Curry’s Leadership on Ed Tech Efficacy Research

Bob PiantaFor too long, education technology decision-making has been driven by marketing rather than merit. Investors, entrepreneurs – and, all too often educators – mistake scale for impact. We assume popular solutions have tapped into a fundamental need—and that they work to produce the results we want. And yet, there is precious little evidence that presents how and when technology impacts teaching or learning. And much of the research that purports to inform policy or practice fails to consider the diversity and complexity of educational institutions and school districts, classrooms and lecture halls. Gathering real evidence may not be easy. It may be expensive. But it is undoubtedly possible. And we owe it to our teachers, our students, and ourselves to ask informed questions and deliver the answers.

Education technology presents possibilities that have drawn attention from some of our brightest entrepreneurs. Investors and philanthropists support, and are working to scale, these new ideas and opportunities. Researchers are beginning to pay attention to ed tech trends and, occasionally, explore the efficacy of ed tech products and services. We could be entering a new era, in which data informs administrative – and instructional – decision making more than ever. In which faculty and teacher-consumers challenge the dominance of the central office in ed tech procurement. In which technology provides parents with unprecedented visibility into the classroom and, for better or worse, policymakers take note.

Big questions remain: Will technology catapult us forward or deeply distract us from our mission?

May 3-4, 2017 that will bring together key stakeholders to examine more critically what’s working in education technology, and consider the role and relevance of efficacy research in enabling its promise. Read Bob’s full blog post on the symposium website.

Guest Author

Robert C. Pianta

Dean of the Curry School and Novartis US Professor of Education

After-school activities: Why are they important and what should you look for?

kidsAs the school year begins, many parents are thinking not only about what classes their children will take in school, but also what their kids will do after school. After-school activities offer opportunities for kids to learn new skills, explore different areas of talent, deepen existing expertise, get support for areas they aren’t as strong in, make friends, and form relationships with supportive adults. Participation in structured after-school activities has also been linked to a number of positive outcomes. For working parents, after-school activities are often more than a luxury, they are necessary child care in those gap hours when children are out of school but parents are still at work. Research shows that there are risks of kids being unsupervised after school, so after-school activities are an important resource to parents seeking to make sure their kids are in a safe and structured place once they leave their classrooms.

So what does the landscape of after-school activities look like and how should you choose the right one for your kid?

After-school activities range from extra-curricular activities (school-based clubs or teams), to comprehensive after-school programs (school or community-based), to private lessons, faith-based groups, and specialized tutoring or mentoring programs targeted towards specific needs. Programs differ in their costs and offerings. Whereas both of these factors are important for families, the aspect of programs that affects kids the most is their quality. READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON THE INFO ABOUT KIDS BLOG.

Guest Author

Nancy Deutsch

Nancy Deutsch

Associate Professor

One Chapter at a Time

One novel, 16 years of students, and a lesson on how to build relationships through curriculum.

I vividly remember February 19, 2016. It was a Friday, and I was looking forward to a quiet weekend. I was sitting at my desk working on a report when my phone rang. My colleague from down the hall was on the other end. “Did you see?” she asked. “Harper Lee just died. I’m so sorry. I know how much she meant to you.” I thanked her for letting me know and hung up.

Then I cried. I cried for the loss of an author who had meant so much to me as a student and had given me so much as a teacher. Without To Kill a Mockingbird, would my students and I have found a common language? I looked forward each year to sharing the book with them. Year after year, I knew that we would learn more about one another and about ourselves as we experienced Scout’s trials and tribulations. Harper Lee’s words had been the threads that bound us together. Without her work, would I have been able to reach as many kids?

It was a time of vague optimism for some people. — Harper Lee


Guest Author

Cherish R. Skinker

M.Ed. '10, Ed.S '12 Admin & Supv

When to Introduce Consequences

A young boy drawing pictures on the wall turns around to find his mom glaring at him

What do you do when your child won’t listen to you or is misbehaving? Time-outs? Give-in? Do you find yourself impatiently ordering them to just follow your directions? Time to introduce consequences!

When most people hear the word “consequence” they think of something negative. In fact, a consequence is simply what happens after we do something. We want to share how to use consequences to help your child learn how what they do affects what happens next. 

For example, if your child is having a good time playing with his sister, you might let them both stay up a little longer (positive consequence). However, if they have been bickering since dinner you might put them to bed earlier (negative consequence).

One of the best ways to help your child learn is to use logical consequences – a consequence is logical when the consequence is related to the child’s behavior.

Sometimes logical consequences happen naturally. For example, if a child becomes frustrated with a toy and breaks it, then she can’t play with it anymore.

In this case, you can say something like:

“I understand the toy made you mad because you couldn’t get it to do what you wanted. So, what happened?(pause) You broke it and can’t play with anymore. I know you really liked that toy. This is why we don’t throw our toys. What should you do next time you are mad about a toy? (pause) Come to me and we can figure it out.”

Read the rest of Amanda’s article on the Please & Carrots blog.

Guest Author

Amanda Williford

Amanda Williford

Research Assistant Professor, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning

Just Say Yes

Jennifer Locasale-Crouch shares how she started working with Inter-American Development Bank, Ecuador, the World Bank and Kyrgyzstan.

Just this week, I connected with colleagues from 4 different continents, representing 15 different countries, all working toward the same goal: improving the future for the next generation of children. I do not have specialized training for international work and, as much as I try, I am not particularly adept and learning new languages. In fact, my kids would say I am quite awful at it.

So, how did I get here?

From a very young age, I loved to travel. Much of this desire came from a curiosity about the world around me. I found the similarities and differences across houses, neighborhoods, and cultures fascinating. I felt compelled to explore and try to understand the experiences that bind us together as humankind but also create our own unique individual footprint. Read more…

Guest Author

Jennifer Locasale-Crouch

Jennifer Locasale-Crouch