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Analysis: Teaching, Technology, Transformation — 5 Ways to Talk (and Think) About Personalized Learning

The 74 Million – Beth Rabbit

“It seems that anytime a blog post, op-ed, or white paper about personalized learning is published, a mighty rift emerges in the field. One one side, skeptics condemn personalization with great zeal but often show little evidence of understanding what it actually looks like in practice. On the other side, true believers advocate, offering new, bigger, and ever better theories and models without directly addressing underlying fears and concerns.”(more)

Giving Students a Little Taste of a Book

Edutopia – Emma Tackett

“I learned about the book tasting—an opportunity for students to try out a variety of books—from an instructional coach at my school, who modeled it for the teachers, enabling us to learn firsthand what this activity can do. To start, I gather titles in a variety of genres from the school library, classroom library, and literacy library—it’s best to have a few copies of each book. I set up my tasting by putting my students in seven groups of four, with four titles in a different genre for each group. One group is generally realistic fiction, one literary nonfiction, one fantasy, and so forth. With groups of four, students get to experience different viewpoints without being overwhelmed—every student gets a chance to contribute when they discuss their books.”(more)

Global education rankings to measure tolerance

BBC – Sean Coughlan

“The Pisa tests, which compare teenagers’ ability in reading, maths and science, for the first time are also going to test “global competence”. It’s a significant departure to move from maths puzzles and literacy tests to asking questions about fake news, global warming and racism. The inaugural tests for global competence will take place in about 80 countries next year – and the results are going to be pushed centre-stage in the following round of Pisa rankings.”(more)

Schools need freedom to make our kids intelligent

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

In the late 1990s Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist working at Harvard University, broke intelligence into eight areas: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Even though many psychologists disagree with Gardner’s views on intelligence, the categories he created provide a good base for the abilities people need in the modern workplace.

It is nearly impossible for someone to succeed if he/she is only intelligent in one area. Artistic products require technical and financial support and the most technical products require beauty and a strong user interface. It is pointless for a scientist to conduct amazing research unless he/she can effectively communicate his/her findings to his/her colleagues; and it makes no sense for a musician to create beautiful songs, unless he/she can execute successful contracts so the songs make him/her money.

In short, all kids need strong visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal abilities. Sadly, few children graduate from high school with strong abilities in all these areas. Perhaps it is because we have tasked our K-12 schools with so many things (teaching, coaching, parenting, counseling, etc.) that it is impossible for them to succeed.

Maybe we should encourage schools to return to their primary mission. Then they can focus all their energies on maximizing visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, and logical-mathematical intelligence.

This limited focus would give schools time to rethink their approach to building intelligence and encourage them to find ways of identifying learning gaps early. They would have time to implement third party curriculum based testing (teachers have not seen the test ahead of time) at least once a quarter. Then teachers could identify deficiencies within a few weeks of when a student has missed a concept and could take corrective action quickly,

Some people worry that returning the focus of K-12 schools to academic areas would impact students’ interpersonal and intrapersonal development. In fact, the opposite might be true. Instead of relying on schools to offer sports, leadership, and other pursuits, schools could contract with community organizations to handle these activities. These organizations have lower overhead, so they could offer these activities at a fraction of the cost. Best of all, the students would have a wider range of options available to them.

Technology has changed the world. Now it is time for us to set aside preconceived ideas and think about how we can change education to prepare children for this new world.

Confidence in math has become a major problem for girls in school

Global News – Liam Casey

“Confidence in math has become a major problem for girls, research and data show. Experts believe it is one of the reasons women are vastly outnumbered by men in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions later in life. Differences in math confidence between boys and girls show up as early as Grade 3 in Ontario, despite girls and boys scoring similar marks. That trend continues through to high school.”(more)

The biggest lessons librarians learned in 2017

E-School News – Robin Glugatch and Andy Plemmons

“For the sake of our students, we must embrace the changing role of the school librarian. 2017 was a year filled with makerspaces, student engagement, personalized learning, and more. Here, two seasoned librarians shed light on their biggest lessons learned in 2017 and look forward to the up-and-coming trends for the new year.”(more)