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Audio Webcasts - Harnessing the Scientific Spirit to Improve Learning Print E-mail
In conjunction with the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, The Center has developed a series of professional development Web and audio segments. The centerpiece of the audio is the audio webcasts listed below. These audio webcasts, also known as podcasts, and the accompanying audio clips and Web text, focus on developing a better understanding of the scientific movement in education to improve learning. Entitled "Harnessing the Scientific Spirit to Improve Learning," the series discusses using scientifically based research and assessments to increase student achievement.

(Please note: Each "program" includes an introductory audio segment, web-based text, and accompanying audio segments that expand on the topic under discussion.)

Program #1 An introduction to basing our practice on better evidence and Additional Audio

Introduction to the "Scientific Revolution to Improve Learning," an idea that education is becoming more scientific. Today, the use of rigorous scientific methods to establish a body of credible knowledge about how children learn, how teachers might best teach different kinds of children, and how schools might best be organized is emerging. This program begins to look at the emerging movement to put education on a more credible scientific footing – to harness objectivity in the service of learning.

Program #2
Changing the nature of the education conversation and Additional Audio

This program looks at changing the nature of the education conversation. The panel discusses what we mean by "scientific," and how the spirit of science can help educators become better professionals. Also discussed, what would the educational equivalent of the FDA be like?

Program #3
Trends in using measurement to improve learning and Additional Audio

This chapter looks at trends in using measurement to improve learning and the emergence of a growing approach to assessment. The standards movement is an important piece of the history of assessment and continues the discussion on the value of basing decisions on evidence rather than personal opinion in education.

Program #4 Monitoring what gets taught: insuring an adequate opportunity to learn
and Additional Audio

This program continues the assessment discussion and focuses on monitoring what gets taught: insuring an adequate opportunity to learn. At the heart of No Child Left Behind is the demand that every child be given a meaningful chance to graduate high school with more than a piece of paper of sometimes dubious value. Giving students an adequate opportunity to learn what they will need to graduate with a good start in life is within our control and this program discusses how good tests will play an increasingly important role.

Program #5 Making science usable – engineering evidence-based knowledge into lessons and learning and Additional Audio

This chapter moves back into the realm of considering the role of scientifically based research in education. "Making science usable – engineering evidence-based knowledge into lessons and learning" focuses on professionalism and how different types of educational professionals are responsible for different parts of the scientifically based research movement. Today's challenge for teachers: to become creative and scientific.

Program #6 Comparing ourselves – honestly – with the best and Additional Audio

This program looks at the movement to develop fair comparisons among schools. These so called "matched comparison groups" help educators judge whether their own efforts are as successful as those of their peers. Once educators see that others with similar students can perform better, it is hoped that they will learn from these better practices and improve their own classrooms as a result.

Program #7 Using shared assessments to unpack standards and compare instruction and  Additional Audio

This webcast deals with the sometimes daunting task of unpacking state standards of learning and translating them into something that can be measured. Once we can accurately measure the standards in meaningful ways, teachers can begin to use the information to inform the day-to-day instruction of students in the classroom.

Program #8 Making Mistakes and Moving Beyond Them is in the Scientific Spirit and Additional Audio

In nearly every field of endeavor today, professionals are attempting to step back from their work so they can view it from a more neutral point of view. This is the scientist spirit.  This practice of neutrality enshrines failure as the first step towards success. Using assessments to help students accept failure as a necessary step towards mastery is now seen as critical to using testing as formative instructional practice.