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Listen to Joel Rose describe School of One

Posted by Feb 13th, 2011.

Listen to School of One CEO Joel Rose describe his innovative program, which introduces a new, high-tech, highly customized way of helping middle school students in New York City learn math. Rose spoke Friday at the monthly Hot Lunch, a series sponsored by the Piton Foundation and Donnell-Kay Foundation (also funders of Education News Colorado).

The podcast is roughly 35 minutes long. You can listen hereĀ [click arrow].

You can also download it and take it with you.

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One Response to “Listen to Joel Rose describe School of One”

  1. jeff buck says:

    I had the opportunity to attend Joel’s presentation at DSST on Thursday evening before his Hot Lunch gig. I want to start by thanking the folks at the Donnell-Kay Foundation for making it possible for a classroom teacher like me to attend such an event. I miss the days when I was released from the classroom and could pop out to a lunch talk once in a while. I appreciate the opportunity to learn first-hand from people doing interesting things in education. And I’ll bet other classroom teachers would too if more accessible events were scheduled and publicized.

    I find a lot to like about what School of One has going. They attempt to match kids with instructional modalities that work for them. They off-load a lot of routine tasks from teachers so they can focus on the learning of kids. They create a clear path forward for students and support them in moving in that direction.

    I am concerned about an underlying assumption of their work which comes from one of the currents within the standards movement. What they do is grounded in the assumption that mathematics can be reduced to an atomized set of discrete skills which can be handled one at a time and that somehow, as students master each, they will figure out how to assemble that collection into a coherent body of knowledge called math. In my experience, maybe they will and maybe they won’t.

    Here’s an easy example to think about. Converting a fraction to a decimal is a skill. Underlying that skill is the concept that a fraction and a decimal are two ways to represent the same thing. As a math teacher, it seems like I increasingly find students who can execute the skill but show no real evidence of understanding the concept.

    I happen to be an integrative thinker and I know that I will not remember things that do not fit into a coherent larger framework. In school, I built the bigger picture for myself. I also purposfully work to help my students build this bigger picture.

    However, the longer I teach, the more I find that students seem to be walking around with a big catalog of individual math moves (some remember bigger catalogs than others) but with no earthly idea how they connect to any robust problem solving strategies. They will memorize a procedure for a particular problem but if the one on the test looks even slightly different than ones we did in class, many don’t know what to do. My concern here is that we may be producing students who show up well on tests that we prepare them for but who cannot actually do anything practical with the mathematical information (which I understand as separate from knowledge) they have stored.

    I’d be very interested to know if other teachers of math or of other subjects have noticed similar trends. I recognize the possibility that I’m just now noticing something that’s always been there.

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