McKenzie Speeches

Getting IT Right: Fixing that Old Tech Plan

Many schools and districts that put the cart before the horse and failed to fund key aspects of the IT innovation such as program development, professional development and technical staffing are now going back and augmenting their original technology plans. McKenzie demonstrates how to apply the tenets of "True Cost of Ownership" to this process.


Proving Change in Daily Practice

How do we know if new technologies are making a difference in the way students learn and teachers teach? McKenzie shows how a school may use the two versions of the Educational Daily Practice Survey to keep track of growth and steer a program forward.


Doing Better with Fewer

The drive to equip each student with personal computers is seeming pretty foolish these days as results seem unconvincing and the strategy driven more by marketing than educational needs. McKenzie shows how mobile computing combined with sharing works much better for most schools, honoring time honored values such as frugality and supporting collaborative learning.


Beating the Tests with Power Reading, Questions and Questioning

Arming the young with the comprehension skills to wrestle with the tough questions and conundrums of life.

If you teach young ones to question and probe, you equip them to do well on all kinds of tests - state tests, classroom tests and the tests of life.

High scores on tests of comprehension and problem-solving can only be achieved when students are urged to think, figure things out and wrestle with tough questions.

This session will focus on strategies teachers can employ to nurture potent questioning skills and behaviors in their students from the earliest years all the way up to university and post graduate years.

As a practical matter, students need to be able to read between the lines, infer meaning, draw conclusions from disparate clues and avoid the traps of presumptive intelligence, bias and predisposition. They need these thinking skills to score well on increasingly tough school tests, but more importantly, they need these skills to score well on the increasingly baffling tests of life . . . how to vote? how to work? how to love? how to honor? how to respect? how to invent? how to understand? how to grow? how to adapt? how to sing? how to birth? how to pass it on?

Drill and practice combined with highly scripted lessons stressing patterns and prescriptions amount to mental robbery - setting low standards for disadvantaged students so they end up incapable of thought or success on demanding tests.

This approach contributes to high dropout and attrition rates - early school departures and millions of children left behind.


Quality Teaching

Making Quality Teaching Real

How do we move past grand theory to effective practice?

The field of education is loaded with rhetoric and blather, but most teachers have little time, patience or energy to take on new burdens that are ill-defined and impractical. In many respects, teaching is a game of survival, but those who argue for increased quality are often remote from the concerns and realities of the classroom. Many of their recipes, prescriptions and models fail when the school bell
rings the start of day.

Pie in the sky does little to feed hungry children, fuel a change in
reading performance or improve the realities of classrooms.

In this seminar, Jamie McKenzie offers a very practical way of thinking about teacher quality that is rooted in practice and reality. He identifies a dozen key elements that a teacher can modify to nudge daily practice forward without any lurches, lunges and sacrifices. This is not about heroics or extreme measures. The emphasis is on simple, manageable techniques to reach a higher proportion of students at a higher level of performance. The main themes appeal to common sense and logic.

1. Increase your magic
2. Understand the young ones
3. Look for good routines
4. Avoid heroics
5. Take breaks - coast - rest - pace yourself
6. Ask for help, for ideas, for tricks
7. Question
8. Add one strategy each week
9. Focus
10. Project like a champion - Have faith
11. Lose weight - shed the nonsense
12. Eat well - feed yourself on good ideas