Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Great Teachers" - A Very Public, Ongoing Dialogue

Recently there was an interesting article in the UK Guardian, What makes a great teacher, that highlights some of the key factors that make up a great teacher. This ongoing analysis of our profession will always be a more "public" debate than most other professions will ever experience: most of us have attended school and experienced an array of teachers and teaching styles, very few professions have or will touch people the way ours does. After going over these key points in this article it made me think of how this translates to my teaching environment at the elementary level and whether there is more to his explanation of great teacher.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Teen Use of Mobile and Media Technology - Study

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that media dominates the lives of 8 to 18 year-olds...literally, the study estimates "8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week)". Basically, when they're awake and not in school, kids are using a mobile / smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device practically all of the time...and some members of the teaching community still question the long-term impact of social and digital media / technology on teaching?!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom - A PBS Survey

PBS and Grunwald Associates just released their annual teachers survey (conducted online, includes responses from 1,418 full-time teachers) and found that three-quarters of teachers reported using technology and digital media in their classrooms - a stat which is steadily increasing over the years, and up from 69 percent in 2008. And what makes this year's survey even more fascinating is that pre-K teachers — surveyed this year for the first time — have expressed the same interests in digital media and social networking as the K–12 teachers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Decade of Change in Education

In today's Globe and Mail there was a commentary reviewing the top ten events in Canadian education over the last decade - by Paul Bennett, Director of Schoolhouse Consulting. Mr. Bennett's choices for the top ten "tipping point" events are:
  • Advent of Google and Wikipedia
  • 9/11 and School Security
  • Public Acceptance of School Rankings
  • Harry Potter Phenomenon
  • Smart Board (IWB) Craze
  • Social Networking
  • Opening of Toronto's Africentric School
  • Revival of All-Boys Schools
  • Homework Backlash
  • Spectre of School Closings
While I like Mr. Bennett's choices, I find the focus to miss a few of the really key events.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Emotion-Sensitive Tutoring Software

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Arizona State University in Tempe are developing emotion-sensitive tutoring software which can translate and respond to students emotional cues.