- Was it working with creative people that made the pupils punctual and better behaved? Or was it just the fact that they were doing something they enjoyed doing? Or was it the fact that they were responsible for something they enjoyed doing? Or combination?
- The challenge now was to get them to apply these skills independently. To get them to apply them? Why get them to do this? Did the students develop these skills because that was the purpose of the program, an explicit goal? Or did they develop these skills because of the environment they were in and the responsibility and pleasure they (presumably) felt in working? If the latter, then the way to get them to apply their skills is simple: offer them opportunities for similar work in similar circumstances.
September 30, 2006
September 26, 2006
September 19, 2006
September 17, 2006
September 14, 2006
She said the most difficult part about her fact-finding work was talking to people who were putting their lives at risk by coming forward, and not being able to ensure their protection.
""Both boys and girls have been scrapping as long as there've been boys and girls. But it's the mentality now and the way they think it's OK to stage a fight - because this is a staged fight, it's not one that just happened...What is disturbing for me is the misuse of the technology - of both the phones and the internet... I have to ask parents do you know what your children are doing with their mobile phones? Do they know what they're doing on the internet?"
More disturbing is this:
John Carr, new technology adviser to children's charity NCH, said the fact it was so easy for children to reach a "large audience", encouraged more staged fights than would otherwise happen. Mr Carr said: "There was a case in London not long ago where a young lad was killed and the whole thing was videoed over a mobile phone. The judge was quite clear that it was partly because they wanted to film what they were doing that caused the attack in the first place."
The fight was out of school hours and not on school property, tho from the couple of screenshots on the BBC website, it looks like the girls were still in school uniform.
An unpleasant incident, but great material for a class discussion/debate. The fact that it was videoed, and the suggestion that the fight was staged for that purpose certainly puts the spotlight on technology use, and the darker side of it being easy for children to reach a "large audience"
September 13, 2006
Each classroom had two cameras: one at the back of the lecture hall to show the instructor and the screens at the front of the room, and a camera at the front to one side facing the rows of seats. All the cameras can be swiveled and zoomed by remote from the control panel in each room (i.e. the instructor can manipulate the two cameras in the room where she/he is as well as the "remote" ones in the other classroom on the other campus). At the front of the room were two screens: on one was the video image of the other classroom, with a smaller insert showing the image from one of the two cameras in the local classroom. On the other screen was projected the image from the overhead projector, then the image from a laptop plugged into the console. As the demonstrator showed the image of the overhead projector, we could see, on the other screen, the same image shown on the screen of the other classroom. Same with the image from the laptop. There was a slight lag, and any movement was also rather jerky, but it was manageable (video would have been problematic, tho).
I was impressed by the technology. Not so much that it exists (it's not that new, after all), but the fact that we had it installed. It must cost a lot.
There was absolutely no discussion of the pedagogical implications. It all seemed to be organized on the assumption that the instructor is the source of knowledge and that knowledge is essentially information to be transmitted, altho of course the 2-way video suggests that students in the two classrooms could interact, either with the remote instructor or with each other (altho I wasn't able to find out how to plug extra, say, radio mikes into the sound system). To be fair, those demonstrating the system were technicians, not teachers, but then again, why weren't teachers involved in the demonstration? It all seemed so unproblematic except for the technical issues ("what does this button do? How do you do such-and-such?").
So it was with some bemusement that I read this article today on trying to woo young learners to Latin by means of technology.
Why try to woo them? According to the article, the aim is one of
making the classical world accessible for as many students as possible, whatever their type of school, age or social backgrounds.
I like that: as if the egalitarianism of the purpose justifies the whole venture. So the purpose is .... ?
It hopes that the approach will rewaken an interest in Latin in the hundreds of schools where it is no longer taught on the syllabus.And this is desirable because...?
A decline in the popularity of Latin and Greek has led to a slump in the number of specialist teachers.
So this is just to keep present classics teachers employed, then? Is that really the best they can come up with? The cynicism of this implication seems to have been lost on the author of the article. Perhaps a little Latin would have helped her/him. (There's probably a great Latin quote from Horace or some other wit that encapsulate my point here, but.... I didn't get my Latin O-level).
Lecturers over the age of 50 are the unhappiest in their university jobs and almost half would quit now if they could, found a University and College Union (UCU) poll, released today.
UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: "We have a group of incredibly devoted and hardworking lecturers in their 50s, many of who are clearly very unhappy.
"In a sector where age and wisdom have traditionally been synonymous, I cannot understand why universities are failing to treat their staff with respect they deserve. All too often, it is this group that are the first to be considered for voluntary redundancy, and little is done to consider their needs and how best to use their wealth of experience and knowledge."
September 11, 2006
Thousands of undergraduate students are being forced to sign goodWhat do you think of that?
behaviour contracts with their universities and warned they could be
expelled if they breach regulations, the Guardian has learned.The
contracts put the onus on students to attend lectures and tutorials,
but have been condemned by the National Union of Students. The NUS claims the contracts are "one-sided", and do not spell out what
standard of teaching students should expect to get for the
£3,000-a-year top-up tuition fees they are being charged.
September 09, 2006
September 07, 2006
Chris' blog is a little too geekish for my needs, but I was interested to read this post on how to kiss corporate life goodbye. The comments are pretty funny, especially this one:
You sound like one of those infomercial guys selling books on how to make ten grand a day for sitting on your ass and placing tiny ads in the backs of magazines. heh
I found another method of avoiding the corporate world that is better suited to the risk-averse geek: working in higher education.
Altho first prize goes to,
Unemployment allows similar freedoms without all those pesky tasks like appointments, doing work and making bank deposits.
This is kind of in "alternative views" category, tho I don't know HOW alternative it really is, but it's kinda cool anyway.
Forbes has a slide-show of "the 100 most powerful women". Just click on the link and the slideshow runs by itself. Below each photo there's a link to find out more about the person, something I will have to do as I don't know 99% of the women who've appeared in my slideshow so far. (I don't watch TV. Maybe that has something to do with it?)
I don't know what Forbes' definition of "powerful" is (women who've "made it" in a man's world?).... OK, JK Rowling just appeared (without glasses), there's ONE I know.... This is embarrassing. Many of the women are white, but not all are North American, which shows that Forbes isn't as parochial or ethnocentric as many North American organizations (I was afraid it would be something like "all the women who've appeared on Oprah in the last xxx years").
Anyway, it's a kind of cool, Internetty way of getting some education.
September 06, 2006
Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and cleared for regular use so that it will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and sign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. Sincerely,I was on the point of abandoning Blogger, it was such a pain: I couldn't post from Firefox's Performancing, or even from Blogjet because the "spam blog" label meant that I had to type in the stupid little letters every bloody time before I could post. Initially, Performancing would at least post it as a draft, but even that wasn't working recently. Blogjet could park my post as a draft. AND BLogjet gave me this useful bit of info: a URL where I could apply to have the "spam" label removed. Until I read that, I has assumed I just had to wait until Blogger got around to reviewing my blog in their own time. It was about 1 week after I applied, that I got the above clearance from Blogger.com.
The Blogger Team
Yay! #2: thanks to GTDGmail, I've completely emptied my Gmail inbox of over 1,000 emails!!
Yay! #3: thanks to GTD and Outlook, I've re-organized my Outlook email, calendar, contacts, tasks and notes, and completely emptied my email inbox!! (and no, it wasn't just a matter of selecting them all and hitting the delete, button).
A friend sent me this opinion piece from the NY Times, on how academics are like the 19th century laborers, in that they have control over their own time, a large factor in job satisfaction. It’s actually more about 19th century laborers than about academics today, a fact which is explained by a footnote which tells the reader,
Tom Lutz is the author of “Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers and Bums in America.”
It’s interesting, but I would be more interested in the dynamics of change in the academic world: there are forces at work changing the academic landscape, what are those forces? How do they impact academic life for both teachers and students? Jacques Barzun had some interesting things to say about that. Is there nothing worth saying on this matter since he wrote that 15 years ago?
September 04, 2006
An Oxford college head has suggested cash incentives to lure more students into taking maths to A-level.
What caught my attention, tho, was the photo caption:
Maths has been losing popularity to less academic subjects
So “academic” means “difficult”?
Or perhaps History, English, in fact all the "arts" subjects, are "less academic" than the sciences? Maybe it's just me, but this strikes me as the kind of detail an editor is paid to spot before it is printed for the world to see.
September 03, 2006
Better late than never.. I just figured out how Firefox’s “Live Bookmarks” works. This is Firefox’s RSS reader.
I was initially looking for an add-in that would track auctions on Yahoo! Auctions Japan, but Firefox extensions only handle eBay. Then I came across this (page in Japanese) promo on the Yahoo!Japan website for Firefox. The screenshots and explanation seem to indicate Firefox Japanese version supports Yahoo!Auction (Japan) tracking. The English version will probably do it, too, on second thoughts, because it’s not an extension, nor a Yahoo!Toolbar (Yahoo!Toolbar -Jpns version – will not run on Firefox … yet). It’s just different Yahoo!Auctions open in different Firefox tabs. Still, the wild goose chase did teach me a few things.
September 01, 2006
And today, I found this:
Night Owl's Appeasing Republicans gives a brief outline of exactly who the prominent American "appeasers" were in Hitler's day (hint: They weren't Democrats).Now, I don't want to get into politics here, but I do find this interesting. Also, the Internet makes it possible to investigate for oneself and check facts rather quickly.
And apparently, the next word on the list is fascism. This use of language, rhetoric and propaganda really make a powerful and urgent case for education as developing the bullshit-spotting instinct, as well as a memory for history. And here's someone else who seems to think so, too.
the “embedded” math mentors for our new Everyday Math curriculum adoption - today I heard the word embedded, with respect to classrooms, for the first time. Maybe people talk like this in other places? Living in Alaska, I often feel grateful to be out of touch.
First, I was suprised, as the term instantly brought to mind the embedded journalists in the invasion of Iraq, and the subsequent cycnical distortion of the term into “in-bed-with”.
This in turn reminded me of something I read long ago when I was studying German literature. (I thought at first it was something by Georg Lukacs, but I think it was something by George Steiner, perhaps this book ). Whoever it was, was writing about how the German language had been tainted by the Nazis because of the associations certain words had. One example given was of words typically used in (particularly anti-Semitic) propaganda films the Nazis made and which many Germans of the time saw (and remembered). As a result, the critic stated, it was not possible to use these words because their past associations were so strongly (and in many cases, disgustingly) (damn! now I can’t use the word “embedded”!) linked to anti-Semitic propaganda and manipulation, and because they were used in movies, the associations included images and sounds.
Of course, living languages are always evolving, and not all changes are the result of propaganda (for a fascinating look at the history of propaganda in the West take a look at Alex Carey) . “Gay”, for instance, can no longer be used to refer to an extrovert, cheerful person.