Saturday, April 25, 2009

MPS: New money in Education. Here's how to get some of it.

New money
Education Department Releases Guidance Specifics on Impact Aid Stimulus Funds
from New America Blogs: "Impact Aid funds cannot be collected and saved - they must be obligated by September 30, 2011. Preference is given to projects that can be started quickly and will result in job creation. In cases where Impact Aid funds are not enough to fund a project completely, the funds can be combined with other sources including State Fiscal Stabilization Funds."

How to get it
Help your favorite school district write the grant proposal to the Dept of Education.

Here's the outline:
Wikinewspapers and wikibooks to replace one-size-fits-all instructional material with a print based intervention tool that has implicit process metrics.

Path to scale
The project will be implemented on a classroom teacher by classroom teacher basis. This will manage the buy-in problem by using the proven process of early adopters to demonstrate effectiveness.

The Teacher Experience
Teams will be formed consisting of a teacher, a journalist from a local newspaper, a local graphic design firm and a local digital print provider.

The teacher will explain to the journalist the plan of study for the year. The journalist will work with the teacher to gather content at a ning site. Using a design theory approach, the designer will create machinable print products. Depending on the teacher's plan of study and time requirements, the print product will be produced on the desktop, at the CRD, or at the local print provider.

All the necessary hardware and software to insure a seamless customer experience will be supplied by the MPS.

The Process Metrics
Given the communication abilities of the hardware/software combination, the project will be able to keep real time data for when different print products were distributed in class.

As appropriate, print pieces will include machine readable tests to supply in-process feedback. The quizzes on the print pieces will be scanned and the information uploaded to a secure web site. That data will be used for real time feedback for each student in a form that can inform appropriate interventions. It can also be used to share with parents, co teachers, curriculum supervisors to build a 360 degree of each student.

In addition, at the beginning of each unit, each student will receive a 64 page paperback that includes the ideas to be learned. The paperback has blank outside columns on each page for notes. The students will use a highlighter and pen to write their comments in the margin and highlight either interesting or to-be-better-understood paragraphs or sentences. On Thursday of every week, the teacher will collect the books to get an idea of each student's diligence.

At the end of each unit, students will be required to "solve a mystery" posed by the teacher. Students will write their answer in the form of a non fiction essay at the ning site. The teacher will comment as appropriate. If the writing reaches the appropriate standard within the time allowed, some selections will be published as a book and presented at a book publishing party.

The ning site and the finished books will supply the portfolio that will be combined with high stakes test results to measure student progress as appropriate.

Job Creation
Since the MPS, print provider and newspaper are all community based, dollars spent will have the multiplier effect that is missing when a global takes the money out of a local community. An added benefit is that high school students can practice a new career path as journalists, designers, print providers or teachers.

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