elbowpatch

  • This Idea Must Die – Education Edition

    In March 2015, the highly entertaining and thought-provoking guys at the Freakonomics podcast aired an episode titled This Idea Must Die. In it, they interviewed scientists about which commonly held ideas, previously supported by research, they felt should “die”. In many cases, these myths and misconceptions were keeping people from investigating other avenues; in others people were misinterpreting a finding that held them back from truly understanding the purpose of the study. Freakonomics is one of the podcasts on my favourites list that I never miss, even if it might take me a few weeks to catch up… As usual,…

  • If I Created a Television Show About Education, These Stories Would Be On It

    Sometimes it takes me a few months to get to all the literature in my pile. As you can see by the date referenced in the post below, this is one of those cases… Just like anything in life, a great deal of what happens in school isn’t really television worthy. Doctors who watch House M.D. probably cringe when Dr. Cuddy lets Dr. House mistreat her and the staff at Plainsborough Hospital; real politicians likely shudder when they see what Frank Underwood does to advance his political career on House of Cards; and national security operatives must get a real…

  • How is a SMART Board Like a Mosquito Net?

    Residents of Zambia, provided with mosquito nets to help reduce the number of cases of malaria, have been wreaking havoc on the nation’s beleaguered wetlands. The thing is, they have no intention of using the nets over their beds, which make handy – and freely provided by well-wishing developed nations – fishing nets. It’s not that the mosquito nets aren’t needed, it’s just that hungry now is a more powerful motivator than malaria someday. The worries do not end with the misuse of the nets. Laced with a pesticide that is carcinogenic to humans and also especially poisonous to fish,…

  • FETC 2015 Day 3

    This post is coming a little after the fact, as you might have noticed. I spent the day at Universal Studios Orlando yesterday but I don’t have much to report on that, educationally speaking. Here are some quick overall observations from my time in Florida, which are not necessarily specific to the FETC: When going to the FETC, be very careful to take note of who is giving the session. If it is on the exhibit floor, it’s usually a sales pitch. However, some sessions are researchers presenting their findings, which can be useful. Poster sessions are teachers presenting their ideas…

  • FETC 2015 Day 2

    Another fantastic day at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC). These are just the highlights that I experienced, of course, as there is so much going on at this conference that it is impossible to experience it all! Only 10 000 steps were taken today, but this is still a fair distance. The day started with the STEM awards and keynote from Yuri Salnikoff of MakerBot, a 3D printer company. Every turn I take at FETC screams “3D printing is the way of the future”. There are several stands that display 3D printers and their various creations and Salnikoff certainly…

  • FETC 2015 Day 1

    After my first day at the Florida Educational Technology Conference, I am exhausted. My Nike+ Fuelband says that I took a total of 16 532 steps today, however that did include a 4.4 kilometre run after the exhibit hall closed… We started our day with a Photo Walk. The FETC committee was hoping to break a world record but I get the impression that we didn’t quite make it, given that they haven’t mentioned it since this morning. We did, however, break a record for the number of simultaneous users on Kahoot at the Techshare Live session. If you haven’t…

  • FETC!

    Tomorrow I will be embarking on some very exciting professional development – the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), in Orlando. If you’d like to know what a makerspace is, how to make use of game based learning, or dozens of other educational technology initiatives that I have on my list to learn more about, then check in here over the next week! I’m looking forward to hearing Jane McGonigal, playing to learn guru, and 686 other speakers from around the States and the world. Well, I might not have time to get to all 687, but I’ve already got a…

  • Physical Activity and Learning

    Not too long ago, Yoni Freedhoff, a doctor and blogger on the ills of sugar (http://www.weightymatters.ca/), published a post with a video on the benefits of physical exercise at school, especially right before learning or writing a test. You can see the video for yourself below, but, in short, the Naperville Central, Illinois school had selected a number of students with learning needs and mandated 20 minutes of exercise, first thing in the morning. This was not just stretching or walking – the students were required to get their heart rates up to “the zone”, 145-185 BPM, after which they completed…

  • Do You Have What it Takes to Teach?

    Things to note from this infographic (via Knewton) 1) 40% of what we do is teaching and 40% is prep-work (marking and planning etc.). Which, I think is a clear indicator that there should be less (in-class) time for students to allow for more prep time for teachers. AND/OR 2) We need to look at ways to reduce the time prepping and marking etc. Technology can help us with this (and already has) through the use of computer based teaching tools and online sharing of teacher resources and lesson plans; however, if education has any hope in the 21st century…

  • What kids in a New Delhi slum can show us about pedagogy

    There is a movement in many schools to try to achieve a 1:1 ratio of computers to students, essentially giving each student a personal computer. In the 21st century, technology is going to be vital and learning how to use these tools is paramount. Therefore, the question is not if we should be using computers in schools but how. The notion of having a computer for every student seems appealing, but I would contend that it reinforces old, 20th century models of education. First, let’s start with a little bit of a history lesson. The model of education that we…

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