Plea for parents to run schools

Parents and teachers should be put in charge of the country’s 7000 public schools to stem the drift to private education, according to a radical proposal from the architect of the HSC. Article continues

The vertical farm project

The Problem

By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use. Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster?

A Potential Solution: farm vertically

The concept of indoor farming is not new, since hothouse production of tomatoes, a wide variety of herbs, and other produce has been in vogue for some time. What is new is the urgent need to scale up this technology to accommodate another 3 billion people. An entirely new approach to indoor farming must be invented, employing cutting edge technologies. The Vertical Farm must be efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate). Vertical farms, many stories high, will be situated in the heart of the world’s urban centers.
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Embracing Technology in the Classroom: One Professor’s Story

…”For a time, she felt that if she weren’t lecturing, she wasn’t doing her job. But the experimenting paid off with a new level of student engagement and sense of ownership. In the end, Amtower uploaded all of her lecture notes to the class’ Blackboard site and never used them in class…” Read the whole article

Sourcing Content to Teach and Learn With

With so many great resources already out there on the net, why re-invent the wheel? There’s stacks of great activities and information waiting for you to link together into a fun learning experience! When sourcing your content, be careful to check the copyright statement of the content before you attempt to use it.

A Shifting Notion of What it Means to Teach“…it’s not so much about the tools it’s about the information we can connect to using the tools. Provided we have access, we’re not the best source of knowledge in our subjects any longer. We’re no longer the only teachers our students can have on any particular subject. We’re not the only audience for our students’ work. We’re no longer limited by the four walls of our classrooms. And we’re moving toward a time when collaboration will be central to our practice. All of this requires that we cede much of the control over learning to our students, that we act more as connectors to relevant information than distributors of it, that we model the effective consumption and creation of content, and that we focus on the basic skills and ideas of our disciplines in the context of a more individualized, inquiry based model that develops passionate, or as Alan calls them “fearless” learners.” Blog post continues

From Leigh Blackall
DIY Movie or comic, quick and easy
“From A good friend Jude Cooke just sent through this tool! DFilm. DFilm is a web based application where you can create your own little movies based on a range of templates predesigned by DFilm….Another similar tool to DFilm is the French production Gnomz. I’ve been using Gnomz quite a bit in Blended Learning. Instead of creating movies as DFilm does, it lets you create comic strips.”

Bill Gates’ Guinea Pigs
The Gates Foundation wants to remake American education, and ground zero for their billion-dollar experiment is Mountlake Terrace High School. Results so far? It’s been a learning experience. Read the whole article.

Parents count kids’ calories online
As Garin Hughes picks through his school-lunch burrito and unidentifiable apple-pear dessert, he has a secret. Hidden underneath the eighth-grader’s right leg is a chocolate cookie in shrink-wrapped plastic. In the past, his parents had no clue when he bought a treat at school. Now, thanks to a new school-lunch monitoring system, they can check over the internet and learn about that secret cookie….
Article continues

Microsoft Education Seminar 2005 Attend the Microsoft Education Seminar 2005 and discover new ways to use technology in the classroom to inspire and engage your students. Mingle with fellow educators and learn how you can prepare technology rich lesson plans that support the Australian K-12 curriculum. Just spend a single afternoon at one of our venues, and you will come away with all the insights and confidence needed to improve learning outcomes for your students.

More on e-Portfolios
… It is argued that insufficient attention has been paid to the pedagogy of e-portfolio development and that existing applications and implementations tend to be overly dominated by the requirements of assessment. The paper looks at the different pedagogic processes involved in the development of an e-portfolio. It considers the competences required for developing and maintaining an e-portfolio. The final section considers the challenges in developing e-portfolio applications. Read the paper

Ministerial Round Table on Education for All (7 – 8 October 2005)
More than 50 education ministers and high-ranking officials responsible for education will meet during UNESCO’s General Conference in October to explore practical ways to address Education for All challenges by building on positive examples from different parts of the world.

Removing barriers: a ‘can-do’ attitude published by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) today, looks at how the private and voluntary childcare sectors cater for children with special needs
A ‘can-do’ attitude is vital to ensuring that children with special needs are fully included in childcare settings
New report from Ofsted aims to spread good practice across the childcare sector for children with special needs

‘Intelligent’ tools lead to smarter searches

Is your search engine getting smarter? Thanks to an emerging concept known as “intelligent searching,” teachers and students soon might have at their disposal a variety of online tools designed to help them more effectively navigate the vast amount of information on the internet….
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Schooling Issues Digest – Students with Learning Difficulties in Relation to Literacy and Numeracy

The Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST)’s Schools Issues Digests summarise existing research material on selected topics relevant to schooling in Australia. This edition reports on the recent international and national research on students with learning difficulties in relation to literacy and numeracy. It outlines key findings, issues with literacy and numeracy, the role of parents, further research directions and useful websites.

Preserving Australia’s cultural and historical assets

In a unique collaboration, Canberra’s cultural institutions are using new technology to create digital, 100% replicas of Australia’s most important assets, including Captain Cook’s Endeavour journal and the diaries of Burke and Wills. That means anyone who can log onto the Internet can have free access to these important documents. Read the whole article

A classroom revolution unfolds
It is one of the biggest changes to schools in England and Wales for many years.
Yet, as the new academic year begins, the government is hoping that few parents and pupils will notice that anything has changed.
From this week, for the first time ever, all teachers are entitled by law to 10% of the timetable free from teaching in the classroom so they can get on with what is called PPA, or “planning, preparation and assessment”. Article continues

Preparing E-Learners for Online Success
By Ryan Watkins
These advances in e-learning technology have, however, created new demands on both learners and instructors. The time-tested learning strategies and study skills that most of us developed through 12 or more years of a traditional classroom education can only assist us to a limited degree when courses are moved to e-learning formats. In response, instructors, instructional designers, and curriculum developers have been building an inventory of contemporary skills and techniques for generating useful learning experiences for today’s high-tech learners. At the same time, learners have been informally developing updated study skills and learning strategies in a relatively ad hoc manner. Read the whole article