Nevbar1's Blog (18)

Sometimes school is stupid

Every now and then, we all have “one of those days”. They usually start out bad and go downhill from there.   Mine usually start off without an alarm to wake me. My high-tech radio has an in-built compassion circuit - whenever it senses that I am tired enough to really need a wake-up call, it very kindly refrains…

Added by nevbar1 on August 25, 2011 at 10:42pm — No Comments

Mathematics education - dire or inspire?

Maths education – dire or inspire?

You could see the panic in their faces - and then the relief.

They were students in their final year of high school on a visit to campus to explore the possibility of “going to uni” after they finished their compulsory schooling. I had, perhaps perversely, set up an experiment. I had told them that two of them would find a red dot under their seat - and if they were one of these people they would come forward and participate in a simple… Continue

Added by nevbar1 on August 21, 2011 at 11:00pm — No Comments

Improving numeracy with the 7 C's

There have been many reformers offering ideas for improving numeracy in our schools.  Many of them advocate the use of specific commercial resources or explicit lesson plans – in short they offer recipes for teachers and schools to follow.    The quietly spoken Alistair McIntosh (formerly Associate Professor at the University of Tasmania, Australia)…


Added by nevbar1 on August 15, 2011 at 12:29am — No Comments

Validate - it's great!

It is no secret that a great deal is expected of schools. Our curriculum documents overflow with worthy content - and even some content that is perhaps less worthy.  Even if the teaching of academic skills and knowledge were all that was expected of schools the task of the teacher would be daunting. However, all educators know that much more is expected of teachers than “merely” teaching content matter.  Teachers are also required to nurture their students in areas other than the strictly…


Added by nevbar1 on August 8, 2011 at 5:59pm — No Comments

The Learning Tour of PISA

The word of education is awash with data – particularly testing results. While I personally have significant reservations about both the use and usefulness of much of this data, due to a combination of   the harm it can do to students, teachers, parents and schools as well as the often unsound assumptions upon which it is based, it has to be acknowledged that not everyone shares my views.  However, I will  put my concerns aside  for the moment and share this video explaining the biggest…


Added by nevbar1 on July 31, 2011 at 10:30pm — 2 Comments

How to win the "best schools" race - don't play the game!

A week ago my knowledge of the education system of Finland was, to be honest,  almost non-existent.   I knew that they were consistently ranked number one of all “Western” countries in PISA testing but had no idea how they did it.  Then, last weekend, I attended a keynote address by Professor Teemu Leinonen, Professor of New Media Design and Learning at the Media Lab of…


Added by nevbar1 on July 24, 2011 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Forward to 1960 ...Marshall McLuhan’s “Tribal Drums” – more relevant today than ever?

It is common when blogging  to re-post video that is current, up to date, modern.  I’m breaking with that trend on this post by linking to a clip dating from 1960.

 Marshall McLuhan was a key thinker in the early days of electric  media – when television and radio were emerging forces.  He achieved near guru status with his concept of “The Global Village”.   The…


Added by nevbar1 on July 19, 2011 at 1:00am — No Comments

TARGETS - school reform in three minutes

My marathon is over....

I have been privileged of late to have time to read;  to read, to watch, to listen – and to think. Much of this precious time has been has been spent devouring material relating to school reform and exploring one simple question -  how do we respond to the challenges and opportunities provided by the digital revolution to improve our schools?  The concept of “school” as we know it is well over a century old – and was obviously developed before the digital…


Added by nevbar1 on July 11, 2011 at 11:19pm — No Comments

"The more I practice the luckier I get." Mindset - Carol Dweck

Psychologist Carol Dweck has given the educational community one of the most positive educational concepts yet to be developed – mindset.  Like many good ideas it is deceptively simple – but the implications for schools are profound.  Quite simply, mindset is the belief that ability is not fixed – that people can acquire new…


Added by nevbar1 on July 3, 2011 at 7:30pm — No Comments

“Visions of Students Today”. Whose education is it anyway?

If a picture is worth a thousand words much is a video worth? These ones are priceless – for educators of post-compulsory students.  To call the two videos featured in this post “thought provoking” is an understatement. 

Both videos are created by Michael Wesch (pictured) – with a lot of help from students at Kansas State University.  The first,  “…


Added by nevbar1 on June 26, 2011 at 9:05pm — No Comments

Mathematical Maverick – Dan Meyer – “Be less helpful”

If mathematics has a poster boy it is – or at least should be – Dan Meyer.  Meyer is something of a rarity in the field of public discussion of mathematics; he is not an academic, he is not an  educational administrator,  he is a teacher -  someone who works in real classrooms with real students with real mathematics.    It is this “real world” context that makes him worth listening to – and which provides the grounding for his instruction.

Meyer is an advocate of authentic…


Added by nevbar1 on June 21, 2011 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Mathematicians' Lament - Paul Lockhart

Following on consistently in my habit of being the last kid on the block to discover something I recently fell upon “Mathematician’s Lament” by Paul Lockhart.  

The history of the book is interesting in itself – it actually started life as a 25 page type written document that was presented to math guru Keith Devlin at a conference.  Devlin was intrigued and impressed… Continue

Added by nevbar1 on June 16, 2011 at 8:28pm — No Comments

Do we blame dentists for tooth decay?

I’ve been reading a lot of assignments of late to do with literacy generally and the “literacy wars” in particular.   Perhaps predictably the students fall comfortably into the “phonics” or “whole language” camps – few have made the accurate observation that both approaches co-exist in the classrooms of effective teachers.   Some have stretched a little further to include…


Added by nevbar1 on May 31, 2011 at 1:26am — No Comments

On Donald Runsfeld, tuning TVs...and face to face learning.

I’m a fan of online learning and learning via the Internet.   The treasury of knowledge that resides in “the cloud” magically captured and reproduced via a series of “1” and “0” is simply staggering.  Despite a lifetime of reverence to the printed page I have become an enthusiastic user of electronic learning. If you know what you are looking for and know how to ask the right… Continue

Added by nevbar1 on May 15, 2011 at 4:07am — No Comments

Students leaving a legacy - Alan November

We live in an era of bells and whistles and razzmatazz, the 30 second sound bite, flash animations and “edutainment”.   For a message to “hit home” it has to be delivered with all the “bells and whistles” that are possible. Right?  Wrong.

Educational consultant Alan November proves that powerful thoughts, spoken softly in the most traditional manner of all - a teacher in front of some students with only some slides (still images) to help him, can be riveting.…


Added by nevbar1 on May 8, 2011 at 9:44pm — No Comments

"The interruptions ARE the job."

Today was frustrating - until I had a visit from a ghost.…


Added by nevbar1 on May 3, 2011 at 10:09pm — No Comments

Easter...and the Khan Academy

It’s Easter.   I’m sitting with my coffee with an Easter egg, enjoying the delicious blending of coffee and chocolate while reading, with considerable pleasure it has to be said, some fascinating traffic on the blogs around the world – many of them debating the merits or otherwise of the Khan Academy and the recent speech at TED by the Academy’s founder Salman Khan.   Then…


Added by nevbar1 on April 23, 2011 at 2:21am — No Comments

"Well DUH!" - Alfie Kohn

“Well, Duh!”

Prolific writer and vocal advocate for educational reform Alfie Kohn has just published a new collection of essays under the banner of “Feel – Bad Education”.   His introduction ,  “Well, Duh!: Obvious Truths That We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring” sets the tone for the text.   In the introduction Alfie lists some commonly agreed beliefs about education  such as “Much of the material that students are required to memorize is soon forgotten.”   He then challenges…


Added by nevbar1 on April 18, 2011 at 12:17am — No Comments

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