Student Interview for Our Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Program

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This video includes the responses to an interview with one of our online M.Ed. students, Lauren Sahmel. Beautiful production and editing from Lianne Jepson and Desiree Farnum.

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Always Asking Questions & Always Learning

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Working on the University of Florida’s College of Education Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership has provided me a golden opportunity to learn more about Florida’s educational leaders. The last few years of my career have led me into very divergent, but exceptional, learning opportunities. From leading the development of curriculum for online courses to setting up methods for large-scale registration and submissions for district-based inquiry, I have not been able to rest much on what I have learned previously in my career. I am constantly in challenging (but insanely exciting) situations.

With the Online M.Ed., I have been given the chance to search out and interview principals at all levels of career experience to be included in the courses. I believe this “real-world” perspective from leaders in widely varying school contexts provides the students with an extraordinary unique advantage. It has provided me something extraordinary as well. Next to finishing my dissertation and teaching my elementary and high school students, learning from these wonderful leaders has been the best part of my career in education.

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The leaders pictured include (L-R): Hudson Thomas of Pompano Beach High School (Broward County), Roxana Herrera of Palm Springs Elementary School in Hialeah (Miami-Dade County), Dr. Joseph Joyner- Superintendent of St. Johns County Public Schools, Lynette Shott of Flagler-Palm Coast High School (Flagler County), Scott Schneider of Terry Parker High School (Duval County), and Lawson Brown of Charles Duval Elementary School (Alachua County). These are only a few of the leaders we have interviewed.

The cover stars of the flier below are two exceptional leaders: Christy Gabbard and Stella Arduser of P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School at the University of Florida. They are also featured on our website now (https://education.ufl.edu/edleadership-med/).

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Thoughts about teaching and learning: Multi-tier System of Supports for Learning

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Thoughts about teaching and learning:

Multi-tier System of Supports for Learning

After teaching in the elementary and high school environments, teaching and creating learning activities online, and spending time teaching adults and pre-K students to read, I have come to reflect on some things regarding instruction and learning. I will start to keep some posts geared toward these ideas. This reflection, which may be insane and unfounded, has to do with  differentiation.

The only “solutions” to the Two-Sigma Problem addressed in Bloom’s research and subsequent articles (listed below) include:

1. Effective teaching/facilitation of learning- There are no magic bullets here. A teacher who knows their students (whether online or face-to-face) and can motivate them, stimulate curiosity, and build their students’ self-efficacy will have a better chance of creating lifelong learners. The differentiation of instruction and the providing of supports for all learners can be called many things. It is referred to as RTI, MTSS, and many more names/acronyms. However, it doesn’t matter what it’s called…one-to-one tutoring is a conversation wherein a student is constantly engaged in a learning discussion. In small groups, targeted to need, the students are reinforcing one another’s learning through the social action that’s taking place. In the whole class/group, teachers must be aware of various indicators of learning from individual learners. The class must be held as a learning community, not unlike Socratic seminars or problem-based learning activities. In these situations, learners are engaged, motivated, and supported by the teacher and other students.

http://www.florida-rti.org/

http://www.ncld.org/disability-advocacy/where-we-stand-policies/multi-tier-system-supports-response-intervention

http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/what/whatisrti

2. Online education with adaptive software only fulfills part of the need of most learners. Most learners need more than a Storyline-based online course wherein they are constantly “moved” back or forward in an online environment based on responses to questions/formative assessments. There needs to be opportunity to discuss, to reflect on learning…to bounce ideas off other learners. Facilitation does this, some online social networking does this, and even forums do this. But, online instruction that is not facilitated can only work with adult learners who are engaged with a learning activity due to a requirement (traffic school) or a personal need (getting a certification for work or to open up opportunities outside of a person’s current situation).¬†This is not stated as clearly as I’d like to state it…but, curiosity and community can’t be forced. There has to be a relationship to the learning.

3. Finally- adults only learn what they find value in learning. Perception of value is the key…more on that later.

Bloom’s Two-Sigma Problem (1984) links:

http://www.comp.dit.ie/dgordon/Courses/ILT/ILT0004/TheTwoSigmaProblem.pdf

http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198405_bloom.pdf