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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 12, 2011

Online Classroom Infographic
My pick this week is an interesting infographic illustrating the evolution of online education technologies.  Some of the statistics are pretty amazing and important as we think of what the traditional classroom will become in the future.

The Invisible Leader
My selection this week is a blog post by Tom Schimmer, an educator from Canada.  I chose this post since it stresses what I believe is one of the most important jobs we have as educational leaders, developing a “team” that works together in which no one member is more important than any other.  
Schimmer says it best in the following: “Being an invisible leader is what we all know great leadership is about, but it can be challenging – even privately – to park our egos and allow others to flourish.”

Better Teachers, Common Curriculum Are Hallmarks of Finnish Schools

In the recent iGeneration seminar, Hilliard administrators discussed The Finland Phenomenon documentary.  The video explored the educational system that develops some of the world's highest achieving students in science, math and reading as measured by PISA.  Our local conversation centered around two pieces:  the components of Finnish schooling that most significantly impacted student learning and take-aways for Hilliard Schools.  
This week's article highlights Finland's extensive professional development investment.  Strong teacher content knowledge is built through feedback from students and masterful colleagues.  A reoccurring question to ponder with our colleagues:  How can Hilliard administrators promote teacher professional development in our buildings so that instructional skills are strengthened?

The Trouble with Homework

At the iGeneration Seminar last week, we viewed the movie "The Finland Phenomenon".  In the film, leading Harvard educator Tony Wagner interviewed Finnish high school students and asked them to estimate the number of hours of homework that they were assigned per week.  They said that worked no longer that three hours per week on homework; most weeks, it was less than that.  Many of our high schoolers are assigned at least three hours per night!  Is the extra homework leading to increased student achievement?  Students in Finland spend considerably less time on homework than ours, yet their rankings on international assessments far exceed ours.  A vast number of studies on homework indicate that our practices fail for two reasons---there is too much homework being assigned and the homework focuses on low level busy work.   How can we get higher results from the amount of time being spent on after-school assignments?

A promising new line of research by neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and educational psychologists reveals ways that students absorb, retain, apply knowledge. "Mind, Brain, and Education", this new field, offers three new insights into how homework can be turned into a catalyst for learning.  Read this article to find out what these recommended practices are and how they can be used to support our work with students and staff.

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