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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.
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

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

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?
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.
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.
Nigel Coutts

The Power of Teams - The Learner's Way - 31 views

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    Sometimes it is worth stating the obvious, giving time and thought to what we easily take for granted. In doing so we name the things we value most and give them the value they deserve. The value of teams is one such ideal, we know that teams have value, we probably even know what it feels like to be a part of a great team but too often we take this feeling as understood and don't stop to consider what makes it worth chasing.
Rachel Hinton

Nine Ways to Improve Class Discussions - 142 views

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    "I once heard class discussions described as "transient instructional events." They pass through the class, the course, and the educational experiences of students with few lingering effects. Ideas are batted around, often with forced participation; students don't take notes; and then the discussion ends-it runs out of steam or the class runs out of time. If asked a few days later about the exchange, most students would be hard-pressed to remember anything beyond what they themselves might have said, if that. So this post offers some simple suggestions for increasing the impact of the discussions that occur in our courses."
Nigel Coutts

Creating a Generation of Innovators - 51 views

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    Innovation is very much on the agenda in Australian and globally. The OECD publishes lists of nations most likely to succeed through innovation and nations seek to encourage increased innovation to maintain their competitive edge. The result of this in Australia is the recent launch of a new 'Innovation Australia' policy with wide reaching measures to encourage and foster a culture of innovation.
Nigel Coutts

Does Mathematics Education need a re-think? - 56 views

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    Once upon a time Mathematics was easy to teach. A typical lesson would begin with a direction towards a particular page of the text book and would conclude with the ceremonial marking of the answers. This process was repeated over and over, year after year and in the end students would be able to repeat the required method with a satisfactory degree of accuracy.
Nigel Coutts

The Joy of Teaching - 21 views

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    For teachers in Australia the year is drawing rapidly to a close. It is a time for packing away classrooms, taking down displays of student learning and saying farewell to students as they move on to new classes. At the ending of one year it is worth taking a moment to ponder what is so remarkable about teaching as a profession.
MaryLiz Jones

Sample Maker Rubric | Edutopia - 80 views

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    Design and creative thinking rubric - worth your time to review
Nigel Coutts

Suggested Readings to Inspire Teaching - 51 views

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    With the end of the year approaching and holidays looming for some now is the ideal time to share some suggestions for books and papers to read. A great book can provide the inspiration required to begin the new year positively and this list includes some of my favourites from 2015.
Sean Nash

Aligning Philosophy and Practice - nashworld - 34 views

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    One of my foundational rules of classroom engagement is simply this: never be the first one to open your mouth and start talking about any topic. Twenty years in the classroom taught me that one. Never assume. Never take prior knowledge for granted. Listen first, then act. Never presume to know what the students in front of you are capable of. They'll show you if you are bold enough to listen.
Nigel Coutts

Learning from History - 47 views

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    There is an innate beauty and wonder in History. How might we ensure students receive the maximum benefit from their study of History? How do we encourage them to see History as more than content?
smilex3md

10 Things Every College Professor Hates - Business Insider - 42 views

  • 1. Don’t use unprofessional correspondence.
  • 2. Don’t ask the professor if you “missed anything important” during an absence.
  • 4. Don’t ask a question about the readings or assignments until checking the syllabus first.
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  • 3. Don’t pack up your things as the class is ending.
  • 6. Don’t grade grub.
  • 5. Don’t get mad if you receive critical feedback.
  • 7. Don’t futz with paper formatting.
  • 8. Don’t pad your introductions and conclusions with fluff.
  • 9. Don’t misrepresent facts as opinions and opinions as facts.
  • 10. Don’t be too cool for school.
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    "10 Things Every College Professor Hates"
H DeWaard

The Inside-Out School: A 21st Century Learning Model - 60 views

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    The Inside-Out School: A 21st Century Learning Model includes 9 domains with subsidiary skill sets
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