Friday, May 22, 2015

Education Readings - Sir Ken Robinson./David Hood NZ/ Annie Murphy Paul/Jo Boaler and Pavlov's dogs!



By Allan Alach


I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

This weeks homework!

Increasing Student Voice in Local Schools and Districts
An article targeted at high schools, but theres plenty to stimulate thinking at primary schools.

Student leadership involvement should take place in every high school district. The failure to do so excludes those most affected by decisions from having a voice in that process. It also deprives school boards of some potentially valuable insights. The arguments against this role for students are weak, frequently founded on an underestimation of student maturity and perception that too often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Why Schools Need to Bring Back Shop Class
Sir Ken Robinson..

Vocational programs such as carpentry or welding classes, cosmetology classes or many of the other practical areas of study available in some US high schools and in the vocational schools that dot our cities and suburbs are seen as second-rate options for people who dont make the academic cut. As we argue in Creative Schools, this academic/vocational caste system is one of the most corrosive problems in education. It need not be.


Classroom Practice - 10 commandments of successful innovation
Education's ten Commandments

“… teachers are usually willing to give everything a try at least once. This can be a positive attribute. But often, by indulging their inner magpie and hurling as many shiny ideas into the mix as possible, teachers guarantee that none of them will be successful. They will end up juggling multiple and often competing schemes, their ideas will not be well considered nor given enough time to take effect, and their students will be left confused.



Does tinkering lead to learning?
Annie Murphy Pauls observations on the maker movement - well worth reading.

Making is too young a phenomenon to have generated a broad research base to answer this question. The literature that does exist comes from enthusiastic champions of making, rather than disinterested investigators. But there are two well-established lines of research within psychology and cognitive science that can inform how we understand making and help us ensure that making leads to learning. Taken together, these two strands of empirical evidence provide the best guide we presently have for maximizing the learning potential of maker activities.


11 Ways Finlands Education System Shows Us that Less is More.
Just in case you havent read about Finlands education system, heres another viewpoint.

Currently we believe moreis the answer to all of our education problemseverything can be solved with MORE classes, longer days, MORE homework, MORE assignments, MORE pressure, MORE content, MORE meetings,  MORE after school tutoring, and of course MORE testing!   All this is doing is creating MORE burnt out teachers, MORE stressed out students and MORE frustration.

Knowledge For Literacy
This is a technical article, well worth reading.

The core definition of a word is only a tiny fragment of the meaning that makes it useful in understanding language. Neuroimaging confirms that the full meaning of a familiar word extends broadly through the mind, including associations to every trace that your experience with that word or its concept has left in your memory. For instance, your full knowledge of the word appleextends to the traces in your memory of the many apples in your life…”

Why teaching kids to have gritisnt always a good thing

If you follow fads in education, you probably know that what passes for character educationin this country is now dominated by the teaching of grit,helping students learn how to persevere and stay on task. It is taken for granted that having grit is always a positive thing, but, in the following post, scholar Mike Rose shows that it isnt always so.


This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

New Zealand Schools the Rhetoric and the Reality - and a creative future
A must read!!!!
Bruces latest blog post:
 ‘The current standardised approach, writes Hood, needs to be replaced by one that focusses on the individual.  Personalised learning is about creating a learning environment that responds to the needs of each individual student and their interests, talents and passions and aspirations.
In an environment where there is clear vision, shared values, high expectation and a culture of challenging traditional ways of doing things, then people will work in a myriad of unplanned , unseen and successful ways; it will be a creative and innovative environment.


Jo Boaler
Memorizers are the lowest achievers and other Common Core math surprises
Bruces comment: Stop the math memorization The real oil on mathematics. In a recent commentary math educator Jo Boaler writes, "We don't need students to calculate quickly in math. We need students who can ask good questions, map out pathways, reason about complex solutions, set up models, and communicate in different forms.

Quick, Draw a Scientist!
Bruces comment: What is your classs image of a scientist? Once you have identified their prior image (stereotype) see if you can modify, or reconstruct, it. A fun activity with some serious learning implications. Consider trying prior drawings’  of students ideas about whatever you are studying, for example what are their prior images of spiders- after learning experiences do another drawing to see if they have changed their minds! A great assessment task.
Inoculating the perception of a scientist is tantamount to fixing the leaky STEM pipeline. If students don't think that being a scientist is for them, humanity loses. A diverse workforce is a better, faster, and stronger workforce. Scientists of diverse backgrounds working together are better suited to solve complex problems, can work with greater agility, and can cure diseases that have been overlooked.

Tech tip: Avoid blurry vision and shiny objects
Bruces comment: Avoid blurryvisions and shiny objects. A short but pertinent article that applies to any school.
If your school (district) doesnt have a clear vision for what it is and what it needs to be, no matter how innovativeideas taken on board are, they will not help to move it forward. Sure, there may be some great discussion and perhaps even some implementation of worthwhile initiatives. But without a vision to clarify and justify the purpose of the initiatives, they all become disparate activities.


From Bruces goldie oldiefile:

Developing a powerful school vision
This article by Bruce explores a similar theme to the one above.

All schools these days have Visions, Missions and Strategy Plans but all too often few people can articulate them let alone say what they really mean in action. No matter how well they are drawn up if no ones knows what they mean they are not worth the paper they are written on.

Pavlov's Dogs - an untold story.
Bruces comment: A new twist on Pavlovs dogs!
It is a shame that we need dramatic shocks for us to change. It took the carnage and unnecessary slaughter of World War One to develop in the ordinary man a distrust of god given authority particularly of the old generals who were long past their use by date



The artistry of teaching and future learning attributes
Bruces comment: And a little more on artistry and the innate desire to learn There is a
.a lust for knowledge, an ache for understanding is incised in the best of men and woman. As is the calling of the teacher. There is no craft more privileged. To awaken in another human being the powers, dreams beyond ones own; to induce in others a love for that which one loves; to make of ones inward present their future; this is the threefold adventure like no other.


Artistry versus conformity in teaching.
Teacher artistry or deliverer of approved best practices?
Teachers need to claim back their professional judgement, or 'artistry', and place greater emphasis on ensuring every student develops their innate gifts, talents, individuality and creativity.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Zealand Schools – the Rhetoric and the Reality - and a creative future



It was a coincidence to receive copies of two exciting books on the future of education last week; one by Sir Ken Robinson (Creative Schools) and the other by David Hood. Both have the same message - that schools need to dramatically change, David Hood’s book focusses on the New Zealand’s education system.

This is David’s second book, written 17 years after his earlier book ‘Our Secondary Schools Don’t Work Anymore’. Both  books have been written to provoke debate about our current secondary school system.

David is well placed to comment on secondary education as he was the chief executive of the N Z Qualifications Authority, has had a long career as a principal, in the Department of Education and the Education Review Office and, more recently, as an educational consultant.

Peter Fraser
David in his introduction writes we are ‘still a long way from achieving the vision articulated by Peter Fraser Minster of Education in1935 for an education ‘of the kind and length to which his powers best fits him’.

David writes from the strong belief in the power of education to make difference for all students but feels that our schools lack relevance and purpose for to many students. He writes that the ‘ secondary schools …have changed very little in the past century’. It is a model ‘designed for a world that no longer exists’.

Today what is needed, Hood writes, is a system that frees schools, teachers and students to be ‘more creative and innovative’.

Although written about secondary schools it is well worth a read by primary teachers.

Hood quotes  business ‘guru’ Peter Drucker  that ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it’ and that ‘the first country to develop a 21st century education system will win the future’.

Secondary schools in contrast reflect a past age with ‘subjects with no connections….rigid and inflexible timetables…rules that emphasize obedience rather than responsibility’; a system that has become ‘fossilized and ritualistic’, and largely ‘mono cultural’.

There is however, Hood writes, ‘an increasing mood for change as more and more people realise that the factory model school, designed in the early 20th century, is no longer relevant in the 21st'. It is now time, says Hood for some radical rethinking about the whole purpose of education; our role as educators is to prepare students for their futures, not our present.

Excellent read
Hood provides excellent references about future needs   of students and the key basic skills required for living and working in the 21st century -  the ‘C’ words: Communications Cooperation, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Compassion.



The future demands a system premised on personalisation and creativity rather than current standardisation and conformity. With this in mind Hood is supportive of the principles, values and the emphasis on keycompetencies, of the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum.


Excellent 'first half'.
Unfortunately ‘the higher one goes up in the secondary system the bigger the mismatch between the rhetoric and the practice’

The vision of the much applauded  NZC is lost and there is little opportunity ’for students to engage in their own inquiry, research and discovery, never mind pursue their own interest’ and to work in teams to produce ‘personal products of value’. 

The potential of the new curriculum framework, with its principles, values and competencies, is spoilt by decisions to stick with the traditional disconnected subject-based curriculum.’

For secondary schools, writes Hood, ‘the first half of the New Zealand Curriculum was warmly received when it was released in 2007. The problem is with the second half where it focusses more and more on subjects. The solution is simple the curriculum should end at the descriptors of what each learning area is about.’

Change is difficult in the system for two reasons. One is that our system is designed to sort and separate students and secondly it is a system designed for the average student. One size does not fit
Time for new thinking
all.

Good students to do well, ‘knuckle down, don’t misbehave, don’t complain, don’t challenge, and don’t rock the boat’. In other words 'be disciplined'. Being compliant, Hood writes, doesn't mean being engaged. Those that don’t fit become ‘at risk’ or bored’.

The answer lies, says Dr Yong Zhao ,‘is respecting children as human being and supporting, not suppressing, their passion, curiosity and talent.’

 Hood writes, ‘keeping doing the same thing  and you will keep getting the same results’ and he is dismissive of the current Governments flagship policy of recruiting ‘best’ principals and teacher to lift student achievement which he sees as ‘tweaking the status quo’.

The factory metaphor for schooling
Instead we need a new paradigm for the 21st C – one that goes beyond what schools were established to achieve a 100 years ago.

For those interested in the historical development of New Zealand schools will find informative chapters  to inform them, including the lack of success of current reforms.  There is also an informative critique of international tests  well worth the read as are comments about the inequalities in our system, with particular reference to Maori and Pacifica students.  Current school reforms have, Hood writes, ‘simply advantaged those already advantaged’ and that ‘we continue to pay lip service to the real inequalities that exist’. Secondary teachers will find the chapter on the changing school qualifications of interest.

David is particularly concerned about how assessment still drives the curriculum with its accompanying harmful effects on teaching and learning and number crunching, league tables and competition between schools.

Hood also writes about the various reports recommending changes that that have been largely ignored
Except school!
by politicians and consigned to history.

The last two chapters provide ideas to transform  education from around the world  that if implemented would ensure all students have the opportunities to  develop their talents and passions,  to build positive learning identities, to become self-reliant, and to become questioning, critical and creative thinkers. He also outlines the work he has assisted with in creating schools catering for Maori students in NZ.

Hood is keen that all students should leave with a portfolio (electronic) showing their achievements and answering the questions: ’Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going?

21st century schools, Tom Peters in his book ‘Re-imagine’ writes, we need a curriculum ‘that values questions above answers; creativity above fact regurgitation; individuality above conformity and excellence above standardised performance’.

All the models Hood describes share common philosophies and characteristics:

All focus on personalisation of learning determined by each student’s needs, interests, passions and aspirations.

Teachers as designers, facilitators and decision makers.

A curriculum that is relevant to the real world, interdisciplinary, collaborative, project and research based – utilizing the power of modern information technology.

Individual learning plans with students judged by the quality of their work.

Redesigned school environments enabling teachers to work collectively to assist students.

If secondary schools (and primary schools) were to implement such ideas then in the words of Peter Fraser every student will have ‘the opportunity to develop his or her talents to the utmost.’

 ‘The current standardised approach’, writes Hood, ‘needs to be replaced by one that focusses on the individual.  Personalised learning is about creating a learning environment that responds to the needs of each individual student and their interests, talents and passions and aspirations’.

‘Since the advent of Tomorrows Schools in 1989 which was to be about giving more autonomy to schools, compliance has become for (schools) a major time-consuming activity’.

‘In an environment where there is clear vision, shared values, high expectation and a culture of challenging traditional ways of doing things, then people will work in a myriad of unplanned , unseen and successful ways; it will be a creative and innovative environment’.




Start in your school/class now - there is no better time.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Education Readings - Sir Ken Robinson/ Howard Gardner/ Guy Claxton /David Perkins and a lot more



By Allan Alach


I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

This weeks homework!


What Happens When Students Boycott a Standardized Test
Education at its worst!
These protests should also serve as a reminder for decision-makers that parents and students are stakeholders in education policy and that community outreach must be part of any reform. Just as third-grade students need to explain why, for example, three-fourths equals six-eighths on the PARCC, education leaders should also answer the "why?" question: Why should students take standardized tests?


 In Australia, a School Designed to Excite and Engage
There are still beacons amongst the gloom
Read about this great school
From the outside, Wooranna Park, built in 1971, looks boxy and old school. That impression changes as soon as you step inside and see that the original walls and halls have been moved and reconfigured. There's room here for all kinds of learning -- individual, collaborative, hands on, digital. Children and teachers move from space to space throughout the day, depending on the situation or activity.

The 10 Biggest Breakthroughs in the Science of Learning
While we still have a long way to go before we truly unravel all the mysteries the brain has to offer, scientists have been making some major breakthroughs that have gone a long way in explaining both how the brain functions and how we use it to organize, recall, and acquire new information. Here, we list just a few of the biggest and most impactful of these breakthroughs that have contributed to our understanding of the science of learning.


Can reading comprehension be taught?
Can reading comprehension be taught? In this blog post, Ill suggest that the most straightforward answer is no.Reading comprehension strategies (1) dont boost comprehension per se; (2) do indirectly help comprehension but; (3) dont need to be practiced. Let me elaborate on these claims.



Teaching Reading: No Magic Wand Required
Teaching children to read seems to be a mystery to everyone except primary
school teachers. Someone recently asked: Is it true that it is not necessarily a teachers job to teach children to read? Is our job to give them the skills to make them better readers? Does any teacher have the time to teach all their students to read?

The knowledge economy is neither
These days we are bombarded with the phrase knowledge economy. This article deconstructs that.
The knowledge economy is about extracting as much goods and services from the people who do the actual work of extracting what we need.

Education Reformers Are So Gullible
This article is applicable all over.
The thing voters need to ask themselves is: Who do they believe has the best interests of their child in mind more -- the person who interacts with them every day and is part of their local community, or the corporate CEO 500 miles away who answers to an unelected board and investors? Because right now, the only ones really benefiting from the litany of education reform sweeping the nation are the corporations.

Sir Ken Robinson: The education system is a dangerous myth
More from Sir Kens latest book.
The issue in a nutshell is this: most developed countries did not have mass systems of public
Buy his book!!!!!
education much before the mid-19th century. These systems were developed to meet the labour needs of the Industrial Revolution and they are organised on the principles of mass production. The standards movement is allegedly focused on making these systems more efficient and accountable. The problem is that these systems are inherently unsuited to the wholly different circumstances of the 21st century.



This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Most states lacked expertise to improve worst schools
Hmmmm. Worth thinking about
Bruces comment: So much for top down school change! After all the money and compliance requirement one third of schools showed no change (on standardised tests I presume) and one third got worse.
Although turning around the worst schools was a priority for nearly every state, most did not have the staff, technology and expertise to pull those schools out of the bottom rankings, according to a brief released Tuesday by the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Education Department.

7 Ways to Use Technology With Purpose
In order to make sure you are using technology the right way, you must first start with why. If your students understand the whybehind your technology use, then the class will have a purpose and technological glitches and issues can be worked through. If they dont understand the whythen any small issue could turn into a major problem.


21 Fun (and Simple) Formative Assessment Tool
Eyes bugging out when looking at endless lists of formative assessment strategies? Head spinning trying to figure out which one to use? Like a good librarian, weve put things in order to help you find what youre looking for. First, we will define the characteristics of effective formative assessment. Then we will give examples of the quickest no-nonsense (and fun) formative assessment tools.

Characteristics Of A Culture of Learning
Bruces comment: An excellent run through of the elements that contribute to a positive learning culture. How does your school/class stack up?
Schooling is a system designed to move students from one grade to the next. Once students earn enough high school credits, they are rewarded with a high school diploma. Schooling focuses on teaching, while a Culture of Learning focuses on the whole child and student understanding.



From Bruces goldie oldiesfile:

Howard Gardner developing a disciplined mind
Bruces comment: Gardners ideas of the disciplined mind continues Perkins ideas of in depth learning. Gardner calls the disciplined mind’ a mind that knows how to work steadily over time to improve skill and understanding and writes, Without at least one discipline under his belt, the individual is destined to march to someone elses tune.
Rather than the current diversion of focusing on literacy and numeracy, with its inevitable consequence of narrowing the curriculum, schools should get back to providing Perkins threshold experiencesso as to develop disciplined  minds and the gifts and talents of all their students. With such gifts firmly in place students will be equipped to make a positive contribution to whatever areas of learning/occupation that have attracted their attention.

Guy Claxton - building learning power.
Another must read!
Bruces comment: More on the theme of real learning from Guy Claxton. Both teachers and students need, according to Guy Claxton, to know what habits of mind ( learning muscles) that they need to exercise, stretch and strengthen. These 'learning power' capacities need to be part of all learning. They must be a permeate of the culture of the school. 'Messages' that learning power is important ought to be obvious to all.
At centre is the belief that all students can develop their learning power? How do your students see their ability - one one fixed by birth and set for life ( a 'fixed bucket') or one that can be continually expanded ( a 'learning muscle'). The 'mindset' a student holds will effect all their future learning - or non learning.


Advice from David Perkins to make learning whole
And another must read
'Play the whole game' not fragmented bits says David Perkins.The problem Perkins says is there is too much problem solving  teachers problems and not enough problem finding - or figuring out often 'messy' open ended investigations.'Playing the whole game' is the solution resulting in some sort of inquiry or performance. It is not just about content but getting better at things, it requires thinking with what you know to go further, it is about finding explanations and justifications.It involves curiosity, discovery, creativity, and camaraderie. It is not just discovery learning - it needs strong guidance gradually faded back.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Is there enough conflict in your school? Too much consistency , worse still compliance, kills creativity.

We hear a lot about TEAM ( 'together everybody achieves more' ) these days in regard to school cultures; and also that 'there is no 'I' in team'. My own experience would say otherwise, or at least suggest, that without some conflict nothing much changes and as a result many new ideas are not taken advantage of. With this in mind it was interesting read about the role of constructive conflict in school improvement in recent article
Conflict is a natural part of being human.
 In our efforts to cooperate with one another we have all have differences of opinion about how best to accomplish our common goals. It is natural to want to protect our individual interests when confronted with ideas that may require us to change.
 Most conflict is unsettling and leaves us ill at ease and so we tend to avoid it, or suppress it, and even when this avoidance fails, we work quickly to restore harmony. Unfortunately the very differences we try to suppress may well have the capacity to advance our collective efforts or at least make us think more deeply.
 So if conflict were used more sensibly it could become a spur for creative change. 

Treated more constructively controversy can become a creative force and given this how organizations treat conflict, or dissent, could be to their advantage. The trick is to keep the conflict at some optimal level and also to keep participants responses appropriate.
 Trying to avoid conflict , in contrast, can sap the organizations energy and enthusiasm and handled badly can create rigid thinking and even hostility. 

To make use of creative conflict requires a culture based on trust and respect for all and an understanding that conflict is a dynamic process.



School leaders ( and class teachers) need to constantly struggle with the balance between harmony and constructive tension. Innovative principals appreciate the value a certain amount of debate. 

For principals the struggle is between teacher autonomy and school wide preferred practices and protecting teacher time and energy from too many changes while at the same time valuing the need to develop new ideas.
 As well many teachers prefer a culture of isolation in preference to joint work so it takes time to develop more supportive environments so everyone sees the value cooperation, debate and controversy. 

Conflict is present within our schools whether we like it or not
.
 All to often schools wanting to present a united front do not always appreciate those from within or outside the school who challenge them . Maintaining a constructive level of conflict requires skill and an open environment and a respectful attitude to all involved. The trick, it seems, is to maintain courtesy in the face of criticism. 

So it seems 'together everyone achieves more' works only if there still remains an 'I ' for individual in teams! 

Friday, May 08, 2015

Education Readings - Sir Ken Robinson / puting the magic back into teaching



By Allan Alach


I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

This weeks homework!

How to really change education excerpt from Sir Ken Robinsons new book
Im often asked the same questions: Whats going wrong in education and why? If you could reinvent education, what would it look like? Would you have schools? Would there be different types? What would go on in them? Would everyone have to go, and how old would they have to be? Would there be tests? And if you say I can make a difference in education, where do I begin?

Were teaching our kids wrong: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates do not
Gates and Jobs
have the answers
A close look inside the classroom door suggests that in the past 150 years we have come to think, perhaps without realizing it, that the purpose of education is to make money. Though going to school hugely increases a childs chance of earning a decent wage in adulthood, that fact need not, and should not, define our thinking about what and how children should learn. Decent wages may be a very desirable outcome of attending school. But that doesnt mean that money should be the goal of education or the measure of its success.

The myopia boom
This article has ramifications for children during school hours.
Ian Morgan, a myopia researcher at the Australian National University in Canberra, estimates that children need to spend around three hours per day under light levels of at least 10,000 lux to be protected against myopia. This is about the level experienced by someone under a shady tree, wearing sunglasses, on a bright summer day.

Learning Modalities
Another rebuttal of the learning styles myth.
What the research has shown is that when you use all modalities all learners learn better! This is really a boon for teachers, since instead of feeling like you need to test each of your students for their strengths and then designing separate lessons for each type learner, now what you are best off doing is designing lessons that utilize all modalities. The more modalities you use, the more all students will do better.

Abracadabra! Put The Magic In Teaching
Lets use the wonder of creation for children to have magical experiences that may or may not be tied to standards, even for an hour a month? A week? A day? I guarantee my students will always remember having live spiders in the classroom, building a giant peach, and conducting a pumpkin museum. These experiences bring the magic back into learning.

Stop Penalizing Boys for Not Being Able to Sit Still at School
In an attempt to get at what actually works for boys in education, Dr. Michael Reichert and Dr. Richard Hawley, in partnership with the International Boys' School Coalition, launched a study
Boys tug pontails!
called Teaching Boys: A Global Study of Effective Practices, published in 2009. The study looked at boys in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, in schools of varying size, both private and public, that enroll a wide range of boys of disparate races and income levels.

Children with ADHD 'learn better when fidgeting
Following on
The actions of fidgeting children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have frequently been labeled as disruptive in the past, but a new study suggests that they may be essential for these children when it comes to learning at school. Children with ADHD could perform better at school if they are allowed to move, the study suggests. Researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) have found that excessive movement characteristic of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) helps children with the condition to retain information and work out complex cognitive tasks.

Are We Training Our Students to be Robots?
This article isnt as depressing as the title might suggest; however it does flag issues that need to be considered.
Modern learning environment
If you take personalized learning to its logical positive extreme, technology will educate every student as efficiently as possible. This individual-centric agenda is very much rooted in American neoliberalism.
But what if theres a darker story? What if were really training our students to be robots?

This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Resources for Developing Questioning Skills in Your Students
Bruces comment: Resources for developing questioning skills with your students aligns well with the NZ Curriculum ideal of students seeking, using and creating their own knowledge.
Teachers are always on the lookout for ways to foster great questioning skills. Here are some useful and fun sites, an infographic, and some apps to help you along.

What is a Performance Task?
Jay McTighe
Bruces comment: It would seem that in the US state and federal politicians introduce all sorts of standardised assessment tests and core standards which have a range of both intended and unintended consequences narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the tests and, putting it plainly, cheating. With this mind it was refreshing to come across the below blog written by an educationalist Jay McTighe  encouraging performance tasks and, even more so to read, a number of excellent practical examples.
When used as assessments, performance tasks enable teachers to gauge student understanding and proficiency with complex processes (e.g., research, problem solving, and writing), not just measure discrete knowledge. They are well suited to integrating subject areas and linking content knowledge with the 21st Century Skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and technology use. Moreover, performance-based assessment can also elicit Habits of Mind, such as precision and perseverance.

5 Great Educational Resources for Modern Classroom
Bruces comment: For those involved in technology in the classroom 5 great educational resources to consider.
In the digital age, many innovative organizations have branched off into educational initiatives, and their timing couldnt be better. Recognizing the need for visual literacy, digital citizenship practices, and guided ed-tech implementation, many of these organizations strive to offer our students and teachers versatile tools and the most rewarding experiences possible with them. The following 5 educational resources in this article represent exactly the types of learning environments that are meant for todays students.

4 Terrific Blended Learning Projects for Your Students
There are many benefits of using the blended learning methodology in the classroom, but many teachers lack the experience of using technology to help their students. For these teachers, incorporating blended learning projects into the classroom can be a difficult and frustrating experience. Here are four ideas for easy ways to start implementing blended learning projects into the classroom.


From Bruces goldie oldiefile:

Worth thinking about!
Fundamentals in education
Ask most people what they would consider fundamental in education and they would probably say 'the three Rs' or, in,today's, speak literacy and numeracy. Certainly this is the view of our current conservatist government. But , like most simplistic answers , if people give the question more thought, more enlightened answers come to mind. Learning to interpret and express ideas about ones experiences is the basis of all learning from the moment one is born.

Principals suffering from HAS Syndrome?
Schools now suffer from the label they give to their their students 'ADD' 'Attention Deficit Disorder' unable to focus on what is important to them or, more importantly, what is important to the wider community if we want to develop a sustainable creative country. All too often schools have become inward looking and competitive, turning themselves in to Christmas Tree look at me schools' with fancy brochures and doubtful narrow success achievement graphs.

Are you a risk taker? Either you are or you aren't. It seems who dares wins. What might this mean for schools?
In a blame culture people are scared to step outside the norms. So it is only brave organization that takes on the brilliant mavericks and they are wise enough not to want them to fit in. They want them to help them see the world with new eyes. So it seems it is important to develop cultures which makes challenge possible.