Crucial Thought Rss

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Chris selected as K12OnlineConference keynote speaker Each year the K12OnlineConference provides tremendous professional development for free, and entirely online. This year, they have selected me as one of their keynote speakers. I am thrilled to have been chosen and look forward to participating in the conversation. Read the full post announcing all the keynote speakers here.

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Two quick links on Cognitive Load Theory I've been fielding lots of questions lately about Cognitive Load Theory. Here are two quick links that may be useful. First is an article talking about the practical implications of CLT on the design of learning. The second are some "recent" (as of 2003) developments regarding CLT. Happy reading! Update: I clarified the second...

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Practical advice on kids and Android app development After hearing about my students' success developing an Android app, I've gotten several emails asking for more details as to how I practically worked with my kids. Here are some pointers that I offered to the first person that emailed me, perhaps they are of some use to you. Please note that your mileage may vary. It's ok to not be...

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Publishing an App Inventor app to the Android Market As I mentioned earlier, my students and I published an Android app to the Android Market. See those links for more information on the background. This post is decidedly technical. First, once we finished the coding process, we packaged the app for to download to the computer. This is an option in App Inventor. This downloaded an .apk file....

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Designing and publishing an Android app with kids This post is designed to provide some context around how/why we decided to build this app. The more technical details of the code and how we published it will come in a future post. My students and I recently completed and published an Android app, and here's how we did it. First, the genesis for this goes back to a question I asked...

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5 changes in education meme

Category : General

While I do not blog very often, Lisa Thumann was kind enough to tag me in a meme, and then bring it to my attention. Since I happen to think she’s pretty great, I owe it to her to respond.

The meme is to list 5 changes you’d want to see in education. Here are mine.

1. Teachers need to not yell. I believe that yelling indicates you’ve lost control. When a teacher has a good relationship with students that transcends the power struggle, yelling can be placed to the side. I can recall Dan Meyer talking about standing to the side of the student when conversing, as opposed to the top-down, finger-wagging style so often seen.

2. I wish more teachers knew how to wade through the misinformation. There are too many folks preaching too many messages, and I don’t think many teachers are equipped with a knowledge of theory through which to analyze the messages coming at them through all of these channels. There is a lot of incorrect stuff being said, under the guise of being in the 21st century.

3. I wish education had a stronger focus on foreign language. Being bilingual has opened so many doors for me throughout life, yet my class is often relegated to the lowest rung of the ladder.  I wish elementary schools taught classes in both languages. I wish math class happened in English and English class happend in Spanish. I say that slightly tongue-in-cheek but you get the drift. I think school should be taught in more than one language, suffice it to say.

4. I wish education put more emphasis on the whole student. I love hearing friends talk about teaching their kids to care. I support that and wish we did it more often.

5. I wish education was less influenced by high-stakes testing. This is obvious, but the focus on major test scores has done much to harm education. Others have written way more about this than I have.

Ok so there it is, my two cents.

Comments (4)

Thanks for sharing Chris. I tagged you because I like the way you think and your compassion for children. I’m so glad to see #4 in your list.

I think there are many teachers that struggle with this one with so much on their plates. We need to bring the conversation back up to the surface every once in a while to remind ourselves that we set a daily example for our students and that we need to be caring because we are not always aware of what they are carrying on their shoulders.

Thanks again!

Chris wrote:
I wish more teachers knew how to wade through the misinformation. There are too many folks preaching too many messages, and I don’t think many teachers are equipped with a knowledge of theory through which to analyze the messages coming at them through all of these channels.

Ain’t this the truth, Chris!

I feel like I’m pretty good at wading through information and yet even I end up lost at times in the different messages I’m surrounded by. With educators serving so many distinct stakeholder groups, it’s difficult at best to get one coherent message through to those of us working closest to the kids.

What do highly functioning teachers—-or schools—-do to sift through the noise?

(Content for a new post, perhaps?!)

Enjoyed reading this….Good ending to a long day.

@Bill – Thanks for your comment!

I think that the way to wade through misinformation is to have a carefully constructed set of schema to determine what is right and what is wrong. I think the only way to do this is to have a solid basis of knowledge on what current research says. Now, of course research is subject to change but there are many things that have been proven wrong time and time again that the evidence against it is overwhelming, yet some folks choose to continue to believe.

And then there are those who refuse to believe in any absolutes at all, and it’s all relative.

Either way, I think it’s necessary to learn how to analyze biases as well. I think much of the misinformation being spouted is by folks with the label of consultant or vendor, but that’s a totally different story.


I really liked your comment about emphasis on the “whole student.” I think when we compartmentalize our students, we are not teaching them about real life. Our lives are compartmentalized so why teach students this way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!