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Nigel Coutts

The little things that make a difference - The Learner's Way - 1 views

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    In teaching it is often the little things we do on a daily basis that have the largest cumulative effect. While the events, festivals, camps and more spectacular lessons may stand out in our memories these moments have less overall impact across the time that our students spend in our company. Getting these little details right however is a complex business that demands we bring our best to every interaction, every lesson and every opportunity we have to shape the minds and dispositions of our learners. The result is that there are no easy lessons, no easy days.
Nigel Coutts

The Emerging Trend of Connected Institutions - The Learner's Way - 7 views

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    The book 'Non Obvious' by Rohit Bhargava present an intriguing exploration of how careful observation and thought can reveal emerging trends and as the subtitle suggest 'predict the future'. For educators the ability to identify the trends which will deliver the best outcomes for our students from the noise of fads is alluring. While the talk of new technologies, of learner centric pedagogies and teaching for lifelong learning play the part of the obvious trends in education identifying the non-obvious trend is a more challenging endeavour. 
Maureen Greenbaum

Sugata Mitra - the professor with his head in the cloud | Education | The Guardian - 16 views

  • “A generation of children has grown up with continuous connectivity to the internet. A few years ago, nobody had a piece of plastic to which they could ask questions and have it answer back. The Greeks spoke of the oracle of Delphi. We’ve created it. People don’t talk to a machine. They talk to a huge collective of people, a kind of hive. Our generation [Mitra is 64] doesn’t see that. We just see a lot of interlinked web pages
  • “Within five years, you will not be able to tell if somebody is consulting the internet or not. The internet will be inside our heads anywhere and at any time. What then will be the value of knowing things? We shall have acquired a new sense. Knowing will have become collective.”
  • if you imagine me and my phone as a single entity, yes. Very soon, asking somebody to read without their phone will be like telling them to read without their glasses.”
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  • Twenty children are asked a “big question” such as “Why do we learn history?”, “Is the universe infinite?”, “Should children ever go to prison?” or “How do bees make honey?” They are then left to find the answers using five computers. The ratio of four children to one computer is deliberate: Mitra insists that the children must collaborate. “There should be chaos, noise, discussion and running about,” he says.
  • . Year 4 children (aged eight to nine) were given questions from GCSE physics and biology papers. After using their Sole computers for 45 minutes, their average test scores on three sets of questions were 25%, 26% and 13%. Three months later – the school having taught nothing on these subjects in the interim – they were tested again, individually and without warning. The scores rose to 57%, 80% and 16% respectively, suggesting the children continued researching the questions in their own time.
  • he says the main benefit of his methods is that children’s self-confidence increases so that they challenge adult perceptions.
  • the propositions that children can benefit from collaborative learning and that banning internet use from exams will get trickier, to the point where it may prove futile. It’s worth remembering that new technologies nearly always deliver less than we expect at first and far more than we expect later on, often in unexpected ways.
Nigel Coutts

The Future of Education - 31 views

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    Reflections from The Future of Education Conference in Florence, Italy After two days of discussing the future of education with a host of educators from around the world in the beautiful city of Florence, the clearest statement on the matter might be that 'it is complicated'.
Nigel Coutts

Tinkering with Old Technology - The Learner's Way - 25 views

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    As technology evolves and its inner workings increasingly disappear from view, replaced with solid-state parts hidden by glass, aluminium and plastic, our understanding of what makes the world operate is similarly impeded. When machinery from just a few decades ago is viewed a world of moving parts, linkages, cogs and levers is revealed. These mechanical objects contain an inherent beauty and inspire curiosity in ways that modern devices with their pristine surfaces and simplified design language do not. Opportunities to explore devices from the past open our eyes and lead us to new questions of how our devices function, how machines do the jobs we need them to do and how engineers solve problems.
Nigel Coutts

Girls in Tech - Reflections from VIVID Ideas - The Learner's Way - 10 views

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    Sydney has become a beacon that brings people together and sparks conversations. Most recently the conversation centred on the topic of girls in tech and what might be done to re-dress the gender balance in STEAM subjects and related career pathways. Sponsored by INTEL this Vivid Ideas event drew a mix of entrepreneurs, educators and tech luminaries to the Museum of Contemporary Art on a Saturday afternoon to share their ideas on what might be done.
Nigel Coutts

Professional Learning Communities for School Transformation - The Learner's Way - 40 views

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    The role of the teacher is slowly but surely changing and with this come new challenges. Change becomes inevitable and processes for managing this and capitalising on the opportunities it brings becomes paramount within organisations. It is perhaps not surprising that educational institutions may evolve to become what are termed 'Learning Organisations' or 'Professional Learning Communities' within which there is a focus on the application of the principles of learning to manage change and explore new opportunities. 
Nigel Coutts

Collaborative Learning with Google Docs - The Learner's Way - 69 views

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    Something is missing from my classroom lately and I am quite happy to have seen it disappear. It is the traditional line at the teacher's desk formed by students awaiting feedback on a recently completed piece of writing. What has replaced this is our use of Google Docs and Slides as a tool for the collaborative development of ideas from initial thinking and strategising through to final editing and refinement. It has introduced a new workflow to the class that both streamlines the process of providing feedback, allows for greater detail and transforms the process into one that is richly collaborative.
Nigel Coutts

Ideas - The Learner's Way - 49 views

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    Ask any teacher what they wish they had more of and the most common answer is likely to be time. Schools are inherently busy places and there is always much to be done. We all want to meet the needs of every student, add value to their education with breadth and depth, ensure adequate coverage of the curriculum and include aspects of play and discovery. Add up all that is done in a day over and above face-to-face teaching and you can only wonder at how we manage to fit it all into the time we have. So is there an answer to this dilemma, is there a secret method to finding more time in our schedules to achieve all that we want to?
Deborah Baillesderr

BBC Learning English - Learning English - 22 views

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    Love the BBC! This site has short introductions to grammar parts that include a video, written rules and tricks, and a short assessment.
Nigel Coutts

A healthy dose of scepticism - The Learner's Way - 63 views

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    I want my students to be sceptics. I believe that in the present age scepticism is more important than ever. Easy access to information, ease of publishing, scams and confidence tricksters combine to create a climate where blind trust is dangerous for our security, our finances and our knowledge bases. For students of all ages a healthy dose of scepticism is much needed not just so they may reveal falsehoods but to allow them to discover new truths.
Nigel Coutts

Learning from the journey - The Learner's Way - 25 views

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    There is much to be learned from journeys. From stepping out of our doors and by placing one foot in front of the other making progress towards a planned destination. Journeys are a great metaphor for the challenges we face in our day to day lives and the parallels we draw may allow us to set a goal and achieve it despite the obstacles.
Jon Tanner

No child is just born gifted: Creating and developing unlimited potential | The Thomas ... - 43 views

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    An interesting take on the nature vs. nurture debate as it relates to "giftedness." It adds support to the rationale for personalizing learning so that all students can reach their potential.
Nigel Coutts

Why banning technology is not the answer - The Learner's Way - 51 views

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    There is something about human nature that draws us towards dichotomous patterns of thought; an all or nothing, us or them style of thinking in which an option is either good or it is bad. In such a model complexity and subtle nuance with multiple possible outcomes and routes towards a goal are ignored. The field of educational technology is one where such a pattern is evident and recent ban on technology by a Sydney school shows how this style of analysis can have a significant impact on student learning.
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    Well worded response, thank you for the share
Nigel Coutts

The purpose of education - The Learner's Way - 44 views

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    Behind the rhetoric and politics, education is about the outcomes it achieves for its learners. More than being about the nuances of technology, learning space design, curriculum structures and pedagogical practices schools should have effective answers to questions that focus on what they hope to achieve for their learners. How we answer this question should then dictate the measures we utilise to achieve these goals and it is to these ends that we must apply our efforts.
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