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‘We learning’ in the digital age

Bluyonder Greg Whitby - 11 August, 2014 - 11:46

According to sociologist Dirk Helbing, the 21st century will ‘be governed by fundamentally different principles than the 20th century’.  Helbing says it requires a new way of thinking about the world.  He predicts that in this age of ‘collective intelligence’ enabled by social media, we will see the emergence of an ‘innovation ecosystem’ made up of millions of projects.  Is this PBL on a global scale?

Helbing believes digital literates will become better informed than experts.  His recent paper ‘What the Digital Revolution means for us‘ is fascinating reading and raises some important challenges.  Helbing concludes:

‘Digital literacy and good education will be more important than ever.  But with the emerging Internet of Things and participatory information platforms, we can unleash the power of information and turn the digital society into an opportunity for everyone.  It just takes our will to establish the institutions required to make the digital age a great success.  Are we ready for this?

It’s a relevant question for educators – what shifts are we making in our thinking and our work to turn students into exceptional digital literates?  In June this year I spoke at the EduTech conference in Brisbane and discussed where I think education has been and where we need to go next in the context of the digital revolution.









Categories: Planet

N O V A | Global Schools Innovation Network

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 10 August, 2014 - 21:43


  • "NOVA takes you simply, quickly and directly to resources that will inform your own strategic thinking on innovation in schools. for articles in the current issue addressing: assessment; case studies; curriculum; leadership; pedagogy; research; and thought leaders. NOVA focuses on leadership, curriculum, assessment, pedagogy and research, as well as bringing you thought leaders and case studies that address innovation."
    " - Roland Gesthuizen

Tags: NOVA, thoughtleadership, pedagogy, research, library, curriculum, innovation, strategic

by: Roland Gesthuizen

Categories: International News

The Australian Curriculum v7.0 Technologies: Rationale

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 10 August, 2014 - 21:26


  • "Technologies enrich and impact on the lives of people and societies globally. Australia needs enterprising individuals who can make discerning decisions about the development and use of technologies and who can independently and collaboratively develop solutions to complex challenges and contribute to sustainable patterns of living. Technologies can play an important role in transforming, restoring and sustaining societies and natural, managed, and constructed environments." - Roland Gesthuizen

Tags: AusVELS, technologies, curriculum

by: Roland Gesthuizen

Categories: International News

Neuroscience & the Classroom

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 10 August, 2014 - 13:31


  • Insights drawn from neuroscience not only provide educators with a scientific basis for understanding some of the best practices in teaching, but also offer a new lens through which to look at the problems teachers grapple with every day. By gaining insights into how the brain works—and how students actually learn—teachers will be able to create their own solutions to the classroom challenges they face and improve their practice. see video - helen castanedo

Tags: Brainresearch

by: helen castanedo

Categories: International News

Why You Need Parentheses

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 8 August, 2014 - 09:33
A friend posted the following image on Facebook. You’ve probably seen like it. Actually I have posted similar myself.

The result, as you might expect, was people arguing over the answer. Is it 9 or is it 1? Obviously it is.
I wrote some code.
double x = 6 / 2 * (1 + 2);
button1.Text = x.ToString();Actually I wrote it twice. Above in C# and below in Visual Basic. Not that there is a lot of difference or course. And they both probably translate to the same intermediate code (MSIL).

Dim x As Double
x = 6 / 2 * (1 + 2)
Button1.Text = x.ToString()
As I expected, the result showed as 9. The addition happens first because of the parentheses. Next the operations start on the left and move right. So 6 is divided by 2 and that result (3) is multiplied by 3 (the result of 1 + 2). But while the computer thinks that way not all people do.

For many people the obvious next operation after the addition is to multiple that result by the 2 before dividing. And there is some logic to that. One would like to think it didn’t make a difference. But of course it does.

Moving from left to right is common practice and it makes things consistent but there is no law of nature that says it has to be that way. This is the sort of sloppy coding that confuses a lot of people. The question should probably be written ( 6 / 2) * (1 + 2) to remove ambiguity. That would remove the confusion. It is a better coding practice even though it just states what we’d like to think is obvious. In real life what is obvious to one person is not always obvious to another.

When writing code a developer owes it to the people who will later have to work with their code (even if it may be themselves) to remove as much ambiguity as possible. Things should be clear to both the computer and other people.
Categories: Planet

Do we let “school” get in the way of learning?

The Principal of Change George Couros - 7 August, 2014 - 22:25

I had some great conversations today in Queensland, Australia about some of the ways we need to change our mindsets about teaching and learning.  A big one that I kept reiterating was how we hold our students to a different standard than we often hold ourselves.  When I brought up that some kids are simply bored with what they are doing in class, it was brought up that some of them should just have to stick with it and that this was teaching them “manners”.  Instead of arguing I asked this question to participants; “how many have you checked your email during the time I was presenting?”  About half the hands had raised.  I don’t think that it was because they were terribly bored with what they had heard, but at times they need to check out and take a break.  I do this with email. I do this with YouTube. But I used to do this with drawing.  I  also remember constantly being told to “stop daydreaming and pay attention”, when there is actually a belief that this is not a good thing to do to people.

As adults we believe that some things are urgent.  Principals sometimes think that they have to be connected to their schools at all times in case of an emergency, but in reality, if you are a great principal, the school will be in a position to survive a day or two without you.  Yes adults have developed a higher level of maturity than our kids, but the argument of “urgency” is often overused.  “Urgency” is often personal and a matter of what YOU deem important.  Things happening at work could be considered urgent by an adult, but as a kid, I remember getting a note from a girl I had a huge crush on in high school.  That seemed pretty urgent to me and you would have been pretty hard pressed to have convinced me otherwise.

The reality is that there is no clear cut answer on anything.  I am not saying, “if adults can do it, so can kids”, but I do think we need to think about what we ask of kids and what we model to them.  Have you ever been in a session where you felt the person acted as if they were better than you? Acting as if you are superior to someone else and that affords you certain privileges that others shouldn’t have bodes just as poorly with kids as it does adults.  I think that these conversations are crucial to have for promoting a more “balanced” look at how we use and promote the use of technology in our schools.

One of the conversations that I found fascinating was surrounding the idea of mobile devices as “distractions” from learning.  The one comment  (paraphrased) I heard today was that it is disheartening when we are trying to go really deep into something and the device takes away from some really powerful learning that can be happening with the student.  I had to think about it and I wondered aloud that sometimes when we ask a student to put away their device, it is something we do because we believe it will promote learning, but sometimes it is the exact opposite.  Sometimes a student might be so deep into something that they are interested in learning about on their device.  We have sometimes stopped them from learning about something they are passionate about, and replaced with something we might be passionate about, or even worse, some content we “just have to get through”.

Again, this is not a black and white scenario, but it contains a lot of grey.  There are times when we do have to get through something, but there are sometimes that we have actually stopped the important process of learning about something that really matters.  Scott McLeod recently shared a post titled, “Reader interest trumps passage readability?”, which he quotes Alfie Kohn stating,

“how interested the students were in the passage was thirty times more important than how ‘readable’ the passage was.”

A student who is interested in what they are learning, is honestly going to become a better learner than someone who doesn’t care about the content that we are trying to get through.  This stuff matters.

Sometimes what we see as a “start” to learning,  is actually an abrupt “stop”.  I am not here to give you solutions on this because every teacher that builds great relationships with students will be able to understand when we need to refocus their students, and sometimes let them continue on with something else.  But when we have a vast ocean of information at our fingertips, some people are going to want to explore

Are there kids who use their devices to play Angry Birds in class? Yup.  That is actually my “get away” when my brain is full as an adult. I need to zone out and slingshot some birds into pigs.

But there are also kids that are exploring things that are really important to them, that they’re passionate about, and sometimes we let “school” get in the way of learning. 

This can lead to the growth of a “hatred for school”, while distinguishing a “love of learning”.  That’s kind of the opposite of what we are trying to do, isn’t it?

Categories: Planet

Procrastinator? Blame it on your genes

The Age Technology - 23 April, 2014 - 08:13

New research suggests the tax office should expand the list of acceptable explanations for procrastinators' yearly extension requests and late tax filings. Two possibilities: "I was born this way" and "failure to evolve".
Categories: Planet

Man flu? When 'the flu' is really just a cold

The Age Technology - 23 April, 2014 - 07:54

Contrary to popular (female) opinion, you can have all the symptoms of the flu without being infected.
Categories: Planet

Aboriginal scientific achievements recognised

The Age Technology - 23 April, 2014 - 07:46

While Gallileo thought the moon had nothing to do with the tides, the Yolngu people from the Northern Territory knew better.
Categories: Planet

New wave of Twitter hackings

The Age Technology - 22 April, 2014 - 12:46

Are spammers finding new ways to hack into our social media accounts?
Categories: Planet

Google algorithm passes 'human' test

The Age Technology - 22 April, 2014 - 12:21

A Google algorithm can nearly perfectly decipher CAPTCHA codes online.
Categories: Planet

Google accused of playing favourites

The Age Technology - 18 April, 2014 - 10:54
Security experts are accusing Google of waiting too long to report the serious Heartbleed security bug
Categories: Planet

Astronomers discover Earth-like planet

The Age Technology - 18 April, 2014 - 04:30

Scientists have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is, so far, the closest contender for Earth 2.0.
Categories: Planet

Human microchipping: under your skin

The Age Technology - 17 April, 2014 - 08:19

Forget smartphones, tablets and even wearable gadgets - get a microchip implant instead.
Categories: Planet

Credit cards stung by Heartbleed bug

The Age Technology - 15 April, 2014 - 13:58

GE Money is recommending customers change their passwords in the wake of Heartbleed.
Categories: Planet

CommBank eftpos, net bank suffer outage

The Age Technology - 15 April, 2014 - 13:23
Commonwealth Bank customers around the country were unable to access their funds on Tuesday because of a system outage.
Categories: Planet

'Simple error' that left millions at risk

The Age Technology - 11 April, 2014 - 12:22

Robin Seggelmann introduced the major web security flaw "Heartbleed", but he denies he did it on purpose.
Categories: Planet

How to avoid 'Heartbleed'

The Age Technology - 10 April, 2014 - 15:50

What is the Heartbleed security flaw, how does it affect you and what can you do to avoid it?
Categories: Planet
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