ProfitShip Learning

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Yeah. I've heard the

Yeah. I've heard the arguments for and against Rocketship. My experience as a public school teacher, and a former community news reporter and columnist for The Orange County Register, gives me this advantage. You can take or leave this opinion: I've been to Rocketship. I've been impressed at some things. Not impressed at others.

If you really want to stop the Rocketship invasion of our public school dollars, then public education as we know it has to change. And that's the Rocketship advantage. In my former profession, it was my fortunate or unfortunate experience to hear a lot of PR statements. When PBS observed that some students in the computer lab at a Rocketship school weren't engaged in that type of learning, the PR machine at Rocketship did something rare. It agreed and said they were going to try a different strategy. In other words, they could have said they were going to work with those CHILDREN who are not paying attention and not the PROGRAM. Instead, they said they were going to change their program. That’s unique among PR strategies.

The point is this. Rocketship has the flexibility to explore ways of curriculum delivery, which is the ENTIRE point. Blended leaning? Look at this webpage. It's all over this site. However, public education is clueless and so was my education hero Diana Ravitch in her book The Reign of Error. Public schools can't fix poverty if they can't give students 21st Century skills and attitudes to build their future course out of poverty. And that's what's missing from Diana's book and fully present at Rocketship. A new way of curriculum delivery.

For Rocketship, they better learn the lesson of public schools. You can't autocrat your way to sustainable growth. Want a clue how to do this? Read Ed Catmull's book Creativity Inc. Success comes from listening to your people and leaving you ego at the door. You build on failure, welcome it, expect it, learn from it. For the other side, lawsuits are not a sustainable strategy, Big money will always win in the end. Trust me. I've covered a couple court cases.

However, creating new strategies for delivering curriculum is the way to save public schools. I've been to Rocketship. I was impressed. You can feel the energy there in your gut. Discipline is firm but friendly. Goals are clear. Parents are all over that place and are messiahs of message for Rocketship.

The computer lab may not be the best for teaching, but it allows teachers to do small group instruction which is best. I could have told them the 100-student room strategy would have failed. I saw a 60-student fourth grade room at a Rocketship school with yawning kids with aids learning up against the walls while direct instruction bored the kids to death. Direct instruction works better with small groups. However, I saw this strategy work with older students at Flex Academy in downtown San Francisco.

Okay. Now for a blatant plug. If you'd like to hear of a new way of doing curriculum delivery, email me at tjones221@mac.com. My school district in Buena Park has heard the call and has given me the chance to use a blended model method of learning, part Rocketship (Chromebooks, flexible classrooms), part Flex Academy, (small group instruction, data-driven instruction) and Flip Your Classroom (instructional videos online and created by students). Totally blended learning.

The instructional design project is called "Meaningful Mass Repetition" and is funded by Pacific Star Analytics, a start up education company located in Long Beach and headed by Dr. Janet Young, a dedicated education professor at El Camino College in LA County. The program is based on The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, (Richard E. Mayer) which has been influential in modern knowledge acquisition, which draws from Cognitive Load Theory, (John Sweller) and Questions Sequences in the Classroom, (Robert Marzano) In my humble opinion, Marzano has nailed it. His book is probably the best blue-print so far to teach Common Core State Standards. Delivered in a multimedia format, it’s awesome!

Arguments about corporate profits, et. al ring shallow for me, even though I'm as liberal as can be. Bridging the Achievement gap? As in the Hokey Pokey, that's what it's all about. Rocketship is scoring in this strategy, even if they are temporarily falling on their face.

BTW. As a former Timmy, I'm happier in my classroom than I was in a traditional classroom. Oh. My students are too. Come to my school and ask them. But don't sit there and think you can sue your way out of your Rocketship problem. Try my way.

Tim Jones - tjones221@mac.com

Tim Jones more than 2 years ago

BLENDED education is really

BLENDED education is really BENDING education in the direction of privatization. There has been a long time conspiracy to abolish public education and establish a system which would reflect the belief of a recent presidential candidate: "You are entitled to be best education that you can afford."
Unhappily the Obama administration and the hatchet man, Duncan, have contributed to the privatization effort by attacks on tenure and teacher unions, advancing merit pay, pushing vouchers and charter schools and emphasizing standardized testing which detracts from time to teach. If the privateers succeed, we will have schools advancing a corporate agenda, teachers who are scared hirelings, and a system where profits are the bottom line.

Ken Curtis more than 2 years ago

The Profit-ship video is

The Profit-ship video is hilarious but, sadly accurate. Diane Ravitch's blog had a link..

Linda more than 2 years ago

It is wonderful to experience

It is wonderful to experience such a creative medium for deconstructing the impacts of corporations on public schools. This is my 14th year as a public educator and we need to blow the whistle on corporate abuses including the profit grabbing that has attacked our communities. I think it is a mistake to 'batch' blended learning into corporate learning. Blended just means that kids are utilizing innovative tech tools to further their understanding of a concept. Indeed, your method of creating a cartoon video is blended and surely a more powerful way to connect your ideas to the learner. Teachers who are fighting to avoid blended learning models are similar to journalists who fought 10 years ago to preserve the old methods of news print. It can be hard to adapt, but we must meet this generation where they 'are at'...as digital natives. Out with the corporations but keep the blended learning models!

Geoff Grimmer more than 2 years ago

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