Big Paradigm Shifts

Several weeks ago, Matt Guthrie and I decided to pre-load #Edchat with entries on our blogs. Last week Chad Sansing and I did the same. They each call it the pregame show, so I’m going to begin to use that language as well. :-) In the conversation on my blog about grading, though, Matt Townsley stated that, “Allowing new evidence of learning to replace the old is a big paradigm shift.” Since then, I have been thinking about the big paradigm shifts we need to undergo to really change our schools.

I  lived Educon last weekend, participating in some amazing conversations.  I encourage you all to go to the Educon site and live through the conversations vicariously, and join in any way you can. I’ve also been exploring some Edutopia links (thanks to a tweet I read sometime this past week) and am also involved in an online eTeacher course through my county while I’ve basically been at home snowbound!

So I’ve had lots of time to think, reflect and the question I’ve been thinking about since Matt’s comment is

What are the big paradigm shifts that need to happen for education to be most meaningful for students?

In the past week or so, lots of people way smarter than me have put proposals out there based on Educon conversations or Twitter interactions or life experiences. Some of the suggestions I have seen include

  1. Teaching kids HOW to think, rather than “to think critically.” (Thanks to Kevin Washburn.)
  2. Students graduating with a resume rather than a transcript (Thanks to Ken Bernstein)
  3. The link between inquiry and care-Chris Lehmann’s reflection from Educon
  4. Teachers encouraging their students to evaluate them ( (Teacher Gets A Report Card from Deven Black)
  5. from a new hashtag #rbrc (rubric without the vowels)
  • Students designing assessments for learning
  • Students designing their own learning plans
  • Students creating rubrics
  • Students pursuing their passions and being taught how to do so (research, etc.)
  • Community supported inquiry–learning from each other

A visual from Kathy Sierra that I found from reading Pair-aDimes for Your Thoughts from David Truss

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Then, in my Edutopia reading, I saw this:

“Today’s students will enter a job market that values skills and abilities far different from the traditional workplace talents that so ably served their parents and grandparents. They must be able to crisply collect, synthesize, and analyze information, then conduct targeted research and work with others to employ that newfound knowledge. In essence, students must learn how to learn, while responding to endlessly changing technologies and social, economic, and global conditions.”

Okay, I don’t think the people I interact with on Twitter and #Edchat would argue too much with that statement. I think all the parts and pieces listed above it could fairly easily be included in learning experiences that allowed students to do the things listed in that quote. I also think about my student who clearly showed MY emphasis when she made a “Cool Math Words” page on her wiki–look at the first word.

So, I proposed the following question to #EdChat :

What should be the essential learnings that students get from attending school?

(and maybe “attending school” should be “our lessons” so it would read

“What should be the essential learnings our students get from our lessons?”)

I’d like to see what others think and what you’d add to that quote.

And, beyond that, what would lessons look like if we designed them so that they clearly showed what we value in education?

‘SNOW WAY (to keep up with #edchat!)

Dear snow: Back off. Thanks, Chad

was a tweet from a friend of mine today.

AMEN!  I have had MORE than enough!  It’s Wednesday–we haven’t been to school this week, and this weekend they’re calling for even MORE snow!   AAGH. . . enough complaining.

Last night’s Edchat was WILD. . . I used  tweetgrid to follow it–ahem–to TRY to follow it–and could not even begin to read that fast. Is it time to morph it?


Last week Matt Guthrie and I tried to have what he called “pregame” conversations on our blogs, and we hoped postgame conversations would occur as well. Both of us got a fair number of responses on the blogs (curriculum overload and grade fog) and I believe it DID make a difference in the chat.  This week Chad Sansing and I tried it with the top two topics and while folks read both, not much conversation occurred this time on the blogs. (
Chad’s and mine)

Last night (or yesterday at noon), several folks discussed perhaps keeping the same topic for two weeks to allow for those “after-the-fact” revelations we all have, or to have an opportunity to respond to the thoughts we didn’t catch the first time around. That told me I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed by this fast-paced, furious spate of great thoughts flowing.

BUT, on the other hand, others were saying they loved the fast and furious pace– one person even tweeted me and said that’s why she loved Edchat–and that she would love to have this buzz from her faculty room.  (Wouldn’t we all–but, for me, a bit more slowly so I could think about my wording some as I responded!)

Yesterday, I saw some folks in the edchat stream on my Tweetdeck get in a snit about edchat being all about technology (which I don’t see it being.) They were saying it’s worthless if it doesn’t address education (which it certainly does, IMHO). I’m not sure where they were getting their info. . .

So, all that having been said, obviously #edchat is valuable.  Obviously, people are looking for the conversations.  Obviously, the conversations cause reflective thinking and, according to edchat comments, further change, BEYOND the chat.

A HUGE thanks goes to Jerry Swiatek for archiving the chats so folks can go back to them, and Tom Whitby and Shelly Terrell for organizing them, and Steven Anderson for setting up the polls each week! If you have more questions about Edchat, see Tom Whitby’s recent post explaining it.

So, my questions are:

Is there a need to change the format to allow more actual conversation to occur rather than a fast spate of comments and people either retweeting with a quick YES! or responding to one sentence declarations?

If people choose to blog about the topics, could we have a place on the archive wiki to post our blog addresses WITH the topic it addresses so folks could have further reading? OR, would that be better on the PLN ning, as Matt suggested last week?

Could/Should we do a topic two weeks in a row?  Would that help?

Is there a better tool to use than Twitter for conversations such as we are looking at having with a large group of educators?

And, last, but certainly not least, am I trying to improve something that doesn’t need improvement?

Would love to hear your thoughts. . .