Saturday, August 31, 2013

Good news for most of the people reading these posts

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"There are other ways that our mental powers grow as we get older. It’s true that as we age, the brain’s processing speed begins to slow, and memory may sometimes slip, says Margaret Gatz, PhD, professor of psychology, gerontology, and preventive medicine at the University of Southern California. But researchers have recently made some surprising discoveries about what’s really happening in our heads as we age: “We are identifying ways in which older minds hold their own against younger ones and even surpass them,” Gatz says. Here, ten such ways:"

Nut allegies need to be taken seriously by everyone

"Natalie Giorgi's parents are speaking publicly in hopes of using their daughter's death as a push for change, and a vehicle for educating the public about the seriousness of food allergies.
"This can be a catalyst for a paradigm shift, much the way seat belt use has changed since when we were kids," Louis Giorgi said.
Natalie Giorgi died July 26 after eating a Rice Krispie treat that had been prepared with peanut products at Camp Sacramento on the final day of a multi-family camping trip, her parents said."

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Video games are the perfect way to teach math

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"A change in how we teach math will inevitably also change how we think about math, and therefore, what math is–big picture: how will incorporating games like Wuzzit Trouble into school curricula change math and provide new possibilities for mathematical applications? 
Since video games (call them simulators if you prefer) can help people learn mathematics in practical settings, it would make sense to test performance for the majority of students within the games themselves.
Not everyone needs to master symbolic mathematics. And there is good reason to conclude, as I have done in my book that you mentioned above, that many people are unable to get past what I call there the Symbol Barrier. So a rational strategy would be to have everyone learn in videogames (simulators) and evaluate them by their in-game performance, thereby equipping them to use mathematical thinking in the everyday world.
We should reserve study of symbolic mathematics to those intending to be scientists, engineers, etc. When they can use their experience in good video games as a basis on which to ground the symbolic approach. It’s really just replacing one symbol system, the videogame, with another, 15th century symbolic algebra. The latter gained ascendancy when paper was the primary communication medium.
In the era of the digital tablet, that ancient representation system is no longer optimal, at least not uniquely so."

Welcome to my blog. These posts are for ISHCMC parents to learn more about education today. They consist of a short extract from an article with no comment from me. They are selected to make the reader think about their own children's education and their learning experience. It would be appreciated if you could leave a comment that might create a dialogue amongst parents.

Several years ago I did write longer posts that were more provocative and contained more reading but I decided that these were not as popular as shorter articles. If you would like to read some of my previous posts they can be found at

I will attempt to make a couple of posts each week. Welcome to the exciting world of education of 2013.


In the digital age how to get students excited about going outdoors

9439275587_4e7a1229e2"In the opening pages of his moving book Last Child in the Woods, journalist Richard Louv quotes a prescient fourth-grader who told him, “I like to play indoors better, ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.”
Since the book came out in 2005, describing the numbers of kids consistently choosing video games and television over building forts and riding bikes, recent research suggests kids are being exposed to less nature. A comprehensive report of outdoor activity released this year by the Outdoor Foundation says that only 38 percent of participants ages 6-12, and 26 percent of kids ages 13-17 reported doing things outside like running, hiking, and biking. “Although participation rates were stable for younger participants from 2011 to 2012,” the report states, “the rates are still significantly lower than they were in 2006.”

School has become too hostile for boys

6273773408_89dce5c4d2        "As school begins in the coming weeks, parents of boys should ask themselves a question: Is my son really welcome? A flurry of incidents last spring suggests that the answer is no. In May, Christopher Marshall, age 7, was suspended from his Virginia school for picking up a pencil and using it to “shoot” a “bad guy” — his friend, who was also suspended. A few months earlier, Josh Welch, also 7, was sent home from his Maryland school for nibbling off the corners of a strawberry Pop-Tart to shape it into a gun. At about the same time, Colorado’s Alex Evans, age 7, was suspended for throwing an imaginary hand grenade at “bad guys” in order to “save the world.”