The Learning Edge by Bain & Weston (Summary 6 of 8)

I am currently reading The Learning Edge: What Technology Can Do to Educate All Children by Alan Bain & Mark E. Weston as part of my personal growth plan. Click below for summaries of previous chapters

Chapter 1: Education & Technology

Chapter 2: The Classroom

Chapter 3: Schools

Chapter 4: Transforming Districts

Chapter 5: Associations and Edge Technology

Chapter 6: Policy Shifts

This chapter focuses on why 30 years of educational policy changes and implementations have not led to huge impacts on student achievement. One of the most informative chapters so far, this one quote really resounded with me:

“…practices that are distally connected to student learning and achievement (e.g., remuneration, computer access, school type) have been the foci of policy and surrogates for the proximal, high-power solutions (e.g., research-based teaching and learning approaches, feedback, and cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies ) (Hattie, 2009) that research shows do make a difference.” (page 133)

Besides many connections to my work with CITW strategies, this quote also reminds me of the many examples that I have witnessed where a new initiative focuses on a small, measurable change (such as numbers of laptops per student), but doesn’t also focus on the pedagogy needed to make use of those changes (such as what changes in lesson design have to happen to make the best use of the laptops).

Among other barriers to implementing effective policy, the authors also discuss how politics can be part of the problem. Liberating Learning by Moe & Chubb, which I read several years ago, also has interesting things to say about this issue.

As always, good food for thought.

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