are here with web 2.0, but not yet widely used in US schools.
That’s according to Christensen, Horn, and Johnson (2008), whose Disrupting Class: How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns is my first “must read” book of the new year.
The authors point to places where, right now, the benefits of the read/write web are happening. An American public school student in one of the following categories may already be getting his/her coursework enriched in the form of otherwise un-takable elective, supplementary, advanced, or AP courses available over virtual learning networks.
*urban secondary schools
*rural schools, and
*homebound and home-schooled students (which are flourishing on web 2.0)
The authors put it this way in the section of their book entitled, “Disruptively Deploying Computers”:
…student-centric technology… has been developed that can help students learn each subject in a manner that is consistent with their type of intelligence and learning style… student-centric technology will make it affordable, convenient, and simple for many more students to learn in ways that are customized for them.
They also remind us that computers should be helping public educators to satisfy the demands of stakeholders for more accessibility and transparency regarding grades and high-stakes test results, so important in postNCLB America.
When students learn through student-centric online technology, testing doesn’t have to be postponed until the end of an instructional module and then administered in a batch mode. Rather, we can verify mastery continually to create tight, closed feedback loops. Misunderstandings do not have to persist for weeks until the exam has been admnistered and the instructor has had time to grade every student’s test. Rather than a fixed time to learn with variable results student by sttudent, the amount of time to learn can vary, but the resulting learning can be much more consistent. In other words, assessment and individualized assistance can be interactively and interdependently woven into the content-delivery stage, rather than tacked on as a test at the end of the process.
My boss has been on about this for the past year or two, looking for a consistent measurable pattern of developing learning that we can point in individual student records to as teachers to explain what we’re doing as public educators. Call me a geek, but I’m excited, here before the clock strikes midnight and it’s a new year, to go and tighten up my closed feedback loops in the courses I teach.
Regardless of how bad things may otherwise be and get, let me say unequivocally, as 2008 expires and 2009 begins. that this is an exciting time to be in public education!
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