Front Page: All of the Above

By Theresa Kelly Gegen

The wonders of technology: For homework, my daughter was watching a science lab on the dissection of a sea cucumber, and at intervals the video would pause and questions would pop up about the previous segment.
The blunders of technology: The multiple-choice options were presented in random order, such that “all of the above” would appear as a choice below “none of the above.”

This particular method of learning is not to my daughter’s preference, but not because of the logical impossibility of answering the question correctly. An e-learning veteran, she’d dealt with that before and knew how to handle it. She didn’t like the repetition of re-watching the video multiple times — which was allowed and for her necessary — to be certain she’d heard the distinctions between “gonads” and “gametes,” or perhaps “cloaca,” or possibly two of the three, none of the above, or all of the above.

This led to a conversation about how people listen and learn. This video exercise was not her preference — she likes classroom instruction and “Quizlets” and would much rather be drawing and labeling sea cucumber insides than watching a video. But other students learn better from the videos because of the repetition and visualization. Although my own thought process was interrupted by the illogic of those multiple-choice options, I learned something by peeking over her shoulder at the madreporite and ampullae.

In my experience, the best learning, and indeed, the spark of learning, happens when the topic is brand-new. Next best is familiar information presented in a way that is novel and different, any lesson presented the way we like it, and/or information adds new and important data to something we already know.

No matter what your preferred method, learning requires listening. At a
recent professional development opportunity, IASB staff learned from HR consultant Elaine Hand that with all the complexities of communication and learning, it starts and ends with listening. Hand further stated that enhanced communication includes knowing and understanding your audience and knowing your style.

Understanding our audience is why IASB brings you the Journal every other month, and why we offer webinars, book studies, in-district opportunities, videos, in-person events whenever possible, policy consultations, and a full website. You can also look for new monthly advocacy conversations, and dozens of other programs to meet your district’s needs and interests and your own learning styles.

So, speaking of  “all of the above” and “none of the above,” IASB’s latest Member Survey is available, again through the wonders of technology (the survey is online; members received an email) and I hope without any illogical options. This new survey does not cover sea cucumbers; instead it includes questions about your and your district’s priorities and engagement with IASB. We use the responses to improve IASB services with the goals of enhancing the value of membership and to developing and improving the long list of learning opportunities for our members and their leadership toolkits.

It’s one of the ways the Association listens and learns, and we are counting on the goodwill of all IASB members to give us 10 minutes to take the survey, and also share it with your leadership teams. Thanks!
Theresa Kelly Gegen is Editor of the IASB Journal and can be reached at