Thursday, 17 September 2015

Cybersecurity Learning Activity

A quick post to draw readers attention to an excellent cybersecurity learning experience created by Nova Labs.

"The Cybersecurity Lab is a game designed to teach people how to keep their digital lives safe, spot cyber scams, learn the basics of coding, and defend against cyber attacks"

 In this learning activity you will .. "take cybersecurity into your own hands. In this Lab, you’ll defend a company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. Your task is to strengthen your cyber defenses and thwart the attackers by completing a series of cybersecurity challenges. You’ll crack passwords, craft code, and defeat malicious hackers."

 Enjoy .. much fun .. and learning valuable skills !

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Mathematics, Philosophy and the "Real World"

A "Must See" Course for all Maths and Science Teachers

"Mathematics is a unique human creation. It proves its claims by logic and reason, and it applies to all subjects. I hope to help listeners appreciate its beauty and to use it to become more empowered citizens in a free society."

Professor Judith Grabiner, PhD
Pitzer College

Mathematics has spread its influence far beyond the realm of numbers. The concepts and methods of mathematics are crucially important to all of culture and affect the way countless people in all spheres of life look at the world.

I have taught Maths and Science for 30 years. In my retirement I have been reading Philosophy - a subject that I think should be studied in every school today. Researching around I stumbled upon this 36 lecture Course (30 minutes per lecture) by Prof Judith Grabiner.

My eyes were opened !

As I worked my way through the lectures I began to realize how little I understood the history of the basis of the Maths and Science I have taught and researched - PhD - across the years.

I could not recommend this Course more highly to all Maths and Science teachers to gain some insight into the origins and history of the work they teach. Armed with a deeper knowledge of your teaching matter will enhance your classroom teaching performance. The students will learn with a deeper meaning and understanding. They will learn thinking skills that will remain with them for a lifetime.

Mathematics, Philosohphy and the "Real World"

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Skill Acquisition

How to turn a new skill into an automatic habit.

Skill acquisition requires planning, training and practice. Sports people definitely know all about that. But what about teachers and students ?

Mostly we just "get on with it" as we teach and learn.

We don't give much thought to the range of mental skills that we are using every day as we teach and learn. Pause for a moment and think about it.

What mental skills are being used ?

Am I using  these skills effectively ?

Can I improve ?  How can I improve ?

Monday, 9 June 2014

Become a Humane Educator

Institute for Humane Education

Zoe Weil

Very interesting idea being proposed by Zoe Weil co-founder of The Institute for Humane Education.

I became aware of Zoe Weil through her TED talk.

Perhaps you already know of her work but for those who haven't I think you will find it very interesting. Her TED talk is excellent.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

More on Brain Myths

For those interested

I draw your attention to Gerald Carey's Debunking Brain Myths.

Some of these Brain Based learning myths are well entrenched. But there is excellent progress being made in the understanding the neuroscience of learning.

Again, I encourage you to read;

Geake, John G. The Brain at School Educational Neuroscience in the Classroom. Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press, 2009.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Mental Barriers to Learning

Mental Paralysis

Our own minds can hold us back without us knowing it.

Sometimes the cause may be immediate or it may be the result of experiences years earlier. Mental baggage that you have carried for years, believing it to be true.

Students often shy away from certain tasks under the misapprehension that they are not good at doing that. A mistaken belief that may change their future career path.

What are some possible causes ?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Teaching Professionals

Marching to the beat

 Just how free are we to teach the way we would like ?

At the classroom level the highly experienced, teaching professional is often just viewed as a cog in the great machine of education. A machine that sets the rhythm and beat of our school year. A machine programmed by mostly faceless people.

The education machine's slow turning curriculum wheel relentlessly drives the cogs of the work programs which in turn spin the smaller, faster wheels of the lessons. We march to that tempo ! Our students bump along in lockstep. The work must be covered !

Could we break free and march to a different beat ?

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Visualization, Imagination and Learning

Movies in the mind !

Most people can create mental imagery - to varying degrees - by consciously "seeing" or visualizing almost anything in their mind's eye. It's usually quick and easy to mentally visit, explore or manipulate any familiar place, object or abstraction. Visualization is an essential skill to develop, especially for the classroom, whether you are a teacher or a student.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Brain Science Myths

Don't be shocked but ... !

Cognitive Neuroscience and its recent offspring, Educational Neuroscience, (check it ) have been telling us for a long time now that - despite the many investigations - there is no evidence that certain Brain-Based learning ideas have any worthwhile benefits.

I've been long aware of these findings but I thought I would make mention of them here.

1. Brain Gym. Absolute rubbish. A couple of years ago even it's inventor admitted it started as a joke.

2. Learning Styles. Absolute rubbish. Neuroscience soundly condemns this idea.

3. Multiple Intelligences. Again taken completely out of context. There is only one general intelligence ! (see my Working Memory post)

 4. Left-Brain, Right Brain Learning. Absolute rubbish. You teach and learn with both hemispheres - the whole brain.

Might be shocking news to learn this but there it is !

By the way I draw your attention to a good Brain Science book:

Geake, John G. The Brain at School Educational Neuroscience in the Classroom. Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press, 2009.