April 28, 2013

Talk feedback with me and Grant Wiggins

I am honored to be part of a webinar with education author and consultant Grant Wiggins Monday, April 29.

Join us at 7 PM Eastern standard time. Get your free ticket at the link below.


April 21, 2013

Hey, Michelle Rhee, I Want Answers!

Hey, Michelle Rhee, I've just about had it with your ill-conceived, unfounded, poorly-researched rhetoric, which the likes of CNN, Time Magazine and many other opportunistic media are all to happy to promote.

You are the former chancellor of Washington D.C. Schools. You demand 50K for public appearances, and you like to call yourself an education reformer. Yet, in my humble opinion, you are one of education's biggest enemies, and you owe teachers and children nationwide some answers.

Michelle, you vilify public school education, in general, and teachers, in particular. You rave about standards and accountability, when your own service record is spotty, at best, and detestable, at worst. Let's not forget that you are a Harvard graduate whose training is in policy-making -- not in education.

It's time for answers

Rather than dealing with bureaucrats, magazine reporters and news broadcasters, who know little if anything about effective teaching practices, Michelle, I want you to answer to someone who has researched and written about best practices in education for many years.

I want you, Michelle Rhee, to defend your quests to eliminate teacher tenure, while championing test scores as a way to measure teacher effectiveness. And, Michelle, I want you to stop making excuses for your past and tell the truth. Stop blaming hidden test results for your failings in D.C. Stop making unproven allegations about the so-called bad teachers you fired. Stop bringing up mythical foundations that can fund outlandish teacher raises.

Most of all, Michelle Rhee, stop telling America how poor our test results are, without explaining that we test in ways that no one else in the world tests. Instead, why not let America know that if we remove the disabled and the poor -- students who have far bigger problems than bubbling in A, B, C or D -- our scores suddenly soar to Number 1 in the world? Why don't you put your Harvard degree and corporate money behind solving the real problems that our children face daily? Is it because blaming teachers is just easier? Is it because you simply don't comprehend the gravity of these issues?

What do you want?

So, Michelle, what do you really want? From where I sit, it looks like you want your face on magazines and on TV. It looks like you want to fly around the country (first class only), looking much more like a politician than an education reformer. It looks like you want to make a lot of money -- hundreds of thousands a year in salary and fifty-thousand-dollar appearance fees. It looks like you want to bash teachers. It looks like you aspire to public office -- maybe even president one day.

Sadly, it doesn't appear that you want to improve education or to help kids.

So, Michelle, I suggest that you change your agenda. It's clear that you are a powerful voice. People are listening. In the long run, though, what real change will you make? Will you get hard-working public servants fired? Will you take money from public schools by sending their students to private schools? Will you make sure that kids hate learning by having them tested into oblivion? Will you have teachers evaluated, based on how students with autism, mental retardation and emotional disturbances perform on a standardized test?

Look in the mirror

Michelle, will you, 30 years from now, be able to look into the mirror and say, "I made the world a better place for children."

Or will you sit alone atop piles of money, knowing that, in spite of your high profile, your money and your Harvard degree, you didn't do a single thing to solve the real problems children face and that you alienated America's most important public servants?

I want answers, Michelle Rhee. Are you prepared to give them?

Don't miss Mark's book ROLE Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom, now available in the ASCD store, Barnes & Noble and at Amazon.com

April 16, 2013

Role Reversal recognized by Teacher Librarian

I am truly honored that my book, Role Reversal, has been named a 2013 Best Professional Book by Teacher Librarian. If you'd like to see the review, look for the digital edition for April 2013 at Teacher Librarian. The story is on page 55.

Don't miss my interview with Teacher Librarian, coming in October.

More Accolades

Principal J. Robinson has plenty to say about Role Reversal on his blog, The 21st Century Principal. Read the post here.

Don't miss Mark's book ROLE Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom, now available in the ASCD store, Barnes & Noble and at Amazon.com

April 9, 2013

Excerpts from my Kappa Delta Pi Webinar

I recently presented a Webinar to nearly 180 Kappa Delta Pi members. The webinar is based on the concepts in my book, Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom (ASCD 2013).

The video below contains a few highlights of the webinar, in which I discussed the value of student-centered learning over a traditional classroom and narrative feedback, and I answer a few audience questions.

If you'd like to view the entire archived webinar, learn how at this KDP.org website.

Don't miss Mark's book ROLE Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom, now available in the ASCD store, Barnes & Noble and at Amazon.com

April 7, 2013

Slide Rocket has really angered me

Boy, am I angry at Slide Rocket!

I've written widely on the web-based presentation tool and advocated for its use in education circles. I even produced a how-to video on Slide Rocket here. I created further content and video about effectively using Slide Rocket, at this Learn it in 5 page. When I wanted to teach educators how to effectively use the online writing tool, KidBlog, where did I turn? You guessed it, Slide Rocket.

What was great about Slide Rocket was teaching students how to use it and watching their eyes light up, when their old boring PowerPoints came to life with Slide Rocket's innovative animations, templates and plugins. Best of all, Slide Rocket was free.

Now, Slide Rocket has been taken over (they call it a merger) by ClearSlide -- a corporate giant, seemingly interested only in business. By its own admission, the new company will cater to the private sector. This was posted to the Slide Rocket blog in March:
"Clearslide is revolutionizing the relationship between sales teams and customers. . . . By acquiring SlideRocket, ClearSlide will expand its rich presentation capabilities for sales teams to engage customers more effectively and close more business."

You can't fool me

I was so angered by this move that I contacted SlideRocket/Clearslide to ask what this merger/takeover meant to educators like me and to my students, who have come to depend on Slide Rocket for many of their projects. First, some Clearslide salesperson, who had no idea how the merger/takeover would effect Slide Rocket, foisted me off on another sharp talker, obviously schooled on how to handle inquisitive teachers.

Not to worry, I was told, everything is being considered. Oh, and should it come to pass that I'll lose my Slide Rocket membership, Clearslide will make sure I have plenty of help downloading my presentations to PowerPoint. Hmm., I thought, if I wanted to use PowerPoint, I wouldn't have spent the past four years, using Slide Rocket!

This spin doctor double-talk couldn't fool me.

It's very clear at this point that Slide Rocket will soon look nothing like, well, Slide Rocket. More likely, it will become just another piece of Clearslide which, by the way, is a very clunky product that feels more like an amped up e-mail program than the slick presentation tool that Slide Rocket used to be.

Boy, this makes me angry! Keynote, here I come.

Don't miss Mark's book ROLE Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom, now available in the ASCD store, Barnes & Noble and at Amazon.com