"Ontario is banking on better teacher training to improve its math results, even as the Manitoba government is going back to basics this fall to battle poor test scores.
Students across the country are struggling with numeracy. Results this week from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment – a sweeping measure of scholastic abilities in 65 countries – showed that increasing percentages of 15-year-olds are failing the math test in nearly all provinces.
The numbers have got Ontario worried, and Education Minister Liz Sandals is vowing to tackle the problem."
"The OECD results suggest that jurisdictions that teach math in a more traditional way had more success than those such as Ontario that use “discovery learning,” a method that allows for open-ended student investigations and problem-solving.
Critics of this method say it ignores the basics, such as having students memorize multiplication tables. In Ontario, for instance, students are required to be able to multiply by 9 in grade 4, but there is no requirement they do so through rote memorization.
This fall, Manitoba returned to some traditional teaching methods in its kindergarten to Grade 8 curriculum, in hopes of giving students better foundational math skills.
The changes in Manitoba mean that students are now taught all four standard methods for arithmetic – addition with a carry, subtraction with a borrow, long multiplication and long division. The curriculum stresses that students do math in their heads and not rely on calculators."
"Sometimes, peculiar routines are the key to sanity… and productivity.
For years, I wrote from 11pm-4am or so, fueled by carefully timed yerba mate tea, Malbec, and Casino Royale left on repeat in my peripheral vision.
But who am I? Let’s explore the odd and effective routines of several creative icons: Maya Angelou (author), Francis Bacon (painter), W.H. Auden (poet), and Ludwig van Beethoven (composer).
Here’s an appetizer, before we get to the full routines:
- Maya Angelou rented a 'tiny, mean' hotel or motel room to do her writing; - Francis Bacon preferred to work with a hangover; - W.H. Auden took Benzedrine the way many people take a multivitamin; and - Beethoven counted out 60 coffee beans (exactly!) each morning, and developed his compositions through walking and obsessive bathing.
"The Online Model United Nations (O-MUN) program is not only a powerful model of global conflict resolution and community building for students. The fact that the traditional Model United Nations (MUN) academic simulation can now take place online makes O-MUN a powerful example of the evolution of Connected Learning principles (see Scott’s post on Connected Learning). And if O-MUN exemplifies the Connected Learning principles of interest-powered, academically-oriented, peer-supported learning, then Junior Online MUN is a powerful extension of this third principle, in particular. It has transformed peer-supported learning into a global mentoring network."
Karl Fisch, author of The Fischbowl blog, has taught middle and high school students math for 23 years, and he currently Director of Technology at Arapahoe High School, Colorado, USA. He reports he is fine despite the incident at Arapahoe High School this week.
"What are features of effective learning and teaching in health and wellbeing?
Effective learning and teaching in health and wellbeing:
engages children and young people and takes account of their views and experiences, particularly where decisions are to be made that may impact on life choicestakes account of research and successful practice in supporting the learning and development of children and young people, particularly in sensitive areas such as substance misuseuses a variety of approaches including active, cooperative and peer learning and effective use of technologyencourages and capitalises on the potential to experience learning and new challenges in the outdoor environmentencourages children and young people to act as positive role models for others within the educational communityleads to a lasting commitment in children and young people to follow a healthy lifestyle by participation in experiences which are varied, relevant, realistic and enjoyablehelps to foster health in families and communities through work with a range of professions, parents and carers, and children and young people, and enables them to understand the responsibilities of citizenshipharnesses the experience and expertise of different professions to make specialist contributions, including developing enterprise and employability skills."
Via Ana Cristina Pratas
"Today [December 4, 2013], researchers announced they have obtained DNA sequences from the earliest human skeletal remains yet, a Spanish fossil from a site known as Sima de los Huesos, or pit of bones. Although the study is undoubtedly a triumph of technology and technique, the results themselves have researchers scratching their heads, since the most closely related DNA has only been found on the opposite side of Eurasia.
The sequencing of DNA from fossil humans has already shaken up our view of the past. The completion of the genome of Neanderthals indicated that they had interbred with modern humans enough to introduce a small bit of their DNA into genomes of any population that left Africa. But sequencing other bones revealed that there was a second group of pre-modern humans in Siberia that also interbred with our ancestors. This group, called the Denisovans, also contributed DNA to our ancestors, but it only appears in groups that migrated into the Pacific.
To confuse matters further, although we have many Neanderthal skeletal remains and a good idea of how they differed from modern humans, so far, all we have of the Denisovans is a couple of teeth. These tell us that their teeth were very large, but little else. Still, the only real question seemed to be how the Denisovans, whom we only know from Siberian remains, ended up getting their DNA carried out into the Pacific."
Science Leadership Academy Principal Christopher Lehmann argues that new Chromebooks are a cost-effective solution to going 1-to-1 and supporting project-based learning.
"...Christopher Lehmann, SLA's principal and the recipient of a new grant from Dell to fund the adoption of Chromebooks, argues that the $300-dollar devices are a potential game-changer for schools, providing 90 percent of the functionality of traditional laptops at one-fourth the price.
'I really think Chromebooks have the potential to revolutionize the way schools are thinking about technology,' Lehmann said. 'There is no more financial argument to be made about why a district can't go 1-to-1.'
Similarly heady projections have accompanied any number of other ed-tech product releases in recent years—many of which have been accompanied by troubled rollouts. But people in the ed-tech world are likely to pay close attention to such proclamations from Lehmann, who was recently named the nation's 'outstanding leader' by the International Society for Technology in Education."
"Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard the phrase that is the title of this post used as a badge of honor. I’ve also heard it said this way: “There’s nothing we do with paper and pencil.” Folks have sworn that they never use, would never use, or would never have students use, pen and paper to further their learning, as if pen and paper were cancer-causing or habit forming.1 What’s creepy is watching other people nod their heads and smile when a speaker says that. Those folks should challenge the speaker. Sometimes, we’re just entirely too polite.
The last time I heard this phrase and saw the head nod/smile response was during the Champions for Change event. My notes are below. My, ahem, paper notes. I hope the video of the conversation is posted soon.
Too many proponents of digital tools get stuck in the false either/or dichotomy that suggests that we must abandon paper to embrace the digital. That’s silly. Paper is good for lots of things. Scribbling on a tablet isn’t yet the best way to get thoughts down in a hurry. Paper is easily sharable and postable in ways that notes on a tablet or laptop aren’t.
"This audio podcast is a recording of Jake Heister’s presentation on December 4, 2013, at the Interactive Learning Institute in Norman, Oklahoma, titled, “Going 1:1 – Planning for Success.” The ILI Conference is sponsored each year by the K-20 Center at the University of Oklahoma. The official session description was “Many well-intended 1:1 initiatives fall short of their potential due to lack of planning in a few key areas. This session will detail the planning process for our current implementation of a 1:1 Chromebook environment, tips for success, and lessons learned.” Although this description mentions Chromebooks specifically, Jake addresses planning issues for 1:1 projects applicable to all platforms and devices. This was an outstanding presentation, and one of the best the publisher (Wesley Fryer) has heard in the past five years about 1:1 computing initiatives. Please refer to the podcast shownotes for links to Jake’s slides as well as selective, republished tweets shared by @wfryer during Jake’s presentation. Follow Jake on Twitter: @jakeheister."
We spend so much time in education trying to make things better. Better policies. Better technology. Better standards. Better curriculum. Better instruction. Better assessment. Better response to assessment data.