The Technological Revolution

The Grumpy Teacher

Revolutions often involve unlikely alliances, and they don’t usually last. What they have in common is their desire to overthrow the status quo, and once the status quo has been dismantled there’s nothing to keep the alliance together.

This sometimes happens as Emmanuel Goldstein outlines in The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, with the Middle enlisting the Low to overthrow the High. That’s not a terrible way to look at the French Revolution, after all. On the other hand the English Revolution was rather different: Parliament, the Army and the Scots combined to fight Charles I. In both cases, though, a reckoning, with the revolutionaries turning on each other, followed the fall of the monarch.

And it might happen with the educational revolutionaries too.

Two very different groups are currently united around the proposition that technology can and will transform education.

There are those for whom technology will…

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Accountability games

Assessment and data is confusing everyone, often because it is based on a lazy and silly use of data to predict and ratchet up grades. It is curious how it keeps coming back and it is the same question. Art teachers don’t understand the basis of the data and so they are unable to develop strategies to engage with it. They keep on hitting their heads on the wrong brick wall. SLT may, or may not, understand the basis of the data but they don’t care anyway because they just need leverage to impose higher targets in the name of accountability. “We are going to motivate our teachers by challenging them to do better.” Is about as far as they go. The sad issue is that the assessment structure based on the silly use of data completely undermines the credibility and integrity (reliability and validity) of assessment practice in the classroom. It makes the assessment strategies children and teachers use to raise standards unfit for purpose, but nobody cares because the system (or spreadsheet) is

Source: Accountability games

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Did you know that children in the Far East have more playtime?

The Quirky Teacher

If you didn’t, then I recommend you read on! This blog post is an attempt to distill the main messages of a book titled ‘The Learning Gap‘ which was written by two researchers called Harold Stevenson and James Stigler. The reason I read this book was because ED Hirsch mentioned these researchers and their work in documenting and analysing teaching and learning in the Far East, so I naturally followed the trail. Their book is a summation of observations and analyses over many years, involving thousands of children and thousands of hours of lessons in elementary schools in Japan, Taiwan and China and compared to typical American education; it’s taken me a long time to read and it’s been one heck of a journey for me because it is so full of fascinating detail! I’ve attempted to summarise my notes into a few key points in order to then write about how their insight…

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Blogposts since April 24th 2016

When I set up the Echo Chamber I tried to regular round-ups of the posts each week. As a result of the expansion of the blogosphere it soon became impossible to keep up with this. But every so often I do catch up. This time it has taken almost 10 months which probably makes this a bit too big to be a round-up, and more of an index. Here it is:

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

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How do bad ideas about assessment lead to workload problems?

The Wing to Heaven

This is part 7 of a series of blogs on my new book, Making Good Progress?: The future of Assessment for Learning. Click here to read the introduction to the series.

Bad ideas can cause workload problems. If you have a flawed understanding of how a system works, the temptation is to work harder to try and make the system work, rather than to look at the deeper reasons why it isn’t working.

The DfE run a regular teacher survey diary. In the survey from 2010, primary teachers recorded spending 5 hours per week on assessment. By 2013, they were spending 10 hours per week on assessment. Confusion and misperceptions around assessment are creating a lot of extra work – but there is no evidence they are providing any real benefits.

So what are the bad assessment ideas which are creating workload but not generating any improvements? Here…

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Objective Oriented – 6 – Mental Models for Education

...to the real.

I’ve written about this before, so will only touch on it again briefly.

There are two modes of thought when doing something:

  1. Process oriented
  2. Objective oriented

The first asks ‘What must I do?’ then tries to do it.  The second asks ‘What must I achieve?’ and then tries to figure out how best to achieve it.

Most people are naturally process oriented, all the time, and it has two dangers.  The first is that it can make us feel we have ‘achieved’ simply be executing the process, whether results were realised or not.

In government, for example, having ‘distributed leaflets’ or ‘run x number of local information sessions’ might be given as measures of success to justify a programme’s spending, yet, the results (sometimes called outcomes) of those activities is never actually mentioned.  Did they change people’s behaviour in the way you hoped?

The second is that it…

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Seven Key Questions for the Chartered College of Teaching 

kevenbartle's Blog

Preamble

I was fortunate enough to wangle a place at the launch of the Chartered College of Teaching inaugural conference today (16 Feb 2017) in spite of not yet being a member. And I mean that “yet”. I’m a big fan of the idea of a professional body or, in the more earnest jargon, learned society. In fact, last year I applied to become one of the founding trustees of the College but, after a very tough process, was informed by email that it was not to be. It was quite a blow as I would have loved to have played a part in the creation and governance of this body.

But, in spite of this support (quite possibly because of it) I have some significant concerns about how we as a profession grasp this historic opportunity to put ourselves on a level playing field with surgeons, accountants, surveyors and…

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