Every day we come across a multitude of acronyms which can be confusing and, at times, impossible to understand. Do you know your LAN from your WAN or your MDM from your CMS?
Acronyms are familiar only to individuals in their specific field and can often mean different things in different professions. They are widely used in the workplace and increasingly in the technological world. Keeping up with the fast pace of technology can be an arduous task, so I have attempted to explain the meaning of some of the more common acronyms used on a daily basis.
Continuing on from the previous articles about the benefits of using visualisers in the classroom, it's now possible to take a closer look at how to maximise the use of visualisers across specific curriculum areas.
To start off this series, we will focus on numeracy and how visualisers can uniquely be used to enhance teaching and learning from key stages one to four.
Below is a list of the foundational uses of a visualiser to aid numeracy learning at key stages one and two:
As ushering classrooms into the digital age becomes increasingly expensive during a time of severe cuts to public services, Steve Hammond, President of Fiberlink International, explores the security challenges that the education sector needs to overcome in order to turn BYOD (bring your own device) from a pipe dream into a reality.
Over the past two decades, successive governments have used various political platforms to promote the importance of technology in schools. This has culminated in schemes such as the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme, only for the current coalition government to scrap it in a bid to cut costs in this age of austerity.
Just as interactive whiteboards revolutionised our classrooms ten years ago, visualisers (sometimes called document cameras) are set to change the way educators teach and children learn over the next decade.
Visualisers enhance teaching cross curricula – but more than that, they support key educational strategies. Here's a few examples of how visualisers are already improving teaching and learning:
If you’re considering buying a visualiser, you’ve no doubt heard good things about how they enhance teaching. You may be aware of some of the things visualisers can do but would like to grow your knowledge.
Visualisers do what they say. They let you and your class visualise anything and everything. Anything that needs demonstrating; anything that needs showing; anything that needs sharing.
In a nutshell, they convert all things non-digital into a digital format, which you can then manipulate, save and share like any other digital image.
What are we educating our children for?
"Just in the past couple years, we've seen digital tools display skills and abilities that … eat deeply into what we human beings do for a living.” (Andrew McAfee)
"Are droids taking our jobs?" is a very powerful presentation by Andrew McAfee which looks at the great changes in civilisation. One change trumps them all: the technological advances that led to the industrial revolution. For the first time, humans were no longer restricted by the power of muscles, with machines replacing horses, and manufacturing on a mass scale replacing skilled craftspeople.
We are now experiencing another great revolution: the digital revolution that, if anything, will have a more profound effect on the world. We are seeing developments like the cognitive IBM computer Watson able to make decisions, and personal assistants like Apple’s Siri that can act as an interface between humans and machines. Linking these two would give us something capable of making better decisions than the vast majority of humans. This is not the future, this is the capability now; if Moore's Law is followed, in six years’ time, these are likely to be sixteen times as powerful. So we will no longer be restricted by the limitations of human brain power. This begs the question: what is the role of human beings going to be in the future and, more importantly, how will we equip our young people with the skills to cope with this new world where the only certainty is uncertainty?
Effective and positive behaviour management is achievable through the combination of a well-designed, robust IT system and properly supported teachers following a clear and fair behaviour policy. Sounds like a simple strategy, but putting a software system in place that enables a school to record, monitor, analyse and manage pupil behaviour can be problematic.
Teaching, learning and behaviour are inseparable issues in school: without good order in the classroom, effective teaching cannot take place and pupils’ learning is inhibited. Even low-level disruption in the classroom is a significant source of stress for teachers. Poor behaviour, whatever its severity, impacts on every aspect of school life, from exam results to teacher and pupil wellbeing. As a result, managing pupil behaviour effectively is at the centre of a school’s core business.
Through the network of teachers in my PLN I have the privilege of meeting some amazing educators from all over South Africa. One such teacher is Robyn Clark of Sekolo sa Borokgo, an independent school in Johannesburg. We met up at a conference in Pretoria last year and met up again at a conference in Durban last month when we both shared as speakers. What I love about Robyn is her willingness to embrace challenge and change as well as her drive to be a teacher who makes a real difference in her pupils’ lives.
Robyn’s innovative and open approach to the use of mobile phones in her classroom is evident of her desire to use the tools available to her pupils to teach them more effectively.
Across the education landscape, student text messaging is a bone of contention among teachers. It’s not an issue in the lower grades because most K-5 schools successfully ban cell phones during school hours. Where it’s a problem is grades 6-12, when teachers realize it’s a losing battle to separate students from their phones for eight hours.
The overarching discussion among educators is texting’s utility in providing authentic experiences to students, the type that transfer learning from the classroom to real life. Today, I’ll focus on a piece of that: Does text messaging contribute to shortening student attention span or destroying their nascent writing ability
Let’s start with attention span. TV, music, over-busy daily schedules, and frenetic family life are likely causes of a student’s short attention span. To fault text messaging is like blaming the weather for sinking the Titanic. Texting has less to do with their inability to spit out a full sentence than their 1) need for quickness of communication, 2) love for secrecy, and 3) joy of knowing a language adults don’t.