Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Opening Day Breakout Groups

Point of viewImage by Kassel via Flickr

Please share any interesting thoughts, observations, reflections, ideas, etc from our breakout groups this morning.

Feel free to share using the comment feature of this blog or via Twitter. If you share via Twitter, end your post with the following hashtag: #castischool
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Interview with Carol Dweck, author of "Mindset"

The following interview with between Will Richardson and Carol Dweck lasts about 50 minutes. Watching this would make for a great pre-reading, reading, or post-reading activity for our summer '09 reading selection.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

SEED II: Solidarity vs. Charity

"Taking care of those in need is valuable and honorable work, and most people do it with generosity and good intentions. But it also serves to mask the inequitable distribution of jobs, food, housing, and other valuable resources. When temporary shelter becomes a substitute for permanent housing, emergency food a substitute for a decent job, tutoring a substitute for adequate public schools, and free clinics a substitute for universal health care, we have shifted our attention from the redistribution of wealth to the temporary provision of social services to keep people alive."
from "Social Service or Social Change?" by Paul Kivel
in The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

"Solidarity is not charity. It is the mutual support between two peoples struggling for the same objectives." from Non-Intervention in Chile, 1970s

During our final SEED II meeting, we pondered the following excerpt from Flaurie's Solidarity vs. Charity workshop at the 2009 White Privilege Conference in Memphis.

1. Most people who engage in community service care about others and want to help those who need help.

2. There are positive, authentic, valuable community organizations out there that respond to people's needs.

3. The language around much of this work reflects biases of race, class, gender and other forms of privilege and oppression.

4. Most charitable organizations seek to alleviate most obvious manifestations of poverty but do not question root causes of poverty.

5. Many non-profit organizations in the community service sector have no activist base and are not accountable to any social justice movement. A volunteer corp is not the same as an activist base.

6. In schools, service-learning projects are often held up as the model for community service work, but we need to look critically both at the word "service" as well as what is being learned.

7. Organizations that take American abroad to do work generally do not spring from local, organic struggles, but rather from perceived needs on the part of U.S. citizens. As such, they are often not tied to any liberation movements in the host countries, and have no interest in addressing root causes or real liberation.

Q: What thoughts are running through your mind? How do the above pieces compare with your own thinking? What are your worst fears and best hopes as we move forward in this work?

Library 2.0 by Jole Seroff

Wordle of Jole's Presentation

Friday, June 5, 2009

Futures Group Summary

Purpose of the Futures Group

The purpose of the Futures Group is to initiate conversation about what the educational landscape might look like in our community in the near future. We met monthly starting in January of 2009 and we struggled mightily to define an identity and a mission. While we certainly have not come to a consensus on many of the questions that follow, I think we all speak together in being supportive on an environment where all members of our learning community are using some type of connected digital device both at home and school.

  • It is clear that we are very, very close to a "laptop" learning model already. Many of our students already bring their own laptops and many others own a laptop at home. We are a half step away from a ubiquitous student computing model right now. Are we comfortable with this scenario?
  • What type of digital learning model are we comfortable with at Castilleja? Are we ready to require all students to purchase the same type of computer? Are we ready to support an environment where students self-select the type of device they choose to bring to campus each day?
  • It is clear that students are moving forward with or without us in terms of bringing their personally owned devices to school. Our group shares a concern over those who have instant access in class and those who don't. We share, we collaborate, but in the end what does it do for the student who can't bring a portable device to school with her? A compelling reason to move quickly is so we can bring everyone along with this wave, not just those who can afford it.
  • Given the notion that at some point in the near future all students will be traveling around campus with a wireless learning device, what is the role of traditional print text books? Will the digital learning device simply add to the ever expanding backpacks that we see? Or will something have to give? Should something good? What are the advantages of digital texts in comparison to print texts? What are the advantages of print texts over digital?
  • How can we build an eco-system that supports, encourages, and rewards innovative teaching and learning?
  • Do inexpensive, light-weight netbook devices have a place in our learning community?
  • What role does software have in supporting issues of equity and access?
  • This group is clearly a case of "Working in the Echo Chamber." How do we break out of the echo chamber and incorporate other voices from our community?
  • How do we assess in an environment where the learning becomes highly personalized, customized, and student directed?
  • What is the role of our students in helping guide our decision making toward an environment where they are required to own and use a digital learning tool of some type?
  • What type of collaboration system best fits with the long range vision of the school? Will Firstclass meet our needs going forward? Will Google's Collaboration suite meet our needs?
  • What is the role of the Futures Group??
  • The Futures Group collaborated on a survey that was recently sent out to all Castilleja Faculty. The intent of the survey was to determine the kinds of learning activities that our faculty was interested in engaging in with students and to gain ideas for a future digital learning initiative. Judging by the results of the survey, it is clear that many of our teachers welcome the opportunity to teach and learn in a technology rich environment and that some teachers would be comfortable in an environment where students self-selected their own personal laptops. If you haven't yet complete this survey and would like to do so, please click here to contribute your thoughts.
  • At each meeting we passed along a traveling award that recognized a teacher amongst the group for his/her use of innovative teaching and learning methods. We found this to be an interesting way to stimulate discussion centering around creative and powerful instructional practices. This is something that we might want to consider applying to other learning communities within Castilleja.
  • Our group used a host of new collaborative work flow techniques. On-the-fly minutes and notes where everyone could contribute, recorded meetings, and moodle discussion forums.
  • We had a wide range of thoughts and opinions on a move to a new collaboration and communication suite.
Click here to view a visual representation of the preceding text from the Futures Group.

While we explored many, many questions and issues centering around teaching and learning in a context where information is abundant, we never really came to a consensus on a laptop learning model that would work best for us here at Castilleja. Please watch the video below and leave your thoughts in the form of a comment. Which model would work best? A model where everyone is required to bring the same type of laptop, or a model that is more of a hybrid approach where students and families self select the laptop device that they'll bring to school each day.

The Intersection of Leadership, Information Fluencey, Technology, Global Education and Social Justice

Through my own work this semester (lots of listening, synthesizing of information, research, reflection) and the work of the "action" team, here's a working draft of the core beliefs at the intersection of the leadership, research skills, technology, global education and social justice:

Core beliefs

We believe a 21st century education provides students with the skills, tools, knowledge, and opportunities for real world engagement in tackling our planet's issues. Creating this educational experience requires a learning community that integrates students, faculty, staff, parents, & members of the community both local and global; a program that integrates a curriculum on global education, collaborative learning, leadership, and social justice with a pedagogical approach that includes diverse methods in utilizing human powered networks; a learning ecosystem that appreciates that learning and teaching happens in both formal and informal contexts and which values risk-taking as a necessary step in an ongoing reflective learning process.

To develop of program of this nature, we need:

  • To respect and encourage each other's ability, creativity, and risk taking in our learning community.
  • To actively include members of our universal learning community in our work.
  • To provide students with inter-disciplinary, authentic, student-centered opportunities for real work focused on opportunities for promoting social justice and collaboration both locally and abroad.
  • To open ways for students to be innovators, creators of knowledge, savvy consumers of information and producers of meaningful artifacts.
  • To understand that we are all teachers and learners.
  • To be intentional about the time we have available.
  • To allow students to lead and build a positive impact over the course of their lives beyond college. To allow students to build significant lives.

What thoughts are running through your mind? How do these core beliefs compare with your own? What are your worst fears and best hopes as we move forward in this work?

-Posted by Heidi Chang

Faculty Advisory Council 2009 Sharing

Wordle FAC

Click here for a higher resolution photo of the tag cloud image.

The purpose of the Faculty Advisory Council is to provide insight and counsel to the Dean of Faculty. In previous years, the Council helped the Dean of Faculty write several new policies. This year, the group functioned as a Learning Community -- a group of educators who came together to study some essential topics and questions. Drawing upon what they learned during the meetings, the FAC advised the Dean of Faculty, and posed a new set of questions that represent the next body of knowledge we will need to create.

Topics studied this year
  • FAD timeline and process
  • Eportfolio options for FAD
  • Moodle
  • Challenges of safeguarding the year of the classroom
  • WASC Action Plan
  • Are We Ready? Professional Development Day
  • Vision for Library 2.0
  • Defining terms and concepts in the Strategic Plan
  • Sustaining excellence while managing change
  • Prioritizing values
  • Summer Reading
  • How can we can continue to strive for our own personal and authentic learning and authentic assessment in our FADs?
  • Can Moodle serve as the "portal" into our online academic community/network/course management?
  • How can we leverage the new schedule to make the classroom improvements that will enhance learning and engagement?
  • What are the top priorities in our WASC Action Plan?
  • What aspects of the Are We Ready? day should we incorporate into Opening Days?
  • What do we need to do to facilitate Jole's entry in our community, and how can we collaborate with her to insure success of library 2.0 vision?
  • How do we define:
21st Century Education
  • How do we implement strategic initiatives while sustaining core values at the highest level?
  • How can we foster the expansion of Learning Communities -- groups of educators who come together to study and learn, in the hopes of building greater knowledge and understanding, rather than the "herding of cats." (too rough???)
  • How will Carol Dweck's Mindset contribute to our ongoing dialog about how best to set girls up for "Success" in their learning?

Casti PLC Contributors Needed!!

Interested in sharing posts and authoring in this "Professional Learning Community" blog space? Perhaps you have some thoughts to share this summer about Carol Dweck's book or perhaps you'd like to share some reflections on a summer professional development opportunity. If you would like to contribute, you have a couple of options.

Option #1: Send Matt your gmail address and he will add you as a "Team Member" of this space. Please note, your new Castilleja Google Mail address will not work for this. You'll need a gmail address if you'd like to contribute as a "Team Member."

Option #2: Draft your post in an email and send it directly to . Please indicate the title for your post by placing it in the body of the email.

In order to organize content, we'll use the following labeling scheme to get us started. Feel free to add other labels to your posts as well. Labels are located at the bottom of the blog post editor window where it says, "Labels for this post." For short phrases with multiple words, simply lump them together so there are no spaces (eg-for a post related to "digital learning," type digiallearning as the label).

Tagging Scheme:
Posts on Carol Dweck's Mindset:
Posts on Teaching & Learning in an environment where all students bring a digital device:
digitallearning (notice that there are no spaces between the two words)
Posts on all things related to STEM:
Reflections on conferences and professional development experiences:
professionaldevelopment (again, no spaces b/t the two words)
Posts related to topics of global education and community service:
Posts related to topics of interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary learning:

Thanks for contributing to the Castilleja Professional Learning Community blog. We hope this grows into a useful space for members of the Castilleja learning community to share, reflect, and construct knowledge collaboratively.