Category Archives: 21st Century Education

Helping Kids Resist Unwanted Advertising

As technology changes race forward there are so many aspects we have not necessarily been prepared for. Thank goodness for a fledgling New Zealand company who has recognised the need to support children to be able to resist the advertising that is often directly focused on them.  As children as young as 3 navigate themselves around different devices and apps they are exposed to in-app or opt in purchases and advertising. A little difficult for young kids not to be resist if it is appealing enough.

This Auckland based company wants to train kids to resist different forms of advertising in a positive way. Supported by psychologically based concepts this supports both children and parents. It uses an online solution to teach children strategies for resisting ads and in-app purchases. What a great idea and one that can support kids at home and school both places where they spend the majority of their time. This start up company and what they are doing is worth reading more about.

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A Language Dilemma

Are we creating a generation that will struggle with oral language and a range of adequate vocabulary due to the lack of face to face interaction and social dialogue? An article written by the herald “Use of gadgets and parents too busy to talk suspected of hindering children’s language development” discusses what seems to be a growing dilemma with young students starting school. How wide spread this is seems to be debatable but a growing number of schools are reporting a drop in oral language for those starting school. Most schools test students oral language upon entering school  in New Zealand so it will be possible to track some of this data.

How will this impact on students as they continue their education and what are the underlying reasons? There is a growing awareness that the numbers of hours spent by students on individual devices both at school and at home does affect certain aspects of development. No longer is there a need to interact with your family on a shared board game throwing the dice and arguing over scrabble words. All can be done while each has their own device needing very little oral interaction. Parents and educators alike need to be aware of this and recognise the importance of time and opportunity for talking with children not at them or directing them. I like these simple things that can be done throughout the day.

  • Help children with simple activities and, in doing so, have lots of conversational exchanges.
  • Tell children words and expressions but also make sure they are able to frequently try out new language.
  • Read aloud to children and give them time to think over what they have heard. Ask lots of closed questions (with one-word answers) and open questions (those with many different answers).
  • Try to talk with, not at, your children.
  • Encourage them to retell their favourite stories from books or their own experience.

Single Sex Schools Versus Co-Ed

A new report analyses achievement in state secondary boys’ schools and explores the top strategies used by high-performing schools. This report by two well recognised New Zealand educationalists brings the age old argument as to whether boys achieve better in single sex schools as opposed to co-ed. Many aspects that are discussed could also support girls learning. High-performing schools in New Zealand advocate a student-centred approach, offering a wide variety of activities as well as strong academic programmes,

To support students to achieve the best results it is important that they are self-managing and motivated to set high goals for themselves, Providing students, whether they are boys or girls with as many opportunities and a desire to achieve their best supports them for the future. A strong belief that they can do it coupled with good self esteem helps to create success.

Are boys distracted by having girls in their classes? Quite possibly. However boys in co-ed schools also show success. Perhaps there are a number of factors that contribute. Good role models and an expectation that students do their best, also physical and mental well being.

Schools along don’t produce these good results it is the home and school working together that supports and leads to success.

How to best teach under 25’s.

What the constant changing world of technology and communication teaching professionals in all areas of education are realising the importance of keeping in touch with the needs and most effective ways of teaching and educational methods. It was great to read about the study “Becoming effective teachers for under-25 students: A model for professional development decision-making” which is being undertaken collaboratively by 5 of our Polytechnics.
A recent article that I read about engagement entitled “The Eight C’s Of Engagement” re- enforces the importance of differentiating the way that teachers deliver instruction so that it addresses the needs of diverse learners. How do we create learners that are in control of their own learning, display high levels of energy, ask questions, seek answers and alternatives and take risks.
It is encouraging to see this question also being asked at the tertiary level. While educators may think they know the answers this is an opportunity for teachers, staff developers and students to work collaboratively to plan future direction.

The importance of the early years

The importance of the early years in a child’s life and the development of the brain during these years was the topic of an interesting seminar I recently attended by Nathan Mikaere Wallis. When we are born we have 15% of our brain and by the time we are 4 we have 90%. The things we experience during these early years will set the foundation for later development. He talked about some interesting aspects of those early years.
For the first 6 months the focus is on building relationships. The baby is relates to those closest to them building attachment. Nathan Mikaere Wallis says that to ignore attachment at the expense of physical development does the opposite. Trying to force children to weight-bear before they are ready has the opposite effect. It’s like the gardener tugging at the new shoots to speed up the crop.
From 6 to 24 months the mid brain or movement brain develops. The social or emotional development is important as is freedom of movement which in turn supports learning. He talked about baby traps limiting movement and therefore limiting learning such things as jolly jumper, play pen, stroller, car seats, highchairs, slings, safety sleepers. A baby on the floor exercises 100 muscles needed for walking, but in a jolly jumper only exercises 8 muscles. The next 12 months sees the emotional development of the child.
If we recognise the importance of these years as a future foundation do we also recognise the importance of providing the best learning and development experiences and the impact of choosing the best pre- school environment.

Education to training and Employment

“Pathways for future education, training and employment,” The ERO Report that has just been released makes some strong recommendations that will support and prepare students for education, training and employment in the 21st Century. I have previously spoken about the rapid global changes that are happening and the need for educators and education to move to support it. The report talks about not only the need to provide options that suit a student’s “ability, interests and future plans” but also giving them access to services that will help them with their choices. Logical traditional pathways that followed education through to employment does not always fit with the students our system produces. Not only must learning be differentiated but also the step that takes them from education into the employment arena.

Access For All

TabletAs we move into this exciting and fast moving direction of education in the 21st century education centres are evolving to keep pace with not only the needs of students but also the technological changes that accompany them. A recent article in the Education Gazette by Kate Bleasdale talked about the increasing number of tablets that are becoming a familiar sight in the classroom. While the price of tablets can be an obstacle for some schools there are a number of creative ways they are using to make it possible for all students.

While money is one of the issues she also discusses the need for digital citizenship. This has been the centre of some of my previous blogs. With the announcement of the 21st Century learning reference group the Government also realises the importance of creating a strategy that enable all students to make the most if available technologies. As more and more schools look at “BYOD” or Bring Your Own Device giving all students equal access becomes an important issue.