Posts tagged "the teacherati"
February 7, 2011
Teachers often complain that politicians and bureaucrats rarely craft education policy with an eye towards their experiences inside the classroom.
Hoping to help fix that problem, a new project has vaulted the conversations and insights of one group of New York teachers from online message boards onto the desks of the state’s top education officials.
Last October, a group of about 60 teachers began logging onto a website called the VIVA Project. On the site, they began discussing a question: What measures should considered as part of the state’s new system for evaluating teachers?
In January, four of those teachers delivered lessons from that conversation to State Deputy Education Commissioner John King, one of the officials charged with creating the regulations that the new evaluations will follow. (more…)
October 4, 2010
Will new technologies transform the way teachers teach and students learn? Is online learning really the way of the future? And how can we ensure that teaching becomes a respected profession?
Those were some of the questions tackled during a panel discussion to discuss what teaching might look like in 30 years. The panel, held the week before last, featured KIPP co-founder David Levin; Joel Rose of the School of One; Becky Crowe Hill, formerly of Partners in School Innovation; Jose Ferreira, CEO and founder of Knewton; and Alex Grodd, the founder of Better Lesson; it was also moderated by GothamSchools editor Elizabeth Green and Nick Ehrmann, the founder of the non-profit Blue Engine.
We’ve compiled some of the highlights from the discussion, which ranged from the challenge of school “organ rejection” of reforms to how KIPP’s David Levin met his wife, and what that has to do with teaching:
August 12, 2010
The most popular member of a new social network is neither Lady Gaga nor Ashton Kutcher, though Kutcher is a fan of the website.
The distinction goes to Jason Armstrong, a sixth-grade teacher in Roxbury, Mass., who has more than 6,500 total views and more than 1,100 downloads on a new website for teachers called BetterLesson.
BetterLesson’s circle of about 7,000 teachers are downloading Armstrong’s math lessons, grouped into six units: whole numbers, decimals, fractions, percents, geometry, and a year-ender called extensions and review. They can also download his quizzes and tests and become his “colleague” (the equivalent of a Facebook friend).
Armstrong’s former colleague and roommate, Alex Grodd, created the site — which Kutcher recently promoted in a Tweet, a stroke of generosity devised by a BetterLesson staffer. Grodd first came up with the idea for the site when he joined Teach for America in 2004.
Assigned to teach third grade science during his summer institute training at a Houston elementary school, Grodd went online to hunt for ideas. Surely one of the other hundreds of third grade science teachers in the world had come up with a smart way to explain his assigned topic, the solar system. Why should he have to reinvent the pedagogical wheel? The last remotely relevant class he’d taken was Harvard’s notoriously science-light “Natural Disasters.”
Hours of Googling later, Grodd came up with nothing. “This was 2004, it wasn’t, like, 1994,” Grodd told me today. “The Internet had been around for a while.”
BetterLesson is not the first attempt to solve the problem of teacher isolation, but it’s already catching on more quickly than many efforts. Those 7,000 users are up from just 200 in June 2009, when the site launched to a small group, and Grodd won backing from NewSchools Venture Fund, the philanthropically financed new-idea incubator. (more…)