Podcast #52 – Snowed Under! NMSA08 continued

Items & Events

  1. The Michigan Association of Middle School Educators (MAMSE) Annual Conference will be held in Saginaw Township on March 12 & 13 at White Pine Middle School.
  2. The Ohio Middle School Association’s Annual Conference will be held at Kalahari February 19-20.
  3. The National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference will be November 5-7 in Indianapolis, IN.  The theme will center around globalization and service learning.
  4. The Middle Level Essentials Conference will be held at the Red Rocks in Nevada April 23-34.  Tell your high school colleagues about the special “conference in a conference” on ninth grade teams.
  5. Crime does not pay!  Worried teaching tech skills might open doors to nefarious activities?  This creative internetter used Craigslist to create a caper outside a bank in Washington.  A suspect is in custody.  Bonus points for creativity, not so much for community service content.  Considering the recent economy let me also add this:  Don’t do this at home.
  6. We’ve compared education and technology to the RIAA and piracy laws.  Here’s another take on that conversation for your perusal.
  7. The MacArthur Foundation is spending $50 million dollars on a 5 year study seeking to understand digital life and youth.  Three years of the study are reported out in Living and Learning with New Media:  Summary of the Findings from the Digital Youth Project.  Read about the study here in the New York Times article.  We might pull this for discussion in a future podcast.
  8. What if we thought of internet access like water, gas, electricity and other utilities?  Will Richardson has found an interesting quote from a future Obama official concerning the regulation of the internet and increasing availability in communities across the country.  As proposed, the deregulation would increase competition and lower price making it more available to households.
  9. Quote for the week: “In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”  – Eric Hoffer
  10. A link to Will Ricardson’s featured presentation at NMSA ’08.

Seven Skills Students Desperately Need
Teaching to the test is a mistake, Harvard’s Tony Wagner reminded the audience of his Nov. 18 keynote address to the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), because it interferes with transmitting the seven “survival skills” every student should acquire before graduating.
“A lot of people think the skills that students need to learn for the workforce and the skills they need to learn to be a good citizen are two separate sets. But they’re not. What makes a student successful in the global workforce will make a person successful at life,” he said.
Wagner said the problem is that you can have all the equipment and technology you want, but “if you don’t teach kids how to think, how to think beyond multiple choice, you’ve got a problem.”
“I realize education is a very risk-averse sector,” said Wagner, “but assessments either drive instruction for the better or for the worse, and right now in the U.S., it’s for the worse. If our assessments measured performance and 21st-century skills, like the European PISA assessment, that would be another story.”
According to Wagner, students of this generation are not unmotivated; they’re just differently motivated.

“They’re multi-taskers, they are drawn to graphics, they like instant gratification, they use Web 2.0 tools to create, and they love collaboration,” he said. “If we can figure out how to grab their interest in learning, they’ll become great thinkers and be eager to learn the basics.”

Wagner presented a list of seven “survival skills” that students need to succeed in today’s information-age world, taken from his book The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need–And What We Can do About It. It’s a school’s job to make sure students have these skills before graduating, he said:

1. Problem-solving and critical thinking;
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence;
3. Agility and adaptability;
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship;
5. Effective written and oral communication;
6. Accessing and analyzing information; and
7. Curiosity and imagination.

“We are making [Adequate Yearly Progress] at the expense of failing our kids at life. Something has to change,” he concluded.

Tony Wagner’s Web Site (Note that he has a bunch of articles free for download to registered users – registration is free).

Session 2:
Staff Motivation – Diane Hodges.

US has 2.8 million teachers serving 46 million students
Employee Needs & Motivators:
_____ Good wages
_____ Job security
_____ Interesting work
_____ Full appreciation for work done
_____ Feeling “in on things”
_____ Sympathetic help with personal problems
_____ Promotion/growth opportunities
_____ Good working conditions
_____ Personal loyalty to workers
_____ Tactful discipline

Elements of a staff recognition program:

  • Staff members need to be part of the development and implementation program
  • Define what behaviors you want rewarded (attendance, trying new strategies, initiative,
    teamwork, positive attitudes, etc).
  • Recognition should be differentiated
    • Auditory – some want to “hear” the recognition (public praise)
    • Visual – Some want to “see” the recognition (letters, articles, bulletin board)
    • Kinesthetic –  some want to “feel” (hug, handshake, pat on the back)

The techniques that have the greatest motivational impact are practiced by the least number of managers, even though they are easier and less expensive to use.

Motivating Behaviors:
Motivating Behavior Rank Frequency
Manager personally congratulates
employees who do a good job
1 42
Manager writes personal notes for
good performance
2 24
Organization uses performance as
a major basis for promotion
3 22
Manager publicly recognizes
employees for good performance
4 19
Manager holds morale-building
meetings to celebrate success
5 8
* Professor Gerald Graham, Wichita State University 1991

Some motivational ideas: