Monday, November 28, 2011

A 12 year old app developer

This is an interesting TED talk by a 12 year old who has started developing his own apps for iPhone,iPad and iPod Touch.  This is something that could be done in any schools through the use of an app development kit.

I really like the idea of students becoming the developers of apps, as opposed to solely using apps that have been created by others.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How often should kids exercise?

Check out this article from the Everybody Live to 100 website.  It's about the amount of exercise that kids should have each day; giving details on the physical, social, mental and longer term benefits.

Here are four key guidelines:
  • do 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity throughout each day
  • be active in as many ways as possible; for example, through play, cultural activities, dance, sport and recreation, jobs, and going from place to place
  • be active with friends and whanau, at home, school and in the community
  • spend less than 2 hours a day (out of school time) in front of television, computers and game consoles.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How video games make kids smarter

Check out this TED talk from Gabe Zichermann on how video games make kids smarter.  He presents a very compelling case.  The blurb for the talk from the TED site is:

'Can playing video games make you more productive? Gabe Zichermann shows how games are making kids better problem-solvers, and will make us better at everything from driving to multi-tasking'. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The positive side of peer pressure

This Google Talk from Tina Rosenberg is well worth 47 minutes and 44 seconds of your time.  It looks at the positive impact of peer pressure.  The talk centers around her new book, Join the Club.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why we need school libraries

I really enjoyed this article from the Stuff website about the roll of libraries in schools.  I think that it's a tragedy that any school would consider taking such a wonderful resource away from students.  The article starts:

'Schools do an incredibly difficult job. Students have complex needs and varied backgrounds, teaching is an exhausting and often thankless job, and the regulations are convoluted. There's the National Curriculum, National Standards, National Education Goals, and the National Administration Guidelines, to name a few (the last two are interesting reading if you have a school-aged child)'.

To read the article in full, click here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why learn Maori? (and how to do so)

This article appeared in today's New Zealand Herald.  It focuses on making Te Reo Maori compulsory in New Zealand schools.  Many of the comments that follow it state that there is little point in learning the language, and look for barriers, such as funding and relevance as reasons not to.

The article starts:

'The use of the words "compulsory" and "Maori language" in the same sentence is enough to get some people's blood running hot. But the Maori Party policy announced this week is carefully worded: it wants te reo "compulsorily available" in schools by 2015'.

I strongly believe that Maori should be taught in New Zealand schools, with these reasons for learning a second language from The American Council of Teaching supporting my view:

  • Has a positive effect on intellectual growth.
  • Enriches and enhances a child's mental development.
  • Leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
  • Improves a child's understanding of his/her native language.
  • Gives a child the ability to communicate with people s/he would otherwise not have the chance to know.
  • Opens the door to other cultures and helps a child understand and appreciate people from other countries.
  • Gives a student a head start in language requirements for college.
  • Increases job opportunities in many careers where knowing another language is a real asset.
There are numerous websites that promote and enable the speaking of Te Reo Maori.  Two being my own site 'Let's learn Te Reo Maori' (a bit of self promotion here), and the excellent 'Toku Reo' series.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Election promise to provide computers to low decile schools

An interesting idea.  It would certainly be appreciated at decile 2 Lakeview School.  To find out more, check out this article from the New Zealand Herald, which starts:

'Labour's plan to give laptops or netbooks to 31,000 children in low-decile schools has been welcomed - but with a warning it doesn't go far enough and middle-class children could be left behind when it comes to e-learning'.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Zealand ranks top for education in the UN 21st annual Human Development Index

Way to go New Zealand!  It's great to be a part of the education system that ranks highest in the world according to the UN 21st annual Human Development Index.  To read an article from the New Zealand Herald re the Index, click here.