You Should Read…(August 18, 2010)

cc licensed flickr photo by schani

One of my favourite activities is going through tweet and my RSS reader to catch up on what others wrote.  This week I wanted to share stories on everything to technology, testing, and ultimately what is most important in our schools.

Books “are not the shape of knowledge,” he says. “They’re a limitation on knowledge.” The idea of a single author presenting her ideas “was born of the limitations of paper publishing. It’s not necessarily the only way or the best way to think and to write.”

  • It took an offer to appear on a national TV show for Wade Warren to reluctantly give up what he calls his “technology” for a week.  That was the only way, his mother says, that he would ever pack his 2006 MacBook (with some recent upgrades, he’ll tell you), his iPad tablet computer, and, most regretfully, his Nexus One smart phone into a cardboard box and watch them be hustled out the door of his room to a secret hiding place.
  • Wade is a “digital native” whose world – half in cyberspace, half on terra firma – is breeding what might be called a new species of thinkers. The early 21st century may be a watershed moment in how humans learn and communicate, a change perhaps not equaled since the invention of the printing press nearly six centuries ago.
  • “As we practice these very busy modes of skimming and juggling tasks, we think we’re being productive and, you know, sometimes it can be quite entertaining and quite fulfilling,” he says in a Monitor interview. “But what I don’t think we fully realize is that we’re altering in a deep way our ability to pay attention, our ability to be contemplative, to be reflective – the things that we might be losing.”
  • McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: After a Thorough Battery of Tests We Can Now Recommend “The Newspaper” As the Best e-Reader On the Market. A satirical look at E-Readers. This article has no relevance to education but is meant for nothing more than a laugh. Enjoy
    • Each device had its strengths. For some it was speed; for others it was capacity. Some were better with shorter articles; others with longer works. And cost, as always, was a factor. But in the end, one e-reader stood out. (And the winner is!?!?!?)
  • Pupils do better at school if teachers are not fixated on test results | Education | The GuardianAn interesting article that talks about how students better when they do not feel so pressured regarding test results.  Some of you may not agree with the article, but it definitely has an interesting viewpoint.
    • Children perform best in exams when teachers are not overly concerned about their test results, according to research published today.
    • Pupils show greater motivation, are better behaved and are more likely to be independent and strategic thinkers when teachers are not obsessed by grades, the study by the Institute of Education found.
    • “Nowhere is this more apparent than in science learning where relentless preparation for tests and exams drives out the important and engaging aspects, especially the practical work,” he said. “All the evidence suggests that ‘teaching to the test’ results in superficial learning and a level of boredom that can turn pupils away from science.”
  • Weekend Essay by Jonah Lehrer: How Power Affects Us – WSJ.comParaphrasing a quote from Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.”  It is important that as people gain leverage in the organizations they work, they continue to be respectful, kind, and moral.  A very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal.
    • There is no easy cure for the paradox of power. Mr. Keltner argues that the best treatment is transparency, and that the worst abuses of power can be prevented when people know they’re being monitored.
  • Blogging through the Fourth Dimension: Love Them Before You Know ThemI was so glad that someone who I have recently come to know wrote her first blog post and shared a story regarding her own education.  Greta Sandler (who I always refer to as Great!) touched many with her personal story about the importance of connecting with students.  The response to her post was absolutely amazing and proved to me that educators know that connecting and building a school on the foundation of relationships is key to continuous improvement.  All of the initiatives that we want to happen in our school will fail  if we have not connected to our students, staff, and community.  I am hoping that I will see more stories like this being shared in the future, as there is definitely the need to read them.
    • The secret for a successful connection with students is loving them before actually meeting them.”  For some reason, that phrase stayed in my mind. I wondered what she had meant by that, I couldn’t actually figure it out, but it just felt special.

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