Sliced bread shows how creativity can be situated
May 30th, 2010 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

from blog.beliefnet.com

A recent .news story (which, honestly, I heard from a secondary source and haven’t yet found the primary, yet . .. ) talks about the budget crisis in New York State.  Recently a Corrections Officer came up with a potential way to save a large amount of money.

Replace prisoners’ hot dog and hamburger rolls with sliced bread. (I don’t know if it’s white bread or whole wheat!:)  In any event, this apparent switch will save the state of New York over $3,000,000 per year!  Unbelievable.

I am looking forward to heading to the supermarket to verify the cost-savings and how many hot dogs and hamburgers we are talking about . . .

from plimoth.org

However, this gets me to thinking about teaching, learning, and creativity.  We certainly have a problem finding/problem solving situation here.  But I think what I see that is important is that it is situated.  If the person wasn’t working in the prison environment, this would have probably been a non-existent thought.  It was necessary and critical that this individual had practical, real experience with the environment so he developed an expertise to recognize that there was a potential money-saving option.

I think there is a lot here that I am not yet seeing, but wanted to be sure to document this idea for further thought and analysis.

Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research
May 24th, 2010 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

The trustworthiness of a qualitative study can be increased by maintaining high credibility and objectivity. A research definition of trustworthiness might be: “Demonstration that the evidence for the results reported is sound and when the argument made based on the results is strong.” In order to maintain high trustworthiness in a qualitative study, Krefting (1991) suggested four criteria to ensure valid interpretation of data: truth value, applicability, consistency, and neutrality. In the qualitative approach, truth value is measured by credibility: having an adequate engagement in the research setting so recurrent patterns in data can be properly identified and verified. Applicability is established with transferability: allowing readers to be able to apply the findings of the study to their own situations. Since a qualitative researcher’s perspective is naturally biased due to his or her close association with the data, sources, and methods, various audit strategies can be used to confirm findings (Bowen, 2009; Miller, 1997). Therefore, trustworthiness of (a) interpretations, and (b) findings are dependent on being able to demonstrate how they were reached (Mauthner & Doucet, 2003).

I saw the following comic strip and thought that it was worthy to share from the qualitative paradigm philosophy. Confirmability (confirming the thoughts/biases/results) is critical in qualitative research. Let it go and the findings are suspect at best.


Maggie’s Author’s Tea
May 21st, 2010 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

Maggie reads to the class

Today I had the opportunity to visit my daughter’s school for her Kindergarten Author’s Tea.  I LOVE when teachers give their students the opportunity to present their work in an authentic setting.  It doesn’t matter what grade, K-12 – giving students the opportunity to share their work with the community increases the value and quality for the child.  I’ve included a few pictures and embedded a video of her reading the story.  Be sure to leave a comment for Maggie below!

Maggie shows us her book

Maggie is joined by her sister Anna

Impatient versus patient problem solving
May 20th, 2010 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I recently viewed an interesting TED video by math teacher Dan Meyer.  He had a very interesting  perspective on problem solving.  I am going to summarize my learning in the form of questions:

Are the problems we give students to solve worth solving?  If we present problems in a way where everything is there, we create impatient problem solving.  If all of the information is provided in advance and there is no filtering necessary, are we really providing a compelling questions?  Or rather, are we just “smoothing it out” to make it easy for students?  When we really problem solve don’t we usually have insufficient information or an abundance of information that needs to be sifted and sorted?  Don’t we have to go to multiple, reliable sources to gather the necessary data?   Do we scaffold too much for students, instead of teaching them the skills of developing their own collaborative scaffolding skills?

Watch the video.  It will certainly give you something to think about . . . .

Howard Gardner discusses digital media at the AERA
May 1st, 2010 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I am currently attending the American Educational Research Association in Denver, Colorado to present some of my research on reflexivity as well as to learn more about current and emerging trends in science and environmental education.

Perusing the program, I noticed a session on digital media, and to my surprise, saw that Howard Gardner of Harvard University, and the famed multiple intelligences construct was presenting.  Below are some of the ideas presented as well as some of my impressions from the session.  My impressions, interpretations and elaborations are noted in parethesis.

Gardner discussed the ethical implications of youth involvement with social media.  He felt there were five issues that were involved for youth (followed by my interpretation and elaboration on some of his ideas):

  • Sense of identity (Who am I? What is my role? Am I a different person online?)
  • Privacy (Do I recognize that anything I post has the potential to be viewed by anyone?)
  • Ownership and authorship (Do I recognize that I am responsible for the things I say?)
  • Trustworthiness and credibility (Am I perceived as an honest, trustworthy person)
  • Participating in a community (Where am I a member?)

Participating in a community underlies and connects all of the other issues.  The way children think about their membership in a community is important.  Their behaviors have consequences, both positive and negative.  However, the way they think and the way they behave while using social media varies greatly.  Gardner suggested three ways of thinking:

  • Consequential thinking (what happens if I  . . . this is where most high school students are)
  • Moral thinking (I belong to a “community.” If I violate the rules of my community, I am likely to get into trouble)
  • Ethical thinking (What does it mean to be a member or a citizen? What are my rights and my responsibilities in this society?)

 So, as educators where do we go?  One of Gardner’s most significant points is that teens don’t have digital ethical role models.  How true!  They are often so much more inculcated into the digital society than adult leaders.  So what is the role for the role models?  Gardner summarized with the 5 “E”s.  My ideas below are “need-“ I know that’s a bit preachy, but these are really more food-for-thought ideas of where the teaching profession can evolve.

  • Excellence (Educators need to know what we are doing well in digital social environments.  We need to be members of the community of practice.)
  • Engaged (We need to participate in social media, but then develop effective ways of using social media to promote learning, both cognitive, and social-behavioral)
  • Ethical (We need to be responsible for our actions, but we also need to communicate how to be responsible.  i.e., students can have discourse, but they should “respectfully disagree,” not assault and bully)
  • Empathy (Compassion at any level is important, it’s a societal responsibility – teach it and live it!)
  • Equity (We need to be fair-mindedness)
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