Saturday, November 27, 2010

Personality tests for teachers, cyberbullying white paper, and other education news

Teachers "to be given personality tests" - UK
The UK Department of Education has just released an Education White Paper - The Importance of Teaching, which recommends that would-be teachers take aptitude tests and undergo personality screening before being accepted.

UK Department of Education, November 24, 2010

Cyberbullying Materials by Common Sense Media
US media watchdog group for kids, Common Sense Media has some useful looking resources on cyberbullying:

Common Sense Media, November 24, 2010

Africentric school principal to return
The nation's only Africentric school is in Toronto, and it also appears to be dealing with the politics of being the only one of its kind...

Toronto Star, November 26, 2010

Use of the internet in higher-income households - PEW Internet and Income Study
A rather "obvious" study in the big picture context, but does provide some nice bits of data on the varying levels of usage, access (e.g. Broadband, mobile), and intensity of use.

PEW Internet, November 24, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Facebook Blamed and Advocated by Educators, Ontario and the Poor Student Dilemma, Cellphones in the Classroom - Some of this week's news & articles

Traditional university education to be supplemented by options
You might be surprised to hear that according to the United Nations, the percentage of adults who have attained a tertiary education is 46 per cent in Canada. This compares to 55 per cent for Russia, 39 per cent for the United States, 30 per cent for the United Kingdom, 21 per cent for Greece, and 10 per cent for Italy. Canadians rank among the most educated individuals in the world.

Hamilton Spectator, November 19, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ontario Launches Bullying Awareness And Prevention Week

Ontario Ministry of Education Launches Bullying Awareness And Prevention Week. Today's press release designates the third week of every November as Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week.

Packaged as an "opportunity to raise awareness of bullying-related issues and make a difference in school communities", it appears to be part of the Safe Schools Strategy; which includes initiatives like linking up with the Help Kids Phone, a national program which provides some useful services.
Also of note is the The Keeping Our Kids Safe at School Act, which came into force this past February, 2010. The Act itself gives quite a bit of leeway and power to Boards and principals, a necessary measure and, hopefully, backed-up by sound policies and guidelines.

Bullying is a major issue for educators right across North America, espcially cyber-bullying. A recent national survey (US) on bullying, The Ethics of American Youth: 2010, found that half of US high school students say they've bullied someone in the past year, and nearly half say they've been the victim of bullying. The study was prepared by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, surveyed an astonishing 43,000 high school students, and asked them whether they'd been physically / emotionally abused in a way which really upset them.

Here are some recent articles on bullying legislation in the States, to give us an idea of how our neighbours to the south are handling this thorny issue:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Financial Literacy in Ontario Schools

Financial literacy will be integrated into the curriculum in September of 2011. The initiative was a key recommendation of the Curriculum Council and the report of the Working Group on Financial Literacy, will teach students about about saving, spending, investing and managing money, and will be taught from grades 4 to 12.

Some Key Links and Reports on Financial Literacy:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ontario Progress "Report" Card Pamphlet for Parents, California Dept of Ed. Resources on iTunes, and more news

Changes to Report Cards and the Reporting of Student Progress
The Durham District School Board has created a clear-language pamphlet for parents explaining the changes this fall.

Durham District School Board

Asian students suffering for success
Long admired for raising academic superstars, parents of Asian background are coming under fire from their own community for pushing their children into university programs for which many have no real interest or talent and often quit in distress.

Toronto Star, November 10, 2010

Computers Link Homes and Schools in California
A school district in California's Silicon Valley is installing what could be the nation's first computer link between home and school, and the officials who have started the program say they expect it to spread quickly across the state.
I know of a number of workplaces who would love this type of technology...the haves and have-nots in America's school districts is mind-blowing.

Education Week, November 10, 2010

Sex, Drugs More Common in Hyper-Texting Teens
Teens who text 120 times a day or more — and there seems to be a lot of them — are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol and drugs than kids who don't send as many messages, according to provocative new research.
Yup, peer pressure is now also a "wireless" activity...a not-so-astonishing study.

Education Week, November 9, 2010

Lastly, Two Examples of Smart Ed. Resource Sharing Networks:
  1. State Business and Education Leaders to Create New Tool for Teachers
  2. Calif. Department of Ed. Now on iTunes U

Friday, November 12, 2010

Learning with Mobile Technology, Ed-Tech Action Plans, and Educational Media for Babies and Toddlers - A Review of Some Recent Research

The U.S. releases the final version of its National Ed-Tech Action Plan. It's a 124 page report, outlining a lot of very ambitious plans, including online professional-collaboration communities for teachers and other educators, finance development of open-source educational resources, launch an initiative dedicated to defining and increasing educational productivity, and lists goals for 2020...for more information see Education Week's article on the report.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ontario University Sector Concerns, Bullying, Minorities, Character Development Programs, and more - A Review of Some Recent Reports & Research

A recent report looking at higher education in Ontario, The Benefits of Greater Differentiation of Ontario’s University Sector (published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario - HEQCO), states that "universities should set measureable goals based on their strengths, and the provincial government should base new funding on
whether those goals are met." Basically, when you're looking at the various programs of the many Ontario universities, you end of feeling like you're looking at more-or-less the same blueprint, cheating the student of real choice and the university of opportunities to focus on, and develop, their strengths..."Ontario universities should play to their strengths instead of trying to be everything to everyone" (Globe and Mail article).