IDE Corp
Professional Development for Innovative Schools

Briarcliff Manor Schools Head Back to School this Summer with IDE Corp.

Briarcliff Manor teachers have been spending the summer training with IDE Corp. to learn to teach with a learner-active approach that better supports their new technology-infused classrooms.  High school teacher Robert Saar says, “You can’t have classes that just feed them (students) facts because what value does that have in terms of expanding their minds?”

Briarcliff Superintendent Jim Kaishian explains, “We’re moving toward the ability to sort of take this information that is readily available and utilizing it so that they can be information-literate, collaborative, and productive”. Kaishian describes how teachers are “developing strategies to give students more ownership over mastering the content, and creating a curriculum with problems and topics they may encounter in their lives”. IDE Corp. consultant Dave Raffo says, “Today’s students will be more likely to retain the information if they care about what they’re learning”.

Read the full article here.

Learn more about the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom.

Founded by Dr. Nancy Sulla, IDE Corp. offers a comprehensive instructional model that is the synthesis of the best research available on student achievement. IDE consultants work with school districts around the country to help them shift paradigms and design new approaches to instruction.  IDE Corp. has been providing instructional and organizational consulting to schools since 1987.

 

Start the Year With a Priming Plan

In the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom students take charge of their own learning, guided by a masterful teacher who puts a bridge in place to ensure their success. That first week or two of school is your opportunity to prime your students for success in your classroom. The Priming Plan is the key to a powerful and rewarding school year.

 

There are three things you should accomplish in your Priming Plan:

  1. Have students build familiarity with all of the structures you will use to put them in charge of their own learning.
  2. Build in them a sense that they can succeed at high levels.
  3. Gather some assessment data regarding both academics and social interaction to use to make decisions.

 

Structures

Your classroom is outfitted with a resource table, help board, peer expert board, and other structures to support learning. Students will use rubrics to drive their learning, activity lists to access rich and diverse opportunities to learn what’s on the rubric, and folders to organize their work and communicate with you. They will sign up for small-group, mini-lessons and limited resources. They will negotiate with their peers to set times for group work, pairs work, and individual work, and note that on a schedule they’ll create to guide their actions. Your classroom will be set up with various areas, and maybe even flexible seating options, so that students will have a place to work quietly, join a small-group mini-lesson, have a discussion, work collaboratively, and more. Find a creative way to engage students in learning all of this. Consider a scavenger hunt with areas set up with how-to sheets or videos made by you or past students. Create an adventure where they have to find the clues to solve a mystery. Write a book or story about your room where students fill in parts related to how they work as they explore the classroom. Start with an easy rubric and activity list to help them through the early days. (For more on the structures of the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom, read Students Taking Charge.) 

 

Students’ Belief in Themselves

John Bargh conducted research in which he had college students walk down a hallway to a testing room, unscramble words into sentences, and walk out of the room and back down the hallway. Students who unscrambled words that related to old age, such as shuffleboard, bingo, Florida, and retirement, were primed with old age; they left the room walking more slowly than their peers who unscrambled words that did not prime them for old age. Malcolm Gladwell shares powerful stories from research about priming students in chapter 2 of his book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, referencing the phenomenon of “priming” — using auditory, visual, or tactile cues to nonconsciously shape behavior and thought. The words you use, whatever hangs on your walls, and the way you arrange your classroom all send messages to your students. How will you prime them for success? Have them pick out favorite quotes? Fill your room with gritty phrases? Have them write about the things they are good at? Consider using a Great Student Rubric (check out all three versions on the IDEportal) rather than hanging a list or rules to which they must comply. Spend time priming students to feel good about themselves and their prospects for the year.

 

Assessment Data

Your curriculum has prerequisites that you assume students have learned in prior grades. Find out! Offer short quizzes and activities to determine how prepared your students are for your curricular goals. Capture data on students’ learning habits and executive function skills. Rather than engaging a group of students for the entire Priming Plan, as you would in an Authentic Learning Unit (ALU), have students engage with one another through a variety of pairings and groupings. Get a sense of the students who work well together and whose styles complement one another. This will help you set your home groups for the first ALU.

While you may not dive into curricular content as quickly as you might otherwise, the time you spend ensuring the students understand how to use all of the structures of the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom and building a sense of ownership over their learning will leave you well ahead of your prior pacing after a month or two into the school year.

A well-designed Priming Plan will make your year!  Here’s a planning guide to help you. Go change the world!

 

See also, “Starting the School Year: Priming Plan vs. First ALU

In Search of the Perfect Problem

Join us every Thursday night at 8pm ET for #LATICchat. If you’re new to Twitter chats, here’s a how-to sheet!

At IDE Corp., our “why” for the professional development services and consulting we provide is to assist schools in positioning students to change the world. To build student efficacy and leadership, schools must move beyond a compliance model to an engagement → empowerment → efficacy model of instruction. The Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom model drives learning through student engagement in solving authentic, open-ended problems. Let me give you an example from 8th grade science teacher, Jennifer Kaylor of Centennial Middle School, one of our STEM LATIC schools in Pasco County Florida:

 

When a rocket launches into outer space, it consumes significant quantities of fuel to get outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Once up in space, it uses little fuel, except that it’s already expended so much! Watch this video to see! Rocket fuel is made from hydrogen and oxygen; it turns out we can mine that from asteroids. The company Planetary Resources is working to do just that. Imagine if you could launch from Earth and then land on the moon to refuel with hydrogen and oxygen mined from asteroids. The possibilities for space travel and living are limitless! The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is interested in this topic as well.

 

Jen has rocks from asteroids that students will test to identify chemical elements. They will explore this topic of space travel from a chemistry perspective and write proposals regarding which asteroids might be worthy of a visit from Planetary Resources. They can then send their proposals to the company.

 

I don’t know about you but if I were in that class, I’d be very motivated to use my growing knowledge of chemistry to contribute to the solution to providing rocket fuel in outer space, especially if I could send my proposal to a real company!

 

What makes a perfect problem, from kindergarten through college?

 

Open-Ended: When students are given a problem to solve, they are motivated to tackle the challenge. They get to develop and promote their own unique ideas, grappling with content. While closed-ended projects (such as making a dinosaur museum exhibition) can be fun, open-ended problems, such as designing a habitat to house a cloned dinosaur, have that additional “drive” factor by creating a “felt need” to learn.

 

Audience: Once students develop their solution, who are they going to tell? If the audience extends beyond the teacher or classmates, students will be more motivated to focus on the quality of their solution and presentation of that solution. It becomes a matter of personal pride.

 

Real-World: The extent to which the problem solution can change the world is also a motivating factor. Problems can be focused on the student, school, community, state, nation, world, and universe. All are important and should be addressed across the year. You’ll find that when students find they are making a difference, they rise to the occasion. Real-world problems lend themselves to using a design process for solution finding, building critical academic and executive function skills.

 

Standards-Focused: Given that schools operate within a system that expects mastery of certain content by certain grade levels, and sometimes even times of the school year, it is important to ensure that the problem is well-focused on that content. While other content will be reinforced and foreshadowed, key curricular content must be at the core of the problem.

 

In my second book, It’s Not What You Teach But How, I propose that we need students to become problem-finders, innovators, and entrepreneurs. As teachers grow more comfortable with their Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classrooms, they can move toward having students identify the problems they want to solve, rather than constraining them with teacher-created problems.

To get started on your own problem-finding, look in your own classroom or school, consider issues of your community, look at the world around you. Read the news! Check out great organization’s websites, like the United Nations, NASA, World Water Organization, World Health Organization, the World Economic Forum, CARE, and more.

Create great problems to build efficacious leaders and change the world!

 

Dr. Nancy Sulla Presents Webinar on STEM

Please join us on Thursday, June 8th, at 2pm EST for a discussion with Dr. Nancy Sulla on creating a culture of STEM. If the purpose of STEM is to inspire students toward careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, schools need to start cultivating in their students the mindsets of the scientist, technologist, engineer, and mathematician. It’s not just about students engaging in projects and activities, it’s about how they see the world. Dr. Nancy Sulla, creator of the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom will share insights on how schools can create a STEM culture in her latest webinar “STEM: Creating a Culture, Not a Course”. We will reserve the last section of the webinar for Q&A. We look forward to your participation in the conversation. 

An Empathy-Driven Design Process

The engineering design process (see video) is about creating that which does not yet exist. You formulate a problem, explore content related to it, ideate to brainstorm possible solutions, sift through those to select the most effective and feasible, simulate the solution through a prototype you can test, and then, advocate for that solution.

 

Voila! You’ve solved a problem. Or have you?

If you haven’t addressed the needs of those affected by the problem, you haven’t solved it. In order to address those needs, you must be able to comprehensively understand how others are affected by the problem. The Cambridge Dictionary defines empathy as “the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.”

In IDE Corp’s design process, the first step is to “formulate” the problem. What is the ideal situation? What is the reality? What are the consequences of not solving the problem? Answering the latter two questions requires you to understand deeply how others are affected by the problem, that is, to demonstrate empathy.

Empathy is complex. Consider the nuances of three kinds of empathy, described in a blog post by Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence. All are important to develop.

  • Cognitive empathy is the ability to take a perspective and understand what another person is feeling or thinking. This is an important skill but, absent of other types of empathy, it can have a dark side: those who possess it can use it to manipulate and torture others.

 

  • Emotional empathy is the ability to feel along with the person, often experiencing the same physical effects. Scientists are linking this ability to the existence of mirror neurons in the brain. This, too, is important, however, it could leave the empathizer emotionally drained if unable to manage these emotions.

 

  • Compassionate empathy involves both understanding and a compelling need to help. While this kind of empathy is that which leads to success in the design process, cognitive and emotional empathy are critical companions in truly understanding how a problem affects others.

 

Empathy is also comprehensive, depicted in the graphic below as having four elements:

 

As you engage students in the design process, teach them How to Develop an Empathic Approach in Design Thinking.

Dr. Nancy Sulla Selected to 30 Most Inspirational Leaders in Business

IDE Corp. is pleased to announce that Dr. Nancy Sulla has been selected to “30 Most Inspirational Leaders in Business” in the April 2017 issue of Insights Success magazine.

Nancy believes that the most important characteristic that every leader should possess is empathy: the ability to put yourself into another’s situation and understand how they are affected by a situation. She says, “It’s about serving others and helping them be all that they can be.”

The article recounts how Nancy, to help her struggling middle school math students, had to rethink what a learning environment should look like. She designed the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom and realized that if she were going to make an impact on the world, she would need to share this model widely through her own company.

One of the most important decisions Nancy has to make, according to the article, is how far to push people out of their comfort zones to realize new realities; this applies to clients, prospective clients, and employees. Nancy keeps a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in mind – “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

Read the entire article here: http://www.insightssuccess.com/dr-nancy-sulla-accessible-personality-with-an-innovative-mind/

Learn more about the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom.

Founded by Dr. Nancy Sulla, IDE Corp. offers a comprehensive instructional model that is the synthesis of the best research available on student achievement. IDE consultants work with school districts around the country to help them shift paradigms and design new approaches to instruction.  IDE Corp. has been providing instructional and organizational consulting to schools since 1987.

 

A Classroom is Like a Swimming Pool

How do you create a culture of creativity and problem-solving while addressing all of the curriculum standards? As you may know about IDE Corp., we love using metaphors and similes to rethink “school” (e.g., “teacher as ferry; teacher as bridge”). So let’s consider the infinity pool: a swimming pool that gives the impression of endlessness and offers exploration while providing supportive boundaries.

The Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom is all about Students Taking Charge, that is, having choice and voice within safe boundaries. Let’s break down some of the structures and strategies:

 

  • Teachers consider the curricular standards and design a problem-based task students could accomplish if they mastered those standards. They design a rubric to provide students with clearly articulated expectations. Teachers present the task and rubric to students at the start of the unit, driving the learning! The task and rubric provide a certain set of boundaries, like a pool, to keep students safe within the realm of the curriculum (because, that is what’s expected in schools these days, unless you’re going rogue!).

 

  • An activity list offers a variety of differentiated learning and practice activities to support students in mastering the curricular goals; however, students decide which to use, when to work on them, and with whom they will work. Students have a lot of choice and voice as they “swim” around the learning environment.

 

  • Teachers facilitate learning, helping students make decisions about their learning paths, providing direct instruction, and probing thinking to move students to higher levels of understanding.

 

  • Every Authentic Learning Unit (ALU) that begins with a task and rubric results in students’ demonstration of knowledge through the creation of some sort of product or performance. If the product or performance itself is not a part of the curricular goals, teachers should allow students to present in a variety of ways. For example, if you’re teaching poetry writing, students may be limited to writing a poem; but if you’re asking students to present a solution to designing a zoo habitat for an animal, you can allow them to present that through a written proposal, video, multimedia presentation, scale model, or any other means, because your curriculum is about habitats, not presentations.

 

The structures of the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom are what enable the freedom. Within those structures, students are empowered to explore, make decisions, be creative, and invent. Make your classroom a swimming pool, metaphorically speaking, that is. Change the world!

Physical Education Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classrooms in Chester Taylor Elementary School

A Tampa Bay Times article on May 3rd describes how the physical education classes at Chester Taylor Elementary school in Pasco County, FL are using the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom to make physical education classes “more academic”. The article noted that “more than just play a game, the children studied its history, calculated their statistics, designed uniforms, set team budgets and conducted trading based on salary caps, among other activities.”

“We’ve shown them there are other opportunities within that sport you can be involved with and still learn the game,” P.E. teacher Michael Johnson explained. “When you get into each sport, your standards are around learning that sport. We want to take it a step further.”

“Chester Taylor Elementary adopted the “Learner Active, Technology-Infused Classroom” system three years ago, when it faced the threat of a state-mandated turnaround plan for consistently low student performance on state tests”, describes the article. “The school quickly saw improvements in student test scores with its initial foray — its fourth-graders soon outperformed the state average — and has been expanding it since”.

Read the full Tampa Bay News article here: http://www.tbo.com/news/education/k12/pasco-elementary-school-brings-academics-to-physical-education-class/2322280

Learn more about the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom.

Founded by Dr. Nancy Sulla, IDE Corp. offers a comprehensive instructional model that is the synthesis of the best research available on student achievement. IDE consultants work with school districts around the country to help them shift paradigms and design new approaches to instruction.  IDE Corp. has been providing instructional and organizational consulting to schools since 1987.

Spotlight Leader of Pee-Dee Math, Science and Technology Academy Credits Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom

Keith Bailey, PDMSTA

Keith Bailey, Executive Director of the Pee-Dee Math, Science, and Technology Academy in Bishopville, SC was recently the subject of a February 2017 Leader Spotlight by the South Carolina Public Charter School District. In the spotlight Bailey shares some highlights of their initiatives and describes the problem-based learning aspect of the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom™.

Bailey says “PDMSTA ascribes to a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) model and Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classrooms (LATIC). Problem-based learning is a subset of project-based learning.  There are differences in the project based and problem-based learning model. Problem-based learning starts with a problem and focuses largely on the process of finding a solution. Students learn through grappling with a problem through open-ended problem-solving”.

Read the full Leader Spotlight article here: http://www.sccharter.org/2017/02/15/leader/

Learn more about the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom.

Founded by Dr. Nancy Sulla, IDE Corp. offers a comprehensive instructional model that is the synthesis of the best research available on student achievement. IDE consultants work with school districts around the country to help them shift paradigms and design new approaches to instruction.  IDE Corp. has been providing instructional and organizational consulting to schools since 1987.

 

Echoes~Sentinel News Article Shares LATI Classroom Success in Wachtung Schools

An April 5, 2017 article in the Echoes~Sentinel newspaper describes how with the “Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom program in Watchung Schools, more and more teachers are preparing their instruction in modern and more personalized ways”.

Watchung, New Jersey Valley View School Principal Mary Nunn said “this comprehensive instructional model applies systems theory to classroom instruction to address the new standards, assessments, and teacher evaluation rubrics. The classroom melds best practices into one cohesive, problem-based, learning environment.”

The article continues with Nunn explaining how “teachers have found an increased level of student engagement, more peer-to-peer teaching, a stronger sense of individual needs and skills, and less dependence on teachers”.

Read the full article here: http://www.newjerseyhills.com/echoes-sentinel/news/students-take-charge-in-watchung-schools/article_99e1019c-4df7-5e72-b3c5-17d76235b2e0.html

Learn more about the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom.

Founded by Dr. Nancy Sulla, IDE Corp. offers a comprehensive instructional model that is the synthesis of the best research available on student achievement. IDE consultants work with school districts around the country to help them shift paradigms and design new approaches to instruction.  IDE Corp. has been providing instructional and organizational consulting to schools since 1987.