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How to Do Research for Kids

In libraries and on the internet, you can find answers to almost any question you can think of. If you know how to do research, it can be much more fun… and faster too!

This is a very good, board game like online-introduction on how to do research for kids. The award-winning site site was created in 2003 by the Kentucky Virtual Library Kids and Teachers Workgroup, with design and animation by Shere Chamness. Thanks to its clever focus on the essentials of research (plan, search, take notes, use the information, report, evaluate), it is still extremely helpful. Nevertheless, I was wondering if there is any newer version of something like this out there “in the known universe”? I should do some additional research, but now I know exactly how to do.

www.kyvl.org
Realart

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Technology and Change

Stewart Smith provides an interesting comparison: Take a doctor from the early 19th century and ask him to take over an operation in an up to date operating theatre where somebody is undergoing an open heart surgery. The 19th century surgeon would probably not be able to continue the operation. Take a 19th century teacher and ask him to continue a math lesson until the end, the reverse is probably true.

In four videos Stewart Smith presents some experience based ideas about how change management and technology integration in schools are possible. You can watch these videos here: Part 1 (2:45), Part 2 (5:19), Part 3 (8:48) and Part 4 (1:42).

Stewart Smith is Director of ICT Strategic Leadership at the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) and ICT Advisor for the London Borough of Brent. On a recent visit to Australia, he outlined the opportunities and challenges of ‘Next Generation Learning’, a program about leading and managing change in London schools.

Web resources: Next Generation Learning, London Grid for Learning, Roar Educate.

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The Inconvenient Truth of School Reform

In America right now, a kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. These drop-outs are 8 times more likely to go to prison, 50% less likely to vote, more likely to need social welfare assistance, not eligible for 90% of jobs, are being paid 40 cents to the dollar of earned by a college graduate, and continuing the cycle of poverty.

Will “Waiting for Superman” become the “Inconvenient Truth” of school reform? In his new film Oscar winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows five families, from the Bronx to Los Angeles, as they search for better schools for their kids.

This week, the film team released an infographic offering a visual narrative around some eye-opening numbers behind the movie.

Waiting For ‘Superman’ – An infographic-driven teaser

Some people are disappointed with the movie as Guggenheim seems to cast the choices for families as good charters or nothing ignoring numerous public school success stories. The director said it was never his intention to demonize teachers or unions but to make a film that was “tough on adults.”

However, “Waiting For Superman” illustrates the dysfunction of a system by giving some well known education statistics a human face and story. It may be a good starting point for a wider discussion.

Not a question of race, a question of the education system! (c) OECD/PISA

Further reading:

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The Japanese Super Mario School

As the BBC observed recently, sights and sounds of old-school video games have become an important part of popular music and culture. One beautiful example is the Japanese paper stop motion of Super Mario. This may be not the first time Super Mario comes to school but it is probably the most creative visit so far. The paper stop motion was produced within two weeks using sticky notes to reproduce the pixel graphics. Brilliant!

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Technologies in School: Just Ask the Students!

What is the future of technology in the classroom? We often ask this question to educators, policymakers and academic experts, but rarely to the ones really concerned: the students.

Katie Ash, Christopher Powers and Jennifer Neidenberg chose a different approach to bring in student perspectives to the decision making process. They made an insightful video asking three questions to US high school students from Maryland and Oregon.

  • What technologies do you use to communicate with your friends? – “Facebook, facebook, facebook, and my cell phone …”
  • What technologies do you use during school? – “We don’t really use technology …”
  • What technologies would you like to have in school? – “More wireless internet. More (really) accessible computers …”

The answers are far from unexpected but could help to adjust the debate on technology use in schools. I was especially surprised that even though the filmmakers asked “what”, students were more concerned about “how” technologies are used in school. Watch Edweek’s new video or read the full length article.

(Thank you edweek.org)

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