Friday, February 27, 2015

Education Readings- Personalized learning and 21stC learning.

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This weeks homework!

Four reasons to seriously worry about personalized learning
Alfie Kohn
Another gem from Alfie Kohn - a must read.
Personal learning entails working with each child to create projects of intellectual discovery that reflect his or her unique needs and interests. It requires the presence of a caring teacher who knows each child well.
Personalized learning entails adjusting the difficulty level of prefabricated skills-based exercises based on students test scores.   It requires the purchase of software from one of those companies that can afford full-page ads in Education Week.

Steve Hargadon: Escaping the Education Matrix
What are most kids getting out of 12 years of school?he asks. The honest answer is theyre learning how to follow, and that was the original intent. Public schools were based on the belief that what was needed was a small group of elites who would make the decisions for the country, and many more who would simply follow their directions” — hence a system that produces tremendous intellectual and commercial dependency.

How Learning Artistic Skills Alters the Brain
The art students specifically increased "their ability to think divergently, model systems and
processes, and use imagery," the researchers write. The results suggests that, in a matter of a few months, "prefrontal white matter reorganizes as (art students) become more able to think creatively.”’

The Corruption of Learning
The biggest challenge facing schools is that the modern world amplifies our ability to learn in the classic sense, and increasingly renders the official, school based theory of learning pointless and
Until school begins!
oppressive. While our kids
love of learning can flourish outside of school, its extinguished inside of school as we take away agency, passion, connection, audience, authenticity, and more.

Three lessons from the science of how to teach writing.
So much for teaching by standards
Traditional grammar instruction isnt effective. Period. Six studies with children in grades three to seven showed that writing quality actually deteriorated when kids were taught grammar. That is, graders scored the essays of students whod been taught traditional grammar lower than those of students who had not received the lessons.

What Comes First: the Curriculum or the Technology?
Its important to never force fit technology if its not supplementing whats already happening in the classroom or a teachers goals for the school year, the addition will become more of a barrier to learning than a catalyst.

Why Slowing Down Stimuli to Real Time Helps a Childs Brain
Suggest you read this and reflect.
The pacing of all programs, both adult and child, has sped up considerably. Part of the reason for that is that the more rapidly sequenced the scenes, the more distracting it is. Its taxing to the brain to process things that happen so fast even though were capable of doing it. And theres emerging science now in older children that watching such fast-paced programs diminishes what we call executive functionimmediately afterwards. It tires the mind out and makes it not function as well immediately after viewing it.

False Choices and how to Avoid Them
This came to me from Phil Cullen who found it on an Alfie Kohn tweet
The lesson "accept your children for who they are rather than for who you want them to be" is clear. Loving your kids for who they are is the only real choice.

Is There School Today?
Kindergarten, literally a "children's garden" was traditionally a place focused on playing, singing, and otherwise imagineering. Over the past 20 years, a myopic focus on reading and math has turned the children's garden into a factory, a place where unique beings go for standardization, followed by 12 more years of it. This standardized approach to learning supposedly prepares them for placement in an economy that no longer exists.

This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Welcome to Concept to Classroom!
Bruces comment: For teachers who want some practical knowledge about :Constructivist
This is a wonderful and practical resource. Take a look!! And free.
Teaching,Multiple Intelligences,Cooperative and Collaborative Learning, Inquiry Learning, Interdisciplinary Learning, Assessment and Evaluation and Web Based Learning,  and practical ways to implement them this is the link for you. Highly recommended.
The site features a series of FREE, self-paced workshops covering a wide variety of hot topics in education. Some of the workshops are based in theory, some are based in methodology - but all of the workshops include plenty of tips and strategies for making classrooms work.

16 Ways Your Brain Is Sabotaging Your Effort To Learn
The human brain is our best friend, and our worst enemy, and unless we keep one eye peeled, it can hijack our learning completely.
In this article Id like to examine some of the trapsthe brain sets for us during the course of our academic careers, and what we can do to avoid them.

Welcome back to a new year of learning!
Discovery Time is the perfect opportunity to excite childrens curiosity, discover their strengths and stand  back and observe how they work together.  Keep your Key Competenciesfocussed on managing selfand relating to othersi.e. looking after equipment, sharing, taking turns, cleaning up when you have finished, trying something new, working with someone you dont know…”

Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching - a New Zealand perspective
Bruces comment: The challenge of developing a 21st C education system. Some NZ thinking about personalising learning. Well worth the read.
It is widely argued that current educational systems, structures and practices are not sufficient to address and support learning needs for all students in the 21st century. Changes are needed, but what kinds of change, and for what reasons? This research project draws together findings from new data and more than 10 years of research on current practice and futures-thinking in education.

Personalisation and Digital Technologies
Bruces comment: Download this document for a UK view of personalising education.
The logic of education systems should be reversed so that it is the system that conforms to the learner, rather than the learner to the system. This is the essence of personalisation. It demands a system capable of offering bespoke support for each individual that recognises and builds upon their diverse strengths, interests, abilities and needs in order to foster engaged and independent learners able to reach their full potential.

Personalising learning what does it mean?
Not to be outdone, heres Bruces take on personalised learning. Bruce mentions a book called ‘In the Early World’ by Elwyn Richardson. All teachers should have this in their library,
Once child centredwas commonly heard phrase but it  now seems dated . Student centredseems more relevant is this personalised learning? If students are helped individually some might call this personalised but , if it is moving through a pre-determined curriculum at the students pace this is simply a more an extreme form of ability grouping than personalising learning.

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