Monday, October 22, 2012

The good, the bad, and the ugly...

On day 2 of the ISTE Leadership Forum, we had a little bit of everything. The bad wasn't all bad and the ugly wasn't all ugly, but that doesn't make for a good title.

We will start with the ugly. I went to a panel discussion on Learning and Teaching:Powered by data use. I was really looking forward to this discussion because of my new position as Coordinator of Assessment, Data, and Grants. Unfortunately, this panel discussion consisted of little more than data talk in the ether without true plans of implementation. As stated in the opening keynote yesterday, vision without a plan is just a hallucination. Some of the good parts of the discussion were the disparity of autopsy vs. diagnostic data. This idea fits in with my idea of where I would like to take the usefulness of my position. There was a decent point made about the speed at which data can be collect and analyzed because of the collection being done in real time. The best message discussed was the role of the data coach to improve the communication between teachers and leaders. That makes the difference between assessment of learning and assessment for learning. What made this session ugly was the fact that is was a covert Pearson sales pitch with a panel including a Pearson employee and her former boss from CPS who is now a consultant. At least with the required industry meet-ups, you knew what you were getting into...I did have good conversations with some educators from Bloomington, Indiana who shared some of their data solutions and plans for implementation with me.

The bad was the I have an iPad, now what session. The initial description did not state that this session was for people who did not know how to turn on an I learned in the session, you cannot turn it on with wine and soft jazz music! There was a good side conversation that hijacked the session on Airplay and Apple TV. Some very neat things that can be done! I got some beginner information that I can share with people new to the iPad, so that will be a benefit. There were some resources for evaluating apps in order to avoid the Carmen SanDiego Effect. (The CSDE is how in the early 80s teachers would do anything to include the game in their classes, even though it was not grade appropriate nor fitting with the curriculum.) Best comment was first use tends to become the entrenched use...don't fall prey to the razzle dazzle and prevent teachers from trying to twist their curriculum to make Angry Birds fit.

The good was very good! This was a panel discussion about the role and benefit of instructional coaches. Multiple things that I have studied before were reiterated and discussed in greater detail. This panel consisted of a tech director, a superintendent, and an instructional coach trainer. Big things from this discussion included how coaching has a spill over effect. The coach and collaborating teacher set the model for the school and others will see the benefit and want to be included. This build capacity of the building. Another big thing to remember is that the coach MUST be separated from the evaluation. This ensures the ability to make mistakes and learn from them without getting "ding-ed" on an eval. The coach cannot come in as the expert. They are coming in as a collaborator in learning and a questioner of the teacher to help them discover their own path toward better instruction. Most importantly is the role of the administrator in the coaching process: support!

I am looking forward to the last day of the conference for it will be good. I then get to drive from Indy to Springfield for a RT3 meeting...we might see bad and ugly again.

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