I sent this article from the 2/25/2007 Wichita Eagle to Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant), and I agree with his sentiment that it is just as much about engagement as it is about boys. And we need to make sure we are engaging the girls, too, because we can’t just presume that ALL girls will approach their education with eagerness.
Taking an active part of one’s education is a huge element in success, and how do we expect our young people to be competitive in a rapidly changing, interaction/communication drive, and innovation oriented world with our current focus on “drill and kill” for those oh so boring but oh so important (at least in the government’s eyes) multiple choice standarized tests? We actually probably are getting our students to perform better on these tests, but at what price? Love of learning? Lots of creative and innovative “outside the box” thinking? Passion for something you really are interested in? Perhaps we could strive for a society like the one in Harrison Bergeron where the goal is to be completely and utterly average.
Would the reality of what NCLB has become in our schools have been the recipe for getting us to the moon if this were the early 1960s? Yes, we need to help those students that struggle, but we ALSO need to make sure we push the middle and top end students to their fullest potential and not let them wallow and settle for just being good when their potential is higher.
How? We could continue to push the envelope that Web 2.0 allows us to push more easily. A place where everyone can participate in the discussion whether face to face or virtual, where everyone has the opportunity to have their voice be heard, where collaboration and teamwork are the norm, and hopefully where the joy and energy of learning thrive and develop. Oh sure we will still have to do assessments (but maybe in a different way) and we will still have to have many of the tried and true ways of “doing school” still take place, but if we can continue to incorporate the power of Web 2.0 into more of how we “do school” we can help our youngsters be better prepared for a real world THEY ALREADY LIVE IN. Personally, I’d rather they explore that world with guidance from those of us who have been around the block a few times, even if we don’t totally get all the technical stuff.
Wow, is my new job busy! Not only a lot to do, but the learning curve is steep! I have learned so much about the world of data in eduation, but have so far to go. There really is tremendous power in making use of data, but it is critical to get past just looking at the information. From there, you have to make the brave step into changing something – it might work, it might not, but if the data tells us students haven’t learned something yet, we need to reteach in a different way. And for this to be really effective, we have to work together with our colleagues. We cannot be hermit educators in our classroom, because it runs the risk of the status quo becoming the norm. We have to be willing to get outside our comfort zone!
I sincerely will try to write more regularly than once every four months, and I hope that my work here is found to be useful to someone. Together we can make a difference!
CohortMax: Using Excel to Facilitate School-Based Test Score Analysis
Intent is to have data be more rapidly usable in the school.
Number of total tests taken in student life cycle is increasing dramatically.
BV uses 7 demographic variables, 25 MAP variables, and numerous KSA varialbes to cull when exporting data from SPSS to Excel.
To handle overflow of variables in Excel BV Data Team: after MAP in grade 6 they keep one worksheet with key data (last 4 iterations of MAP and last 2 iterations of KSA in order to see back at least a couple years in time with the student data).
See PPT for flowchart of tasks in constructing and continuing CohortMax files.
Always make sure you make a backup file and then make a copy to have as the “for use” file.
Use Excel sort features to analyze highest and lowest scoring students on a particular variable, for example. If you make a “for use” copy, you can also strip out the unused variable columns to show only the pertinent data. Great for getting specific data for an individual teacher or department. By using a mix of ascending and descending sorts, you can get a sensitivity analysis to see students with major discrepancies that are enlightening. Use average on columns to see which area that the group as a whole has the most difficulty. Using count features, you can generate graphs based on “segments” in the group, such as low, mid, hi.
Presenter: Bernard Schuster of the Blue Valley Schools
RSS: Real Simply Syndication
Setting up a whole bunch of new accounts is fun! I now have a Bloglines account in addition to my existing del.icio.us account. Lets get it started!
Bloglines is pretty handy for aggregating pretty much anything with RSS even though its called “Blog”lines.
Bloglines has a place to search for feeds. I searched for “mti2006” and it picked up the pbwiki right away.
del.icio.us is great for storing and sharing bookmarks. Lots of extra tools available. Check into lazybase for data work!
Presenter: Rod Tolle from ESSDACK
Future City Competition
Brad presented a quick summary of the Future City Competition. This is a great activity for students to not only have the fun of building a city using SimCity 3000, but also learn about dedication and teamwork by also having to create written materials, a 3D model of an aspect of their city, and present the entire project to a team of judges. There are various deadlines throughout the fall, with the actual state competition event taking place in January at Kansas State University.
Presenter: Brad Shores of Parsons Brinkerhoff Engineering in Wichita, Kansas
Using Wikis For Collaboration
Challenges of Collaboration
- takes time
- tracking details
- competitive parties in the group
- unintentional duplication
Wikis run from a globally accessible web based server with tracking history.
WSU COE put together a CTRE workshop on wikis, blogs, etc. to help launch into using these tools.
Wikis can be set up on your own server or you can use already available sites like wikispaces or edublog.
The immediacy of publishing what you write makes you think differently about your writing and what can happen to it.
Session presentation at http://wikicollaboration.wikispaces.com
Presenters: Julie Bath and Karen Reynolds of the Wichita State University College of Education
Cohort: a relatively fixed year-group of students that moved through the grades together (Survivors, Newcomers, Attrition, Phantom)
Z Score: a reference point that is a benchmark calculated from national data – allows for better comparison of how group is doing compared to national norm
See PPT for the Cohort Rule of Thumb on Diffences/Effect Size
Keep in mind implication of releasing specific school data district-wide – perhaps go w/school vs. district average
Cohort analysis allows for interesting comparisons of data between groups incl. comparing groups separated by several years
Cohort works best w/SPSS
Presenter: Bernard Schuster of the Blue Valley Schools