Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Questions to Ask

It's hard to know how many educators ask themselves key learning questions when it comes time to using technology in the classroom. For that matter, it's hard to know how often important questions are explicitly asked before educators do anything in the classroom. But, I've been doing some thinking about questions that should probably be asked on a continuous basis during the teaching and learning process. The short list that I've developed includes:

1. What should students learn from doing this?

2. Are there any more effective strategies that I can help students learn this than by doing what I already have in mind?

3. How will I know that students have learned this?

You are probably thinking: these questions are not brilliant. In fact, every first year teacher education student who learns how to write lesson plans knows that these are the questions to ask. But perhaps that is exactly the point: there are a couple of key questions that educators should ask themselves about everything that they do with students.

No new technology should diminish the power of these questions. Without asking these questions and seriously thinking about the answers to these questions, learning will be disadvantaged.

I've asked a few questions - can you think of any additional questions that educators should ask when developing their teaching/learning plans?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Positioning A Pass Educational Group

This past week I attended EdNet a conference with about 500 educational stakeholders, largely publishers, held in Boston. A central goal of the conference was networking. In order to effectively network a business one must understand where the business fits within the larger universe of businesses.

While at the conference, I specifically grappled with the question of where A Pass Educational Group fits within the universe of educational publishers and other educational vendors. My time at the conference helped me solidify my thinking, if only a little.

A Pass Educational Group partners with educational publishers and other organizations needing educational editorial. For me, using the word editorial is new. With it I mean any type of writing that could be used to promote learning, including assessment. This types of writing includes both subject matter expertise and pedagogical expertise. A Pass has what it takes to develop engaging content.

We also have strong expertise when it comes to technology. While A Pass Educational Group does not actually code or develop new technology, we know how to use technology to promote high quality learning. We can write directions for coders so that they can make the technology do what we want it to do to promote learning.

A Pass Educational Group also has the ability to mash-up freely available Web applications to adapt them for educational needs. For example, I have previously used Google Earth as a package for student centered and project based learning. Google Earth is set up in such a way that non-techies are supposed to be able to use it. I applied my content and pedagogical expertise to use G.E. effectively. Smart board's Notebook software is also pretty intuitive. A Pass Educational Group has a Smart development team that can develop Smart activities rooted in sophisticated content knowledge and the best pedagogies.

Finally, I think it makes sense to tell people that they can think of A Pass Educational Group in much the same way that they would think of freelancers. We have the ability to staff the projects of others to help them achieve their editorial goals. As a result of A Pass's virtual structure we can also keep costs down.

The purpose of this particular blog post has not been to advertise A Pass Educational Group. Instead it has been to help cement my own understanding of what my company does. I wonder if my reader has a better understanding of what we do after reading this blog post? What questions still come to mind? How I can make this explanation clearer?