Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Debating Cursive Writing

I wrote the assignment on the board, white chalk on black slate. When the kid in the back row asked me to read it aloud, I was worried that he might need glasses. So I asked him. His answer floored me: “I can see fine; I just can’t read cursive.”
A Lost Art by J Amos. Education Week
Recently, the Toronto Star’s Education section published a few of articles on the state of handwriting – cursive - in our local schools. A few among the many articles we've encountered over the past year looking at the disappearing art of handwriting.

But why all the fuss about teaching and learning cursive?

Monday, December 28, 2009

The days of the netbook are over...

Well, at least according to Stuart Miles, founder and editor of technology blog Pocket Lint, as quoted today in a BBC technology article. The article discusses the success of Netbooks as the very possible "undoing" of them as a sustainable, cheaper, popular option for portable computing...especially when firms see building mobile platforms as the real long-term solution. Many of the newer model of Netbooks are now running Windows XP or Windows 7 which has forced both the specifications and price upwards: a big change form the initial intent, and a move toward becoming simply a smaller laptop minus the real computing power (which is why laptop makers are creating thinner machines), and let's not forget that the battery life of Windows platform is never more than 3-5 hours, while the battery life of Linux, the original Netbook platform, is 10+ hours.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Report Card Mandate for Ontario Elementary Teachers

The Ministry of Education released a statement today regarding changes to the delivery of report cards. Ontario elementary teachers are no longer expected to deliver a provincial report card three times per year, teachers are now mandated to deliver a fall progress report card.

The fall progress report is intended to facilitate and increase communications between parents, and to be used as a means of identifying how their child is progressing using a very well, well or with difficulty. From the looks of it, it's a means of addressing the concerns of parents, identifying the needs of students, and taking the pressure off of teachers to do something which is very difficult in the first 6 to 8 weeks of a new class - carefully, accurately, and fairly assess a student in order to target specific learning needs. And to do all this is a context more conducive to honest, proactive communications with goals set for the long-term.

The progress report will assess and evaluate students in the same areas as the report card, will count towards the student's overall assessment, and will be stored in the students' Ontario Students Records.

The new Progress Report Card has been tested in pilot projects in sixty schools and nine school boards, and will be introduced in the 2010-11 school year.

Read about the new Fall Progress Report Card initiative:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kids 9 - 16 and Writing. A UK Report on the Role of Technology

Young people and writing: Attitudes, behaviour and the role of technology, by the National Literacy Trust, looks at young people's views about writing in the UK, with a focus on exploring "what type of writing they engage in, how good at writing they think they are, what they think about writing and what the role of technology is in young people's writing". In term sof technology, it explores writing with respect to mobile phone ownership, having a blog and having a profile on a social networking site.