Digital Learning Day

An important requirement of the Common Core State Standards is that students are able to ‘utilize technology and digital media strategically’.  So kudos to the Alliance for Excellent Education for sponsoring Digital Learning Day:

… a year-long campaign to celebrate bold, creative innovative teachers in classrooms across this nation. These front-line innovators are already embedding digital learning into new instructional practices to ensure that every student leaves the classroom ready for college, career and life success.  We ask you to join with us, as with them, as we launch an unprecedented, collaborative effort to expand innovation into every city, town, school and classroom in America!

 The first national Digital Learning Day is Wednesday, February 1, 2012.  Please join the Alliance and our more than 20 nationally recognized core education partners as we work together to rally support and action to enable digital learning everywhere.

Some classrooms are already focusing their efforts on integrating digital media and technology into instructional practice.  This school in Kentucky, for example, has found a way to ensure that their educators are keeping up with the latest trends in technology and are able to utilize digital resources in their classroom:

What is the purpose of giving each teacher a laptop? As is the case for many other jobs, employees need to be able to work anywhere, including from home. The teachers at Eminence need to be given the opportunity to create awesome lessons using the best technology. In order for them to prepare students to utilize technology, they must become proficient with it first. The ultimate goal is to equip each student with 21st Century skills and to prepare them for their future, be that college or the workforce. It takes a village (a school district) to raise a child, and the Eminence administration gave each teacher another tool to assist in that process.

We applaud the Alliance for drawing attention to the importance of 21st century skills and finding a way to stress the importance of helping educators introduce digital skills into the classroom.

Pushing Through to the Top

Interesting take over at Scholastic Math Hub on what the common core portends for the publishing world.  Hung-Hsi Wu, a math professor at UC-Berkeley, has argued that the common core offers a unique opportunity to publishers – the opportunity to recreate far more effective mathematics textbooks, textbooks which capture which capture the depth and richness of the new standards.  Specifically, Wu is hoping for textbooks that capture the inter-relatedness of all math content:

Preparing to teach proper school mathematics is not about learning a craft, but, rather, a discipline that is cognitively complex and hierarchical.  Each topic, no matter how basic, is essential to some future topic.

Wu’s right.  And the interconnectedness of each strand is well illustrated by the Quantile Framework, which not only places student and task difficulty on the same scale, but also provides the prerequisite skills for each and every math skill and concept.  We share Wu’s hope that the common core will provide the impetus for richer and more comprehensive math textbooks.

Write More, Write Now

For all of you aspiring writers out there, take note.  As Joyce Lamb of USA Today reports, November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as “NaNoWriMo.”  According to Lamb, the NaNoWriMo plan encourages aspiring authors to write 1,667 words each day in the month of November.  If participants stick to the plan, they will have written 50,000 words by the end of the month-enough for a novel.  Lamb outlines the basic rules of this plan as follows:

  • You’re not allowed to go back and edit what you’ve already written.
  • You’re not allowed to criticize your work.  You’re just supposed to write, write, write, knowing you can fix your problems later
  • You don’t have to follow any actual writing rules, meaning you can write whatever you want and even change gears halfway through the story.  It’s your book, and the month is about the actual activity of writing and proving to yourself that you can finish a novel.

Lamb encourages would-be authors to give NaNo a try-one of her NaNo books is being published next month. 

You can find more information about this project, or sign up to participate by clicking here.  Good luck to all the aspiring writers out there!

Moving Students Toward College and Career Readiness

MetaMetrics (developer of The Lexile Framework for Reading) proudly announced its partnership with KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program). Serving more than 32,000 students, KIPP’s renowned network is constituted by 109 open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools. 85% of the students attending these schools—which are located in 20 states and the District of Columbia—are from low-income families. This exciting, new partnership offers training on the value and use of Lexile measures for educators in the KIPP network.  

Teaming up, MetaMetrics and KIPP move closer to achieving their shared education goals—the college and career readiness of all students as defined by the Common Core State Standards. “Our goal is to give our students the knowledge and skills they need to get to and through college,” said KIPP CEO Richard Barth. “Lexile measures are a valuable tool for our teachers to monitor our students’ reading growth at every stage, to make sure they are all college- and career-ready.”

By certifying KIPP facilitators to conduct workshops on how to utilize Lexile measures, KIPP teachers will now better differentiate instruction and monitor students’ reading growth. For more information on this exciting partnership, click here.

MetaMetrics is an educational measurement organization. Our renowned psychometric team develops scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.