“No question that interactive textbooks deliver results. A pilot study carried out for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a textbook publisher based in Boston, compared the performance of two groups of children over the course of a year at the Amelia Earhart Middle School in Riverside, California. A control group used the traditional Holt McDougal Algebra 1 textbook, while an experimental group used iPads with an interactive version of the same coursework. At the end of the year, 78% of pupils using the interactive text scored “proficient” or “advanced” on the California algebra test, compared with only 59% scoring likewise with the standard textbook.”—The future of teaching: Difference engine: Let the games begin (via world-shaker)
Two teachers in Canada have stirred controversy among parents for displaying cards stating that they are allies for LGBTQ students.
Stephanie Fortier and Peter Wohlgemut are fifth-grade teachers who have received special training on sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result they are encouraged to display “ally” cards in their classrooms. The cards read: “As an Ally, I support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two-Spirit, intersex, queer, and questioning individuals, families and communities. As an Ally, I will work towards a more aware, affirming, safe and open work environment in both policy and practice.”
But for whatever reason, parents have complained about the cards. School officials have decided to cover up everything on the cards except the word “ally,” but some parents are still demanding the cards be removed from the classroom.
“I would like to have the choice of how I choose to teach my children about these words and what they mean,” Peters Sawatzky said.
This is absurd. It’s an ally card. It’s the equivalent of putting up a “Safe Space” sign. Come on.
Could you design a wholly self-contained learning experience that integrated both content and subject matter with the knowledge of how to best learn that content and subject matter?
Forget the teacher-student interaction for a minute (which I won’t deny can make or break a learning experience). What tools would you need to take one of the courses you teach and completely package it so that the “user” or “learner” is motivated and engaged, challenged within his/her zone of proximal development, and so that the learner also acquires the skills and knowledge of how to learn effectively in an independent-learning situation like this?
“You know what I believe? I remember in college I was taking this math class, this really great math class taught by this tiny old woman. She was talking about fast Fourier transforms and she stopped midsentence and said, ‘Sometimes it seems the universe wants to be noticed.’ That’s what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it - or my observation of it - is temporary?”—John Green (via julieheartsbooks)
In my Grade 9 computer fundamentals course, we take 20% of our time and each student spends it on a self-directed project. This is a new element for my course this year and so far, I’m enjoying it (as are the students.) Feel free to join Tes (where I upload my free resources) and download it. (It is free to join TES.)
Today I did the human knot with three of my classes. The kids loved it. We’re about 2 weeks into the term and I think the physical closeness was a big step in their bonding as a crew.
For two classes (design) I used the knot as a metaphor for how to work together on group projects.
For the other class (Art 1 foundation) we examined the emotions that different stages of the untangling knot could represent (we’re exploring the emotional qualities of line and color). Then I improvised and had them form the circle with every other person facing the opposite way and link hands (normally this is the end-result of untangling the knot). They then had to tangle themselves into a knot. Once there I asked them to find their way back to the circle.
Interestingly, it took more (patience, creativity, strategy, time) to arrive at the circle from the knot than to arrive at the knot from the circle. We thought back to the emotions that we had labeled the knot with and extended the metaphor. They arrived at great conclusions: that it’s more of a challenge to arrive at harmony and balance than to fall into disorder, and therefore its worth setting it as a goal. That it’s easy to get confused and frustrated, but it takes cooperation, self-discipline, and strategy to achieve focus and peace. I’m very pleased with the outcome of this experiment! They made connections that I couldn’t have foreseen if I had planned it.
An outstanding collection of insight from reddit user lnri137. Here’s an excerpt:
You got A’s because you studied or because the classes were easy. You got a B probably because you were so used to understanding things that you didn’t know how to deal with something that didn’t come so easily. I’m guessing that early on you built the cognitive and intellectual tools to rapidly acquire and process new information, but that you’ve relied on those tools so much you never really developed a good set of tools for what to do when those failed. This is what happened to me, but I didn’t figure it out until after I got crushed by my first semester of college. I need to ask you, has anyone ever taken the time to teach you how to study? And separately, have you learned how to study on your own in the absence of a teacher or curriculum? These are the most valuable tools you can acquire because they are the tools you will use to develop more powerful and more insightful tools. It only snowballs from there…
The program will not allow students to earn an M.I.T. degree. Instead, those who are able to exhibit a mastery of the subjects taught on the platform will receive an official certificate of completion. The certificate will obviously not carry the weight of a traditional M.I.T. diploma, but it will provide an incentive to finish the online material. According to the New York Times, in order to prevent confusion, the certificate will be a credential bearing the distinct name of a new not-for-profit body that will be created within M.I.T.