In planning for the 2014 NCSM Fall Leadership Seminar Series, I looked back over the 4 years since the release of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics trying to take stock of where we’ve been and where we are now in our path toward effective implementation. I took note of the struggles many states have seen and, of course, all of the truly prodigious efforts of mathematics teachers and mathematics education leaders everywhere. We have made truly impressive progress and we are capitalizing on many of the opportunities that this movement provides. We do, however, still have very far to go in this country to move mathematics education into something resembling our desired state.
So this year, after much consideration and discussion, the Directors have decided to use the Fall Leadership Seminars as a time to look ahead to the future of mathematics education. We are nearing the midpoint of the second decade of the 21st century and never has it been more apparent that this time affords us ever more unprecedented opportunities in math education based on technology. The advances continue apace to those of the past ten years and even seem to be accelerating. The lists of apps, and programs, and websites devoted to various aspects of mathematics education are endless and growing faster every day. These lists are difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with! As leaders in mathematics education it is our responsibility to help ourselves and our teachers sift through this deluge of material, finding the most promising and the most effective. But how is this done? Are there criteria useful in creating this modern day Sieve of Eratosthenes? How should a truly digital learning environment look? What are the best practices? The nature of digital textbooks is changing as well. How should districts choose these resources? What are the hallmarks of a quality digital textbook? These questions are difficult and require the input of experts and practitioners everywhere. The Fall Leadership Seminars will address some of these questions and help leaders develop a vision for the future of technology in mathematics education.
While technology is certainly important in today’s learning environments, it is not the only area of vital concern. As we push toward the higher standards of the CCSSM, we must utilize every tool at our disposal and take advantage of the many opportunities that this era in mathematics education provides. I've often heard NCSM President Valerie Mills speak of formative assessment and its power in the classroom and I’ve found myself in agreement time and again. Formative assessment is one of the most powerful tools available to us as a means of increasing student learning. Research has borne this statement out many times. Those familiar with the work of John Hattie in Visible Learning have read of the effectiveness of this classroom practice. We would be remiss if we did not avail ourselves of a tool of such power. Yet, despite all of that, formative assessment remains a practice that is often overlooked and little understood. The Fall Leadership Seminars in 2014 will examine both the potential role of technology as well as effective formative assessment practices.
The Fall Leadership Seminars will meld these two themes this year. We will explore the future of the mathematics classroom through the interplay of technology and formative assessment. We will be meeting on three days in three cities this fall:
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 in Houston, Texas
Thank you to all of you that attended the seminars last year! You made the series a great success! Denise and I invite all of you to join us at this year’s NCSM Fall Leadership Seminars!
Thoughts? Ideas? This is relatively uncharted territory for everyone and so I welcome any and all input! I want to put together something that mathematics education leaders will want to see!