Posts Tagged 'cue12'

#cue12 Day 2 – Variety of Presentations and Diane Ravitch

The second day of CUE for me was a day of presentations.

The day began listening to Diane Ravitch – scholar, Twitter user, and strong proponent of the importance of teachers. I follow Diane on Twitter and follow her blog.  She is passionate about education and I love that about her.  Much of what she shares is research based. She and I do disagree about for-profit online charter schools and choice in education – she does not like it, while I believe that having more choices in school – especially in the world of online learning – is allowing more students to earn high school diplomas.

She shared how she began using Twitter and then said she was not a Luddite but is concerned about some of the perils of technology.  She went on to explain these perils:

She gave everyone in the room a lot to think about.  Personally, I think in the long term, we will see gains from students in charter schools and online schools but, because the field is so young (just 10 years old), it is difficult to have reliable research at this time.  There are so many variables to consider in looking at charter schools and online schools…and if all you do is compare test scores between charter schools and traditional schools and call this research, I think this is a bit misguided.  But, it is always fun the have the discussion!

Three presentations of mine are linked on my wiki here.

First, I talked about the continuum from textbook enhanced to online teaching and learning.  It is important to understand that education involves the teacher, the student and the content.  When thinking about blended learning, it is important to consider all areas – teacher, student and content – to determine if you are “really” doing blended teaching and learning.

Second, presented with Joyce Hinkson from the CDE and Greg Ottinger from San Diego County Office of Education about current legislation and policies regarding online learning.  AB644 (Blumenfield) and the California Student Bill of Rights are the latest legislative effort to move the concept of online learning forward in California.

Third, presented with Marianne Pack and Luke Hibbard from Stanislaus County Office of Education about establishing an online learning network.  Before you can really understand online or blended learning, you have to talk about it and look at the various components.

#cue12 Day 1 – Teachers in Jail

The one “official” session at CUE 2012 I was able to attend was “Teachers in Jail: Transforming Cultures.”  I have to admit that I work with the San Diego County Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) to help them implement blended and online learning options.  In one of my first visits there I was able to observe the variety of school programs that are provided to these students – all who are “at-risk.”  These are students who are kicked out of traditional schools for a variety of reasons ranging from poor attendance to carrying a weapon to school.  JCCS serves more than 14,000 students in San Diego County from grades 1-12 yearly, of which 90% are in grades 9-12.  Of those served, just 20% of the students are in JCCS for more than 90 days.

Their presentation was about how teachers throughout JCCS use technology in their teaching.  One of the presenters stated: “JCCS students should not have access to less technology than regular school students.”  The JCCS administration has formed a strong partnership with the probation department which has allowed more technology, including the Internet, to be provided to students.  The probation departments are the ones in charge of Juvenile Halls and they are the ones who determine how much education is allowed – basically, teachers in the hall are guests of the probation department.  The one speaker pointed out that technology is used as a motivator for students to use for their education.  Students have to earn the right to use computers as well as the Internet.  The computers they work on are checked daily to make sure only appropriate websites are visited and utilized.

One of the “ahas” for me, even after working with JCCS since August 2011, was that they talked about the online learning courses offered by the local community college that students in Juvenile Hall could take.  The instructor has built an important partnership with the community college to make it all happen.  He said that it gives a new level of hope for students who end up in the hall – that they can work on their college degree while incarcerated.  What occurred to me is that without online learning, incarcerated students could NOT attend college courses.

Overall, it is evident that the administration, staff and teachers at JCCS have a passion for teaching and educating students in a similar way as any “regular” teacher.  They do extraordinary things every day with students who are definitely at-risk of dropping out of school and give them hope that leads to a diploma or GED.


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