Henrick Oprea does not believe in a one size fits all model of education. He looks at the differences between students, how they interact, what is progression and reflects on ‘connections connections connections’ , noting that teachers are not capable of doing it all:

We don’t learn from school exclusively, and this should have already become crystal clear with the revolution that technology is likely to bring about in learning. We learn best from one another. We learn when we’re challenged and when we are stimulate to think differently, to find viewpoints to support our opinions. This will rarely come from a group of people who have grown up exposed to the same old ideas. If we confine a group of people into one single space, with access to the same sources of information, these people are likely to end up having a lot more things in common in their way of looking at the world than we may think

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Tricks for teaching tech quickly – the series

Mike Muir posts a mini-series on his blog including suggestions such as kids teaching kids

In its simplest form, “Kids Teaching Kids” can be as simple as when a student comes to you and says, “I saw that Moesha had some interesting animation in her project; will you show me how to do that?” You respond, “Why don’t you ask Moesha how she did that?”

More deliberate approaches include creating a poster listing typical tech issues, apps, peripherals, devices, and programs for your classroom, and the students who know how to use them, do them, or fix them. When a student needs help with using the iPod Touch as a digital camera, he can look up at the list and see which of his classmates already know how to use it

The Series


Is the age of the pc over?

Scott Kotarides has worked using Baltimore County Public Schools systems for over 13 years. He remembers the hype surrounding different pcs in the late nineties and draws parallels to the introduction of some mobile devices. He believes that having portable devices is producing a fundamental change in learning

While I believe that all schools should have a few computer labs for things that require power such as video editing, they don’t need laptop carts like they once did. Handheld devices are quicker than laptops (no booting needed), more portable, and can access information in real-time.  More importantly almost every student has one

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Prezi as a higher learning tool

“The first time I used Prezi I was inflicted with a mild dose of motion sickness” notes Ian Handsley on the LSUVietnam blog. He explains how he has experimented with the different features, finding ways to reduce this effect.

I recently had an experience teaching in a tightly coordinated summer EAP intensive for post-graduate students here in Japan, and I found that Prezi was a great help for coming to terms with all the course materials and supporting documentation. How I used Prezi to make sense of what was quite daunting educationally and administratively will perhaps demonstrate how Prezi can transform mundane presentation authoring into powerful learning experiences

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Getting wise about using data to improve student learning

Maggie Hos-McGrane writes about a recent Data wise workshop that she attende

The idea behind Data Wise, which is an initiative of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is that learning from data contributes to building an effective school and to helping the school continue to improve its performance, through aligning the instructional programme with strong standards.  It is through the collaboration of educators who are committed to working together to develop the skills and knowledge of all children that the improvement will be implemented so that students will develop the skills they need for the future.

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See also work in the last three years including two international conferences on Learning Analytics – and go book your place for LAK13 too !


Technology and Learning

Angel C de Dios on the Philippine Basic Education blog, describes recent thunderstorms that resulted in people manually adding their purchases  up in grocery stores without calculators. He reflects back on his experiences with calculators and his son’s with computer, wondering about the use of technology and understanding

on one hand, it may seem that introduction of technology into classrooms is a sure winner. Back when I was in high school, scientific calculators were not yet widely available and I could not afford to have one. So in trigonometry, we were using tables. That was quite tedious so it paid to commit into memory the sine values of special angles like 0, 30, 45, 60 and 90 degrees. And knowing the sine values at these angles, one can derive the cosine, tangent, cotangent, secant and cosecant values. Having to work with these functions manually, one did have a greater opportunity to appreciate what they represent. Thus, the downside of technology is that the use of scientific calculators can take the entire picture into a black box.

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Survey: Chinese students use tech for learning more than their U.S. counterparts

Ki Mae Heussner on gigaom, reports on a recent study, noting that the results are all self-reported, which included 1,575 interviews with students, teachers and parents in the U.S., Germany and China

while respondents from all of the countries agreed that schools aren’t getting what they need, the survey found that Chinese students say they spend more time with technology in school than students in the U.S. and Germany. One function of that could be that 37 percent of Chinese parents said they provide funding for technology students use in schools, as opposed to 16 percent of American parents and 23 percent of German parents.

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Nigerian students spend N160b in Ghana varsities

James Ogunjimi notes that many Nigerian students are choosing to study in universities outside of Nigeria and wonders what can be done to develop Nigerian higher education.

No fewer than 75,000 Nigerian students are currently studying in three Ghanaian universities incurring a total of N160billion expenditure annually, the Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Dr Wale Babalakin, has said.

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Education and me

Pratik writes about his experiences with the Indian educational system. He looks at the dynamics of student-teacher and student-student interaction producing ineffective communication. Students believe that if its in an exam it has value without questioning further.

We should have Informal education. More participatory education where even the instructor gains valuable insights from students and they discuss it should be the goal. Rather than quantifying the insights into how they will be useful in future. Even before attending a lecture the student has made up mind that it’s worthless. Why judge? Take whatever you get from it and leave the rest. This attitude is markedly absent in students

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Democracy and Education matter

In a powerful post, Alma de Colibri reflects on how the powerlessness of her students has resulted in apathy towards changing education and having a say in that change. She notes that students have little say say in how their education is structured and points to systematic failings that result n continuous poverty and oppression.

We tell students not to limit their imagination, yet we paint a pretty dim picture for them; we tell students they can be anything they want to be in life, yet we dictate what they have to learn; we tell them they must be problem solvers, yet we give them pretty scripted lessons and provide scaffolding for the scaffolding; and we tell students to take responsibility for their decisions, yet they get very little opportunity to make decisions and use critical judgment

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