Thursday, September 29, 2011

Motivating teenage students with studio schools

The studio school aims to address these two key areas:

  1. Bored teenagers dropping out, no job, no hope, no line of sight.
  2. Annoyed employers complaining about poor employ-ability.

In the studio school, work and learning are integrated.  80% of the curriculum is delivered through real life, practical projects.

The point of the studio school is that many teenagers learn best by doing things, working in teams, and doing things for real.

The results; the students love the system, and, perhaps more importantly for the sake of accountability, the students moved into the top quartile for national exam results.

To find out more about studio schools, check out this Ted presentation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

iPads replacing textbooks in schools

This article is well worth a read.  The short term costs of replacing textbooks with tablets may be high, but the long term costs and practicalities to schools and students, I believe, is well worth the initial outlay.  The article starts:

'For incoming freshmen at western Connecticut's suburban Brookfield High School, hefting a backpack weighed down with textbooks is about to give way to tapping out notes and flipping electronic pages on a glossy iPad tablet computer.'

To read the full article, click here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Classrooms too noisey to learn

This article highlights the need to create a classroom environment that is conducive to children being able to hear.  The premise is pretty simple; if a child can't hear, the child won't learn.  The article starts:

'School classrooms with similar acoustics to cafes are hindering children's ability to hear properly during lessons.'

To read the full article, click here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Making the most of sleep cycles to improve student learning

This presentation from the Brain Rules website highlights the need to change the school hours to meet the physical learning needs of students.  Perhaps we could start the day at 8.00am and finish at 2.00pm.  Alternatively, set aside a time to nap in the afternoon.  The benefits of doing this are emphasized by this fact from the Brain Rules website:
  • Taking a nap might make you more productive. In one study, a 26-minute nap improved NASA pilots’ performance by 34 percent. 
Instead of writing off afternoons as a time in which students aren't at their best for learning in the core curriculum areas, maybe we could get that 26 minute nap in and have our students increase their learning and productivity by 34%.  If it's good enough for NASA, it should be good enough for the local primary school.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Using iPads, trimming textbooks

This article is an interesting one on the use of iPads as a means of accessing electronic textbooks to support learning programmes in some American schools.  The article starts:

'For incoming freshmen at western Connecticut's suburban Brookfield High School, hefting a backpack weighed down with textbooks is about to give way to tapping out notes and flipping electronic pages on a glossy iPad tablet computer.

A few hours away, every student at Burlington High School near Boston will also start the year with new school-issued iPads, each loaded with electronic textbooks and other online resources in place of traditional bulky texts.'

To read the article in full, click here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Using Twitter to teach children how to write

After featuring an earlier post on this blog an article on how a British teacher used blogging to encourage students to write, check out this really interesting article on teaching children to write in France using Twitter.  Great to see web 2.0 tools being used for such a worthwhile purpose in schools across the world!  The article starts:

'Seated in front of the family computer, with his mother watching him, Lucas, 7, let his 30 Twitter followers know that "my cousins Eva and Léa are coming to my house tonight." It's just like he does at school. In 2010, Lucas was a pupil in the first primary school class in France to use Twitter to learn how to read and write.'

To read the full article from Time Magazine, click here.

Microsoft Education Roadshow

I attended the Microsoft Education Roadshow in Wellington earlier in the week.  I must say, even as a Google fan boy, I was very impressed with what I saw.  Microsoft may have been late to focus on cloud computing, but they have obviously thought about their new strategy with the upcoming Office365 and Windows 8, both of which products look like a great option for schools.

I found the presentation that looked deeper into Word 2010 to be a real eye opener.  Scratch the surface and you will find a lot of great applications; two of which being the scientific calculator and the ability to generate mathematics tests at the click of a button.

As a learning tool I found the Kinect device to be fantastic.  The Dr. Kawashima game is a great brain gym application.  There is plenty of evidence highlighting the benefits of moving while learning; this being an integral part of the Dr Kawashima / Kinect experience.  One such example finding that children learned to tell the time in a matter of minutes.

Overall the day was a very enjoyable and enlightening experience.  It certainly opened my eyes to to company that appears to be putting the learner at the centre of it's vision for the future.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

More on relationships between parents and students

This is part 2 from the CNN discussion / article on the relationship between parents and teachers.  It includes some interesting points from both 'sides' in the debate.

As I stated in the previous post, it's great to have discussion and debate provided that the ultimate outcome for all parties is the success of children in our schools.

To read the article, click here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Teachers and parents - work for children, not against each other.

I read this thought provoking article on the CNN website.  It made me think how much I do appreciate it when I am supported by parents when issues arrise with students.  The best results for children are achieved when schools and families work together, not against each other.

Click here to read the article.