Monday Mentions – 26 July 2010

July 26, 2010 at 9:00 am | Posted in Monday Mentions | Leave a comment
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Well I better get back into this after the July holidays… so here are my favourite posts from the past week.

Stand Up if You are Average…Anyone? This is a great post about labelling our students Gives you something to think about and makes good sense. From Blogging through the Fourth Dimension.

Looking for some different search engines? Top 10 Search Engines from Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero.

Who are the millenials? This a an interesting post about those people who are young adults as we entered the 21st century. (This would make me a millenial.) Make sure you click on the graphic that’s included and have a look at the data given. From Derek’s Blog.

Great Video – Study Like a Scholar, Scholar This is a clever, funny video about studying – in the library. From Free Technology for Teachers.

Tinkering with Technology

July 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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I was reading a blog post by David Warlick in which he was reflecting on ISTE 2010. One thing that caught my eye (and my wife’s, who was reading over my shoulder) was the following statement:

There was talk about learning by tinkering, and that most of us, in the group, agreed that we developed our technology skills by tinkering.  The problem is that the nature of tinkering is not very “schooly.”

I discussed this a bit with my wife (not a teacher) and we both agreed on how true this is. I learnt most of what I know about computers and other technology by playing – trying things out and seeing what happens. (I use the term ‘playing’ rather than ‘tinkering’ but tinkering is a little clearer in this situation).

What I have learnt over the years is that it is actually quite difficult to break technology (the software at least). 9 times out of 10 you can undo in some way what you have done if something goes wrong. Actually this is probably more like 9.99 times out of 10.

As someone who has been training other teachers/colleagues about using different ICT tools, the one thing I often say is ‘have a play, you cannot break it’. While this statement may not be 100% true, the chances of something (whether it be software or hardware) breaking is very very slim.

We need to be encouraging our teachers and students (and our own children) to not be afraid to try things out. Play with technology. See what it does.

Imagine what we would be living without today if people didn’t tinker or play. BTW play is a very important aspect in learning at young ages, and I’m quite sure it is still as important as you get older. The difference is that people have decided that as we get older we need to work not play. Perhaps we need to become a little more child-like and play without worrying too much about the consequences. We’ll probably discover things that we didn’t know this technology could do!

So – Go and have a play!

TED Talk: Charles Leadbeater on Education innovation

July 12, 2010 at 8:40 am | Posted in Education | 1 Comment
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I found this TED Talk really interesting. Charles Leadbeater talks about education innovation in the slums. He discusses the importance of PULLing people into education rather than PUSHing education on them. Relating their learning to their life experiences, what is important to them, is more important than teaching them about the history of the Royal Family for example. Leadbeater suggests that a set curriculum is not necessarily beneficial to good education as it is not meaningful to those we are teaching.

It’s a challenge for us as educators to make learning authentic and relevant to our students.

Brain scans vs observing behaviour

July 3, 2010 at 9:27 am | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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Did you know that about 50% of children diagnosed with autism are actually having brain seizures?

Watch Aditi Shankardass in this TED talk discussing her research into using brain scans to diagnose learning disorders.

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