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Posts tagged with 'education'.


"I" Is For Innovation: Sesame Street’s Secrets For Staying Relevant

While content is key, the medium through which ideas are communicated is also important. There is a wing of the Workshop called the Innovation Lab that focuses on staying at the forefront of emerging technology and thinking about how each new device that hits the market can be used to help children learn. In fact, Sesame Street’s tech experts are often speakers at the Consumer Electronic Show. Parente tells me that developers hardly ever think about preschoolers, so by partnering with technologists early on, they are able to adapt new technologies to meet children’s needs. “The great thing is that when they perfect that technology, we’re right there about to have products that can launch.”

This is so cool that Sesame Street does this. No wonder they’ve stayed relevant all these years. It makes you wonder how many media outlets would be facing obsolescence if they had done the same thing. 

"The dynamics of the classroom dramatically changed. Instead of having to keep students quiet, we were spending time interacting with them individually and in small groups. Amazingly, most of our classroom management issues just vaporized. Our goal wasn’t to keep students quiet, but rather to have them engaged in the learning process. The class became noisier — and it was good."

Classroom Management and the Flipped Class | Edutopia (via teachnologies)

"It looks like chaos," I say, "but it’s controlled chaos."

(via girlwithalessonplan)

(via revolutionizeed)

"Nobody told me I had a clitoris. Nobody told me I was capable of having orgasms. For five years I was given “sex education”. It mostly consisted of periods and condoms. It didn’t talk about consent. It didn’t talk about the actual mechanics of sex, about arousal and lubrication and oscillation. It didn’t tell me a single thing about relationships and it didn’t tell me I had a clitoris. I only know now because of the internet. Nobody entrusted with my care and education has ever told me that the female orgasm exists, or about the parts of my anatomy necessary for it. I didn’t find my clitoris until I was eighteen, after six years of active sexuality. That makes me angry."
"Thanks to a generation of massive amounts of standardized testing, our students conceive education primarily as a tool for determining a ranking. The Obama administration’s policy is even called Race to the Top. We have the most read columnist in the country telling us how important it is to raise “standards” so our students don’t fall behind.
For our students’ entire lives we have communicated that the reason to learn things is not to fulfill curiosities, but to see where you stack up relative to others. Grades are no longer a proxy for learning, but a lap time determining how well they’re doing at achieving a secure financial future. Under this system, a “B” is genuine cause for distress. A “C” is a disaster that points towards a ruined life.
At the same time, we have made it increasingly difficult to pay for a genuine education. The burden of loans threatens to strangle adult lives before they really begin. It is now impossible to work your way through college. Concerns over even paying for college are also at an all-time high. We communicate that a college degree is more important than ever and then make it more difficult to achieve.
Students look at the larger culture and see not a ladder of opportunity, but a treadmill of obligation. No wonder they’re distressed."

      New Zealand School Find Less Structure Improves Children's Behavior

Ripping up the playground rulebook is having incredible effects on children at an Auckland school.

Chaos may reign at Swanson Primary School with children climbing trees, riding skateboards and playing bullrush during playtime, but surprisingly the students don’t cause bedlam, the principal says.

The school is actually seeing a drop in bullying, serious injuries and vandalism, while concentration levels in class are increasing.

Principal Bruce McLachlan rid the school of playtime rules as part of a successful university experiment.

"We want kids to be safe and to look after them, but we end up wrapping them in cotton wool when in fact they should be able to fall over."

Letting children test themselves on a scooter during playtime could make them more aware of the dangers when getting behind the wheel of a car in high school, he said.

"When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult’s perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don’t."

Swanson School signed up to the study by AUT and Otago University just over two years ago, with the aim of encouraging active play.

However, the school took the experiment a step further by abandoning the rules completely, much to the horror of some teachers at the time, he said.

When the university study wrapped up at the end of last year the school and researchers were amazed by the results.

Mudslides, skateboarding, bullrush and tree climbing kept the children so occupied the school no longer needed a timeout area or as many teachers on patrol.

Instead of a playground, children used their imagination to play in a “loose parts pit” which contained junk such as wood, tyres and an old fire hose.


When we bring children into the world we play awful games with them. Instead of saying ‘How do you do? Welcome to the human race. Now my dear we are playing some very complicated games and these are the rules of the game we are playing. I want you to understand them and to learn them and then when you get a little bit older you might be able to think up some better rules.’

Instead of being quite direct with our children, instead we say ‘you’re here on probation, you understand that? And maybe when you grow up a bit you’ll be acceptable but until then you should be seen and not heard. You’re a mess and you’ve got to be educated and schooled and whipped until you are human.’ So that these attitudes which are inculcated into us in infancy go on into old age.

The way you start out is liable to be the way you finish. So there are people going around fundamentally feeling like they don’t belong. Because their parents said to them in the first place, look you don’t really belong here, you’re here on sufferance, you’re on probation, you’re not a human being YET, and people feel this right on into old age.


If you’ve never experienced it, “free” just seems like a lower number on a slider that has “half-price” in the middle. But free is not a number.

If you paid for your education, you’re likely to understand education in transactional terms. In straightforward economic terms, it means that if you charge some money, you can have some stuff. With more money comes more stuff, higher quality stuff.

But “free” is something different than “less.” And free is not less than cheap. It’s something else entirely.

Instead of education, try thinking about love. There are people who pay for love. Some pay a lot, some pay a little. But let’s be honest: everyone knows that the moment you start paying anything, it’s not just love plus money. It’s something else entirely, and the problems in paying aren’t solved by paying less than others.


Unfortunately, the place where our first creative ideas go to die is the place that should be most open to them—school. Studies show that teachers overwhelmingly discriminate against creative students, favoring their satisfier classmates who more readily follow directions and do what they’re told.

Even if children are lucky enough to have a teacher receptive to their ideas, standardized testing and other programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top (a program whose very designation is opposed to nonlinear creative thinking) make sure children’s minds are not on the “wrong” path, even though adults’ accomplishments are linked far more strongly to their creativity than their IQ. It’s ironic that even as children are taught the accomplishments of the world’s most innovative minds, their own creativity is being squelched.


We celebrate the famously imaginative, the greatest artists and innovators from Van Gogh to Steve Jobs. Viewing the world creatively is supposed to be an asset, even a virtue. Online job boards burst with ads recruiting “idea people” and “out of the box” thinkers. We are taught that our own creativity will be celebrated as well, and that if we have good ideas, we will succeed.

It’s all a lie. This is the thing about creativity that is rarely acknowledged: Most people don’t actually like it. Studies confirm what many creative people have suspected all along: People are biased against creative thinking, despite all of their insistence otherwise.



catastrophe is opportunity

(via How to Save College | The Awl)

From The Awl piece:

If you want to know what college is actually like in this country, forget Swarthmore, with 1500 students. Think Houston Community College, with 63,000. Think rolling admissions. Think commuter school. Think older. Think poorer. Think child-rearing, part-time, night class. Think 50% dropout rates. Think two-year degree. (Except don’t call it that, because most graduates take longer than two years to complete it. If they complete it.)

If you want to know what college is actually like in this country, skip Google Images, and scroll through the (still heartbreaking) We Are The 99 Percent Tumblr, looking for the keywords “student loan.”

(via idancohen2)


Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail

You see, teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. We teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight. These skills may not get assessed on standardized testing, but as children plot their journey into adulthood, they are, by far, the most important life skills I teach.

I’m not suggesting that parents place blind trust in their children’s teachers; I would never do such a thing myself. But children make mistakes, and when they do, it’s vital that parents remember that the educational benefits of consequences are a gift, not a dereliction of duty. Year after year, my “best” students — the ones who are happiest and successful in their lives — are the students who were allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes.

Read more. [Images: Shutterstock]

I have worked with some of the smartest, most highly educated people on the planet and have been astonished to find them paralyzed with doubt simply because they don’t know how to deal with the prospect of failure.

(via revolutionizeed)

      slothturtle: spacecamps: it sucks...




it sucks that a lot of how your life will turn out is decided by how good you are at remembering things and writing them down in exam conditions

I’m here from a few years into your future to inform you that this is not true.

A lot of your life will be determined by how good you are at remembering how to use skills *after* exam conditions.

Rote memorization is worthless.  Your teachers still don’t know the value and purpose of Google.

The ability to identify variables and push them through an equation is key.

Anything that contributes to your being a good problem solver will earn you more money at a higher rate and allow you to work less.

Good luck.

We do know the value of Google. Please don’t blame teachers for the crap we’re forced into by those above. ;)

Also to add to the above, remember you never have to stop learning.

Very fair point. Noted and edited. Also, emphasis on that last bit is key.

(via slothturtle-deactivated20131222)

Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction | DVICE

Here’s how it went down, as related by OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week:

"We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”

Be sure to check out the original TechReview piece.

(via wordofcommand)