Building Better Schools
Commentaries by Abraham S. Fischler Quotations to Guide Teachers, Principals, Parents and Students
A "pocket book" 3nd edition
With Hillary Howrey, Cindy Burfield and Steve McCrea

Edutech Foundation EdutechFoundation.net


Partners working on a project Mavericks charter school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Dedicated to the 30 percent who are not being served by the current system of education. Let’s make time a variable. -- ASF Copyright ©2012 Abraham S. Fischler All rights reserved.
ISBN 978-1-105-64936-3


Introduction Short Quotations and Commentaries Excerpts from the blog TheStudentIstheClass.com Longer Readings Links for Additional Reading Questions Comments from Readers Endnote About the Author and Editors What’s Next


Dr. Fischler talks with Richard Tripp, dean of student life at Oxbridge Academy, West Palm Beach, Fla. Oxbridge’s list of skills are based in part on Tony Wagner’s Global Skills list.


The purpose of this book is to introduce teachers, administrators, parents and students to ideas of education that might be missing in their lives. As Dan Pink has observed, most institutions have changed dramatically in appearance and in how they operate since the 1950s: banks, supermarkets, restaurants and hospitals all have different procedures and employ architecture to improve the customer's experience. The exception: public schools. Free Agent Nation (chapter 15). About this Pocket Book edition
A small red book changed attitudes in a large nation during the 1950s. A cultural revolution of a different sort is needed in education. It is hoped that this little book will bring Dr. Fischler's commentaries to a wider audience. Your comments are invited. Comments in italics are generally from other people. Dr. Fischler's commentaries in this book are indicated with a boldfaced Commentary: -- Editors


Integration of technology and traditional academic skills. (Boca Prep International, bocaprep.net).


The Problem
At the present time, teachers are working hard but we are still not fulfilling the demands of our students or our society. Why not? The schools are set up with an agrarian calendar and teachers are responsible for teaching to a class as a unit. Time is fixed and the only variable is performance – some pass and others fail. And, if the persons who fail do not make up and achieve the proficiency that the test is measuring, they drift further and further behind. The consequences are numerous and punishing. How does this instill a love of learning? This approach does not take into account a truism: “all students can learn, but they learn at different rates and have different preferential learning styles.” Instead of asking the student to fit the administrative structure (i.e., the class and arbitrary time periods for learning subjects and achieving competencies), we must provide each student with the time and


means to succeed. Rather than punish the student who learns more slowly than the arbitrarily chosen period, we must treat each student as the class. We must find a way of doing this. Other industries have made similar changes* and it is now time for education to do the same.
*FedEx can tell you where any package is at any time. Look at banking, which is now available 24 hours a day through ATMs. You can go to almost any ATM to withdraw or deposit funds. Both industries invested in information and delivery systems to meet the needs of their clients rather than asking their clients to accommodate to a fixed structure and time. Now the automobile industry is enabling customers to order on demand rather than requiring them to accept whatever is available on the dealer’s lot. In the business world, however, there is competition that requires companies to adapt – education has not had this catalyst.


My vision and strategy for educational change
I believe that we in education must make the investment to do the same for our clients, i.e., each student. What investment is needed? There are three modes of instruction: 1) selfpaced instruction, 2) project or problemsolving and 3) discussion. Self-paced or computer-assisted instruction (CAI) requires that each student have access to a computer and modem and access to the curriculum on a server on a 24/7 basis. Projects and problems should be relevant to students so they can relate to the given subject area. For English and Math, we should implement CAI in the first grade (and continue thereafter). The reason English and Math are chosen is that these are the two cultural imperative languages.


If you know these two languages and are motivated as a self-learner, you can teach yourself almost anything you want to learn. Let's remember that one of the goals of education is to create self-learners. For all other subjects, the teacher can pose a project or problem that is relevant to the student. Once the problem is defined, the class can be broken down into groups of four or five students in order to research the solution to the problem. If complex, each of the groups may study an aspect of the problem. With these subjects, the student uses the computer as a research tool (after having learned to read). Students are taught to use search engines such as Google or Yahoo as well as the intranet made available by teachers gathering information relevant for the students. Students working in a group learn cooperation, shared responsibility and communication (face-to-face as well as email). Having produced a written solution to the problem utilizing the computer (power


point) as a tool, they can then present to the class for discussion. They can also use email or a written report to other students as well as the teacher. Arbitrary learning within fixed time periods would be eliminated, i.e., no 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. grades. Instead, students would be grouped chronologically with materials appropriate to their learning level and style using the CAI approach for English and Math, and the project-problemdiscussion modes for other subjects. The projects given to the students match the level of English and Math competencies and are related to the students (their interests and their lives). For example, in 3rd grade, how would you study the amount of water that a plant needs to grow? I would utilize the students’ math knowledge (learned through CAI) for science learning. Likewise, rather than studying history through memorization and chronology, it can be studied through problems based on the immediate environment for younger children and more abstract concepts in later grades.


Dr. Fischler visited with Dennis Yuzenas, Richard Tripp at Oxbridge Academy. Part of the solution for transforming schools will come when students, teachers, administrators and parents take time to visit other schools and compare procedures.


What do we need to make this happen? In order for this to be implemented, what do we need? 1) We need the people on board: parents, teachers, community leaders, etc. 2) We need the hardware – computers with modems and Internet access for each student. 3) We need the management system (many existing solutions can be adapted). 4) We need the curriculum – Computer Assisted Instructions (CAI) for Math and English and creative, relevant problems and projects for other subjects. 5) We need teacher training. In order to begin to implement change, we need all of these things in place. I would like to see a group of elementary and middle


schools, and the high school into which they feed (a demonstration ‘zone’) of some size agree to adopt a vision where time is a variable and mastery what is expected from each student. A computer company can be found to donate (or the zone can buy) a laptop with a modem for each student. The zone needs to build an integrated management system in order to be responsive to what students do and how they learn. Part of the management system is administrative, part is the CAI component, and lastly, the management system needs to record and reflect the student’s learning in non-CAI instruction (‘student portfolios’). The CAI component must be self-correcting and use artificial intelligence so that the component improves as more students utilize the program for English and Math. Teacher training is critical and must be done during the summer prior to implementation.


The Purpose of This Little Book
We will need teachers to “buy into” this vision. Parents, administrators and students will have new roles, too. It will take a village to pull together the transformation described here. The process of building the new school system requires a new mindset: We must agree that the Student is the Class. From that central mantra we can build a new way of looking at education and the roles we play in making schools work. This little book (with videos, audio CDs, mp3 files and other media) can help erode our old notion that “the class is the unit.” Slowly the new philosophy can filter into our approach: sharing quotations is a way to build the new attitude.


Enrique Gonzalez leads the Nightingale Initiative in Los Angeles, a project coordinated with New Learning Institute to invite the community to participate more deeply in the middle school. The D3 Lab stands for “Dream it, design it, do it.” Contact: exg0368@LAusd.net or search for “new learning institute nightingale initiative.”


Short Quotations and Commentaries
Education is not the filling of a pail but rather the lighting of a fire.
W. Yeats

Commentary: The way that classrooms are organized, because of the pressures that teachers and students are under since No Child Left Behind, more and more time is now being spent helping students learn at a comprehensive level. Little time is left for the skills of analysis, synthesis and selfjudgment. We put information in but we don't give them time to massage the information and go through Piaget's process of assimilation and accommodation at the concept level.


Q: How can teachers instill this “fire” quote in a school that focuses on computerbased instruction? Commentary: The computer is a tool to be used in many different ways. It is a learning tool, it is a research tool, and it is a communication tool. So it depends on the environment and how it's orchestrated. Bloom's taxonomy talks about levels of learning. Comprehension is the lower level. But the student also needs time to utilize information for analysis and synthesis. So the computer could be used for those two purposes. In the CAI approach you can reorganize students to solve problems through projects. Small groups can improve their communication skills, working in cooperative teams, sharing research responsibilities, and giving presentations to the entire class. We have to provide an environment so that students can use what they have learned through technology.


Rarely should you see a teacher standing in front of a group of students lecturing. That would make the assumption that all 30 youngsters are ready to receive what you are presenting and to process the information.

I never let schooling get in the way of my education.
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Commentary: What is the goal? To keep teachers employed? To hand students a diploma? To transfer skills to a workforce? I believe that the goal is to produce a motivated person with the tools and desire to keep learning. We need to have the humility to see that we teachers and we principals don't have all of the tools. Students need to take responsibility for at least part of their learning. Can we shape the classroom and the curriculum to the shape and dimension of the student?


I hope that in the century ahead students will be judged not by their performance on a single test but by the quality of their lives. I hope that students will be encouraged to be creative, not conforming, and learn to cooperate rather than compete.
Ernest Boyer, president of Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1993.

Commentary: My test is asking the following question: Have we produced a motivated person with the tools and desire to keep learning?


I have been a psychologist for 21 years, and I have never had to do in the profession what I needed to do to get an A in many of my courses in college. In particular, I've never had to memorize a book or lecture. If I can't remember something, I just look it up. However, schools set things up to reward with As the students who are good memorizers, not just at the college level but at many other levels as well.
Robert Sternberg, psychologist

Commentary: It is clear that our schools should prepare students for “real world” conditions, where many workers have access to information. Students and teachers should practice using smart phones and the Internet.


Students work on projects, building digital portfolios (Boca Prep International School)


Too often we teach people things like "There's a right way and a wrong way to do everything." What we should be teaching them is how to think flexibly, to be mindful of all the different possibilities of every situation and not close themselves off from information that could help them. Ellen Langer, professor of psychology
Commentary: I agree. Flexibility is the key.

Projects are a way for students to extend the curriculum into the local community. The older student (with the guitar) came from a local high school to work with these Nightingale middle school students in Los Angeles to prepare for a visit to an assisted living home to sing to the residents.


No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.
Turkish proverb (from The Big Picture by Dennis Littky)

Commentary: We have invested a lot of money and training in the big-box public high schools. Bill Gates has put a billion dollars or so into making high schools smaller and into technology for education. We need to stop, turn around, and get back to square one. Let's start with elementary schools. By adding a layer of computermediated instruction over the existing system and by engaging parents, students, teachers and principals in a vigorous reconnection with the goal of education, we can move toward making the student the class.


The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Alvin Toffler

Commentary: Information flows at a much faster rate than it did a year ago. Think of Facebook and Twitter. WE all must learn and relearn new things as they have implications for our work and understanding of the world we live in. The world is changing and those changes will effect us more quickly than they did before.


This classroom at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla., could use some inspiring quotations on the walls. Find some at GuideOnTheSide.com. The teacher is the inspiring Dennis Yuzenas, who has several quotes in the list and who manages a creative tips page at WhatDoYaKnow.com.


The teacher of the future is an “Edutainer”: giving an education that is entertaining.
Commentary: Should teachers be entertainers? I want to change this quote: Learning should be fun to the learner. Classrooms should be exciting. Students should be the performers. Teachers should be facilitators and motivators, asking students to think about challenging problems. Teachers should reward success, using language that make learners feel good about themselves. “You can do it.” As the saying goes: The teacher is a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage.


It seems to me that schools primarily teach kids how to take tests, a skill one hardly uses in real life (unless one is a contestant on a quiz show). Elementary school prepares kids for junior high; junior high prepares them for high school. So the goal (if we can call it that) of schools is to prepare kids for more school.
Tom Magliozzi, one of the Car Talk guys, writing in his book, In Our Humble Opinion: Car Talk's Click and Clack Rant and Rave (2000).

Commentary: For the learner, education is a continuum and it is not important where the student is housed. What is important at the end is have we produced a motivated person with the tools and desire to keep learning? In order to do that, the learner must achieve competency in two languages, English and math. Everything else he can learn if he is motivated to learn and to become a self learner. Professors make it easier by picking out what they think is necessary in the particular field of


knowledge. Thus you can achieve more knowledge in a shorter time if you work with advisors. They also provide guidance and help you achieve a number of life skills so you can function effectively with others and assume your share of the responsibility for achieving the objectives.

Children are working as if I did not exist.
Maria Montessori

Commentary: Self-motivated, interested in the problem that they are working on, helping one another sharing responsibilities. This will happen when students work together in small groups on projects. You need a certain level of comprehension which the CAI delivers. Piaget says that we redefine a concept every time we meet a discrepant event: An event for the learner that doesn't fit the concept that he already has. So the learner has to go through questions: Did that really exist? How do I modify the concept to accommodate the


new information? Students go through this when they learn that electrons might not be particles. Electrons act more like clouds in certain circumstances.

The principal good of education is to create people who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done.
Jean Piaget

Commentary: In order to do new things, they have a concept of what ought to be. But now they are confronted with a surprise, something that doesn't fit. That's the discrepant event. Then the individual has to go through assimilation, asking, “Does that really happen? Is that real? What is true? What am I seeing or what have I been told ? What did I expect to happen?”...and then it didn't happen. Then I have to go through the


process of accommodation. I have to modify my concept to take into account something that occurred that I didn't expect. Then I'm at equilibrium, I'm happy again, until you introduce the next discrepant event. When you talk to kids, you have to know approximately what they have, so you know what you can do to get them more sophisticated and more knowledgeable. That's what the individual learner has to go through themselves. The teacher introduces the discrepant event and the learners go through the assimilation and accommodation. If the student doesn't have the basic comprehension, you will miss the mark – the information that you think is a discrepant event will go over his head. For example, you can tell a six-year-old that the earth is turning and that creates day and night at 25,000 miles in a day. It's rotating on an axis. Why don't you feel it? If you were in an automobile and you put your hand out of the window, you would feel it. With a six-year-old, you're going too fast.


You better start with “day is when the sun is out” and “Night is when the sun is hidden.” You can ask, “Why is the night dark? What gives light to the moon?” So you can give a six-year-old a bit of this, but he doesn't really understand much. After introducing a discrepant event, we need to give the student time to process the information. We tend to start with what the child can observe. Science for grades 1to-3, the focus is over “what can you see?” To try to explain that the earth is turning is not going to lead to understanding in younger students. Wait until they begin to ask you about rotating. And they weren't all going to be able to ask you at the same time.


Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
Lou Holtz

Commentary: Having a "can do" attitude and being motivated to succeed are powerful behaviors. This is one of those quotes that belong on a wall to remind students of the importance of self-confidence.

Nightingale Middle School in Los Angeles invited the community to work intimately with the school, an effort led by principal Enrique Gonzalez.


Some soft skills can be taught on field trips that offer “guided experiential instruction” (R.E. Clark, 2012 in American Educator). Photo: QBEAcademy.net, England.


Given the widening array of possibilities, there’s no reason that every child must master the sciences, algebra, geometry, biology, or any of the rest of the standard high school curriculum that has barely changed in half a century.
Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor (Clinton Administration)

Commentary: There is a core of basic knowledge that one expects from a person at a certain point in time. I don't expect people to be experts, but biology is a science. You ought to have some knowledge of the animal kingdom, relationships, the human body. There are certain understandings that you can expect from a person at a certain level. Science is not a cultural imperative. Our language and mathematics are cultural imperatives. I expect every child to have a certain level. Knowledge and ability and with a basic core of mathematics; able to handle fractions. But I don't expect everyone


to know everything about trigonometry. Robert Reich is right, as long as we don't say master. We need a core in all areas and you have to have the tools for selflearning: we can read English and we can do some math... we know when to doubt and we don't jump to conclusions. You can teach yourself most of science if you have English and math.

Nightingale Middle School turned traditional student lockers into “museum displays” for each student to show their passions. Some of the proposals for the displays are shown in this photo.


One-third of the jobs that will be around ten to fifteen years from now haven't been invented yet. We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet.
Margaret Mead

Commentary: What can we do if we don't know what we don't know? The education system of the future needs to be flexible, more so than our current system.


The work of the classroom teacher will change drastically. Instead of leading groups through standalone lessons, teachers will increasingly match individuals with learning solutions aligned with their interests and abilities. Content will be delivered asynchronously, allowing students to work independently and revisit lessons as needed. Face-toface experiences will be combined with digital interactions; geographic boundaries between teachers and students—and between learners—will become irrelevant.
Bill Ferriter teacherleaders. typepad.com/the_tempered_radical/

Commentary: He is on target. We have had individual teachers doing exciting things but remember we are now speaking about total schools with thousands of teachers.


Matt Blazek shows Dr. Fischler the table of contents of his CD of projects.


Dr. Fischler learns about a CD of projects and lesson plans produced by Matt Blazek, a teacher in Florida, for teachers to use in any course. For a sample set of lesson plans that can promote discussions and guide students to produce digital portfolios, write to mjblazek@hotmail.com.


Excerpts from The Student Is the Class.com blog
Beyond Memorization: Give 21st Century Students Time to Understand
We can all agree that it is important for students to graduate from high school. However, what happens when “graduating” from high school does not necessarily represent an understanding of the basic skills needed in college and the workplace? More than half of the students entering public colleges and universities in Florida need remedial classes in math, reading, and writing prior to starting their college classes. The problem is NOT the amount of money we are putting into our public schools; rather, the structure and curriculum of public education needs reform. Memorizing information for a test is not going to equip students with the skills needed for the 21st century.


Students need to learn to analyze, understand, and explain rather than memorize, recite, and regurgitate facts and information. A student cannot be expected to master division if he or she does not know what dividing numbers truly means. Subjects—particularly reading and math— need to be taught on a student’s individual timeframe. Learning should be measured against each student’s past markers of progress. We must enable students to learn at varying rates so they come to understand and analyze information in a way that is useful and accessible both to them personally and for the 21st century. We must change our expectations about time and make conceptual understanding (not rote repetition) our first priority.


Time Must Be A Variable For Student Success
Nowhere in my readings have I found encouragement and funds to reward systems that are trying to build an educational environment based on students’ mastery and making time a variable. As long as time is fixed, then student progress is what is variable within the fixed time frame. Thus, 30% of the student population is punished through failures. If we moved in core areas - mainly English and Math - to Computer Based Learning ("CBL" or Computer Assisted Instruction “CAI”), the student becomes the class and each student is given time to master the materials. Further, what is learned becomes a tool for future learning. In science and social studies, projects that are meaningful to students can be agreed and assigned. Small groups then may use technology for research purposes as well as to make powerpoint presentations to fellow students.


Going online doesn't mean giving up the skills we can develop with pencil, brush and pen.


This transformation cannot be done without the community, without curriculum design and without teachers who are trained to utilize the environment correctly. Student management also is important so that the teacher, the student and the parent see the progress of each student. This type of system provides accessibility to all partners, including the principal and state, as well as a vehicle to help determine the effectiveness of the learning environment in the classroom.


A new model being used in select NYC schools, called iSchools, seeks to integrate ‘innovative technology with project-based curriculum’ and early results indicate highly successful outcomes. In this model, groups of students utilize virtual resources on the internet to complete research projects and in doing so take pride in their work and ownership of final results. Each student has his/her own laptop and access to a variety of online resources, which can be monitored by teachers and parents using a learning management system. These are all steps toward creating an environment in which time can be varied to accommodate the learner. As the student becomes more inclined to utilize technology and groupbased project research, the skills gained will better prepare the student to enter postsecondary education and the 21st Century workforce. Source: eschool.com and eschoolnews.com/ 2009/05/15/ischools-lift-hopes-in-nyc/


Technology to Make Time a Variable
I propose the use of technology in a computer assisted mode (CAI) to track the progress of each student. When each has demonstrated mastery of what s/he has learned through CAI, we then can seek validation through State-implemented examinations. In this way, time is varied and competency relatively fixed; a standard that should be applied to public schools as well as charter schools, so that all children will be given similar opportunities to succeed.


Many of the tools and suggestions that teachers need are online. Gordon Dryden advocates placing “lesson plans that work” online. TheLearningWeb.net.


It is Time for Change in K-12
No longer can we afford to lose more than 30% of our high school students to the dropout pool. No longer can we tolerate the outdated agrarian industrial model. No longer can we tinker around the edges, substituting book A for book B or modifying a time dimension within a few courses. No longer can we afford to leave the structure and organization of K-12 education the same. This is the moment - this is the time for real change in the public schools of this country. We have the knowledge, the tools and the necessary technology to create a positive learning environment for the 21st century. We can focus on the student as the class and offer individualized instruction based on students' different learning styles. We can vary time so that those who need more time to master a concept have the opportunity to do so. The organization and structure of our current K-12 system must be changed to accommodate all learners.


Don't Blame The Computer!
Some schools are dropping the computer because they failed to get the results they wanted. This is a mistake. A computer is a tool which must be integrated into the fabric of the instructional process. By itself, it will not change nor improve results. The curriculum must be modified; the teacher must change his or her role from presenter to a catalyst for learning. Opportunity must be given to students to work on real world problems. The computer can be utilized in many ways, including: • as a learning tool • acquiring and organizing information • communicating within a group • helping to analyze data • creating powerpoint or other presentations to the class


Remember: Do not blame the tool. The learning system must be changed, and teachers must be trained in a new learning paradigm.

Dennis Yuzenas, a teacher in West Palm Beach, Fla., “flipped” his classroom: He gives short lectures on CD for students to watch for homework and then the next day the students work in groups in class to apply that information to projects. See also “Eric Mazur peer instruction” to see other ways to lecture less and ask students to become interactive learners.


Longer Readings
Techniques for Creative Teaching
I worked with a physics teacher who would tell students, “There will be times when you will turn in your lab books where you will write what you observe. Sometimes I will mark an exercise wrong and I expect you to come up and argue with me.” The students generally hated him because he appeared so arbitrary. I loved what he did. He forced the kids not to cheat. He made sure that one or two kids would get something marked wrong even though it was right. This bothered kids. And they would come to me to complain. I told them, “He's forcing you to think and if you don't argue with him, you will get the lower mark.”


'Disrupting Class' by Clayton M.
Christensen, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson, published by McGraw-Hill. Commentary: The authors explain why major changes are required in public education if we are to educate every child of every parent to finish high school with the knowledge and skills needed either to go into the world of work or continue their education in the 21st century. This book appreciates the uniqueness of each student (referencing the Multiple Intelligences theory introduced by Dr. Howard Gardner) and recognizes that we need to adapt instructional methods to match the learning styles of each student. Its 'disruptive innovation theory' explains why it is so difficult to move public education from its current focus on the 'class' to a new and needed focus on the 'student'. The authors' concept of a future classroom is one that incorporates technology and software to provide alternative methods and options for students to achieve the required objectives.


They also encourage an environment in which students work together on projects and share and conceptualize learning rather than memories bits of information. Whilst this book recognizes the need for flexibility within the organization and structure of the learning environment to accommodate individual variations, it does not spell out sufficiently the need to vary time because students learn at different rates.

Students in a charter school in Florida talk with students in Florianopolis, Brazil. This activity was part of a set of lesson plans designed to meet Dr. Fischler’s three-part rubric of CAI, projects and discussions.


Why Go To School?
Steven Wolk, Phi Delta Kappa May 2007, Volume 88, number 9 pdkintl.org/kappan/k_v88/k0705toc.htm

Commentary: The May 2007 issue of Phi Delta Kappan has a wonderful article written by Steven Wolk entitled “Why go to School?”. It is a critique of what we are teaching and how we are teaching. In the article, he states the following: “If the purpose of our schools is to prepare drones to keep the U.S. economy going, then the prevailing curricula and instructional methods are probably adequate. If, however, we want to help students become thoughtful, caring citizens who might be creative enough to figure out how to change the status quo rather than maintain it, we need to rethink schooling entirely.” Mr. Wolk outlines what he considers to be the essential content for a new curriculum. The essence of what the article states is similar to the essence of the early writings found in this blog.


Speak Up Survey: Is Technology Missing the Mark? by Dave Nagel. T.H.E.
Journal (March 2007)

Commentary: The nationwide survey polled approximately 270,000 students, teachers, and parents on "subjects ranging from technology, math, and science instruction to communications, collaboration, and self expression". The findings were very interesting. The article quotes Julie Evans, CEO of the non-profit group Project Tomorrow-NetDay as saying that "[m]ost importantly, this survey shows that technology presents a unique opportunity to engage students in their core-curricular subjects, such as math and science, by providing them the high tech tools that raise their levels of interest in this coursework." Students also expressed interest in the integration of real-world problem solving, talking to professionals, and using multimedia and interactive simulations.


We, as educators, must prepare the youth of this country to creatively address problems and challenges -- some that may have happened before and others undoubtedly that will be unprecedented. We have gone through many ages as a nation and world: agricultural, industrial, technological, information, and now we must enter the age of creativity. Creativity involves curiosity, imagination, innovation, and entrepreneurship along with reasoning, problem solving, and critical thinking. Listening, memorizing and regurgitating learned information is no longer sufficient. We need to do more in our schools through personalized education. And, in fact, it is time even for us to consider how to integrate the home environment into the fabric of the learning process.


"Jobs, Dell appraise technology, schools" www.eschoolnews.com/

Commentary: Both Steve Jobs and Michael Dell make references to changes and the encouragement of the use of technology as a tool for learning, research, and communication. However, neither speaks to the restructuring and reorganizing of a school system so that “each child becomes the class”. By using computer assisted instruction (CAI) for the core areas of English and math in a self-paced mode, students are able to receive the next appropriate objective. While working on projects in a cooperative learning environment (groups of 3 or 4 students), they utilize their core competencies to do research, solve problems, and make presentations using computer programs such as PowerPoint to involve the rest of their classmates who listen and ask questions.


By learning these skills, students develop the ability to acquire information via the computer, use it to analyze and synthesize information related to the problem, and share their findings with their student colleagues for the purpose of discussion. I am sure that you all would count these among the critical skills required to succeed in today's world.

Boca Prep International encourages visits as part of its mission as an International Baccalaureate school. For more information ibo.org and bocaprep.net.


About Computers in the classroom
[comments by Bill How, a blog responder]

Creativity is the key to making good use of technology in education. To our learners, computers are part of the everyday infrastructure of life - nothing new, or different, just a box that provides access to the tools they use to communicate, find information, collaborate, create, learn and achieve. The learners we see in our classrooms now, are growing up with the web, the ipod, digital TV, mobile phones, youtube, messenger, IP phones, blogs & wikis, and to them, these are no more exciting and new than the colour TV. We can't place new boxes in classrooms and expect our learners to leap up and suddenly achieve. As a minimum, there are two things that need to take place if we are to take full advantage of new technologies in learning: 1. We need to understand that our learners now have access to a billion libraries of information and a multitude of communication tools. They use these tools every day for there own purposes and on the whole (i know there are many exceptions) we are failing to guide


that use to ensure safe and productive learning. The world is available to them anywhere, anytime and they don't need a computer and a desk to do this. What they need, we aren't providing - they need guidance and support. We must now move away from Victorian era learning where remembering facts and figures was the key to success in an industrial age. Memorizing such information is now completely irrelevant, since information can be obtained anywhere in seconds. The knowledge required is one of how and where to look safely, how to filter, how to validate and triangulate and then finally how to use such information creatively, critically and accurately. That is not to say that memorizing facts does not still have a place. Just that the emphasis should now be on discovery, analysis, process, assimilation and creativity - in other words, real higher-order thinking skills. 2. The vast majority of teachers were brought up under that old Victorian system. To us the web, the mobile phone, the ipod are all relatively new (and for some of us slightly scary) inventions. How could we possibly relate to and teach learners for whom these tools are just an extension of their imagination? Simply


throwing boxes of tricks into our classrooms and proclaiming that we have invested millions in new technology will not help our learners. We need help in changing the culture of teaching. It is possible and there are projects out there trying to provide these tools. Check out: oc.intel-lehren.de/ and: www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-ICTClassroom-Using-Learning/dp/1855392070
If you want to get involved - e-mail me. Bill How bill.how@ssatrust.org.uk www.thestudentistheclass.com/2007/05/dont-blamecomputer.html

The importance of typing skills: often overlooked.


“Tough Choices or Tough Times”
(Commission Report) www.skillscommission.org/pdf/exec_sum/ToughChoi ces_EXECSUM.pdf

Commentary: A report by the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (National Center on Education and the Economy) entitled 'Tough Choices or Tough Times' has some wonderful recommendations that should be taken in serious consideration. Therein, Richard W. Riley, the former Secretary of Education states, “The question this report raises is whether our country has the kind of education system that is needed to maintain America’s standard of living for our children, our grandchildren, and future generations. I very much hope that it will spark the kind of tough, honest debate on that topic that it so richly deserves.” Another notable quote from the report is by Thomas W. Payzant, Former Superintendent of Boston Public Schools. He states, “Piecemeal reform of public education in


America is insufficient to deliver the promise that every child will receive an education that leads to a good job, productive life, and responsible citizenship. The New Commission Report is a coherent, comprehensive, systemic plan for how to enable public education in America to be the best in the world.” The report concludes that our current public K-12 education system cannot be fixed, and therefore it must be replaced. The generalization which emerges relates to what I have been advocating for a long time. Every high school graduate has to be competent in two languages (English and mathematics) and must be able to analyze, synthesize, use value judgment, and be able to communicate effectively using modern technology. Every student must graduate with a salable skill to be employed, should he or she choose not to go on to higher education. To achieve all of the above, we must reorganize and restructure public education to accommodate every learner.


It helps to have a sense of humor and space to store many teaching materials for hands-on learning.


“How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century” by Claudia Wallis,
time.com/time/magazine/ article/0,9171,1568480,00.html

Commentary: On December 16, 2006, we read the following headlines: “More Teens Drop Out” in the Miami Herald and “Dropout Rate in Broward Increases” in the Sun Sentinel. This did not surprise me, nor should it surprise you. The higher the standards, the more difficult it is for students to achieve their goals if the structure and organization of the learning environment is not changed. In my previous blog entries, my theme is consistent: “Children learn at different rates and have different preferential learning styles.” Time must be the variable and mastery the goal. If students do not fully understand algebra, they will have a difficult time learning trigonometry. If they have not mastered reading, they will have a difficult time comprehending high school science


textbooks or the New York Times. The consequences of not making this change leads to an increase in dropouts and eventually to an increase in the poverty-level class. TIME magazine recently ran an interesting article entitled ”How do we bring our schools out of the 20th Century?” by Claudia Wallis and Sonja Steptoe. It states “The world has changed, but the American classroom, for the most part, hasn’t…kids spend much of the day as their great grandparents once did: sitting in rows, listening to teachers lecture, scribbling notes by hand, reading from textbooks that are out of date by the time they are printed.” This article also introduces a new commission on the skills of the American workforce. The commission reports that standards of living are being jeopardized by the current system. The report lays out an integrated approach to change the system: · Revamping the high school-to-college transition.


· Reallocating funds to improve system performance. · Pre-K for all. · Redesigning how schools are funded. · Redesigning how schools are managed. · Educating the workforce to a high standard. · Creating personal competitiveness accounts. I can agree with these recommendations, but the absence of computer assisted instruction in the core (and the use of the computer as a research and communications tool), as well as a learner-centric approach with time and learning style as variables, are errors of omission. It is only through the use of technology as a learning tool that will enable us to vary time and allow each student to master the requisite objectives.


Sharing files will become easier, allowing students to store digital portfolios on a variety of locations. In 2030, will a CD look as antiquated as the 1.44 MB floppy drive did in 2005?


Each Student Needs Creativity, Time and the Basics
Commentary: On Monday, December 4, 2006, I read a wonderful article by Dorothy Rich in the Miami Herald. She states “there are no magic answers for the many teachers and students in our many classrooms.” She points out that there are individual students, each with different sets of genes, learning at different rates, and having different strengths. Because of the state’s emphasis on testing, teachers are under such pressure that there is little time for creativity, for allowing students to derive joy from learning. Learners need hope and optimism but unfortunately in our educational environment their natural imaginations are often stifled. In New York City, there is an area superintendent by the name of Kathleen M. Cashin, who is responsible for one of the


roughest areas in the New York City School System. In her schools she reinforces the opportunity for students to utilize their creativity through group learning. She encourages students to write stories and discuss their ideas. She also encourages the teachers to take the time to get to know each student. Through her efforts the scores in Region 5 have been steadily increasing. I call this blog “The student is the class.” I reiterate that we must allow time for students to learn the basic core (English and Math), allow them also to acquire the ability for self-learning through working in groups, and finally do written and verbal presentations where they can utilize their higher learning skills and interact with their peers. The teacher is like a conductor blending all three modes in a classroom setting, while the utilization of computers facilitates in the process.


Take a moment and see a school undergoing transformation...

Search on Youtube for “A Conversation with Enrique.”


Signs of educational change: How do we make these the norm?
Commentary: It has been gratifying to read about teachers, schools and school systems that recognize how important it is to listen and respond to students’ needs, to use technology to enhance learning and teaching, and to involve students in addressing real world problems through a multidisciplinary and cooperative approach. Here are a few shining examples -- let’s hope that these approaches become the norm. 1) eSchool News Online’s report on the National School Boards Association's 20th annual Technology + Learning. The description of Kyrene Elementary School District in Tempe, Arizona, which was named as one of three "Salute Districts" (“given to districts that effectively use technology to enhance teaching and learning”), said the following about the Kyrene Teaches with Technology Project


(KTTP): “One of the keys to the project's success is that district leaders started with the question of what students need for learning--and then designed an environment around these needs, instead of the other way around. Another key to its success is that teachers can draw upon the support of a "technology mentor" to help them integrate the laptops into instruction.” www.eschoolnews.com/news/showstoryts.cf m?Articleid=6720 2) CNN.com’s coverage of the “School of the Future World Summit”: “The conference, which drew 250 delegates from 48 countries, was held this week at Philadelphia's School of the Future, where all students have laptops, there are few books or pens, and teaching is done in multidisciplinary projects in which academic skills develop through work on real-world problems.” www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/11/14/lif e.education.reut/index.html See also the article by Neal Starkman in


T.H.E. Focus, which discusses one-to-one learning and a student-centered rather than teacher-centered orientation toward learning. thejournal.com/the/newsletters/thefocus/arch ives/?aid=19217 By contrast, coverage of a recent National Research Council study by 15 education specialists states: “U.S. Science Education lags, study finds: Curriculum, teachers faulted for teaching too simplistically.” Quoting such coverage: “Part of the problem is that state and national learning standards for students in elementary and middle schools require children to memorize oftendisconnected scientific facts, the report said.”


"U.S. Science Education Lags, Study Finds”

Curriculum, teachers faulted for teaching too simplistically

Commentary: We must teach to each student rather than to a class. We must teach more than reading, writing and arithmetic. We must encourage problem solving skills, creativity, fluid enquiry -- this can be done by involving students in real world problems. If you go back to the Education System Change Model in my second blog post, you will see that my definition of tutorial is where we encourage studentcenteredness, problem solving, cooperative learning, sharing of responsibility, and communication.


From New Learning Institute: Phase 1 report about the Initiative at Nightingale Middle School in Los Angeles http://media.newlearninginstitute.org/ downloads/NightingaleInitiative.pdf


Links for Additional Reading
Websites (schools)
BigPicture.org, the Dennis Littky / Eliot Washor organization CHADphila.org, Charter High of Architecture and Design, Philadelphia HighTechHigh.org, San Diego, Calif.** MavericksinEducation.com, chain of charter schools MetCenter.org, Providence, R.I.** NewCitySchool.org, St. Louis (publishers of a widely used workbook for introducing multiple intelligences in academics) Tracy.MHS.schoolfusion.us, Millennium High School, Tracy, California Motto: Aspire, achieve, advance UrbanAcademy.org, New York City** Motto: A small school with big ideas **These schools were profiled in High Schools on a Human Scale: How Small Schools can Transform American Education (2003) by Thomas Toch, introduction by Tom vander Ark, Beacon Press, ISBN 9780807032459


Websites (reformers, publishers)
ASCD.org, publishers of The Big Picture: Education Is Everybody’s Business (2004) by Dennis Littky and Samantha Grabelle, ISBN 978-0871209719 EdReform.com, Center for Education Reform EdReformer.com, Tom vander Ark’s blog edSpresso.com, “served with a twist” emaginos.com, Jack Taub’s site RevLearning.com, vander Ark’s investment group EssentialSchools.org, Coalition of Essential Schools, formed by the late Ted Sizer GatesFoundation.org, education reform GuideontheSide.com, teacher training New Learning Institute: D3 Lab stands for
“Dream it, design it, do it.”
newlearninginstitute.org/d3-lab-nightingale-middle-school Get the Nightingale Initiative report at: media.newlearninginstitute.org/downloads/Nightingale Initiative.pdf


PZ.harvard.edu, Project Zero, Harvard University, teacher training QBEAcademey.net, Will Sutherland, innovative curricula, life skills academy theLearningWeb.net, Gordon Dryden, New Zealand, author of The Learning Web with Jeannette Vos (subtitle: How to quit school at 14 and eventually write a book about learning). 2mminutes.com, Two Million Minutes, Robert A. Compton’s project WhatDoYaKNow.com, Dennis Yuzenas, master teacher and trainer, developer of workshops integrating digital portfolios Blazek's CD for Projects, Digital Portfolios and Discussions mjblazek@hotmail.com Video channels Youtube.com/channelname BPLearning by BigPicture.org HTHvideo High Tech High QBESchool QBEAcademy.net AguideOntheSide VisualandActive 2MillionMinutes


TEDtalksDirector Send your suggestions for additional websites and YouTube channels.

Bridge and dominos are collaborative games that build skills for the 21st Century. See ABCDominos.com.


Q: Fifty years from now, what will education look like?
Answer by ASF: The Student will be the Class. We will have had years of developing the technology and skills and the communication banks that exist. There will be new ways of communicating throughout the world. Science experiments could be done remotely if we feed information to a central point. We can be doing a great number of things because of the network and because of our ability to communicate. Thomas Friedman is not wrong. The world is flat. In economics it's already happening. The assembly plant is in one location and the component parts come from all over, fed into a central assembly line. So cars are manufactured using components made wherever people can get them made to meet the quality. Education is the same thing.


What could be done to these walls and ceiling to engage the attention of students? Nightingale Middle School (Los Angeles) converts student lockers into display cases by cutting windows in the doors. Students showcase examples of their work pulled from digital portfolios.


Q: Perhaps textbooks won't have answers.
Answer by ASF: In the textbooks I wrote for teachers, I never answered the question “What color did you get?” -- I never gave the answers to the teacher. If you put too much acid in contrast to the base, you are not wrong. Most books assume that you will do everything according to the directions, so they assume that you'll get a specific color. But if you are not so accurate, you'll get another color. You're not wrong – whatever color you got, that's the color you got. So, if I had described the color in the teacher's manual, the teacher would have told the students “You're wrong. It says that the color is intense pink and you have pale pink.” So I tried where I could not to give the teacher the answer, especially with younger kids. Many teachers didn't like my books. Now imagine if the teacher says, “Come over and see what color I got. Why are our colors different?”


That's where the learning takes place. It's not in the answer. It takes time. It takes time away from pressure. While you are working in the reflective environment, the students are not getting comprehension about what is being tested. So the more we go toward the testing model, the more rigid the classes have to become. That's why the school of the future needs the second class area for small-group projects. Teachers have to be ready to move students into that area when it's time for analysis.


Q: Do we really need more charter schools? What are the advantages of charter schools over public schools?
Answer by ASF: There is no reason that we cannot encourage public schools to have the same liberties as their charter school counterparts. Public schools tend to have a large number of children from low income families and therefore have an increased need for the freedom to accommodate 'each student as the class'. If children are primarily in a success-oriented environment, they tend to behave differently because they are rewarded in a positive manner. If they have access to computers that contain software for computer assisted instruction (CAI), then it is easy to vary time for each student and give all students the opportunity to be successful. If we combine CAI with a 'project approach' (i.e., working in small groups on meaningful problems) in the areas


of science and social studies, students acquire the skills to use technology as a learning tool, a research tool, and a communication tool. Such improvements -which may be available in new charter schools -- must be available in our public schools.

If we combine computer assisted instruction (CAI) with projects, working in small groups on meaningful problems, students acquire the skills to use technology as a communication tool.


Q: Can public schools be saved?
Answer by ASF: Yes, of course. We have to try. We can't not try. Everything we stand for in the USA came through schools, so we have to transform our system of public education.

“Smart boards” provide excellent opportunities for group work, discussions and collaboration.


Q. Where did you get the idea to "bring the university to students"?
Answer by ASF: The Hartford Program in the summer of 1967 was the origin of the idea for the Nova Ed.D. cluster program. For four weeks a team of principals taught a group of urban students in the morning in front of cameras and then the principals watched the videos in the afternoon. They critiqued themselves in a process called clinical supervision. There were two types of curriculum: one was a structured curriculum and another curriculum used science kits. The program was coordinated by me using what I had learned from Dr. Morris Cogan of Harvard University. We evaluated the program in January 1968. We found that the principals who went through that summer program were talking about what they were doing and the principals who didn't go through the program talked about why they couldn't do


what they wanted to do. The program created a change of attitude. We asked, "Imagine if we had a program for three years? What if the principals had to do three practicums in their schools?" Then they would become change agents in their own schools because the culture in a school starts at the top and filters down. That's how the culture in a school changes from "Why we can't make changes" to "Here's what we are doing." ASF, March 15, 2012


A good teacher can guide the discussion and the flow of problems so as to allow the students to discover and invent mathematics for themselves. The real problem is that the bureaucracy does not allow an individual teacher to do that. With a set curriculum to follow, a teacher cannot lead. There should be no standards, and no curriculum. Just individuals doing what they think best for their students.
maa.org/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf A Mathematician's Lament by Paul Lockhart.


Q: Why do so many students “hate math”?
Commentary: Many math teachers do not know the beauty of math. They took one required course in math in college which is called College Math. Math is a cultural imperative, a language that one needs to understand the world we live in. Where do you find the teachers who can teach math the way that Lockhart describes?

Building digital portfolios on CDs and DVDs gives students some concrete examples of math at work in real life. How mp3 files can we fit on one compact disk?


Q: How do you want to learn?
A student's opinion: I think a student like me should use really modern methods. To learn English (or another language), studying the perfect grammar at school is only the beginning. The real way to learn English perfectly is practicing. So it's a really good way using Facebook (for example, my best friend's American, so I always talk in English with her and it really helps me) and then talking about things we like. You should give the student all the things you know and then let her choose the things he/she wants to do. Most teachers think that being under pressure makes us give our best. THAT'S NOT TRUE. When I'm anxious or nervous, I really cannot do anything. It's like I am blocked. So I think that the right way to improve is feeling comfortable and doing things that interest us. -- Arianna Costantin
<facebook.com/profile.php?id=1283916007>, Milano, 13 August 2010


Q: What makes a class interesting?
A student's opinion: I think this class is interesting and I believe it is because we can lead the lesson by suggesting topics, discussing and discovering new things on the net and changing the program if we don't like it or find it boring. I can't really suggest a way to make this class better since we have a lot of freedom and can change what we are doing according to what we would prefer much more. -- Giuliana

Q: What makes a class boring?
A student's opinion: The wrong topics, a boring teacher, bad classmates are things that can make a class terrible. Choosing a topic that is not fascinating or not putting passion in teaching destroys the attention of the class. Not helping in creating cooperation within the students is the worst thing a teacher can do.


I love choosing every day what I want to do and I'm fond of discovering something I didn't know. -- Giuliana

Innovative websites provide examples of scale (the Huang website).


Q: How can we improve the method?
A student's opinion: We could read more books, like the ones about the method we are experimenting with. And this would be interesting. Or we could keep some books on our own as I would like to do tomorrow, to practice with the reading with chapters that are more difficult than newspaper articles. – Giulia Mastrantoni, 6 August 2010
Editor's Note: More books were brought to the class the next week, giving the student a chance to read quotes and longer chapters about educational theories.


Commentary: 1) It is best to know enough about your students that you can start a lesson from their interests. If they are interested, then they will work. You may have to set up small groups based on interest. 2) Give students the opportunity to share with others what they are learning, especially when they reach a point when they are ready to share. After they have completed their presentations, positive reinforcement is important. – ASF

Give students the opportunity to share with others what they are learning.


A science fair can be placed online with videos, digital portfolio and websites to support the exhibits (Boca Prep International).


Comments from Readers
Dr. Fischler makes use of his enormous wealth of knowledge and experiences to focus our attention on the key problems of education in the United States today. Being a pioneer of educational reforms, Dr. Fischler takes us on a short but solid reading which focus on three main aspects: the time factor in learning, the correct methods for delivering instruction, the role of technology, and the need to bring all the main actors together into his vision of the teaching-learning process. A very intelligent selection of educational quotes guides us through the main aspects in question. This is a necessary reading for teachers and families. The reading is entertaining and encouraging. A must read! Mario J. Llorente
Leyva, teacher, ABCDominos.com

El Dr. Fischler utiliza un enorme cúmulo de experiencias y conocimientos para poner al descubierto problemas coyunturales en la educación contemporánea norteamericana.


Siendo un pionero de las reformas educacionales de su país, El Dr. Fischler nos conduce, con breves pero muy sólidas palabras, por las categorías del tiempo para el aprendizaje y su relatividad en la enseñanza, el modelo correcto para impartir contenido y el rol de la tecnología en ello, y la necesidad de involucrar todos los factores decisores en el tema de la enseñanza. Una inteligente selección de citas educacionales guía al lector hacia los aspectos esenciales de debate que propone el libro. Sin duda alguna, la lectura resulta amena e impactante. Un libro que necesita ser leído.
Mario Llorente

It's about time we wake up and realize the severity of the educational crisis we find ourselves in. The disconnect between the people determining educational policy and the people asked to be the practitioners of that policy is a mile wide and a mile deep. Dr. Fischler has managed to distill fifty years of educational research into a manifesto that should be taught to the policy makers and shared with teachers, students


and parents everywhere. Dennis Yuzenas, high
school teacher, Oxbridge Academy, West Palm Beach, FL WhatDoYaKnow.com

Marshall McLuhan made an impact in the '60s when he said "The medium is the message." It's time society realized that this also applies to education. Everyone in the 21st century needs to use technology to survive. And work in today's society is more individualistic and entrepreneurial. Education has to keep up with its methods of teaching, not just content. Project-based curriculum is critical to the skills today's students will need to both contribute and survive in their environment. The time has come for everyone (not just teachers and students) to read Dr. Fischler's book students learn from both the medium used (computers) and methods (project-based).
J. Kayman, journalist, Roadlovers.com


Science teacher Francois Savain discusses pedagogy with Dr. Fischler during a school visit.

Dr Fischler tells us that teachers, parents and administrators will have new roles and students will be more responsible for their education in the 21st Century. It's not about better and more memorization. It is clear that students will need to work more flexibly than they have in the past.
Ugur Demiray, editor, Turkish Online Journal for Distance Education (TOJDE.anadolu.edu.tr)


While a student at Nova University in the 1980s, I heard a professor say that there is a certain amount of social responsibility that we all take on because of our relationship to the community. That has always stuck with me. This is the power of a single quotation when presented with commentary and passion. I have repeated the quotation hundreds of times to students that I counsel. I believe Dr. Fischler's commentaries will have the same widespread impact.
Maria Espinosa, guidance counselor, Miami-Dade County Schools, mae33012@gmail.com

Dr. Fischler is qualified by experience. The wisdom and concepts in this book, based on his experience, represent the only way to produce the flexible education system required to prepare every student for life in the 21st century. We, in education, owe it to the next generation to create the mindset shift that will bring about these reforms...” Will Sutherland, director, England,
QBEAcademy.net, QualifiedByExperience.com


Imagine the possibilities. The thoughts and solutions explored and discussed about the learning process imbedded in our legacy agrarian-time-based educational system apply as strongly to the change we need to develop within our traditional library indexing and research system as it does to the work relationship between individuals and the corporation, or between groups of people, families, and their process of "earning a living." This work by Dr. Fischler provides a fresh doze of reality checks to basic assumptions that spring fresh perspectives towards better problem solving. May these thoughts be quickly adopted by large segments of our public schools to better prepare society for the inevitable new status quo towards which the USA and the rest of the world is heading. John Vornle,
SpacePathAhead.com, johnvornle@gmail.com

Advice from a master. These techniques can be adapted to classrooms now. I use them everyday. Matt Blazek, developer of the
Blazek CD for Projects and Discussions


Thought-provoking. Needed -- and needed yesterday. How can we best prepare students for a future that will surely be filled with technologies (and troubles) which we cannot even imagine today? Dr. Fischler looks this question in the face and answers with brutal honesty: we need to start from scratch. Traditional educational models aren't working in this new age, and a major change needs to take place if we hope to ensure our children will be prepared for the future they are sure to inherit. This new foundation for education will lead to a better tomorrow for tomorrow's adults. A mustread for anyone with children or grandchildren. Leslie Lott McAlpin, Lott English
Academy, Pompano Beach, Fla. LottLe@aol.com

Students should be grouped by ability and aptitude, not age. We also need to address the underlying questions such as “should children be educated beyond rudimentary skills?” and “what are we preparing them for?” George Hartogensis, computer
engineer, ghartog@cs.unm.edu


Over the last decades, the world has become increasingly interconnected. Many aspects of daily life have changed profoundly. Unfortunately, our school systems in Europe and the Americas have not. We must adapt our teaching methods to the needs of today's students. The student is the class. This is what Dr. Fischler's book is all about.
Christian Braun, English language teacher, Germany Christian612@web.de

A very interesting look at modernizing education and actually improving the learning process of a student. In essence, this book is a manual on helping a student learn to learn.
Rohit Kilpadi develops software applications in Budapest, Hungary.


Endnote by a taxpayer
Dr. Fischler began blogging in 2006 about the advantages of a well-rounded, welldesigned CAI system. His first entry at TheStudentIsTheClass.com lays out the features of a three-tiered system that could be introduced in a zone of a public school. Careful implementation of computerassisted instruction (CAI) could invigorate a K-12 environment. As a pioneer who introduced technology to higher education and distance learning, Dr. Fischler aims to bring new methods and experiences to children and teenagers currently stuck in school systems that have changed little since 1950. As a taxpayer, I'm always looking for better ways for my tax dollars to be spent. As a teacher, I want to work in a school where students have a role in deciding what they will study each day. As a trainer of teachers, I know my limitations: I can show teachers what has worked in my classes, but I don't have the academic background to explain


why the techniques work that I pulled from Piaget, Friedman, Littky, Gardner and Daniel Pink. In 2009, I saw the need for a small book that the stakeholders in schools could carry with them and refer to often for guidance. In the classroom, under pressure to deliver results, I often slip back into comfortable behaviors, copying my mentors and imposing on my students the same disciplines that I suffered through when I was a teenager. Some of the techniques work; others should be improved. Dr. Fischler's perspective has guided me in selecting more effective methods. Computers can help students learn – but it's not a good idea to impose digital devices on students who are not ready for the potential distractions of a multifaceted computer. Dennis Littky, an educational pioneer in Providence, R.I., writes that “Education is everybody's business.” This “quote and commentary” project began with you in mind: Teacher, student, parent, principal, taxpayer. You all will find something new and helpful in these pages.


In the 1930s a little red book spawned a political and cultural revolution in China. Eighty years later, why can't a small book of commentaries by the president emeritus of a pioneering university make a positive change in education? If you have a favorite quotation about education that you would like Dr. Fischler to consider commenting on in his blog, please send your request to Fischler@nova.edu.
Steve McCrea Taxpayer, teacher, advocate of CAI Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


About the Author and Editors
Dr. Fischler is President Emeritus and University Professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He served as President of Nova University from July 1970 to July 1992. Prior to coming to Nova in 1966, Dr. Fischler was Professor of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. He began his career in education as a science teacher and earned his Ed.D. degree at Columbia University. Subsequently, he became Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University. After his retirement as President, he served on the Broward County School Board from 1994 to 1998. Dr. Fischler has been a consultant to the Ford Foundation, to various State Departments of Education, and to school districts in a number of states. He has authored many articles and publications dealing with science education and advanced teaching methods. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of numerous other educational and scientific organizations.


Hillary Howrey, Cindy Burfield and Steve McCrea are graduate students at Nova Southeastern Edutech Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides educational programs. It is taking the lead in presenting the Fischler vision for the transformation of K-12 education. For more information, write to TransformTeaching@yahoo.com. Visit TransformTeaching.org.

Dennis Yuzenas, WhatDoYaKnow.com, rescued 36 computers from a dumpster and used parts to assemble 20 working computers. Students work in teams and individually on projects (Bak Middle School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Fla.).


What's Next
We invite you to subscribe to the blog, The Student is the Class, at abe.TheStudentIsTheClass.com. Dr Fischler continues to blog about these issues and he invites you to send him questions to comment about. Fischler@nova.edu

Let's talk about these ideas.


I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
Thomas Jefferson, 1810


Workshops to Transform Your School
Cindy Burfield, CEO Edutech Foundation Jefferson’s sentiment holds true today, as we embark on the 21st century with a confluence of economic and technological changes along with new perspectives of how humans create understandings and knowledge. From a System Approach, we must look to society to develop our visions and goals for students, as educational systems should be concerned with producing critical and creative thinkers prepared to confront an unknown future. That’s why Edutech offers workshops to put into action the commentaries of Dr. Fischler.


This is where the work starts: teacher-to-teacher.


Concerns about Teacher Development
(from Ed.gov) Teaching today is practiced mostly in isolation. Many educators work alone, with little interaction with professional colleagues or experts in the outside world. Professional development typically is provided in short, fragmented, and episodic workshops that offer little opportunity to integrate learning into practice. A classroom educator's primary job is understood to be covering the assigned content and ensuring that students test well. Many educators do not have the information, the time, or the incentives to continuously improve their professional practice from year to year. www.ed.gov/technology/netp2010/teaching-prepare-and-connect


Professional development typically is provided in short, fragmented, and episodic workshops that offer little opportunity to integrate learning into practice.
–ed.gov Edutech Foundation's workshops address these deficiencies (1) by encouraging the workshop participants to maintain contact with the trainers; (2) by requesting the "partners" to "show us your classroom" on video; (3) by giving feedback promptly and (4) by sharing appropriate new findings peer-to-peer through an electronic mailing list. You can take the workshops at distance, using videos that are on Youtube, or hire Edutech Foundation to present the workshop. We are always looking for capable trainers to met the growing demand for facilitators of this dynamic professional


development. In keeping with the principles of “the flipped classroom” and interactive teaching, participation is intense. You will be encouraged to read and think about these commentaries before entering the workshop. To learn more about the high expectations and great results that flow from participating in a transformational workshop, visit our website at edutechfoundation.net. Note: Workshop participants will receive certificates of performance after they have submitted video or photographic evidence of transformed classrooms. “Before” and “after” photos and videos are requested. Edutech Foundation encourages participants to confirm that transformational procedures and materials have in fact been introduced. Edutech Foundation maintains a list of participants in good standing. For information about the workshops visit EdutechFoundation.net. If you want to get started, visit the Edutech


Foundation website and read past posts. There are activities there and free ebooks to download. You can start transforming your classroom today. Note: "workshop partners" are people who have completed the workshop and transformed their classrooms. We invite you to demonstrate your commitment to the transformation by posting a video that we can link to from the Edutech Foundation channel. If you want to become a workshop partner, contact us and find out how you can complete the workshop online and then make a video starting with the words: "This is how I am continuing to transform my classroom." The teacher's submitted videos are then posted on our youtube channel as evidence of impact.


Things to do to support the transformation of your school
1. Find inspiring quotations. VisualAndActive.com and click on "readings" 2. Post videos showing student work. Encourage some students who don't like to write to speak about their work or what they want to write about... then transcribe the speech. A kid who writes four sentences about a movie can often talk for ten minutes about what was "excellent" in a favorite film. Transcribe his praise for the movie and you have a written movie review. 3. Introduce the quotations to students, other teachers, administration and stakeholders in your school. To read a sample chapters from the workbook, search scribd.com/theebookman for “Transform Your Classroom with Quotations Workbook by Edutech.”


4. Share videos to inspire the transformation of your school. Find a list at YourNetImpact.com and GuideOnTheSide.com. 5. Participate in the SystemicChange.com video project and make comments at TheStudentIsTheClass.com blog and the SystemicChange.wordpress.com blog. 6. Post these quotations and the commentaries on your classroom walls. Invite students to add their commentaries. 7. Send a list of quotations to your friends and colleagues. 8. Send links to inspiring videos. Get a list at www.YourNetImpact.com (click on “Transform Your School” on the top of the page) 9. Sign up for the Eric Mazur Peer Instruction network peerinstruction.net PINETWORK@seas.harvard.edu. To post


to this list, send your email to: pinetwork@seas.harvard.edu General information about the mailing list is at: lists.seas.harvard.edu/mailman/ listinfo/pinetwork Twitter accounts @peerinstruction @bigpiclearning Big Picture Learning @Dennis_Littky @tvanderark Tom vander Ark @DanielPink @DrTae Dr. Tae @eric_mazur @conprin Connected Principals @hightechhigh Please send additional suggestions to us. We maintain a list at GuideOnTheSide.com.


The culture in a school starts at the top and filters down.

Does information flow both ways? Do students sometimes teach their teachers about how to use features of new technologies?


Math is a language.

Math is just a way of using a lot of synonyms. One quarter is like 25 out of 100 or 41 out of 164. We just need to be flexible.


Suspend judgment.
Is the goldfish dead?

Or did the teacher inject the fish with a sedative?


We can reset the mindset.

From “listen to the teacher”...

...to “let's work in teams.”


Science is a verb.

A science lab is a place for action, not just memorization (Boca Prep International).


Time is a variable.

This poster was made by students in a project to convert a NASA document into everyday language. “Space Based Solar Power” became “Electricity from Space.” The lesson plan is found on the website of SpacePathAhead.com, a non-profit organization.


The student is the class.

Dennis Yuzenas encourages his students to bring their computers into his classroom to do projects, search the Internet and collaborate in teams.


Become an agent of change How do you become a visible change agent in this environment? If you want to see change in education, you have to do it. Not through talking about it. You have to bring a group of people together. It's going to take years of commitment, argument and debate. You have to demonstrate that you are producing a product that we need.
Dr. Fischler


Teachingusa.us abe.TheStudentIsTheClass.com TransformTeaching.org Transform-Education.com


Send some quotations so Dr. Fischler can make more commentaries. Fischler@nova.edu TheGuideOnTheSide@gmail.com (editor)

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