Education

The Teenage Mind and Naiku

In the October, 2011 issue of National Geographic, David Dobbs explains what’s happening in the brains of 12 – 25 year-olds. His observations are based on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) project that studied over a hundred young people as they grew up during the 1990s . The study provides some rationale for why teenagers act the way they do. Understanding how a students’ brain works is key to engaging students in learning. Naiku is a way for teachers to connect with students the way they learn, an  opportunity to be more effective teachers. … Read More


Why do we still have computer “labs?”

Lately I have  been wondering why the “computer lab” is still so prevalent, and I wonder how long these groups of computers (in what could be used as classroom space) are going to last.  Is it the beginning of the end for the computer lab? I did a little research on how the computer lab started, and have come to the conclusion that they are an out-growth of the experiential learning push from the 1970’s – the language lab, the science lab, the math lab and the computer lab.  Experiential learning … Read More


Why Simply “Saving Teacher Time” is not Enough

When a software company is trying to sell their product to a corporate manager, the salesperson will often say that the product will “save employee time.” The manager’s response is usually “Sure, but will my employees actually get more done because of your product?”  The conventional wisdom is that minutes here and there do not actually add-up to any useful time savings. A process engineer would agree with management – largely because task-switching eats up most of the time saved.  To really improve productivity, the engineer would recommend that the task is effectively … Read More


One Big Idea

The central and core idea underlying formative assessment is that evidence of what students are learning is used to adjust instruction in order to better meet each student’s learning needs. Yet, something is missing from this idea. The focus is on instruction. What about the student? For assessment to be formative, both the teacher and the learner need to be actively involved in formative practices. So for Thompson & Wiliam (2008), the Big Idea of formative assessment can be expressed in the following way: Students and teachers Using evidence of … Read More


Technology “in” the Classroom

Recently Arne Duncan spoke at “Digital Learning Day,” where he encouraged schools to get digital textbooks in the hands of every student within five years. Apple’s iBook 2 announcement a few weeks ago, suddenly makes this seem like a possibility. This is a fantastic vision – and another positive step – in a series of steps – where technology is used to provide a tailored learning experience to every child. I believe school and its construct is important. K-12 students spend over 30 hours a week “in school.” Think of … Read More


Formative Assessment

What It Is and What Classroom & Schoolwide Practices Ensure Its Success For the next three blogs I am going to focus on formative assessment. Why this focus? Simple. A significant body of research has concluded that student-learning gains garnered by classroom formative assessment practices were among the largest ever reported for educational interventions (e.g., Black and Wiliam, 1998). So, what exactly is formative assessment, how does it benefit what goes on in the classroom, what are its attributes, and what classroom- and schoolwide practices need to be in place to … Read More


Naiku Community on Edmodo

We’re pleased to announce that Naiku now has an Edmodo Community. For those who are not yet using Edmodo in the classroom, it is a free and secure social learning network for teachers, students, and schools. Edmodo provides classrooms a safe and easy way to connect and collaborate, offering a real-time platform to exchange ideas, share content, and access homework, grades, and school notices. We’re excited to expand the Naiku community over to Edmodo. Now, Naiku users will be able to connect and share formative assessment ideas and best practices … Read More


eSchoolNews – Readers’ Choice Awards

We are thrilled to have been named an eSchool News Readers’ Choice Honorable Mention!  We really want to thank everyone who nominated us. Awards like this one mean a lot.  We are grateful for customers who take time from their busy day and mention us to their peers and others. Thank You! You can see the full list of winners on the eSchoolNews website, and you can see Naiku on the PDF version of the awards (gently tucked-away with the rest of the Honorable Mentions on the last page).


Co-Active Leadership

The Essential Ingredient for Creating a Balanced Assessment System The creation of a district- and schoolwide balanced assessment system requires change.  And here, I’m not really talking about tinkering around the edges, making incremental adjustments. I’m talking about changing relationships—significantly changing the way superintendents, principals, lead teachers, teachers, staff, students, parents, and the community relate and work together. To create and successfully enact a balanced assessment system, to pull it off, everyone will need to transform the way they think about schooling, their respective roles in schools, and the notion … Read More


Three Levels of Assessment

Questions to Ask at Each In the previous Blog, I attempted to go inside the classroom and look at using assessment practices that promote student learning—assessment for learning. I’d like to take a step back and look at the balanced assessment system, this time at the three levels of assessment, the information about student learning we can glean from each level, and at how we can best use the information from each level. Educators make all kinds of important decisions based on the information they get from a variety of … Read More


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