Top Five Radical Reads of 2015

One of my favorite things about January are the summaries that bloggers share with their networks detailing the posts that drew the most attention in digital spaces.  By pulling the best pieces to the forefront, they make it easy for me to quickly find important thoughts that I missed in my feed reader during the course of the year.

Since 2011, I’ve done the same here on the Radical, spotlighting the five posts that had the highest number of page views during the previous calendar year.  For 2015, those posts were:

Technology is a Tool, NOT a Learning Outcome – Sharing a simple hand-drawn image that expresses my core belief that technology CAN’T be the starting point for our conversations about changing schools, this post and its companion image on Flickr have been viewed over 50,000 times in the last few years.  Something about this bit resonates with all y’all — and that’s cool.

Wasting Money on Whiteboards – Originally written in 2010, I was pleasantly surprised to see this bit grab attention again this year.  It suggests that Interactive Whiteboards are most often a complete and total waste of money.  Before you get your dander up, check out my argument.  Who knows: Maybe I’ll change your mind!

Blaming and Shaming Teachers for Low Level #edtech Practices – I’ve got to admit that it drives me nuts when people are using technology to facilitate low level practices.  What I’ve come to realize, though, is that the practices people embrace are nothing more than a response to the expectations that we are held accountable for in schools.  This bit suggests that if we want more meaningful work to happen in our schools, we have to hold policymakers accountable for setting higher expectations for our kids.

Note to Principals:  STOP Spending Money on Technology – There is NOTHING more frustrating to me as a classroom teacher than watching school leaders buy technology for technology’s sake.  We rush into spending decisions without carefully thinking through how new purchases are going to support the kinds of practices that we say that we believe in.  This bit argues that every blown decision damages our credibility in the eyes of our communities.

If Grades Don’t Advance Learning, Why Do We Give Them – Lemme ask you a simple question:  What do your students do with their graded papers?  If your kids are anything like mine, they glance at the grade you’ve given them, ignore the feedback you’ve written on their papers, and drop the things in the trash can on the way out the door.  So why the heck are we spending hours of our time giving students grades?

In the end, 2015 has been nothing short of a wild ride — filled with new opportunities, new instructional experiments and new lessons learned, both personally and professionally.

Through it all, Radical Nation has been there — reading and reflecting and challenging and questioning.  For that, I continue to be incredibly grateful.  Here’s to hoping that you’ll stick with me into 2016.  I’d miss you if you were gone.

#gratzi

 

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