"I’m giving a session during my district’s aptly named 'Summer Technology Extravaganza' entitled Six [totally awesome] Web Presentation Tools for Teachers at a Glance. If you’re a teacher like me, you get bombarded with periodic e-mails that tout these lists of “great” web resources for teachers throughout the school year. And we mean well when we get those e-mails, don’t we? We flag them to follow up on later. We might mention the e-mail to a co-worker at a department meeting, saying, 'Hey, did you see Greg’s e-mail?' and 'Oh, yeah, that stuff looks really cool. I definitely am going to check that out.'
"But we almost never end up using those resources, for three main reasons: (1) We don’t have time, because we’re up to our ears in grading, lesson planning, collaborating, meeting with students, going to grad school or professional development seminars, and running extracurriculars. (2) Maybe we do make a little chunk of time to check out the list, but there are thirty-five items, and we get frustrated dealing with so many unfamiliar resources, some of which seem like a waste of time since we have zero idea about how to connect them to our own teaching. (3) Even if we do actually find a resource that seems usable, we realize that we have to put in a ton of time before we’ll be able to use it… which brings us back to reason #1, and we say 'maybe next year.'
"However, as teachers, we cannot allow ourselves to back away from new technology. We can’t afford to be afraid of it, since our students are pretty much capable of inventing some of these resources on their cell phones during our study hall! As someone once said, you can’t outrun a tidal wave… and that can be what technology feels like: a scary, overwhelming tsunami moving at the speed of light, ready to flatten us and our traditional ideas about teaching. However, I’m challenging us as educators to ride that dang wave, and turn it into something not so threatening, but rather, something TOTALLY AWESOME! Go with the surfer mentality. It’s all good, my friends."
In an opinion piece for the New York Times on Sunday, political science professor Andrew Hacker asks,...
“'Is Algebra Necessary?' and answers, “No.” It’s not just algebra: geometry and calculus are on the chopping block, too. It’s not that he doesn’t think math is important; he wants the traditional sequence to be replaced by a general “quantitative skills” class, and perhaps some statistics.
“Quite a few people have responded to Hacker’s column already. I highly recommend these posts by Rob Knop, Daniel Willingham, and RiShawn Biddle.
“There are so many problems with Hacker’s essay that it’s hard to know where to start. Hacker’s first main point is that math is difficult, and the poor grades that result prevent too many people from graduating high school or college. His second is that the math we learn is not the math we need in our jobs.”
How education reform can fight crimeWashington Post (blog)The idea that poor education is related to crime is pretty intuitive: good teachers are less likely to want to serve in high-crime areas, poor education makes finding non-criminal employment...
The study looked at whether emotional intelligence is related to academic performance in secondary schools. Emotional intelligence was defined in terms of well-being and the ability to motivate oneself, control impulses and persist despite difficulties. It also included the ability to manage stress, empathise and get along with other people.
My first introduction to Feynman came some years ago when hearing that Feynman came up with his Nobel winning Physic’s insight through watching students throw and spin plates in the cafeteria of Cornell University.
I thought it was so cool that a person could have an important insight from something as ordinary and mundane as happening to notice someone amuse themselves by throwing a plate up in the air in a school cafeteria. For me, gaining creative insights or ideas from unexpected places is what initially drew me to research creativity and eventually led to the creation of Think Jar Collective.
There is a pattern that needs to be there for relevant creative ideas to arise. In a nutshell the pattern is something like this… Focus on a creative challenge for a bit…then let go… repeat many times
If we look a bit deeper the general pattern has the following features… - Domain Knowledge: You need to know your domain you want creative ideas in (like how Feynman was already a physicist and knew “the rules”) - Focus: You need to spend a lot of time thinking about your challenge or problem you want some creative ideas around, (Feynman worked on physics problems a lot) - Let Go: You need to periodically and regularly interrupt the brooding about a problem and do something totally differently (Like how Feynman went down to the cafeteria for a break). Even better if you schedule regular interruptions. - Serious Play: (Serious means the play is purposeful. This doesn’t mean boring playfulness; spontaneity is part of it. Serious play means you value play as a tool for fostering creative thinking. You have fun with it all; you explore and tease the old rules too. As you’ll soon see Feynman was a master of serious play)
We need to continue to talk about scheduling.....especially as we talk about tools for positive behavioral supports. We know that having monthly, daily, and mini-schedules make us ALL feel more competent and calm.
Robin Good: Must-read article on ClutterMuseum.com by Leslie M-B, exploring in depth the opportunity to have students master their selected topics by "curating" them, rather than by reading and memorizing facts about them.
"Critical and creative thinking should be prioritized over remembering content"
"That students should learn to think for themselves may seem like a no-brainer to many readers, but if you look at the textbook packages put out by publishers, you’ll find that the texts and accompanying materials (for both teachers and students) assume students are expected to read and retain content—and then be tested on it.
Instead, between middle school (if not earlier) and college graduation, students should practice—if not master—how to question, critique, research, and construct an argument like an historian."
This is indeed the critical point. Moving education from an effort to memorize things on which then to be tested, to a collaborative exercise in creating new knowledge and value by pulling and editing together individual pieces of content, resources and tools that allow the explanation/illustration of a topic from a specific viewpoint/for a specific need.
And I can't avoid to rejoice and second her next proposition: "What if we shifted the standards’ primary emphasis from content, and not to just the development of traditional skills—basic knowledge recall, document interpretation, research, and essay-writing—but to the cultivation of skills that challenge students to make unconventional connections, skills that are essential for thriving in the 21st century?"
An integral component of your braking system is your vagus nerve, a far-flung nerve that reaches nearly all the organs of your body. It slows down your breathing and your heart rate and modulates your voice.
"Le Paper Globe is a template for a DIY terrestrial globe. Not only will it look neat in your living room, it is also a very good learning tool for Geography and Geometry." It is free to download and comes complete with instructions. It is not as easy as it may appear, but produces a very high quality globe (that you can have colored before you begin assembling).
"Do you recall some of your college professors who knew their subject matter but had zero teaching skills? Staying awake in their one-way-directed lecture classes required Herculean strength (or lots of coffee). They were never trained to develop the skillset of engagement strategies.
Even though I was a physician with a strong science background, when I decided to become a classroom teacher (and thought I'd teach science), I did not want to make that career change without the benefit of instruction and guided student teaching. The year I spent in my graduate school of education program was invaluable in my transition to becoming a professional educator."
If You Want Our Economy Fixed, Fix EducationHuffington PostNews flash: Do you want to know the best way to solve the economic problems in America? By closing the education achievement gap. That's right.
"Should colleges that train teachers focus on educational theory, instructing future educators in how children develop and how the brain learns? Or should they focus on the more practical skills teachers need to run classrooms and teach children algebra? Is it possible for training programs to do both well?
"These are questions that have become increasingly controversial as debates about how to reform U.S. public education have focused on improving the quality of teachers. Groups like the National Council on Teacher Quality have issued critiques of education schools, and new programs like Relay (a graduate school for teachers that is “practically focused”) are putting pressure on more traditional schools of education to pay greater attention to the practical side of teaching.
“Unless we rethink teacher education, we are faced with a critical stance toward us that I think is going to overwhelm us,” said Gary Natriello, a professor of sociology and education at Teachers College (TC), Columbia University."
Robin Good: Data (or Digital) Curation, is an academic/scientific discipline dedicated to preserve, organize and collect digital documents and other electronic artifacts for archival, re-use and repurposing objectives.
The importance of Data Curation can be easily underestimated as it may appear, to the casual viewer, as an arid, tedious document archival job.
In reality, Digital Curation efforts are of great value to the preservation of important cultural documents and data for future researchers who will want to access, in some organized way, the data-information-artifacts of our time. In addition, the data curation practices and guidelines developed by academic and research institutions can also be of value and inspiration to other types of curation work, that may adopt, emulate or innovate upon them.
If you are interested in learning more about Data/Digital Curation and in identifying the key organizations in this space, here is a good shortlist for you, thanks to the kind work of Kevin "the Librarian" Read:
University of Arizona – Digital Information Management University of Illinois – Data Curation Education Program University of North Carolina – DigCCurr University of Virginia – Scientific Data Consulting
Digital Curation Centre Digital Curation Exchange International Journal of Digital Curation Purdue-UIUC Data Curation Profiles Project
"All observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar” [Benjamin Whorf] (...) The crucial point is that everything that we see in the right half of our vision is processed in the left hemisphere of our brain, and everything we see in the left half is processed by the right hemisphere. And for most of us, the left brain is stronger at processing language. So perhaps the language savvy half of our brain is helping us out. (...)
Among those who were the fastest at identifying the odd color, English speakers showed no left brain / right brain distinction, whereas Korean speakers did. It’s plausible that their left brain was attuned to the distinction between yeondu and chorok. (...)
Language is somehow enhancing your left brain’s ability to discern different colors with different names. Cultural forces alter our perception in ever so subtle a way, by gently tugging our visual leanings in different directions. (...)
As infant brains are rewiring themselves to absorb our visual language, the seat of categorical processing jumps hemispheres from the right brain to the left. And it stays here throughout adulthood. Their brains are furiously re-categorizing the world, until mysteriously, something finally clicks into place."