Educated by Tara Westover… worth a read

This book is about education as transformational to the individual.

I cannot imagine many students spending a month tacking the basics of trigonometry from pretty much a textbook, especially under the barbaric environment and attitudes that constituted home life for the author… So much of what the Tara Westover has to write will be inspirational to young women and resonate with those that have pursued a University education with little in the way of funds…

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Inconsiderate parking (or worse)

Seen on Buckley Road… neither bus is getting past the parked cars. What was the owner of the light coloured car thinking? or were they thinking at all…

A whole bunch of no parking cones today…

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Netsafe has good messages… BUT

I attended a Netsafe presentation to parents and caregivers at Wellington East Girls College recently. Some interesting and somewhat disturbing information was presented along with some useful advice on safety and kindness online. However, it did occur to me that:

a.   About 45 caregivers were in attendance, assuming one parent for each household this is around 4% of the school roll. This issue affects 100% of the students at WEGC. Not sure how you communicate with the other 96%

b.  The advice provided was sound but unlikely to be followed. Mostly, parents will not have the capability/skills/confidence required to implement… except maybe”talk to your children”. There may be a case to be made for contracting the technical aspects of keeping our children safe?

I commented to one parent “I am glad my own kids are grown up, I don’t have to deal with all these issues – they will though if they have kids of their own

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The cost of meetings – who pays?

“Retail chain Smiths City has been ordered to pay its employees for unpaid pre-work meetings in a decision with wide-ranging ramifications for employers.”

I suspect once the cost of running a worker meeting becomes explicit – there will be less of them. The cost of a staff meeting at schools, say for one hour and assuming 50 staff present will be at least $2,500 and that is both conservative and excludes overheads. But in the education system, the cost of teachers time is considered “free”.  We see this all the time ie weekend training, border patrol, implementing new curriculum etc… I believe that if the Education sector is going to attract and retain teachers they will need to address this (and many other) issues.

As usual… Views are my own and do not reflect any school or organisation I am associated with.

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Creepy dolls

Apparently, a reasonable number of people find dolls creepy… Given the move to Artifical Intelligence and human-like avatars, it seemed a good idea to have students at Year 9 create images using Photoshop incorporating a “creepy doll”, and students at Year 12 to build websites looking at developments in AI and of course dolls…

Some interesting perspectives and teaching points were to be found…

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Stayed on holiday

20% of the class missing – gone on holiday – or rather did not come back from holidays. Hopefully, they can catch up themselves as I do not see this as my responsibility…  My use of Google Classroom will help but only if they choose to do the work…

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Note taking… hand write/print use an Elfinbook?

This year I have insisted on all students taking notes using a pen and paper! Ironic given I teach Digital Technologies. I have found handwritten notes and diagrams more conducive to student focus, understanding, recall, drawing linkages etc… Having said that I am also interested in note-taking technologies that are relatively low cost and can if required be stored in the cloud. My latest experiment is the Elfinbook Version 2. This notebook features:

  • Erasable pages (using a Microwave and/or wet cloth)
  • App to facilitate scanning contents (and basic OCR)
  • Storage, classifying and searching methods
  • Save the notes in the cloud

And it is less than $40.

So far, so good. OCR is not that great but the erasable paper and ability to store via your phone are pretty useful.

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