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Tony Vincent said in November 5th, 2007 at 7:27 am

Until the system is changed, it’s helpful to think that it’s not just content that we can differentiate for students. The process and/or the product may also be modified to meet a student’s needs and to engage them in their learning. The content may be mandated, but not the way students learn it or what they produce with that learning. Those are the areas of teaching I focus on since most of us don’t have the flexibility of Florida Virtual Schools.

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Mathew said in November 5th, 2007 at 8:07 am

Until standardized curriculums are thrown out (and they won’t be) teachers have to be creative in finding individual ways that students can approach the same curriculum from their own unique talents and interests. A lot of times teachers use standardized curriculums as an excuse not to innovate and that just can’t be. Teachers can incorporate art, dance, and technology as ways of making curriculum relevant to students. Not everything reaches everybody but the more modalities you try the more likely you’ll reach all students in some way.

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Helen said in November 5th, 2007 at 10:25 pm

I think that is at the heart of the work that we are talking about here at conference–we really have to know what interests and motivates our students (not what we think, but what we find out by asking them) and then we design work that is centered on the content and incorporates those interests and motives. I also think that we have to figure out to have the conversations with our administrators and politicians about how to change school. There are so many standards that realistically, there is no way to cover everything at the depth and complexity that we should. I think we have to reduce the content and focus on teaching kids the literacies that will prepare them for the future we don’t know about.

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Carolyn Foote said in November 8th, 2007 at 7:40 pm

Great questions.

We held student panels at our campus last week, and one of the interesting comments students made was that some of their classes moved too slowly, and they really wished that once in awhile, their learning could proceed at their own pace.

Add in the element of video gaming, where players can achieve something and then progess—another element that we rarely recognize in schools, especially in secondary schools.

I think the questions you are asking are important.

How important is it that we all get the same learning the same way, same time, and when is that not so important?

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Jan said in November 10th, 2007 at 10:01 pm

What we know is right for kids about engagement and designing for individuality does not align with the what the legislators have decided is measurement of success. How can we measure what we know is right for kids and show that they are prepared for higher learning? I don’t want a T-shirt that says “Woo-Hoo 90% of our kids are mediocre.” I would wear one that said “90% of our kids are Commended!” I wasn’t at the conference. I was just catching up on some of Helen’s comments and had to reply.