Friday, April 27, 2012

Worth Reading

Sharing intriguing and thought-provoking pieces I recently stumbled upon.

1. Negative Space (Socol)- commentary on spaces we create and or provide for students in schools.  How does space influence creative, innovation, collaboration and reflection?

For "negative spaces" to exist effectively and positively, the adults in the building must be mobile in space and in time, wandering - not on patrol but in search of interaction and opportunities to support. 

2. Fascinating Places (Lasic)- sharing a story about engagement after being punched in the face

You should have seen the kids go for it! ‘Learning outcomes’ anyone? We had science, social skills, maths, communication skills, problem solving, humour, persistence, engagement … the list of desirables goes on. It was simply awesome and done by kids who’d otherwise be hanging off the rafters or rolling their eyes in boredom, largely baulking at the stuff ‘curriculum’ throws at them.

3. A Third Industrial Revolution (The Economist)- how the information age is changing the face of business

As manufacturing goes digital, a third great change is now gathering pace. It will allow things to be made economically in much smaller numbers, more flexibly and with a much lower input of labour, thanks to new materials, completely new processes such as 3D printing, easy-to-use robots and new collaborative manufacturing services available online. The wheel is almost coming full circle, turning away from mass manufacturing and towards much more individualised production. And that in turn could bring some of the jobs back to rich countries that long ago lost them to the emerging world.

Many students simply do not understand the who, what, when, where, why and how of citizenship. The iCitizenship project both supports students in understanding 21st century citizenship and creates opportunities for young adults to take ownership and practice it on multiple levels.  My students skyped, tweeted, blogged and connected with people, young and old, from all over the world during this project.

They also facilitated  and lead a twitter chat about iCitizenship and skyped into an iCitizenship Town Hall Meeting at St. Joseph’s College and engaged with a physical and virtual crowd of several hundred people. The event was also live streamed over the internet and generated nearly 1000 tweets.

5. Why Bilinguals Are Smarter- promoting the benefits of speaking two languages

Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.  

We cannot enrich the minds of our students by testing them on texts that purposely ignore their hearts. By doing so, we are withholding from our neediest students any reason to read at all. We are teaching them that words do not dazzle but confound. We may succeed in raising test scores by relying on these methods, but we will fail to teach them that reading can be transformative and that it belongs to them. 

7. Thomas Suarez, 6th Grade App Developer

8. Robert Nay, developer of top selling app Bubble Ball