Bloom’s Taxonomy (remember, understanding, apply, analyze, evaluate, create) – http://ww2.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm, http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/01/4-awesome-new-blooms-taxonomy-posters.html
Alternatives to Bloom’s Taxonomy – http://www.teachthought.com/learning/5-alternatives-to-blooms-taxonomy/
SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition) –http://blogs.adobe.com/educationleaders/2012/10/applying-the-samr-model-into-education.html
Beware of the Pedagogy Wheel – http://www.edudemic.com/2013/05/new-padagogy-wheel-helps-you-integrate-technology-using-samr-model/
TPACK (Technology – Pedagogy – Content) – http://www.tpack.org/
SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine., Adapt., Modify., Put to another use., Eliminate., Reverse.) – http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCT_02.htm
KIARCH from InGenius by Tina Seelig (Knowledge, Imagination, Attitude, Resources, Habitat, Culture)- http://salhir.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/ingenius-creativity-and-innovation/
4 PIllars of Innovation Applied to Schools (People, Culture & Climate, Structures & Processes, Leadership) – http://www.innovation.cc/peer-reviewed/pollack_innovative2.pdf
Buck Institute Template for Project-based Learning (Driving Question, Culminating Product/Performance, Entry Event, Formative & Summative Assessments, Resources, Refleciton Methods, PTL Guide, & Calendar) – http://www.bie.org/
5 Skills of Disruptive Innovation – (Questioning, Observing, Networking, Experimenting, Associating) http://innovatorsdna.com/
Positive Education – PERMA (positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, accomplishment) http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletter.aspx?id=1554
7 Survival Skills from Tony Wagner’s Bridging the Global Achievement Gap (Critical Thinking & Problem Solving, Collaboration Across Networks & Leading by Influence, Agility & Adaptability, Agility & Entrepreneurialism, Effective Oral & Written Communication, Accessing & Analyzing Information, Curiosity & imagination) http://www.tonywagner.com/7-survival-skills , http://www.hosa.org/emag/articles/advisors_corner_oct08_pg2_5.pdf
I met a principal of a small school that was working to add more project-based and student-centered learning activities. The effort seemed to be going well with one significant challenge. A number of the parents expressed concern that their children were not getting enough worksheets. I know very little about this specific situation, so the following comments are not directed at this school or principal. I am simply using it as a tool to think about an important topic when it come to innovation in existing P-12 schools. Toward that end, I’d like to share a few thoughts about the importance of shared ownership when it comes to new initiatives in education.
When I heard about the worksheet concerns, disappointment was probably the first thing that I experienced. I thought, “How can they think that mindless worksheets are as valuable as rich and immersive projects?” Of course, worksheets are likely what they know and remember from school, and they seemed to work fine for the parents. So, why consider something else? Parents might need a chance to see the benefits of such a change. This seeming challenge provides an exciting opportunity for us to consider how we might help the entire community become informed and supportive of a new model and possibility for learning.
This was a private school that depends upon tuition to keep the doors open. If parents don’t like something enough, then they may well vote with their wallet, and move to another school. Such an arrangement gives the parents a type of influence that does not exist in schools that do not reply upon tuition. As I see it, such an arrangement amplifies the importance of shared ownership in any school-shaping innovations pursued by a school. Lone Ranger innovations happen in these schools and can work quite well. This usually comes in the form of one or two creative teachers trying something new. However, when it comes to school-wide initiatives, it is not always wise to assume that parents, students and others will simply trust our expertise and decisions. There are too many examples of such trust being betrayed in education. As a result, trust must be earned and re-earned even as the people (parents and students, in particular) come and go over the years. Or, rather than thinking about building trust, we might choose to think about it as creating a sense of shared ownership, community, and/or shared vision among the parents, teachers, students, and administrators. I should note that I’m not talking about strategic “shared ownership” efforts for every small school-wide change. I’m thinking about efforts that are potentially transformational for the learning organization, things that might otherwise flounder without widespread support.
School-wide changes can thrive by taking the time to build consistent and effective communication plans, hosting town meetings, finding ways to make abstract visions more visible and concrete, creating “field trips” and tours of other places that embraced a similar innovation, having brainstorming sessions with a variety of stakeholders (especially administrators, teachers, parents, and students), and many other intentional efforts. This will take longer than just jumping to the implementation stage, but it is sometimes an important step for long-term success. Of course, one alternative is just to start a new school and only reach out to those who are already supportive of the idea, but many do not have the time and resources for such an option. Or, if a school can afford to take the risk of losing some parents and students, the other option is to push forward and accept the fact that some will not like it, but other new families may appreciate the change and join the community.
The phrase “shared ownership” may sometimes relate to a group of stakeholders being equal investors and creators of something new. However, this is not how some of the best ideas take root in learning organizations. Instead, they often come from a person or a small group of people seeing something that is difficult for others to see at the moment. In either situation, it still requires the need for communication. If it is a model that is foreign to parents, students and community members, then find ways to help them get informed about the benefits and possibilities. This doesn’t mean that everyone will agree or support it, but it is critical for adoption and assimilation into the community. I know that some are uncomfortable with this idea, but anyone in the education “business” is not successful unless they learn how to build a case for something, influence, and invite people to consider and embrace new possibilities. In fact, I will go so far as to suggest that school-wide efforts should not be successful unless they effectively cultivate shared ownership (at least among the people who are directly affected by the effort). As I see it, these are the rules by which we must choose to play in a society that purports to value democratic education. Beyond the standard managing change (think John Kotter), disruptive innovation (think Clayton Christensen), and diffusion of innovation (think Everett Rogers) books, four others come to mind as being useful in thinking about this subject.
In Schools We Trust: Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing and Standardization by Deoborah Meier – Readers may not like are agree with everything in the book, but it is a worthwhile read as one looks at the ways in which they sought to cultivate shared ownership.
Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People’s Minds by Howard Gardner – This is not a “how to manipulate” text. Instead, it provides insight into how we and others go about changing our minds, and how to build a compelling case for something. Years before the book was published, I found a draft of Gardner’s ideas about this subject that he later expanded into the book. That original paper had an enormous influence on my own thinking about persuasion.
To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others by Daniel Pink – This new and popular book by Daniel Pink puts a twist on the idea of “sales”, attempting to remove the stigma that many associate with the word. Along the way, he shares several helpful insights about how to “sell” anything from a product to an idea to a new initiative.
Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini – Drawn from years of research on the “psychology of compliance”, Cialdini shares a series of practical insights that can help with building a compelling case or even cultivating commitment around a new effort.
I welcome additional thoughts and considerations. What are the factors that you consider most important when striving to cultivate shared ownership around a new and potentially significant school-wide innovation?
I recently gave a keynote presentation for a workshop that was devoted to providing educational leaders with a chance to consider various models for 1:1 school environments. As part of my talk, I suggested that a critical part of any such endeavor is to get increasingly grounded in some theories, models, and/or frameworks that inform the school’s conversations and decisions about teaching and learning. As such, I suggested the following 12 taxonomies, templates, and acronyms as some useful “thinking” tools/technologies that play an important role in imagining or re-imagining learning in a 1:1 environment, whether it be a BYOD school, laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, Android tablets, or something else.
Bloom’s Taxonomy (remember, understanding, apply, analyze, evaluate, create) – – This one has been around for a long time, but it continues to help educators think about how to guide learners toward increasingly complex ways of thinking and functioning. For a fresh way of thinking about Bloom’s Taxonomy, you might also want to check out the ways that it is visually represented here.
The Alternatives to Bloom’s Taxonomy – Of course, Bloom’s taxonomy is not the only taxonomy of this sort. There are alternatives and this link provides a few of them.
The Pedagogy Wheel – This visual attempts to describe how different apps relate to various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I share it because I think it is useful to know, but I also have concerns about it. This visual can be easily misused if the viewer/user mistakenly thinks that using a particular app automatically results in one functioning at a given level. The fact is that you can design learning activities with a pencil that are at the remembering level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and then you could design a very different learning activities with the same technology where learners are working at the evaluation or creation levels. Some apps may be designed in such a way that they lend themselves toward functioning at a particular level in Bloom’s Taxonomy, but it is really the way that it is used and the learning experience design that determines this.
The SAMR Model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition) – This is a powerful tool for thinking about technology integration and how different integrations impact the learning environment.
TPACK (Technology – Pedagogy – Content) – This and SAMR are probably the two most frequently referenced models for thinking about technology integration in education. Both have value and help people to think more deeply about the way in which a given technology integration will or will not impact student learning, student engagement, or increased access and opportunity. TPACK is especially helpful in thinking about the interrelated nature of technologies, teaching strategies, and a given body of knowledge/content.
SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse) – This is a powerful and popular tool for helping to add some creativity to most any endeavor. As an educator, I find it to be a great way to add interest, creativity, and a fresh perspective to designing learning experiences. Similarly, I find it to be a powerful tool as a leader, administrator, and educational innovator.
KIARCH from InGenius by Tina Seelig (Knowledge, Imagination, Attitude, Resources, Habitat, Culture) – I recently finished Seeig’s book on creativity, it I highly recommend it. She fills with pages with helpful insights and tips for conjuring a bit of creativity. KIARCH represents to six aspects of what she calls your “innovation engine.” The first three are the inner parts of the engine, and the last three relate to those influences that are external to you.
4 PIllars of Innovation Applied to Schools (People, Culture & Climate, Structures & Processes, Leadership) – The article that I linked to here provides a wonderful and refreshing way of using the 4 Pillars of Innovation within a learning organization.
Buck Institute Template for Project-based Learning (Driving Question, Culminating Product/Performance, Entry Event, Formative & Summative Assessments, Resources, Refleciton Methods, PTL Guide, & Calendar) – If you want to promote deep and engaging learning, then PBL is a great option. It may not be ideal for every learning goal, learning or context; but it certainly has a powerful role to play within many learning organizations. Toward that end, I continue to find the resources at the Buck Institue web site to be among the most helpful, especially the lesson/unit plan template for PBL. They even include a worked example or two.
5 Skills of Disruptive Innovation – (Questioning, Observing, Networking, Experimenting, Associating) -Clayton Christiansen and his colleagues describe five skills that are consistently present in leaders of the most innovative organizations. While the book does not focus upon learning organizations (some of his other books do, like Disrupting Class and The Innovative University), I continue to find challenging and inspiration applications from this book to leadership in learning organizations.
Positive Education – PERMA (positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, accomplishment) – Martin Seligman’s work on this subject has been an inspiration to me, and I continue to see many important applications in learning organizations, as do the many others who use the PERMA model as a part of the positive education movement.
7 Survival Skills – (Critical Thinking & Problem Solving, Collaboration Across Networks & Leading by Influence, Agility & Adaptability, Agility & Entrepreneurialism, Effective Oral & Written Communication, Accessing & Analyzing Information, Curiosity & Imagination). Taken from Wagner’s Bridging the Global Achievement Gap, this represents what Wagner proposes as important skills for life and learning in the contemporary world, and it serves as a useful guide for educators and leaders of learning organizations that want to make sure that they are indeed preparing people for a present and future world rather than unknowingly preparing them for a world that no longer exists.
As part of #cheatmooc (the MOOC that I am currently hosting on Understanding Cheating in Online Learning Environments), we had an excellent guest speaker, Dr. James Lang (You can watch a recorded session here.). I invited him to speak to the participants (and anyone else who might be interested) as part of our week on the role of instructional design in addressing matters of academic honesty. Dr. Lang has a refreshing and important perspective on the topic of cheating in academic environments (You may also be interested in reading his articles on the subject in the Chronicle of Higher Education or ordering his new book entitled, Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty.). Rather than focusing upon the moral and ethical aspect of cheating, he asks other important questions. Under what conditions are people more or less likely to cheat? Is it possible for us to design learning experiences in such a way that people are less inclined to cheat? This line of questioning leads us to not simply review the literature on how to decrease cheating. It also encourages us to think about how to create highly engaging and effective learning environments of all kinds. With that in mind, here is a summary of what I consider to be important statements from Dr. Lang about the role of design in promoting a culture of academic honesty and integrity. Just as important, these are also statements about how to design humane and high-impact learning environments. The statements in bold are quotes or notes from Dr. Lang. Following each statement is short commentary or reflection from me.
“The degree of student cheating depends upon the structure of the learning environment.”
In many cases, educators blame cheating (as well as failing to learn) on the students. There is certainly truth to this matter. After all, educators do not force students to cheat. At the same time, we all know that one’s environment does have a role to play on a person’s behavior. If you make the stakes high enough, add intensive competition, mix in a culture that values high marks above high levels of learning and mastery, then you create a space where more people are likely to cheat. It raises stress levels, and it also happens to make for a less pleasant learning environment.
Design courses that pose a big problem, question, or challenge and you can leverage intrinsic motivation.
This statement from Dr. Lang resonates with my overall philosophy of education. Frequent readers of this blog know that I write often about project-based, inquiry-based, and authentic learning. Dr. Lang posed a simple challenge that fits very well with my philosophy of education. It is not necessarily teacher-centered or student-centered. Instead, it is questioned-centered, problem-centered, and/or challenge-centered about to instructional design. If you are an educator, imagine designing a course from scratch where every unit, even the entire course, was designed around a provocative and important question for society. Or, imagine units driven by a compelling and important challenge or problem that clearly needs attention in our world and in the lives of the students. Then what if the rest of the learning experiences (and the types of learning experiences) were designed around those questions, challenges, and problems. This has a better chance of tapping into some sort of intrinsic motivation in the learners. It helps them to see the course content as being about more than earning a good grade. It is about learning something, growing academically to be able to answer the question, seeking solutions to the problem(s), or to face the important challenges set forth in the class. This helps to create an authentic and potentially high-impact learning community where cheating is less of consideration for many learners.
Imagine if your work was driven by a personal goal of finding a cure for cancer. Would you be tempted to fake your knowledge about the subject. Or, what if you had a garden that was getting eaten by wildlife, and you desperately wanted to find a way to keep the animals out. You would not pretend to research the subject. You would review the many options available to you, weigh the options, and then make a decision. You would likely not pretend to research the topic because that would not help you find a solution to the problem.
What if we thought about learning environments more like this? How might we design them in a way that helps tap into authentic motivations of the learners? It doesn’t solve all problems, but it certainly makes for a more interesting and meaningful learning experience for all.
Formative assessments can reduce cheating.
Do you want to increase cheating? Design a course with infrequent high stakes tests.
What is a formative assessment? I don’t remember where I first heard this, but someone along the way pointed out to me that formative assessments are like the checkup at the doctor. Summative assessments are like the autopsy. With the former, you get feedback and can adjust your lifestyle, take the proper medication, or seek the needed procedure to address any heath concerns. A checkup is preventative and proactive. It gives the patient and doctor a sense of how the patient is doing with regard to the goal of health and physical wellness.
Why not fill our courses and learning experiences with such checkups? This provides important data for learner and teacher about how each learner is progressing (or not) toward a given learning goal. As learner’s progress, such checkups give feedback and confidence that the learner can use to adjust their strategies, the amount of time devoted to the course, etc. As learner’s recognize that they are learning and progressing, they will see less need to cheat or pursue other ways to get the desired grade. Why cheat if you really know that you can do well on your own? Some may still cheat. However, if we set them up for success like this, many will not even think about cheating.
Build early success opportunities and you increase self-efficacy and decrease cheating. Increased self-efficacy can decrease the perceived need to cheat.
When learner’s are confident that they can do something on their own, then they are naturally less likely to pursue a cheating strategy. If this is the case, then why not find ways to help students gain confidence? The best way to do that is to give them incrementally more challenging tasks, but starting with simple ones that they can master, providing them with a confidence boost and a motivation to pursue the more challenging tasks. This works wonderfully for videos, so why not try it in the classroom? What does this mean for a class? Well, if the first assignment in the class is worth 10% of the overall grade, then failing it drastically decreases a student’s ability to earn an “A.” Why not offer practice opportunities that help students learn and gain confidence before giving them such a high stakes assessment?
Frequent testing and assessment reduces cheating
Testing does not just measure learning. It increases learning.
While these statements overlap with some of the others, they point out the idea that tests do not need to be the problem. Tests are powerful teaching and learning tools, but there is no need to always associate tests with grades. Why not give learners lots of practice quizzes and tests as a learning device? As noted by Dr. Lang, there is ample research to show that the simple process of taking and retaking quizzes or tests on a given subject can improve student learning. These sorts of learning assessments can even be more effective than students studying or reviewing course material in a more traditional way. Of course, some students catch on to this fact on their own. Those are the students who turn studying into games and quizzes that they can use on their own or with classmates. This rehearsal and review with feedback is powerful when it comes to learning something new. As noted by Dr. Lang, “The best way to reduce cheating is to build learning environments where the students learn the material really well.” So, if this is such a valuable tool for learning, then why not design such quizzes and games right into the course?
Strive to create a culture that values mastery over performance.
A performance-based culture highlights those who earned the highest grades. A mastery culture highlights work that demonstrates deep learning. A performance culture promotes doing whatever it takes to get the highest grade, and a mastery culture puts the focus upon the importance of mastering the content, often by pointing to why it is important outside of the classroom. Creating a mastery culture can start by looking at the words we use and the way instructions are written. As I see it, this is where a rubric (that focuses upon measures of mastery) can be much more helpful than an assignment that simply notes how many points equals a particular grade. As a parent, I’ve seen the importance of this principle as well. I don’t reward my kids for earning an “A” or a particular grade. To me, that means very little from the perspective of authentic learning. Instead, I seek to use encouragements and affirmations that focus upon specific things that they learned. What if we designed our classes in a way that focused upon and recognized progress toward mastery rather than just scores, points, grades, and ranks?
All of these statements point to the important role that instructional design plays in not only promoting academic honesty, but is creating a rich, meaningful, and honorable learning community. There is no need to create high-anxiety cut-throat classes that students dread, endure or simply seek to survive. More students will learn more things if we simply reconsider and redesign the course with a few of these tips from Dr. Lang. This leads me to a concluding thought, one that Dr. Lang did not address directly, but that I suspect is an important part of the matter. All of this requires that teachers see themselves as servants of the student. The educator’s job is not to make things as difficult as possible, but to facilitate a class in such a way that people learn or grow as much as possible (whether this be cognitive, affective, focused upon content acquisition or about developing new skills). As I see it, teaching with these design considerations requires a teacher who is committed to servant leadership.