Monthly Archives: April 2012
On April 22, a billion people around the world are expected to take part in Earth Day 2012 celebrations. Among the anticipated “billion acts of green” will be scores of events for students and schools, from gardening lessons to eco-fairs to solar cooking demonstrations. It could be an ideal set-up for young people to dive deeply into problem solving and creative thinking — but only if we trust students to figure out which problems they want to tackle.Thats advice from educator and entrepreneur Ewan McIntosh, who knows a thing or two about engaging students in project-based learning. Last fall, he facilitated an event that drew 10,000 students from five continents to tackle some of the worlds biggest problems. Students came together online for the ITU Telecom World Meta Conference. The youth event ran in parallel with a face-to-face gathering of global leaders from telecommunications and technology industries.Students were challenged to design solutions to tough issues, such as improving access to clean drinking water or extending education to reach all the worlds children. Their proposals had to meet a few basic criteria. “We set out success of an idea in terms of being tangible, pragmatic, make-able,” McIntosh explained.
ou wrote recently about the importance of teaching search skills. What do you make of the whole idea that kids no longer need to learn facts because they can find answers so easily online? Do you think that is true?Concerned TeacherWhen I was growing up, we used to say that you don’t need to know everything, just know how to find it. I firmly believe the same today, but I now appreciate that an integral part of search literacy is knowing enough background information to make informed decisions about what sources to believe. The ability to evaluate sources is one of the linchpin skills students need for navigating research both online and off.As I argued in my last post, research skills can’t be taught in a single lesson, but must be cultivated slowly, over time. There are many technical skills that students should develop to learn more about a source. But no matter how well we can analyze web addresses, research authors, or uncover who owns a website, the most fundamental skill we have for judging a source is what Ernest Hemingway called our “built-in automatic crap detector.” What fuels this “crap detector,” if not a collection of learned facts?
Based on statistics provided by PEW research, Nielsen, the National School Board Association and others, ASCD’s infographic explores the connections between today’s students, mobile learning and learning methods.The majority of Western schools attempt to ban the use of mobile devices; whereas a smaller number permit students to carry but not use the items. For many, suppressing such items becomes a losing battle — as students continue to bring them, as well as parents preferring the option of being able to contact their children.According to the research, 63 percent of students attending schools carry their mobile devices despite the rules. However, considering just how many young people now own cell phones, this percentage may be on the conservative side.
ScienceDaily Apr. 5, 2012 — American students need a dramatically new approach to improve how they learn science, says a noted group of scientists and educators led by Michigan State University professor William Schmidt.After six years of work, the group has proposed a solution. The 8+1 Science concept calls for a radical overhaul in K-12 schools that moves away from memorizing scientific facts and focuses on helping students understand eight fundamental science concepts. The “plus one” is the importance of inquiry, the practice of asking why things happen around us — and a fundamental part of science.
Identifying bones in a skeleton, learning how chemical elements react, understanding alternative energy uses. These lessons have jumped out of the textbook and into the hands of students who created video games that teach the concepts to their peers.It’s part of Globaloria, a national program that allows middle school and high school students to design educational video games on topics related to math, science, engineering and social issues. In the process of creating the games, they learn about the topics, as well as how to program a video game.