September 13th, 2012
A few months ago we began asking teachers from all over the country to tell us a bit about the math textbook they use in their classrooms. While we consider this to be an open and ongoing TeacherView Survey, we thought it was worth sharing the preliminary results from the hundreds of teachers that responded. The infographic below paints a pretty clear picture about the urgency of this topic as well as what teachers are saying about their textbooks. Read more…
September 11th, 2012
We’re excited to announce 5 new TeacherView Surveys on Adaptive Math Programs, Classroom Apps, Online Test Prep, Student Response Systems, and Interactive Whiteboards. Our inaugural TeacherView Survey on Math Textbooks revealed that the most widely used math text in the country is the lowest rated by teachers. We can’t wait to find out what teachers think about these other product categories!
At ClassroomWindow we believe that by tapping into the views of the front-line experts in schools — teachers — we can fundamentally change the way classroom products and services are evaluated, purchased, and developed. Please join us by sharing your voice about what’s working — or not — in your classroom.
September 4th, 2012
Today we learned that Alburqueque Public Schools has signed a 7 year contract with Discovery Education for $11.3 million to switch from paper textbooks to digital textbooks. First of all, congratulations to Discovery! But when we hear about these kinds of transactions at ClassroomWindow we immediately ask: WHY was the decision made? What data was used to justify the switch? Were teachers asked what’s working and what’s not with the current set of resources they have in the classroom? How was the product from Discovery evaluated? Did the decision-makers have access to other schools or districts that have used the product and what did they learn from that research?
Here’s a fascinating and ironic piece from the eSchool News article:
Discovery is nothing new to the students at Zuni Elementary, which piloted the program last year. On a recent weekday, teacher Dan Gutierrez showed his fourth- and fifth-graders a video explaining different advertising techniques.
Some of these included “bandwagon,” “snob appeal,” and “urgency.” A bandwagon ad tells consumers everyone is using a product, and they’ll be left out if they don’t. Snob appeal plays on a consumer’s desire to be part of an elite group, and urgency is based on limited-time offers and sales that end tomorrow.
The irony of this lesson is that these very techniques are used to market materials to schools and districts. In fact, one of the students in Mr. Gutierrez’s class astutely “cast a questioning eye on the video, suggesting that Discovery might be providing information on advertising techniques just so students and teachers would trust Discovery and schools would continue to buy its products.”
We don’t question Discovery’s sales techniques as every business must do what it can to meet its financial goals and return value to investors. We also don’t know enough about Discovery’s digital textbook product to question its quality. However, we do question the rigor of the evaluation process that districts employ to make major purchase decisions of this kind. Districts must find ways to tap into what’s working in classrooms across the country so that they’re asking the tough questions and ultimately making the best decisions for their students. The good news is helping districts to do this better is our mission at ClassroomWindow.
In the case of Albuquerque, we sincerely hope this product makes a positive impact on students and teachers.
The preliminary results of our TeacherView Survey on Flipped Learning are in based on responses from close to 500 teachers nationwide. These results should make any school or district administrator look seriously into how to begin flipping instruction broadly. Read more…
June 18th, 2012
Flip (verb): to toss or put in motion with a sudden impulse, as with a snap of a finger and thumb, especially so as to cause to turn over in the air: to flip a coin.
Take a trip back to the 1890s and peer inside an American classroom and what do you see? You see a group of students sitting in rows, facing a teacher who’s standing at the front of the class, probably writing on a chalkboard. The students are supposed to be listening to every word, writing notes, and learning. Some of the students are paying attention, other aren’t. At the end of class the teacher assigns homework for the students to practice the skills she’s just introduced to them. Read more…