Live 2 Learn

A few thoughts and ideas

Is gamification the answer? Maybe, maybe not.

A recent blog post was shared to me by a colleague. The short article stated that students are learning incorrectly and that gamification would improve student learning if used throughout education. See here for the online article from Futurism.com called ‘The way that students learn today is wrong‘.

The article makes the case that the stages that gamers follow in solving problems is akin to the scientific approach. This may be so, however, my initial response is to say that 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

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

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

Do we need coding in school?

MatrixIn a recent Guardian article (See Here) John Naughton gives us some ideas about how to approach the problem of educating our kids in the technology saturated world that is only going to get more-so in the future. A great deal of what Naughton says I agree with but he then resorts to some good old-fashioned rallying cry stuff like 
”The biggest justification for change is not economic but moral. It is that if we don’t act now we will be short-changing our children. They live in a world that is shaped by physics, chemistry, biology and history, and so we, quite rightly, want them to understand these things. But their world will be also shaped and configured by networked computing and if they don’t have a deeper understanding of this stuff then they will effectively be intellectually crippled. They will grow up as passive consumers of closed devices and services, leading lives that are increasingly circumscribed by technologies created by elites working for huge corporations such as Google, Facebook and the like. We will, in effect, be breeding generations of hamsters for the glittering wheels of cages built by Mark Zuckerberg and his kind.” Read More

Knowing, understanding and create optimistic futures through the Habits of Mind

This is a short article I wrote for my school magazine. I hope you find it interesting. 
As the needs of our society have changed, so the level of expected intellectual ability required by people to enable them to be successful has risen. Prior to the industrial age it was sufficient to learn a process or job that you would have for whole of your working life. This job was likely to be similar to that done by your parents and grandparents throughout their working life. Later, during the industrial age, the primary concern was production, with workers being selected (and socially ranked into classes) based on their ability to read, memorise and use a large number of recognised facts. As time has gone on, society moved from the industrial to the information age. With this change the ability to learn and remember facts has given way to a much more important need for understanding. So what are the characteristics we now need to develop in our students to ensure they have a good chance at a successful, productive and satisfying life? Read More

Using web filtering as classroom managment

For some reason teachers who ordinarily are comfortable with managing students in their class, find the management of students within a computer area such as a computer lab, extremely demanding. One response to this is that teachers ask for technical staff to block websites citing that the sites are a distraction.
Here is a good response to this issue http://tiny.cc/nTk10.

Within my experience I would say that one of the reasons for students being distracted when in class is due to the trivial and/or unengaging nature of the work that students are set. The cure for this is differentiated learning and the use of powerful questioning techniques. A good reference for this is www.fno.org

Educators coping with or embracing change – attitudes to learning

For part of my Masters course at QUT I am doing a reflective unit. While doing this I wrote the following. It may be of some interest.

“Many educators, for many reasons, often develop coping mechanisms when faced with innovation and/or change in the educational environment. These teachers repackage, resist or sometimes ignore the change, rather than engaging with the thoughts and actions that need to occur. Some have even been known to ignore the changes that are required with the rationale that if they wait long enough the innovation will either be cancelled or the frequent changes that occur in education will mean that eventually the system will revert to the ‘old way’. Unfortunately, sometimes these educators are right. Read More