Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Core Problem : My third Podcast

The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, and for my last podcast, I chose a video called " The Core Problem ". You can find it on itunes, it has been made by the Harvard School of Education. Professor Richard Murnane shares new research on how family income affects education equality. He wrote a book about the subject, and he talked a lot about his book during this conversation with Matt Weber. They also explain how works the public school system, and why, sometimes, children from low income families are excluded from this system. The video lasts about 13 minutes.

Pr. Richard Murnane is co-author of this research. He explains that there is a strong relation between family income and studies. Moreover, values of America seem to have changed. It was the foundation of the American dream : A children, no matter which social sphere he was from, could become richer and more educated than this parents were. A child may grow up poor, but he can change his destiny if he works for it. But Max Weber says that richer getting richer, and smarter, and the poor getting less educated.

 There is an increase in segregation, and especially in school segregation by income : it means that children from low income families often live in the same area, and that they are more likely to be concentrated in school together. This problem has increased for the last 30 years. It affects the ability of teachers to make good work, because these schools are marginalized. But making these people in categorie contribute to American Capitalism.

Max Weber asks Pr. Richard Murnane what are the reactions to his book, and he answers that this is too soon to know. He says that his book is only available for a month. But a lot of educators are pleased that the book recognized the fact that school can make a difference for children from low income family. He thinks that the different school disciplines must work together in order to resolve this problem.

Furthermore, he thinks that, as citizens, children are our futur. A substential pourcentage of children are growing up in a low income family which means that a majority of children are concerned by the problem. The investments that teachers will make for these children will pay sooner of later.

Friday, 20 April 2012

What I have learnt this semester

What have I learnt this semester ?

New vocabulary, new websites ...

The last two months in The Didactique de l'anglais class, I have learnt a lot of things.
 We talked a lot about technology, and how to use it with students. I've learnt new vocabulary : tools, Input/Output, Cognitive, to improve, task...
I really love the work we had to do this semester, because I'm really comfortable with computers, and working with websites like Wordle, Voicethread, Blogger, was really interesting. 
We created a complete story with Mandy, just using our drawings and Voicethread !

Moreover, watching podcasts and summarizing them was a nice experience. I've learnt where I could find university podcasts ( such as Harvard or Stanford ) and now I'me able to find them by myself ( on itunes and youtube ) and understand what is said on it.
I really think that when I will be a teacher, I will use all these tools with my students, and I will make them work a lot with technology, because it is our futur. Students and Teachers have to learn how to learn with web 2.0, because it is an unlimited source of knowledge. 

Others teachers are constantly publishing new videos and new audio podcasts, and we should all watch them. 
To conclude I would said that using voicethread was a really funny experience :) We created a story, using our drawings and our voices.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Podcast 2 : The Great Teacher Checklist

The Great Teacher Checklist

A podcast from Harvard Graduated School Of Education

How can effective teaching be identified and developed ?

I chose this podcast, which last around 15 minutes, from Harvard university. Thomas Kane ( deputy director of Education for the Gates foundation ) is talking about how we should measure teacher effectiveness. The main subject of this podcast is Classroom Observation, and how teachers should be evaluated in the futur.

Pr. Kane is explaining, at the beginning of the video, that the heart of the project is to provide better feedbacks for the teachers. The project has brought together 3,000 teacher volunteers in six different school districts. This is  huge a debate in the USA, and, according to him, students should be aloud to provide feedbacks too. These measures are important, because they are related to students achievement. That is why teachers should triangulate the problem, and find a combination of solutions. 3 sights : The teacher / The students / The content, and the classroom observation will see how these three are working together.
Pr. Kane compare the super power of measures with Super Heroes, every measures should be different.
For him, what makes a classroom observation complicated ?
 1 / different observers will have different judgements and different points of view.
 2/ The work of the teachers and his ability to explain a lesson is changing.

It also depends on how many observations you do. More you observe, more objective you'll be. Which means that students could be judging the teacher, and give their opinion. But there should be a confidentiality to protect students, and they should watch videos to know how to become best observers.
But Pr. Kane also explains that teachers should see themselves teaching, to learn from their own mistakes. It would make excellence in instruction.

Pr. Kane ended the video talking about a website related to the video. I went on it, and it is really well made, that is why I invite all of you to check it :
There is a complete report about gathering feedbacks.

What is VoiceThread ?

In class, we are all working on a new project with VoiceThread. By group of 2, we will have to make a story ( with photos, drawing ... ) for the end of the semester.

VoiceThread can be used for a presentation with video, audio, photos can also record " live annontations " with you own voice :)
What is great, is that you can upload pictures, and create an audio narrative to go along with them ( this is what we are going to do ). VoiceThread is a teaching-learning experience.

This is one of the drawings of our voicethread ( Sorry the quality is not very good ) 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Improving the quality of instruction in US schools

Improving the quality of instruction in US schools  ( you can easily find it on youtube )

I chose a podcast from Stanford university, made by Lee Shulman, who is president of the carnegie foundation ( foundation for the advancement of teaching ). In this video, he is having a conversation with three others professors about education in the US.
They discuss on what learning experience needs to be created, and how it needs to be created in our futur. He is debating with Doctor Debra Lundberg, Pr Steven Far and Pr Pamela Grossman, who co-organized the event.

Watch the video, and answer these 20 questions : The answers are in purple, try not to look at them before watching the video.

1 / Where is working the woman on Lee Shulman's left, Debra Lundberg ? University of Michigan.

2 / According to her, what makes a difference in children's learning ? The quality of the interactions the have with content and with other kids.

3 / Pamela Grossman is " director of the center for the support of excellence in teaching "

4 / Where is Pr Steven Far working ? " Teach for America ", a compagny which trains teachers.

5 / For Pr S. Far, on what are we less and less focus ? Recruitment and selection of teachers.

6 / What does P. Grossman wants to evaluate teachers ? A project of classroom observations.

7 / " I believe  the teachers  want to do a good job by kids. But they themselves don't have the tools to do that ".

8 / According to her, what it one of the solution for teachers to evaluate their work ? They should work collectively, giving to each others good feedbacks.

9 / According to D. Lundberg, what should teachers be able to do ? they should be able to call up a parent and have a conversation about the kid's difficulty. they should know how to diagnose common patterns of kids thinking.

10 / Do she cares about the training programm teachers are coming from ? No, because teaching is also about individual differences. She wants quality of skills.

11 / According to P. Grossman, why does Teach for America can be selected ? because they have a lot of people applying for their program.

12 / " I would like to see teaching itself as a valued occupation profession.

13 / For her, what other job pays more than teaching ? Why is salary important ? Plumber, and she wants teaching to become a career parents encourage their kids to go into.

14 / Why undergraduated students does not want to become teachers ? they can't imagine making a living and working under these conditions.

15 / What are the four teachers doing to make students interact with them ? Students are free to ask questions about the debate.

16 / What is Ashley ( one of the student ) going to do next year ? What does she think she is an exemple ? A master for Human development, and because she wanted to become a teacher but her family does not really approve and they don't think she is going to make a career of it.

17 / Why teaching could be concidered as a career ? Because you will have more and more responsabilities, and different kinds of pay over time.

18 / According to D. Lundberg, with who the teacher needs to interact ? With the others concerned about the kid's education : the parents, guardians, grandparents ... they also are caregivers.

19 / For Lee Shulman, why is having a decentralized system a good idea ? because you don't have to try to change everything everywhere at the same time. You can also take advantage of local experiment.

20 / " Make teaching improve, and instruction flourish ".

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Last monday, we used Wordle and we learnt how to use it. This is a website which will give you a visual representation of words you have chosen. Mandy and I chose the theme of the bedroom, using Bed, Lamp, Desk, Chair, Pillow, Timer. I made my own wordle with them :) 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Can Facebook be used for teaching ?

FACEBOOK is a social networking service, where the users have to create a personal profile, add friends, share links, join groups ... and I have to admit that this is a really useful website in our private daily life.
But the question is, can Facebook be used for teaching ?
YES, if every student have a " professional " account, different from their personal account. The teacher can create a group, where he could share every interesting information with his students. But it should not be used to talk about anything apart from homework and school. Facebook ( as Twitter or Myspace ) is a very popular internet tool, and used with the teacher, it could help the futur students to understand the web 2.0.
Students can also use forums to share what they are learning, and the teacher can put exercices on the wall of the group.


* Create a TEACHER profile ( which will be separate from your personal profile )
* Students have to create a limited profile, which means that they have controlled settings.
* Create a PRIVATE group, and add your students.

For those who had like to know more about it, read " 100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom " :