Live 2 Learn

A few thoughts and ideas

First day of Bicycle Qld Tour

This year, during my long-service leave Jane and I have completed the 2015 Bicycle Queensland 9-day tour. Though the tour starts officially tomorrow we arrived at the USQ campus in Toowoomba around 2pm on Friday 4th September.

This is us just ready to leave.

First me.
Alex ready to leave.

And my wife, Jane

Jane ready to leave. Read More

Geoff Masters’ ACER article on challenging our most able students

Student

Having read this article by Geoff Masters, I attempted to leave a comment but despite using a range of browsers the comment function didn’t work. So here is my comment, please read the article first ..

This is a thought provoking article. My initial reaction is that I believe teachers, especially our highly motivated, passionate and professionally aware teachers, are very often in close agreement with Masters’ preferred approach and attempt to do what they can within schools which are structured according to the first model Masters describes.

Similarly, I believe that school leadership are often in very close agreement with Masters’ preferred approach and attempt to promote good pedagogy within their organisation but are working within a mandated and supposed curriculum, political, policy and often financial framework which keeps on reinforcing the first model described.

A major problem is that Read More

Jim Moore

Jim was a person I met at the Helensvale Goodlife Gym.

Jim, trainer at Helensvale Gym

Jim, trainer at Helensvale Gym

He was the personal trainer who was tasked with showing me the equipment when I joined the gym. Later, Jane (my wife) suggested I try a personal trainer to get me motivated toward my fitness. I had been impressed by Jim’s introductory session at the Helensvale Goodlife club and, consequently, asked him to be my personal trainer for a few months. This was during the same year that my wife and her mum were off visiting relatives in the UK.

Read More

How well is technology used at school?

SAMR

The SAMR model.

A colleague from another school shared a link to the article What are the Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make When Integrating Technology into the Classroom? This gives a summary of mistakes made in considering technology use in schools.

While reading this article I thought of a compounding issue that relates to these types of concerns. The problem, I posit, is that some types of technology are so ubiquitous in everyday use that there is a ‘technology so what!’ attitude that is developing. I think many students, parents and, unfortunately, some educators think that because they use their tablet, laptop, phone, and now wearable technologies, often in their everyday life they are ‘using technology’.  Well of course they are using technology, but as Allan November tells us regarding 1 to 1 laptop initiatives, we are often not using our technologies above the level of the ‘$1000 pencil’. Read More

Swans

Swan and Chick 3

Swans, a set on Flickr.

These are from our local lake (pond) at Pacific Pines. Unfortunately, the cygnets disappeared a few days after this. With cats, eels and people these birds have a hard time.

Via Flickr:
Black Swans

Being, not just practicing

Brain-anatomy

 

 

 

 

(Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org: by User:Primalchaos)

At my school this morning, a teacher presented a report on the recent ‘Artist in Residence’ event. We call this type of short presentation a TWEET (This Weeks Educationally Excellent Tip). The presentation takes only 2 to 3 minutes and starts us off for the week with an educational idea for all Secondary School teachers before we get down to the administrative items which typically dominates our start-of-week briefing.

This morning was an excellent example of blood-less brain surgery. In the experiences that the Art Faculty employed for their students they took the students from learning about art and media to Read More

Habit of Mind Zero

Mindfulness = Habit Zero (Image from Sergiu Bacioiu from Wikimedia Commons)

During the last few months we have been looking to introduce mindfulness at my school. Having started to introduce the Habits of Mind during the last 18 months the issue of mindfulness has been seen to be a good fit for our pastoral care programmes aimed at encouraging students to be emotionally resilient and our focus on developing success through the adoption of the Habits of Mind.

The more I look at the language of the Habits of Mind and mindfulness and consider the underlying mechanism of making our thoughts more deliberate and our minds more effective, the more I think that mindfulness and the Habits of Minds are different expressions of the same thing. More than this the principles of mindfulness place it as an overlaying structure that supports all the Habits of Mind as well as adding its own benefits for mental health and the functioning of the mind.

So maybe Mindfulness can be considered as Habit 0.

Do Schools Need a Policy for Social Network Issues?

Social Media Regulation (image from Wikimedia Commons by Pmox)

I think it essential that a school or system of schools has policy that covers the communication behaviours that are considered acceptable as part of school operations, and, furthermore, details those behaviours that either need regulating or banning.

There are several aspects to the use of social media use that relate to schools. These include consideration of:

  • Official school and school system use of social media channels – news / parent information / promotions / advertising
  • Educational use of school mediated social media – hosted inside or outside the school or system – Facebook groups that students can join / School LMS functions / educational Web 2.0 tools / external course material / chat rooms
  • Personal use by staff and students of social media for educational purposes – personal email addresses / twitter accounts / Web 2.0 tools (wiki’s, blogs, socially mediated groups, photo sharing etc.)
  • Social, non-educational use of social media between staff, staff and parents, staff and students.

Generally I don’t believe in setting policies that:

  • Cannot be policed
  • Are based on a specific type of device, object or service

Probably weapons such as guns and knives are an exception, and even here there are grey areas. Read More

Discussions with pre-service teachers on ICT use

NetworkThis is a link to a forum I recently contributed to which discussed the use of ICT in classes and how to manage the use of computers in schools. The scenarios were well presented by the students and the discussion was very useful.
Fellow contributor was John Oxley and the forum was run by MIchelle Williams.

Image modified from Zigomitros Athanasios work at Wikimedia Commons

Professional Status of Teachers in Queensland

TeacherFor a long time in Queensland the professional standard and standing of teachers has been compromised by the very silly situation where teachers in primary and middle schools can be qualified to take up general teaching duties where they teach students in literacy, numeracy, arts, sciences and the humanities with an entry to their university training only requiring a pass in English. I’ve heard today that over the next couple of years the requirements will be for trainee teachers to have a pass in English, maths, and science. This is good news and gives hope for the increased professionalisation of teaching in this state. I look forward to Queensland improving its teaching capacity and professional standards over the next few years.

Image from Wikimedia Commons