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"Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day..." - 4 new articles

  1. The Best Posts & Articles About “Erase To The Top”
  2. The Best (& Easiest) Ways To Record Online Video Interviews
  3. The Best Posts & Articles To Learn About “Fundamental Attribution Error” & Schools
  4. “Fakebook”
  5. Search Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
  6. Prior Mailing Archive

The Best Posts & Articles About “Erase To The Top”

The Washington, D.C. testing scandal, and Michelle Rhee’s clumsy (she eventually called it “stupid”) attack on U.S.A. Today’s discovery of it, has been in the news the past few days. Robert Pondiscio has come-up with a catchy phrase to describe it — “Erase To The Top.”

Here’s how Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post describes its importance:

It’s important not only because Rhee has become a national education celebrity largely but not entirely based on her record of improving test scores in the District, and because she has enormous influence among policymakers. She was, after all, chosen from all of the school leaders in the country to be the star of “ Waiting for Superman. ”

Standardized tests have become the currency of modern school reform across the country, used to grade students, schools and teachers. Somehow reformers have got it into their heads that high-stakes standardized tests measure real learning. Assessment experts say they don’t.

Cheating scandals have been reported across the country ever since former President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law ushered in the era of high-stakes testing. It is not exculpatory to say that the high stakes of the tests drove some teachers and principals to cheat, but it is explanatory. Such behavior won’t go away as long as standardized tests are used in high-stakes ways they never were designed to be used.

Here are my choices for The Best Posts & Articles About “Erase To The Top”:

Erase to the Top by Robert Pondiscio

Michelle Rhee’s Cheating Scandal is by Dana Goldstein at The Daily Beast

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword Redux by Liam Goldrick

When standardized test scores soared in D.C., were the gains real? is the USA Today report

D.C. officials to review high rates of erasures on school tests is another USA Today article reporting on Rhee’s initial response to the scandal

Rhee calls her remarks on test erasures ‘stupid’ is by Jay Mathews at The Washington Post

Subpoena everyone in D.C. cheating scandal — including Rhee is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post

Shame On Michelle Rhee by Diane Ravitch

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

 

The Best (& Easiest) Ways To Record Online Video Interviews

I’ve been thinking about doing online video interviews — for this blog, and also in the classroom. For either one, it would be important to be able to record them. Obviously, Skype (learn about Skype In The Classroom here) is an obvious choice. However, it appears that the only way to record Skype calls is through a separate software that would need to be downloaded, and that might be problematic for schools.

So, I started exploring other options, and I didn’t come up with that many. I hope others will offer additional suggestions and/or suggest a super-easy way to record Skype calls.

Here are my choices for The Best (& Easiest) Ways To Record Online Video Interviews:

WeToku is a neat online app that lets you interview someone via webcam, and records it for later viewing. You can read more about it at Nik Peachey’s blog. This seems to be the best option — by far.

VYou lets you record an introductory video, and then people can leave you text questions which you can then answer via video — that’s why they call it “conversational video.”

Intervue is a brand-new site that lets you post questions for people to answer.

It’s not a particularly strong list, but WeToku is a really great application.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

 


The Best Posts & Articles To Learn About “Fundamental Attribution Error” & Schools

I had vaguely heard of the concept “fundamental attribution error” in relation to schools in the past, but then my valued Accomplished California Teachers colleague David B. Cohen wrote about it yesterday (by the way, if you are not subscribing to his/our ACT blog, InterAct, I’d strongly encourage you to do so, even if you don’t live in California). The same day, David Brooks referred to it in his New York Times column highlighted it in his column and explained it meant “Don’t try to explain by character traits behavior that is better explained by context.”

Justin Baeder described it this way in his Education Week blog:

…the idea that we tend to erroneously conflate actions (and our interpretation of them) with personal characteristics. Instead of concluding that a teacher isn’t very good, perhaps we should look at how many different subjects the teacher has to prepare for, how much planning time they actually have, how many reforms and disruptions they have to deal with, and so on.

It seems to me it also connects a lot to the tendency by some school “reformers” to say that any mention of the role of poverty in education challenges is just an “excuse.” They place the lion’s share of responsibility for student achievement on teachers, instead of learning about the research listed on The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement.

So, I thought I’d pull together a few useful resources.

Here are my choices for The Best Posts & Articles To Learn About “Fundamental Attribution Error” & Schools:

Fundamental Attribution Error by David B. Cohen

Collecting the Wrong Data: Fundamental Attribution Error in Teaching Quality by Justin Baeder at Ed Week.

Attribution Error and the Quest for Teacher Quality by Mary Kennedy.

The comment at Attribution Error and the Quest For Teacher Quality

And, for some useful thoughts on how we teachers can apply this concept to working with students, check-out The Construction Zone.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

 

“Fakebook”

Fakebook is the newest tool over at the excellent ClassTools site (Russel Tarr is the creative genius behind the site). Teachers and students can use it to:

- chart the career of a historical character
- create a timeline of important events
- outline the main plot of a book, play or film
and so on!

I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Creating Fake “Stuff” For Learning.

 


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