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Has the IBO always gone overboard with criteria?

At the Nanjing International School, we use both the IBO curriculum and we are trying to adopt NoTosh’s ideas about Design Thinking.

I might argue that since we are trying to follow both the IB Design Curriculum AND Design Thinking we ask students to choose from at least one strand in each criterion.  In my teaching career with MYP, I have noticed most times every item from the IBO’s level 7-8 criteria does not make sense for students to complete.  They are not realistic and rather than student being informed by the process, they are bored out of their mind.

A case example:
If students would like to make a website, they might only choose:

Criterion A: Inquiring and analysing
The student:
i. explains and justifies the need for a solution to a problem for a client/ target audience
ii. constructs a detailed research plan, which identifies and prioritizes the primary and secondary research needed to develop a solution to the problem independently
iii. analyses a range of existing products that inspire a solution to the problem in detail 
iv. develops a detailed design brief, which summarizes the analysis of relevant research.

Criterion B: Developing ideas
The student:
i. develops detailed design specifications, which explain the success criteria for the design of a solution based on the analysis of the research (in this case, a website layout)
ii. develops a range of feasible design ideas, using an appropriate medium(s) and detailed annotation, which can be correctly interpreted by others
iii. presents the chosen design and justifies fully and critically its selection with detailed reference to the design specification
iv. develops accurate and detailed planning drawings/diagrams and outlines requirements for the creation of the chosen solution.

Criterion C: Creating the solution
The student:
i. constructs a detailed and logical plan, which describes the efficient use of time and resources, sufficient for peers to be able to follow to create the solution
ii. demonstrates excellent technical skills when making the solution. 
iii. follows the plan to create the solution, which functions as intended and is presented appropriately
iv. fully justifies changes made to the chosen design and plan when making the solution.

Criterion D: Evaluating
The student:
i. designs detailed and relevant testing methods, which generate data, to measure the success of the solution
ii. critically evaluates the success of the solution against the design specification based on authentic product testing
iii. explains how the solution could be improved 
iv. explains the impact of the product on the client/target audience. (IBO, 2014)

Following this idea, teachers would still have something to mark for every criterion, but it would be more succinct and we could enable the FUN back into the learning.  I would emphasize that we would want the students to choose and (verbally) justify why they have chosen those criteria.  Along the lines of Design Thinking, we want the kids to: “be immersed, synthesize, ideate, prototype, and then display” (NoTosh, 2015).

I think it is important that we follow the rules, but as educators we need to realize when the rules should be broken if we are ensuring that our students are not enjoying the subject matter.

Thoughts?

 

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Do teachers have right to their intellectual property?

I had a discussion the other day with a teacher about the idea of a teacher’s intellectual property.  In most teacher’s contracts, in almost every school, they state that anything that is made or created by a teacher during the time of employment becomes the property of said school, school board, or business.

Atlas Rubicon is a system many schools are adopting to consolidate these properties.  It seems like a fantastic idea:  Teachers put their curriculum, lessons, notes, Powerpoints, and any other digital materials into the system for others to use.  Not only do the teachers at the school have access to the lessons of others, but other schools who have signed up through Rubicon also have access to everyone else’s property.  Über-cool!

The drawbacks, however, were also part of this discussion.  One, is the fact that schools could use this system to weed out expensive (older) teachers.  They might ask these teachers to allocate their resources onto these servers and then ‘let them go’ in the future, in order to hire younger, cheaper teachers to replace them.  How is this affecting students?  Are they getting the best education they can?

I guess my argument against that is that schools and administrators would hopefully not base their hiring and firing practices on salary amounts, but on effectiveness of teachers regardless of their age.  But sometimes there is a bottom line.  My colleague countered this mentioning that international schools most often do not hire people over 60 years of age. Yikes.

Another con to Rubicon is the fact that they are the holder of all the digital knowledge, AND they are charging education systems a fee to subscribe.  This means that they have a monopoly on the information that we, as educators, hold dear and true to ourselves.  This means Rubicon could start to charge outlandish prices for something that we need and also created.  Hmmm…What are the safeguards that Rubicon won’t be unethical in pricing?

I really like the idea of being able to tap into every other teachers ideas, but I don’t like the chance of losing my own right to this property.  It is almost as if I am being assimilated into the Borg.  At what point does something that I create become completely my own?  Teachers usually work from contract to contract.  Does that mean that nothing they make until they retire actually belongs to them?  As a teacher I need to consider my future carefully.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Education

 

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Adding a poll to your blog

WordPress.com has a Poll creator.  I would not say that it is very intuitive considering it is built into the interface.  The downside is that the poll itself is not embedded in WordPress, nor are the results.  If I figure out a way to do that I will be updating this post to show you.

To create your poll that will jump you to another website, In the edit pane,

  1. Select Polls – Add New
  2. Create the Question for you Poll
  3. Create the possible Answers
  4. Create a Post
  5. Open your Poll
  6. Insert your poll (Like the one Below) using the Share/Embed button
  7. Copy and Paste the Javascript
  8. Publish

How did you find the site?

(polls)

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Technology

 

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iPad3, 4 and beyond predictions (requests)

I love my iPad2.  That said, I have a few ideas for the developers.  So listen up.

Here we go:

  • Thinner and Lighter – most obviously
  • Screen completely to the edges – I expect
  • Unlimited battery life (I can see this not being an issue one day.  What is going on with wireless energy transfer anyway? Read more here and here) or built-in extendable plug
  • Unlimited hard-drive space (I bet one day in the near future we will laugh at the days ‘when people used to run out of space on their drives’.  The notion of Cloud Computing is taking us leaps and bounds, but it is still in its infancy)
  • Super-flipping fast because of terabytes and more of RAM and super wicked processors
  • Two flashes built-in on the front and the back
  • Magnetic electric cord – Macbooks have them.  Why don’t the iPods, iPads, and iPhones?
  • Ability to make phone calls with it – Hey! We thought phones were just getting smaller, but since maybe you only want to carry around the one device for that moment, why not?
  • Biometric or fingerprint scans to turn the devices on or login – Other computers are doing this, why isn’t Apple?
  • Water Proof
  • USB slots.  We all want them.  Give em to us?  Or is there a screaming new attachment slot that is better?  Actually, why not magnetic USB?  We can do it with the power cord.  Let’s do it with the USB or whatever we want to call the Magnetic Universal Connecting Cord (MUCC – Trademark Thomas Adam Johnson 2011 – hehe)
  • Auto-focus on the cameras and possibly even built-in OCR
  • The incorporation of Adobe with Apple – Like WTF? (Why the Face? am I not allowed to view Flash content on my iPad without serious tweaks?  let’s get out schnizzle together and make it work for the peeps)

I should work for Apple, but then the new device would be called the iTom.  Yeah!

Some other ideas I read about were a stylus pen attachment and a holographic, interactive imagery (think Star Wars).

 
23 Comments

Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Technology

 

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Weebly vs Joomla vs WordPress

I have been working on a few different versions of the same sites and have been comparing my needs with what is offered with each of these site infrastructures.

I started using Weebly.com.

I enjoyed the back-end interface; a little clunky, but the built in blog was easy to add info to AND it had the Facebook “Like” button and Twitter “Tweet” button built in automatically.  The reason I moved away from Weebly was because there was no built in Search.  I tried adding Google Search to the site, but to no avail.  I am still not sure why.  Plus, I didn’t like the idea of showing a “Google” search as advertising that I added this item in.

Next, I moved over to Orgfree.com.  This hosting company allows free space and excellent integration of SQL databases to support for Joomla, WordPress, phpBB, simple machines forum, Drupal, and Moodle.  Talk about excellent…and EASY.¹

I started with a Joomla.org installation.

The intention was to strip out all the unnecessary pages, categories, menus, sections and then add a plug-in or module for blogging, as this was my primary concern.  The easy blog plug-ins were not easy to install.  The more simple sounding ones all seemed to cost money.  I was not impressed.  Joomla has offered an excellent infrastructure for so many other modules.  I decided to try to WordPress.org.

WordPress was like an angel sent from heaven.  For all my needs it was easy to install, very intuitive to use, had a great blog, minus the “like” and “tweet” buttons, which I will look for later.  So far, I am enjoying the interface and may show my students how easy it is to create an online blog for themselves soon enough.

¹Sidenote: I have recently had access problems to the back-end of my WordPress installation with Orgfree.  I have emailed them multiple times to try to gain access to my account, but have not heard anything.  I have switched to WordPress.com.  I still think Orgfree is great to try out different website management interfaces.  They just have not given me any support.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 15, 2011 in Design, Technology

 

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Trials and tribulations of job searching

A while ago, I started a job search using Search Associates.  I was trawling through online advertisements for employment.  In doing so I came to realize that what may be considered great for the receivers of data entry in the form of forms is awful for people having to fill in these forms.  Quite often the receiver is asking you to fill everything in that you already have in another format.  Only now you are creating duplicate entries and probably doing this through a time-consuming manner.  (That of separate fields)

I understand why it is done, which is because different schools want specific information.  This ensures the case.  However, I am using this blog as a vent for relief and vow not to make too many of these forms if I think there can be a better data collection method.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Education

 

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Awesome Wikipedia assignment for students

Are you a teacher?

Do you want to teach your students “first hand” about plagiarism?

If so, try this:

Have your students try to create a Wikipedia entry.  Tell them they need to create a page from the ground up.  It sounds easy enough to them at first, but then the turmoil[fun] begins.  Following your instructions about creating new content, rather than copy and pasting information from an online source, many students will likely do exactly what you asked them not to do.

However, you don’t have to be the monster.  The fine folks down at Wikipedia start to rip apart the new entry.  They will look for bias, for plagiarism, for new knowledge, along with perusing to edit the spelling and grammar.

As a teacher you will probably hear a lot of groans in the class with comments like,

“Wikipedia deleted my entry!”
“Wikipedia says I have a couple days to fix my entry or it will be deleted!”
“I hate Wikipedia!”

After some time and a lot of persistence, the students will start to follow the rules.  At completion a teacher will also probably hear a lot of,

“Yes!”
“It worked!”
“I finally got my entry to stay on Wikipedia!”

Then you need to pull out the next stop and ask them to create an image to add to a Wikipedia entry.

GROANS ALL AROUND.  hehe

 
 

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