and importantly, how they used it, then got suggestions from the audience. Here is the session website and storify of Tweets.
Next, I went to Brian Bridges presentation, Online Education Promise, Potential, and Pitfalls because Brian has been involved in onlne education for a long time, and has always struck me as thoughtful and honest about what is both working and not working in online programs. The sessions title accurately reflected this and his presentation. The takeaways were, online ed is growing, and it needs to be planned for because currently, the quality varies greatly. His points were it will be coming because there is an unmet need out there from a variety of places for classes and programs that are online. Currently, the population being served is whiter, has fewer IEPs, and is less poor, on average, but is scoring lower on standardized tests. In Mathematics, it’s much lower. This points to a lack of quality. CLRN and Brian have been working on addressing this by evaluating online programs, and having a process to gather review information from student participants. The site is here. This is Brian’s Webiste and my Storify of Tweets. The big picture, this is coming, and we need to make sure it works because it will happen regardless of quality level. We might as well try to make it better.
Technology and Common Core is one of those sessions that was necessary, but was not high on the engagement and entertainment scale. It was information I needed, but a classic lecture with badly done PowerPoints, and the promised question session was relegated to the final 10 minutes. This week has been interesting for me because I’ve run into lots of folks excited about the next generation of tests that will come out with Common Core in 2014. California is in the Smarter Balanced Assessment C.onsortium which will have a computer-adaptive assessment. This means all students will be test on an Internet linked computer doing a test that will adjust the questions based on the student’s responses. My question, we don’t have the tech capacity for this currently, how will we prepare for this and where is the money to pay for it? This led to a lot of stalled conversations as folks hadn’t considered this, but would insiste that we “must” do the assessments because of the 2014 deadline. I’d then reply, why — we aren’t doing RttT, it’s not like they can “force us”. Even thought the question session was short, someone did ask the CDE this question at the presentation, and the answer was…wait for it folks…the US Department of Ed says we can shift Title and NCLB funding to pay for this. Like that money isn’t being used already? Think about that a moment. There is another theory on this, and I will blog on it in the next week or so when I get back, but for me diverting Fed $ to this testing. SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) – Assessment Information (CA Dept of Education) and my Storify of Tweets.