Saturday, December 22, 2012

When we struggle, we get smarter!

A key message in the excellent TED presentation is 'when we struggle, we get smarter'.  I couldn't agree more!

To find out how to get really good at something, spend 18 minutes listening to what Daniel Coyle has to say.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Should we get children learning maths concepts earlier in life?

This article from The New Zealand Herald highlights what is happening in an Auckland kindergarten, where children are being exposed to mathematics concepts in their pre-school education.  The article starts:

'They had their annual Christmas party at the Lakeview Private Kindergarten on Wednesday.

Among the pint-sized participants were the 4-year-old graduates of the phonics, reading and writing class: the literacy programme designed to make them school-ready. Children who complete this course generally start in the top reading group when they move on to primary school, says owner/manager Michelle Tod-Bosch'.

To read the article in full, click here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Boxing to improve educational outcomes

Here's an article to demonstrate that I practice what I preach; the importance of health and fitness to improve educational outcomes, in this case, through boxing.  The article starts:

'Pumping iron and boxing clever is helping turn a squad of Lakeview School pupils into classroom champs.

Deputy principal Tim Nelson said eight teacher-nominated Year 8 boys started training at Wai Weight private gymnasium in Masterton at the start of last term'.

Click here to read the article in full.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

New Zealand ranks 8th in education outcomes

Check out this article re educational outcomes achieved by developed countries.  The ranking list was in a study called The Learning Curve, published by Pearson and carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit'.

The two leading countries, Finland and South Korea, share these common factors:
  • High-quality teachers
  • valued accountability
  • a moral mission that underlay education efforts. 

To read the article, click here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The iPod Touch Class

Check out this article.  It's about the iPod Touch class that I have set up at Lakeview School.   The article starts:

'At the start Term 2, Year 5 and 6 students in Room 3 at Lakeview School were given an iPod Touch to use in class. Here Tim Nelson explains the thinking behind the initiative and the outcomes so far'.

If I can do it, anyone can!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Education through gaming

Check out this article re engaging children in education through gaming. The article starts:

'New Zealand's school curriculum needs to take a lesson from video games to get kids more engaged in learning, according to Deputy Prime Minister Bill English'.

To read the article in full, click here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Using Twitter and iPods to teach Mandarin

Here's an idea that I have just started using as a means of using Twitter to teach Mandarin on an iPod Touch.  It's pretty simple, but I think it will prove to be very successful.

  1. Set up your own Twitter account
  2. Get your class to set up their own Twitter accounts and have them follow you.
  3. Create your own of find a You Tube video of a language concept you would like covered.  Tweet the video with a learning intention.
  4. Students are to listen to and practice the language concept.
  5. Students to record themselves on an app (we use iTalk) and email the file to me for assessment.
  6. I listen to the recordings and email back feedback.
As soon as one student sends in a recording I can tweet the next lesson, meaning that the children can learn at their own pace, not having to wait for their peers to catch up.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chromebooks for education - a KIPP case study

With the introduction of the new iPads (mini and regular sized), Nexus and a whole range of tablets it's easy to start thinking that this is the way that schools must go with education.

However, here's what looks to be a viable (and very cheap!) alternative that requires very little IT support and management; the Chromebook.  Check out this brief case study from a KIPP school in California.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

iPad Mini for Education

This is an excellent post from tech.pinions on the potential of the iPad Mini for education.  The post starts:

'I have long been a skeptic about the role of personal computing in education, especially for K-12 schools. Yes, the internet has made a wealth of information accessible to students. But the instructional revolution promised by technology optimists seems to hover forever on the horizon. The tablet—and for now, at least, that really means the iPad for reasons I will get to—could be the tool that finally makes the difference. And the new iPad mini could greatly accelerate the trend'.

To read the post in full, click here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Learning Mandarin (or anything else) online

It's so easy to set up a means of learning just about anything using an online environment.  To emphasize this point, click here and you will have access to the Mandarin language learning blog that I set up in just a few minutes this morning.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Salman Khan | The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined

This is a fantastic Google Talk Presentation with Salman Khan. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Homework - How much is too much?

This MP3 from The National Radio 9 to Noon show discusses the issue of homework and how much is too much.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Preparing children for the workforce of the future

This Ted presentation, titled 'Are droids taking our jobs' is worth a look.  The blurb for the 14 minute video is:

'Robots and algorithms are getting good at jobs like building cars, writing articles, translating -- jobs that once required a human. So what will we humans do for work? Andrew McAfee walks through recent labor data to say: We ain't seen nothing yet. But then he steps back to look at big history, and comes up with a surprising and even thrilling view of what comes next'.

One point that the presentation makes very clear; we need to encourage our students of today to be creative and innovative.

Improving education - lessons from the Finnish

I've included You Tube presentations of Pasi Sahlberg sharing information on the success of the Finnish education system on this blog in previous posts.  This podcast (below) is for an interview on the Radio New Zealand Saturday morning show in which Kim Hill interviews Mr Sahlberg on the topic of improving education. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thi impact of poverty on education

Have a listen to this podcast to hear Radio New Zealand's education correspondent, John Gerritsen, exploring why poverty is so closely linked in NZ to poor grades.  It doesn't necessarily have an answer to addressing the issue, but it does give you a lot to think about.

Friday, September 28, 2012

More evidence on how exercise can improve learning

How can we continue to ignore it?  The facts are becoming more and more clear; exercise is beneficial to learning.  For more proof, check out this Ted presentation from Wendy Suzuki.

Monday, September 24, 2012

'Poor children do worse in schools'

This article from today's Dominion Post uses National Standards data to highlight the difference between decile 1 and 10 schools in meeting National Standards.  The article starts:

'From their first day in the classroom, children from poorer backgrounds are more likely to fall behind in reading, writing and math.'

To read the article in full. click here.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

2012 New Zealand and Australian Principals Trans-Tasman Conference

It’s not quite like being there, but clicking on the links below will take you to presentations from the keynote speakers at the Principals’ Conference the took place in Melbourne last week.

Andy Hargreaves

Lucinda Hartley




Click here to access the speakers’ page from the conference website.  Here you will find further information on all of the keynote speakers, including links to blogs and websites.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What makes high-achievers different?

This You Tube presentation from Malcolm Gladwell is fascinating.  It discusses two key questions:
  1. Why do some succeed where others fail?
  2. What makes high-achievers different?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How education really does start at home

This is a thought provoking article from today's New Zealand Herald.  It starts:

'Failure starts before a child has even set foot in the classroom, writes Jim Traue.

The debate on how we deal with the "tail", the one in five pupils Hekia Parata says are seriously under-performing, has been skilfully channelled down one path, that of the failure of the schools. They are at fault and have to make major changes'.

To read the article in full, click here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Apple introduces volume app purchasing program to 9 countries (including New Zealand!)

This is great news for schools!  It will certainly make the managing IOS devices a lot easier.  For more details, click here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How online resources can enhance student achievement

This is a great article on how online resources, combined with a shared school and community focus, can have a significant impact on the achievement of students, regardless of their background.  The article starts:

'A world-first "e-learning" project which is transforming children's lives in some of Auckland's poorest suburbs is looking for partners to expand throughout the country next year.

Children as young as 5 in nine schools in the Tamaki-Glen Innes area are publishing their work on the internet and attracting feedback from around the world - with extraordinary effects on their motivation'.

To read the article in full, click here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The mobile future for education in Africa

This article, from the BBC website, provides an interesting insight into the future of education in Africa.  The article starts:

'Education systems are under stress.

It is a problem felt in many parts of the world, but in Africa, the strain is even more acute.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 10m children drop out of primary school every year. Even those fortunate enough to complete primary school often leave with literacy and numeracy skills far below expected levels'.

To read the article in full, click here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kindergartens having success with iPads

This is an interesting article on kindergartens having success with iPads.  The article starts:

'Preschool pupils outclass teachers with their grasp of new technology.

Kristiana Denford-Deck is meant to be the one teaching preschoolers, but these days she often finds the roles reversed, with her young pupils showing her how to use her centre's iPads'.

To read the article in full, click here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A parent's insight into raising a gifted child

This post is from the CNN Schools of Though blog.  It is about the joys and challenges of raising a gifted child.  The post starts:

'My daughter, who is 5, was identified last year as "gifted.” Well, I honestly had never properly understood what being "gifted" meant. I naively thought, "Oh, my baby is so advanced, she is just so smart!”
For those of you who are truly unaware of what being gifted means, let me help you understand'.

To read the post in full, click here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cloud options for schools

Check out this article from today's Dominion Post re cloud options for schools.  The article starts:

'The services - also called "cloud storage services" - mean you no longer have to worry about your smartphone or tablet computer running out of storage, or losing all your precious files should anything happen to your device'. 

To read the article in full, click here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A maths role model for girls

Check out this You Tube / CNN clip to meet a maths role model for girls.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

iPads and child brain development

This is an interesting article on iPads and their impact on child brain development.  The article starts:

A toddler sits with a magazine in front of her, sliding her fingers across the pages then waiting expectantly for them to transform at her touch. It is clear from the video that she believes the magazine is an iPad. 

The next part of the YouTube clip shows the girl comfortably playing with an actual iPad. It ends with a message from the girl's mother: "For my one-year-old daughter a magazine is an iPad that does not work." 

To read the article in full, click here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Students growing great gardens

Next time you think gardening isn't for inner city kids, take the time to watch this TED presentation; very inspirational!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Some thoughts on e-learning

This article from yesterday's Dominion Post has some interesting thoughts on e-learning.  It starts:

'Children's brains may be developing differently as a result of exposure to digital technology, with profound implications for the education system, says the prime minister's chief scientific adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman'. 

To read the article in full, click here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wow! Quality online education from the world's top universities for free!

Below is the TED description of Daphne Koller's recent TED talk.  The presentation is well worth 20 minutes of your time, and could open your eyes to a wealth of resources to enhance the learning of your children and students.

'Daphne Koller is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free -- not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. Each keystroke, comprehension quiz, peer-to-peer forum discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed and, most importantly, absorbed'.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hika Lite - A quality Te Reo Maori language app

I have spent some time trying to find a quality Te Reo Maori language app for IOS and Android devices.  Could Hika Lite be the one?  I've had a good look at it; it's certainly the best that I've come across. 

Hika Lite works well with both translating words and constructing sentences. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

STEM initiative for improving teacher quality

The STEM initiative has just been announced by President Obama in the United States.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps.  The idea is to get the most outstanding teachers in the above-mentioned four curriculum areas and use them to model best teaching practice.

To find out more about the initiative, click here to access the CNN School of Thought education blog.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Teaching Google search

Click this link for a great resource on teaching and using Google search. 

There's a lot more to searching on Google than simply entering the topic.  A lot more can be achieved by narrowing the search to find the information that you want.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Another school makes BYOD compulsary

This article re students bringing their own computer device appeared on the Stuff website today.  One of the options given for a BYOD is an iPad.  If, as the article states, an iPad is an option, then why not also include the significantly cheaper iPod Touch.

The article states that the iPad, and by extension the iPod Touch, does not support some teaching tools.  I believe that the school needs to do what it wants it's students to do and think more creatively.  An iPod touch is a still camera, video camera, voice recorded, a means of accessing and using a huge number of superb learning apps, and so much more.

One of the shortcomings often pointed out in regards to smaller devices is that they don't have a keyboard.  This is old fashioned thinking; kids are great at typing using their thumbs on smaller devices.  We see this every day with the typing of texts messages.

A further advantage of the iPod Touch is the fact that through an Apple TV and a large screen, students can immediately share what is on their devices with the class.  For the price of an interactive whiteboard (almost certainly funded by the school), every student could be given an iPod Touch, the teacher an iPad, and an Apple TV and large screen could be installed.

Hmmm ... time for some schools to do some creative thinking!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

SuperBetter - a great message for children BEFORE something bad happens!

This doesn't quite fit with teaching and learning, but the message is such a great one - AND if you watch it you'll have 7.5 minutes added to your life!

How teachers can potentially stop crime

This article appeared in today's Sunday Star Times.  It starts:

A leading judge says every young person in education is one less "potential career criminal".

Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft said schools and teachers were "firstline crime fighters" with the best chance of helping youths out of a cycle of crime. 

To read the article in full, click here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ted-Ed: A fantastic resource for teachers and educators!

Ted-Ed is such a quality resource for teachers and educators.  Make sure you take the resource tour to find out all about it.  The tour can be accessed when you click here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More from Carol Dweck on the Growth Mindset

Take eight minutes to watch this short You Tube clip on the Growth Mindset.  It may very well change your own mindset on the potential of children.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Some great advice for kids from Michael Jordan

I really like this You Tube piece. It's all about Michael Jordan giving great advice on what has made him the success he has become. It's primarily about sports, but can easily be transferred to any area in life.

From my perspective, I can see a group of 12/13 year old boys taking on and learning from Michael's key messages.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Google Apps makes a significant breakthrough

This article validates Lakeview School's decision to set up Google Apps accounts for our students, starting back in 2008!  It's great to see that a business, such as Fairfax, has seen the benefits of using the wide range of resources that Google Apps offers.

There have been rumours that the Docs will see a significant overhaul later in 2012, making an already great programme even better.

The article starts:

'Fairfax Media continued its announcement frenzy today with the revelation it will switch its internal office systems for all 10,000 employees from Microsoft to Google by the end of the year'. 

To read the article in full, click here.

One laptop per child - a poorly implemented example

This article highlights what can go wrong when a major initiative is implemented without careful planning, particularly around teacher development.  A better idea for the Peruvian government would have been to put in place a smaller, well orchestrated laptop progamme first, then learn from the mistakes and make adjustments accordingly.

The article starts:

'Peru's distribution of more than 800,000 low-cost laptop computers children across the country easily ranks as one of the world's most ambitious efforts to leverage digital technology in the fight against poverty.

Yet five years into the program, there are serious doubts about whether the largest single deployment in the One Laptop Per Child initiative was worth the more than $200 million that Peru's government spent'.

To read the article in full, click here.

Nexus 7 for Education

This is an excellent article on the benefits of the Nexus 7 for education.  It's interesting to note that the piece highlights the huge amount of apps that are available for the device.  Are these apps designed for tablets, or are a vast majority intended for phones?

The camera on the back would be a big improvement as far as content creation is concerned through video making and editing.  However, there certainly seem to be many benefits for including the Nexus 7 in any school teaching and learning programme.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A 7 Inch iPad?

Following up on my last post; there's been a lot of talk around the pod casts (such as the fabulous MacBreak Weekly) on the possibility of a 7 inch Apple tablet (a smaller iPad or a larger iPod Touch?).  It will be interesting to see if the rumors come to anything.

My feeling is that Apple should pursue the 7 inch tablet idea.  The Nexus 7 has had plenty of positive attention on the Internet over the last few days.  Here's an opportunity for Apple to, again, take on someone else's idea and do it better, working it in with the already well established Apple ecosystem.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Nexus 7 for education?

I have long been a big fan of Google applications. My school has been using Google Apps for some time, particularly Gmail, Docs and Sites. However, more recently I have been promoting the use of Apple products and apps, with the focus being on the iPod Touch, iPads, and the use of apps on these two devices.

Over the last couple of days I have been reading a number of articles on the new Nexus 7; it really does look like a potentially game breaking device to use in schools - but with one significant drawback; the limited range of applications available for the tablet. Although the iPad 2 (which my school uses) is significantly more expensive than the Nexus 7, this is more than compensated by the huge range of apps (either free or very cheap) that can be utilized on the iPad and the (far less expensive) iPod Touch.

For me, the iPad and iPod Touch are the most effective mobile devices to be used in schools.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The changing face of teaching and learning

The traditional approach to teaching and learning is slowly starting to change. Check out this TED video to see one such example of how this is happening.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Taiwan embraces exercise for students

I have posted before on Dr. John Ratey. However, I feel that the benefits of exercise on student performance and overall well-being are so important, but, sadly, so overlooked that I need to remind anyone who reads this blog. One particularly significant development has been Taiwan, already one of the world's highest academically performing countries, taking on board Dr Ratey's advice and research, which is being personally endorsed by the Taiwanese president!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Inspired by the Apple WWDC

This is the first part of the Apple WWDC 2012.  The whole thing is worth watching.  However, from 7 min 40 secs, from a teacher's perspective, I found it particularly inspiring.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

How to build your creative confidence

This is a fabulous TED presentation by David Kelly on how you can go about building your creative confidence.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

You Tube for Schools

A nice little video highlighting why we should be using You Tube in schools.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Steve Wozniak's thoughts on education

Check out this enlightening piece from Steve Wozniak on his thoughts on education.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Twitter in the classroom

This is a brief explanation of how Twitter could be used in the classroom.  Some pretty good ideas, and a couple of warnings!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How anyone can improve their memory

As teachers we are always looking for ways to help our students remember all manner of things.  Here's an interesting TED presentation that highlights just how memory can be improved.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Does class size matter?

For a lighter (and timely!) view on the effect of class size, check out this You Tube clip.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Online courses for free from the best!

This is fantastic; free online classes provided by two of the world's leading tertiary education facilities; Harvard and MIT.  To find out more, click here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Being bilingual boosts brain power

My previous post introduced a fantastic web resource for learning Mandarin.  This article highlights the benefits of using such a website as a means of becoming bilingual.  The article starts:

'Learning a second language can boost brain power, scientists believe.
The US researchers from Northwestern University say bilingualism is a form of brain training - a mental "work out" that fine-tunes the mind'.

To read the article in full, click here:

Monday, April 30, 2012

An excellent online resource for learning Mandarin

I have found the Learn Mandarin Online to be an extremely effective resource for learning Mandarin.  It's well worth a look if you are aiming to develop your ability in the language that non-Chinese from all over the world are clamoring to learn.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Five key lessons from PISA to create a quality education system

These five key lessons are from top performing education systems: Shanghai, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Finland, Canada, Japan and New Zealand. (those identified by PISA surveys as success stories):

Lesson 1
First, make education a priority. A strong performer is a country that has made education one of its flagships. Yet, that alone doesn’t get you very far.

In some countries, students are separated into different tracks at an early age because of the erroneous notion that only a subset of children can achieve world class standards. However, PISA shows that those systems tend to be fraught with large social disparities and freeze such disparities over time. In top performing systems, most students achieve high standards.

Lesson 2
Second, don’t be shy. High performing education systems do not refrain from setting out clear and ambitious standards. They are focused on the acquisition of complex, higher order thinking skills, which they align across the system. As a result, everyone has a shared sense of what is required to move on to the next academic level, in terms of content and performance. Students know what they have to do to realise their dreams and they put in the work that is needed to achieve them.

Lesson 3
Third, teachers’ quality pays. Strong education systems pay careful attention to the profile of their teachers. Much like corporations, they make sure that their teaching force is the best.

Careful consideration must go into making the teacher profession attractive; recruiting and selecting teachers; rewarding and training them on the job; recognizing the best performers and helping those who have merits but are struggling to grow.

Lesson 4
Fourth, the importance of autonomy. High performing systems provide considerable discretion to school heads and school faculties in determining content and the curriculum. Indeed, PISA shows that autonomy is closely related to school performance, provided that this is achieved under conditions of effective accountability. That said, we do not see a performance advantage of privately managed schools, once social background is accounted for.

Lesson 5
Last but not least, equity is key. World class education systems deliver high quality learning consistently across the entire education system. To this end, they invest educational resources where they can make the most difference: by attracting the most talented teachers into the most challenging classrooms, by making effective spending choices that prioritise the quality of teachers.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A key reason schools should use iPads instead of Macs

This article highlights a key reason why schools should look towards iPads instead of MacBooks if embracing cloud computing is the direction the school is looking to take.  The article starts:

'iCloud is one of the most blatant examples of Apple neglecting loyal Mac users in the rush to embrace the iPad'.

To read the article in full, click here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another perspective on charter schools

This article from Fast Company Magazine discusses charter schools in New Orleans, where 71% of students attend these schools of this type.  The article starts:

'With 71% of New Orleans schoolchildren attending charter schools, the atmosphere is ripe for testing new educational ideas. Enter 4.0 Schools, a nonprofit incubator that helps turn teachers into entrepreneurs'.

It's interesting to note that the article states:

'While charters' performance as measured by student test scores both nationwide and in the city has been mixed, they undeniably increase the local appetite for trying new educational ideas'. 

On reading the article you will find that many of the 'initiatives' highlighted have been in place in New Zealand state schools for a considerable time, clearly demonstrating that New Zealand doesn't need charter schools to be innovative in education.

Click here to read the article in full

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pasi Sahlberg on the success of Finnish education

This is an interesting presentation from Pasi Sahlberg on the Finnish education system and why it is so successful.  The presentation relates to Sahlberg's book 'Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?'

Teachers deserve respect and admiration

This is an interesting article from today's New Zealand Herald.  It discusses how teachers in New Zealand aren't given the credit they deserve, and later goes on to identify key factors in the very successful Finnish education system.

Click here to read the article.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The balancing act of nurturing talent without being a pushy parent

I really enjoyed this opinion piece by Megan Nicol Reid from today's Sunday Star Times.  It discusses the balance act of providing opportunities and having dreams for our children without crossing over the boundary to becoming a pushy parent.  Here's a small piece from the article:

'As a parent it worries me that you could miss their calling. What if you don't sign them up for that extra-curricular activity that could lead to fame and riches ... well, personal fulfilment at least. My son would like to do soccer, rugby, drums, tennis, karate, kendo, bmx-ing, T-ball, basketball, golf, surf lifesaving and cubs. I've found myself limiting him to two a week'. 

To read the article in full, click here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Apple TV + flat screen tv + iPad = a great interactive whiteboard option

This is a fantastic article on the use of an Apple TV, flat screen TV and an iPad to create an interactive whiteboard at a great price.  To read the article, click here.

Google + makeover

Interesting to see Google + has had a makeover.  I personally like the new look, that you can see on the Lakeview School page. 

You may also notice that we still only have a limited audience, with many yet not appreciating what Google + has to offer.  However, the lack of interest seems to be only a local thing, as there are 170,000,000 who have signed on to the service.

To find out more about the makeover, check out this article from today's New Zealand Herald.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to learn Mandarin online

This is the best resource that I have seen for learning a language online.  If you are looking for a fantastic resource to support your class programme check out

Monday, April 9, 2012

How to SUCCEED at anything

I really like this acronym from the Jolt Challenge programme.  To get better at anything, you need to:

C-onsistently and
E-ach and
E - very

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Learning online with MIT

This Google Talk highlights a fantastic resource, the online courses that are provided for free by MIT.  To find out what it's all about, enjoy this presentation.

Here's an example of what's available.  I'm looking at learning Mandarin.  I searched the open source database and found this.  I now have access to an online course, complete with worksheets and audio clips.  The cost to me to do the course is nothing; absolutely free!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to become a learning lab for next practice in education

The ideas below were shared by Simon Breakspear in the Wellington regional school leadership conference that was held at Te Papa last week.  

New Zealand needs to look at being a learning lab for next practice globally.
5 key strategies
1. Question in the pursuit of better.
  • Smart may have the answers but stupid has all the interesting questions
  • Smart has the plans, stupid has the stories.
  • Similar outcomes every year means that the system is designed to ensure that outcome.

2. Embrace pemanent beta mode
  • Beta - it's never finished / it's always improving.
  • The tech world is always in beta.
  • The school should always be in beta mode. We are always looking to improve, to make things better.

3. Harness your network
  • Most good ideas come from networks.
  • RSA presentation on where good ideas come from.
  • Great ideas spend a lot of time in the partial hunch mode.
  • Hunches in bunches create great ideas. Take hunches from different people to create great ideas.
  • Chance favours the connected mind.
  • Connectivity now makes it easier to create ideas in conjunction with others.
  • Most innovation happens in the networked non market zone.
  • Performance pay leads to us keeping ideas to ourselves., therefore stopping the network.
  • Creative commons - we can use it, but don't make money of it and acknowledge my work.
  • Could Wellington be the Silicon Valey of Educatlon?

4. Develop a bias towards action
  • Just get going before it all pans out. Don't let the committee kill progress.
  • What are five actions that we could take to get going in the next week? The steps can be very simple.
  • Google - launch, learn reiterate.
  • Get people out there bold enough to test things.
  • The person who started flickr started off wanting to make an online social game. The photo sharing became the focus because this is what people wanted.
  • Google puts out the minimal viable product - the MVP.

5. Reframe failure
  • Fail fast, fail forwards.
  • Getting everyone to the same standard requires different processes for all children. This isn't the same for industry; getting a Coke can to the same standard requires only one system.
  • We often need to ensure failure to enjoy success.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Khan Academy - what a great resourse for education!

I posted some time ago on the Khan Academy after seeing a TED presentation about the web resource. I have just stumbled upon an excellent follow up from the 60 Minutes website.  It's quite inspirational; the website is something that I will certainly be promoting in my own school and region. 

Click here to be inspired.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A mind / body connection - why exercise makes children smarter

Reading this article 'Sports or Smarts?', once again brought to my attention that fitness and academics aren't mutually exclusive; rather, they complement each other.  But don't take my word for it, instead watch this presentation from Dr. John A. Ratey, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A fascinating insight into the OECD education report from a New Zealand perspective

This is a very interesting analysis by Warwick B. Elley on the recent OECD report on education.  Most interesting are the five criticisms of our education system.

To read the article, click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mooresville - one laptop per child

This is an interesting article on the Mooresville School District laptop programme for students.  There's information that will both excite and frighten teachers as we look towards giving our students every chance of academic success.

To excite
The district’s graduation rate was 91 percent in 2011, up from 80 percent in 2008. On state tests in reading, math and science, an average of 88 percent of students across grades and subjects met proficiency standards, compared with 73 percent three years ago. Attendance is up, dropouts are down. Mooresville ranks 100th out of 115 districts in North Carolina in terms of dollars spent per student — $7,415.89 a year — but it is now third in test scores and second in graduation rates.

To frighten
Sixty-five jobs were eliminated, including 37 teachers, which resulted in larger class sizes — in middle schools, it is 30 instead of 18 — but district officials say they can be more efficiently managed because of the technology.

One thing that the articles makes clear to me is the need for teachers to up-skill themselves with the ability to use technology to enhance learning.  Without doing so they may find that, like last year's technology, they become obsolete.

To read the article in full, click here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Some great feedback on the New Zealand education system

Despite spending a lot less than other developed countries on education, New Zealand remains as one of the world's top performers when it comes to educating students.  The message here to me is clear; if we placed more value on education and spent closer to what other countries do, our children will achieve at even higher levels.

Have a read of this article from the New Zealand Herald titled: 'NZ top school performer despite low funds'.  The article starts:

Despite New Zealand schools receiving lower funding than many other OECD countries, students here are among the world's top achievers, according to a new report.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The digital divide - the new iliteracy

This TED talk discusses how to bridge the education gap that has become the digital divide.  This is done through the innovative Learning and Innovation Network.  To find out what this is all about, take 10 minutes of your time to watch this fascinating and inspiring TED presentation.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

iBooks Keynote

I loved this keynote address.  I can honestly say that I feel that the iBooks app and corresponding tools will change the face of education.  I strongly suggest that anyone with a vested interest in education puts aside 60 minutes of their time to watch this.

I, for one, am looking forward to using iBooks to enhance the education of my students.  I am looking forward even more to publishing my own book!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

National Standards league tables

Fight looms as Parata touts move on school ratings
It must be recognised that student performance is a result of the equation 'home x school = achievement'. I am hopeful that any proposed league table will reflect this.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

iBooks Author for educators

iBooks Author looks like a fantastic tool for educators, both as a means of accessing content, and a way in which to publish your own curriculum material.  Click here to see the demo on the Apple website.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mobile computing devices in schools

Stuff. This article from today's Dom Post is an interesting one.

Incidentially, this blog post was done on my mobile phone after my reading the article on the device.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Digital textbooks on the iPad

This is an interesting piece form the Apple website on the use of digital textbooks through an iPad.  Is this where the future of education is heading?  Click here to have a look.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Montessori - see the light in the child's eyes

This is an interesting look at Montessori education from one parent's perspective.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Edudemic - a fantastic website for educators!

Check out this website - it's awesome!  Full of a huge amount of useful resources and articles on education.  Make sure you bookmark it (and bookmark my blog too!)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Preparing for the first day of school - some advice

This article from the New Zealand Herald has some helpful information on preparing for the first day of school.  The article starts:

'Author of the parenting book The Biggest Job We'll Ever Have, Laura Gauld, offers invaluable tips for the first few school days and a successful year.'

Click here to read the article in full.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why we should do science fairs in schools

Check out this TED presentation on the three winners of the 2011 Google Science Fair; it's quite inspirational!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Google 20% time - could this work in our schools?

When you consider some of the amazing products that have been developed in the Google 20% time (Google Apps being one such example), perhaps we should look at a similar approach in our schools; give students a day a week to work on the project of their choice (one they have developed the skills to work independently, of course).