Friday, June 03, 2016

iPads in education ?/ technology/ Literacy / the power of interest / Howard Gardner's 5 minds/ and more about Finland

To develop the gifts and talents of ALL students.

Education Readings

By Allan Alach

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

Why the tablets in schools debacle is over
I’ll leave it to you to form your own opinions….   however I know I couldn’t handle my life using just my iPad.
‘To be exact, 88.5% of teachers and 74% of grade 7-12 students wanted laptops, not iPads. The observations were clear, that while iPads may be appropriate for young children, they are not suitable for older children who need to acquire writing and other more sophisticated skills using tools that don’t work on iPads.’

Overlapping arguments: Why we love to hate technology
On the other hand…
‘So there you have it. Those who say technology doesn’t work are right. And so are those who say it does.’

Is ‘pedagogical love’ the secret to Finland’s educational success?
Finland, again
The author
‘Teachers and teacher educators in Finland are well aware that Finnish schoolchildren perform well in academic metrics such as PISA, but they seem much more concerned that their children are happy. It was something that impressed me immensely when I visited the country.
The wellbeing of children is central to Finnish society and culture and underpins their approach to education. Relationships between students, teachers, parents and even educational administrators are based on trust, which I believe is their defining motivation.’

Wild things: how ditching the classroom boosts children's mental health
Not rocket science, is it?
‘Importantly, students are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning during outdoor learning sessions and teachers ask the children to set personal targets such as improving resilience, problem solving and working with others.’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The empty brain: Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer.
What are the implications of this in the classroom?
‘But here is what we are not born with: information, data, rules, software, knowledge, lexicons,
The empty brain
representations, algorithms, programs, models, memories, images, processors, subroutines, encoders, decoders, symbols, or buffers – design elements that allow digital computers to behave somewhat intelligently. Not only are we not born with such things, we also don’t develop them – ever.’

The Official” Theory of Learning
Will Richardson interpreting Frank Smith’s ‘The Book of Learning and Forgetting’ (an excellent read, by the way):
‘Smith counters that, however, with what he calls the official” view of learning, which he calls preeminent, coercive, manipulative, discriminatory — and wrong.”

Reading with intention can change your life
‘A random sampling of the world’s most successful people will show one common trait: a love of reading. Reading is the easiest way to continue the learning process, increase empathy, boost creativity, and even just unwind from a long day. But books can also change the way we think and live.’

How the Power of Interest Drives Learning
Annie Murphy Paul:
‘In recent years researchers have begun to build a science of interest, investigating what interest is, how interest develops, what makes things interesting, and how we can cultivate interest in ourselves and others. They are finding that interest can help us think more clearly, understand more deeply, and remember more accurately. Interest has the power to transform struggling performers, and to lift high achievers to a new plane.’

Thriving in a modern world
Derek Weymouth’s blog : Five human skills for the future. Great must see short video
‘These five things Curiosity, Creativity, Initiative, Multi-disciplinary thinking and Empathy have been the engine of innovation and survival since the beginning of civilisation.

 We're at a point in history where our human skills are just as important as our knowledge. The challenge for schools and educators is to maintain a focus on these things amidst the pressure to also ensure we are addressing those fundamental pre-requisites of literacy and numeracy 

Thanks to Derek Weymouth
We're fortunate in NZ that our National Curriculum has at its primary focus the Key Competencies around which the curriculum in our schools should be designed. New Zealand schools have the scope, flexibility, and authority they need to design and shape their curriculum so that teaching and learning is meaningful and beneficial to their particular communities of students. So one would imagine that in such an environment we'd see amazing things happening in terms of the development of 'an adaptable mind' as this clip celebrates – and we do, but often in pockets rather than in a systemic way.

 The constant pressure to recognise and measure achievement in terms of the traditional subject areas can mitigate against efforts to develop a curriculum that will truly inspire and develop things like curiosity, creativity and initiative among our students.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Power through reading!
‘Reading, and writing, are not just processes to be 'achieved' but are all about power - power of the imagination, power of gaining messages through literature, and power to gain and share ideas that can change how you think. Unless students, particularly those from from families who lack 'cultural capital', appreciate this power why would they bother to read or write?’

Standardization of America and democratic Finland.
‘Rigor in the American scene is cutting recess and replace with instruction. Cut the frills., cut art, cut music, cut everything except reading and math. And then turn the school day into a reading and maths drill and reading and math exercises, and get those scores up.’

Five Minds for the Future
Howard Gardner
‘Based on the premise that students are entering an accelerating world of change in every area of life Gardner, renowned worldwide for for his theory of multiple intelligences , believes that such changes call for new ways of learning and thinking in schools if students are to thrive in the world during the eras to come. The directions our society is taking and the future of our planet demands such 'new minds' able to explore creative alternatives for problems that cannot be anticipated.Gardner's 'five minds' have much in common with the 'key competencies' that underpin the recently published 'new' New Zealand Curriculum.

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