Are all subjects academically equal?

Worth a read. Full article here. If you ask students what they think are the “hardest” subjects, guess what comes out on top… Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Computer science and Chinese.

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Banning mobile phones

I wonder if New Zealand will go down the path of banning cell phones in schools. Possibly a little bit futile, given that many schools have BYOD (not cellphones) policies in place and students can still communicate via a range of apps on these devices. One option being considered by a number of schools is setting up firewalls to limit access via school systems to designated social media and other sites. Again this will present challenges as students will either use their own data plans or more worryingly use proxy services. Having said that, setting expectations and backing it up with changes to web access send a fairly strong message… and on balance I am in favour of this.



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Obsession with measuring steps

Some of the students on recent Pouakai Circuit tramp were seen counting steps, distance and calories, all the while playing music via Bluetooth speakers. Sometimes at the expense of actually looking around… Not sure this is something I would encourage.

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Outside their comfort zone

Boomerang Slip Source

Students participating in the Pouakai Circuit tramp had to traverse some quite difficult terrain. This included Boomerang Slip. For some students, the prospect of safely navigating a shingle pathway with consequences if you fell was quite daunting. Heck, they even turned off the music to concentrate… Good to see students evaluating and managing risks in the outdoors; a useful skill to have.

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Hard work but worth it…

The Henry Peak Staircase

Pouakai Walk, Mount Egmont. Staircase to Henry Peak. Source:

I accompanied 25 students (with parents and one other teacher) on the Duke of Ed tramp (Bronze level) over the weekend 2-3 November. We did the Pouakai Circuit in reverse. I have to say the climb to Henry Peak (1224m) was pretty demanding. Probably in the top three of the hardest physical challenges in my life. A fantastic experience and all students must have felt a great sense of accomplishment. The opportunity to participate in this type of activity is one perk of being a teacher…

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Life in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

“The big question today is what to teach children in schools in 2017” 

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A good catch

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