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  1. Jun 2023
    1. Additionally, the governor is proposing legislation that would cap enrollment of low-performing cyber charters until performance improves, impose a moratorium on new cyber charter schools, subject charter management companies to the state’s Right to Know Law, and establish a new funding formula for charters.

      We keep making rules and systems for charters that are not on the same level as traditional public schools. No takeovers, not government intervention. Why are we still re-inventing the wheel?

      Not that the state interventions are ideal, but charters continue to operate, even with dismal scores, with little repercussions.

    2. “Pennsylvania’s charter school law is the worst in the nation and is failing students, teachers, school districts and taxpayers,” Wolf said in a news release. “There are high-quality charter schools, but some of them, especially some cyber charter schools, are underperforming.

      Which is it? Can they be high quality and underperforming?

    1. This means that for over a decade and a half, the most vulnerable and struggling districts lost proportionally the most students along with their per-pupil funding.

      Not only do districts lose funding, those students lost a powerful connective force in their hometown - teachers.

    2. companies providing the service

      If this is a corporate project, what are the qualifications of the instructors and who is checking those requirements? Are there requirements?

    1. Over the three growth periods in this study, the typical charter school student in Pennsylvania hadsimilar academic growth in reading and weaker math growth compared to their TPS counterparts. Inmath, the learning difference is about the equivalent to losing 30 days of learning compared to theirTPS peers. In the first two growth periods of the study, students in Pennsylvania charter schoolsexperience growth similar to their TPS peers in reading, while experiencing weaker growth in math. Bythe third growth period, students in Pennsylvania charter schools exhibit similar growth to their TPScounterparts in both reading and math.

      Is the slower growth due to the time it takes to assimilate into an online platform?

    2. The third set of analysis illustrates the impact of online charter schools in Pennsylvania, also referredto as cyber charter schools.

      These are full-time online schools.

    3. The 2011 findings also showed wide variation in student andschool performance, with a quarter of charter schools outperforming their local school options inreading and over half outpacing their local TPS in math.

      It's interesting that across all schools, growth for students is down, but some show significantly higher growth. Why?

    1. "I'd tell my teacher, 'I don't get this,' and she'd say, 'You have to figure it out for yourself,' and I'd say, 'But I don't get it,'"

      A hyper-focus on "learner centered" does not mean that teachers are excused from helping students learn the material.

    2. "I was told that in the student-centered model, my role as a teacher was primarily to supervise students to make sure they were using Buzz."

      Deprofessionalization of teaching in action.

    3. The companies needed the EAA's students to do well in order to prove the effectiveness of their products when making sales pitches to other schools and districts;

      This is a clear conflict of interest.

    4. met students where they were academically rather than forcing them to march lock-step through the traditional, age-based grade system.

      How were these schools held accountable different than similar schools not in the program?

    5. "Usually these teams are built around the more experienced teachers. It is problematic when novice or non-teachers are in charge of creating school-based curriculum and course content."

      Experienced teachers bring a wealth of resources and background which can be used to design coherent, veritcally aligned, and accessible programs of study.

    6. "We're building this plane as we fly it," is a phrase numerous sources we've interviewed have attributed to Mary Esselman, who was in the thick of the technological planning.

      Move fast and break things doesn't work so well in education.

    7. "We do have too many failing schools in our state," he said. "If you look at us statewide, only 16 percent of our kids are college-ready. That's absolutely unacceptable.

      A hyper-focus on college as the ultimate goal of education holds us back. College, also, needs to revamp its expectations for what strong education looks like.

    1. So, once again, we have proof that, instead of investing the resources necessary to accomplish the goal of turning around our worst-performing schools as quickly as possible, the EAA operated on the cheap, using an untested, unproven, beta stage software platform with the teachers and students the beta testing guinea pigs.

      Improvement often takes years with teams of people tackling components of the problems.

    2. Instead of being a model for implementing a computer-based teaching model, BUZZ crashed regularly, had major content deficiencies, and was so hard to use that its benefits were all but overwhelmed by its flaws.

      Even if it was working, would teachers and students see benefits? What of this model is supported by evidence?

    1. help you identify your high opportunity students

      How do you define a high opportunity student? What does that look like?

    2. If you are a Canvas-user, enable the Notes column in your gradebook and record brief notes about what each student has shared with you.

      I like keeping notes in the roster as well - it's a quick-glance way to see keywords for each student.

  2. May 2023
    1. building community is at the heart of learning, whether on-ground, online, or hybrid.

      See James Paul Gee's essays on affinity spaces.

    2. The pedagogies of most online classes, then, are fixed in advance.

      Adaptability of the platform to serve multiple needs is more important than the "safety" or friendliness toward new users.

      We should teach with strong pedagogy and mold our systems to match that goal. not dilute our practices to work within what we're given.

    1. Sometimes, clear objectives or outcomes are important at the outset of an assignment or course, but we need to leave room for those outcomes to be more roughly handled.

      I feel like this is the nuance I want to see more of in this book. There are times where standards or outcomes are important. Teaching is to help students learn content - our pedagogy is how we do that. Having outcomes helps in situations where multiple people are teaching the same course. Outcomes or learning targets allow us to make sure students have an equitable experience.

      Process outcomes - how they show what they know - is where we need flexibility. Beyond the core, guaranteed curriculum, students should have freedom to learn what they want, but not at the expense of the core material.

      I also realize is this a very K-12 focused comment, but the same should be applied to the university.

    2. I so often hear variations of “my students won’t do this assignment if it’s not worth points.” We need to give students reasons less banal than points to do the work of learning.

      Points as the driver are one of the greatest missteps of education - in general.

    3. Those of us responsible for education (both its formation and care) are hugging too tightly to what we’ve helped build, its pillars, policies, economies, and institutions. None of these, though, map promisingly into digital space.

      Institutions - physical locations - offer security and isolation by default. That's harder to do on the internet.

    1. and lackluster (or lack of) pedagogy

      Once we castrate active learning because it's what the platform makes easy to do, we've lost our pedagogy.

    2. We should not try to fix what’s wrong with online learning now; instead, we should pretend it never happened, start from scratch, and begin playfully outside the borders of how we’ve always taught and how we relate to the machines that can help us teach

      Sometimes, not having the context from previous tries is better than knowing what went wrong. We're more free to dream and problem solve when we don't have constraints on what it was like "before."

    3. adoptable

      Is this goal in conflict with open pedagogy? Or, can a closed mindset about online teaching structures and methods be molded by a course which functions with the opposite view as default?

    4. “How can we eliminate a text book?” “How can we make assignments that are meaningful, student-centered, and relevant?” “How can we make this course equally accessible to native English speakers and second language learners?”

      Asking questions about methods and tools is more important than the why. These are the questions that cause us to think about why we do what we do in any context.

    1. we should never let its design decisions — its architecture — dictate our pedagogies.

      This is true for anything (as he goes on to say about the classroom structure). The tools can be bent to do what we want the to, but having strong pedagogy enables us to do that. We don't need to be better Canvas users - we need to be better teachers.

    2. Online and hybrid course design should be motivated not by cost savings but by the pedagogical benefits of learning that happens and persists beyond the classroom.

      Taking advantage of the platform and using its assets should be standard practice for any technology. Online learning is one of the tools that is equally usable across all fields.

    1. The chunks, though, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, semesters, quarters, are arbitrary. The course is not always the best container for learning.

      We've had success in embracing this model of staff development. Instead of a series of meetings over a period of n weeks, we have an open, self-paced course where each participant is paired with an instructional coach who shepherds them through the process. This includes one-on-one support sessions, discussions, and reflections through the course platform.

    2. At many institutions there’s a problematic divide between instructional designers and teachers — between those building online courses and those teaching them. Expert teachers need to build their own online courses or we need to create closer collaborative relationships between teachers and instructional designers.

      This doesn't really exist in K-12. Instead, the online course, or the online component, is often sorely lacking. Seeing the course, whether it is fully online or part of a hybrid model, as a core part of the pedagogy is critical.

    3. Rigor has to be fostered through genuine engagement.

      This lack of genuine engagement is why most school tasks, even the project- or problem-based learning structures, still have the aftertaste of school because they lack the exposure to the culture of learning.

      Students know when a learning task is artificial and that leads to artificial or compulsory engagement. Online learning can connect students to communities of practice which immediately adds authenticity and rigor.

    4. What we need is to ignore the hype and misrepresentations (on both sides of the debate) and gather together more people willing to carefully reflect on how, where, and why we learn online.

      It's tempting to look at the utility of online learning as a means to an end rather than an extension of strong classroom teaching.

    1. Grading is based on student mastery of a set of standards and assessments that are created at the networklevel.

      Using digital tools consistently across a corporation make this vision a reality. The volume of information to collect and sort into actionable items is far too high to do without dedicated or integrated systems.

    2. The tools and resources are then linked to their curriculum map so teachers can understand howto meaningfully integrate digital content or tools into their lessons.

      We need to do this in ECS. Maybe a goal for 2023?

    3. Ifwe can’t do it in all schools, we don’t do it in any schools.

      This is a big mindset shift to instructional technology.

    4. students go through an intake with the teachersto understand why they failed the chapter test and what skills they are deficient in.

      How are they tracking these skills? The usage of data through online platforms is often lacking and seems like a close second in terms of value (behind ability to connect and communicate with students).

      Maybe the missing piece of all of these options is using computers to glean information about how to best help the student. We can assign drills or have them watch videos, but if we aren't learning about what skills they have developed and which need intervention, we can't really make sure all students are learning.

    5. Much depends,however, on whetherone considers a teacher-created Google document,slides, or spreadsheetto be online content

      This also seems like a strange distinction to make - why is a teacher created thing different than something bought from a vendor?

    6. Online curriculum, instructional materials, andonline drills that do not include the full scopeand sequence of a for-credit course.

      Materials that supplement the face to face interactions during the school day.

    7. The education programwas created to fill gaps in student learning, to challenge students who have exceptionally high ability levels,to provide high school credit opportunities for students who are eligible to do so but struggle with certaincurricula, and to create opportunities for students who need to have an alternate route to graduation.

      This seems like the better use of this model, much like SWW in Elkhart.

    8. it’s really a time for them to interact with me

      Belief that online cannot be interactive.

    9. “no significant differencesbetween online and face-to-face students in pass ratesin subsequent math classesor their likelihood of beingon track for graduationat the end of the secondyear of high school.”

      Is online positioned to do as well or better than face to face? It is interesting, though, that online is being used to catch students up though its effectiveness is not apparent.

    10. Urban schools were more likely to offercredit recovery than suburban schools,high-poverty more likely than low-poverty, and large schools more likelythan small schools

      If credit recovery is at such a high rate, what can schools do in order to re-invent their structure to allow students to be successful the first time?

    11. Some, like the Missouri Virtual Instructional Program andWest Virginia Virtual, mostly or entirely rely on courses and teachers from private vendors, which they thenprovide to schools across their state.

      Why is there a reliance on private groups to teach?

    12. RVA’s online course catalog offers studentsaccess to a variety of courses, many more than what most of the small districts in the consortium wouldotherwise be able to provide.

      The consortium model seems to benefit more students because it's public money working for public good, not a select few who can make the jump to online because of opportunity.

    13. Most online school studentshave needs that are not wellmet by traditional schools,desire a high level of timeflexibility, and have parents/families who are able tosupport their learningat home.

      Does this exacerbate the opportunity gap between these students and those whose parents cannot support an online environment?

    14. The categories overlap; for example, online schools use data and assessment extensively. Traditionalschools, however, often use data and assessment in the absence of online courses, which is why weput data and assessment in its own category

      I don't understand this distinction of online schools using data and assessment "extensively" while traditional schools "often use data and assessment." This seems like a weird distinction to make.