Change You Can Believe In

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Friday, June 12, 2009 - 10:49am

For those interested in education innovation made possible by technology you must read Bill Tucker’s new report - Beyond the Bubble: Technology and the Future of Student Assessment.

Bill is reframing the debate between two key education camps. Bill’s key idea is that, ultimately, we don’t have to choose between accountability systems and instruction that addresses a broad array of skills and deep content. Because whether you are Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, or Linda Darling Hammond, you have common ground on one thing. .. our assessments can be radically improved.

Over the last eight years, education took major steps towards holding schools accountable and measuring their progress. But our actual assessments, for the most part, took a few steps back. We automated the most basic forms of assessment, and states stopped experiments in performance-based assessments designed to measure the higher-order thinking our kids need to succeed in the future.

Now that the FEDS, the teachers union, and the governors, ALL agree that we need national standards – this conversation about investing seriously in assessment innovation is extremely timely and relevant.

My vote for how to use some of this stimulus! For more discussion on this issue click here.


Low Cost Computing: It’s Here! Now What?

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Monday, November 2, 2009 - 8:35pm

Laptops are getting cheaper by the minute. In setting the bar to deliver the world’s first $100 laptop, Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman of One Laptop Per Child, inspired the development of an entire class of low cost machines now available to schools. Low cost laptops from $200 to $350 are now hitting the market. Furthermore, one developer is now promising a $75 unit by 2009.

With one-to-one computing fast becoming an affordable reality for schools, it is essential that we carefully consider what has and has not worked in prior implementations so we do not repeat past mistakes. Teaching Matters is in the process of piloting low cost laptops. We are carefully monitoring and documenting (via an online blog) what is and is not working for classrooms.

One-to-One Computing: Does It Even Matter?

The jury is still out on the benefits of one-to-one computing. Many educators believe that until we seamlessly integrate technology into schools, we will not adequately prepare students for life and work in the 21st century. Others see technology as largely irrelevant to student achievement. It is in fact true that when new technologies are introduced into classrooms their use is often emphasized above learning. Goldman, Cole, and Syer (1999) note that “the technology learning curve tends to eclipse content learning temporarily; both kids and teachers seem to...