jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

I like the Education Policy Blog. This week they have a post: OLPC skepticism/hope that spends a lot of time linking up all the OLPC strands from an Education Policy perspective. Lots of linky goodness in there.

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

People wonder why I encourage educators to get into Second Life and other VWs for adults… they need to know what children will experience and that are coming down the pipe.

Virtual Worlds News: MTV/Nickelodeon to Invest $100M in Casual Gaming, Changes for Nicktropolis, AddictingGames, Neopets

NMTV Networks’ Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group today announced that it would invest $100 million over the next two years in casual gaming titles, sites and platforms. Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group President Cyma Zarghami said that “with more than 86% of kids 8 to 14 gaming online, we see great momentum for online casual gaming. This investment will not only benefit our audiences, but also our marketing and distribution partners.”

Virtual Worlds News: Disney Developing “Cars” Virtual World for Millions of Dollars

Virtual Worlds News: Disney Investing up to $100MM in New Worlds

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I am a big big fan of unstructured play, and this report speaks to the importance of unstructured play in terms of physical activity. Is over-programming a problem in child development?

CFLRI - Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute:

most children and youth are far below the desired levels of activity associated with having a healthy weight. This by itself is important. However, Canada’s Physical Activity recommendations for children and youth were suggested to focus on more than weight alone.

These activity recommendations were also suggested to move children and youth toward healthy child development for both physical and mental health in areas such as healthy neuromuscular development or the healthy development of physical self-esteem. Thus, the CFLRI results also suggest that current activity levels are below the bar noted in the Guide recommendation in promoting these areas of development.

Dependence on Organized Activity??
A second important finding not to be overlooked is that for children and youth who are more active, much of their involvement is characterized by organized opportunities for activity. While this finding suggests these opportunities need to be maintained, it also underscores a disturbing trend.

For the children and youth studied, much less activity was unorganized, free play.

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We’re studying children as photographers in (c)cld419, and one of my students pointed me to this show that takes up many of the issues we’re interested in; seeing the world from the child’s perspective.

My Life As a Child Premieres February 26 at 7/6c

My Life As a Child documents the lives of 20 American children, between the ages of 7 and 11. Each episode inter-cuts the stories of three to four children from different backgrounds, providing a complete snapshot of American life through their eyes. 

These incredibly talented children were given digital cameras and the opportunity to film their own lives over the course of several months. They filmed themselves at home, in school and on vacation so that viewers could see every aspect of their lives. Most importantly, the children commented and narrated on their experiences through weekly video diaries, in which they talked to the camera about their thoughts and feelings.

My Life As a Child tackles difficult issues such as absent parents, divorce, racism and religious beliefs. In the show, the children offer their thoughts on the complexities of life, pondering such questions as the meaning of success and the role of gender. They also remind viewers of what it means to be a child, by sharing their favorite games, displaying their imaginations and discussing their dreams for the future.

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I’m interested in the metaphor of “The fridge magnet” and what it says about how children and parents share information, sticking art and notices on the fridge door, AND what draws us to the fridge in terms of food choices and nutrition. I think that ECE, in taking a more age appropriate child-centered approach, can help rethink child’s nutrition by relocalizing the discussion about food in the thoughts, mind and expression of children themselves. How do they learn to interact with food, what do they think about it, what draws them to it or repels them. How can we get them to explore food through play (though not abuse of food), inquiry, creativity, imagination and science. Will they experiment and really develop their own personal relationship with food as part of their lives, AND can that in turn be used to teach the parent about the foods that most positively engage children.

Since children learn about food from adults, and do not really have much opportunity to learn about food on their own and with their peers unmediated by parents and adult culture. And I’d like to explore this more.

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The Julie Amero in All of Us talks about the case of Julie Amero, the substitute teacher who was found guilty of child endangerment because her students saw a flood of adult-oriented popup ads flood her computer screen. And the news coverage is causing a lot of educators to say to themselves in horror: It could have been me.” [see also: Julie Amero - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].

I wonder why it is that the school and the people responsible for the computers are not under scrutiny. And of course the articles note that no one checked to see if the computer itself was properly set up to block popup windows or to check for malware or spyware. It *sounds* like scapegoating a co-victim, and is troubling.

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AppleInsider | Apple’s Jobs blasts teachers unions

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs lashed out at teachers unions during an education reform conference on friday, claiming that no amount of technology in the classroom would better public schools until principals had authorization to fire bad teachers….

Jobs said the problem with U.S. institutions is that they have become unionized to a point where ridding public schools of poor teachers is prohibited. “This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy,” he said….

During his speech, Jobs reportedly told the crowd that he envisioned future schools where textbooks would be replaced with a free, online information source that are constantly updated by experts, like the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

I feel that unions exist because managers treat employees unfairly. That said, teaching is a profession, and ineffective employees SHOULD have the opportunity to improve to a standard, but I wonder the value to the profession to keep continually ineffective teachers teaching the next generation of children. Your thoughts?

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Professor Woj (the great mentor of my undergraduate years) pointed me to the BBC News article Why are Dutch children so happy? in response to the UNICEF report. Interesting read, and it just makes sense… parents, you reading this!!!

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CLD 415 Concept Development in Science: “This course helps future teachers learn the science concepts and skills that children need to acquire by undertaking group projects. Students learn what it means to think scientifically, how to continue to learn science, and how to encourage children to do so. They use the Ontario science curriculum (with a special focus on grades K – 3) to design learning environments and projects that advance children’s knowledge and skills and learn to assess them. Teachers’ and children’s attitudes towards science and their implications are discussed.”

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Slashdot | One Laptop Per Child Security Spec Released

“The One Laptop Per Child project has released information about its advanced security platform called Bitfrost. Could children with a $100 laptop end up with a better security infrastructure than executives using $5000 laptops powered by Vista? ‘What’s deeply troubling — almost unbelievable — about [Unix style permissions] is that they’ve remained virtually the only real control mechanism that a user has over her personal documents today…In 1971, this might have been acceptable…We have set out to create a system that is both drastically more secure and provides drastically more usable security than any mainstream system currently on the market.’”

I teach about children and technology, so my statement is not strange, but I’ve always believed that young learners (if they’re going to use digital technology at all, which is a different issue) should have the best. In the old days, you’d see a child with a 256 colour display trying to do something using cassette tapes to load programs while we whizzed away with the best stuff. It seemed strange to provde the developing mind with the most limited set of tools when a business exec who never did much with it anyway and the brightest and shiniest. Of course the child is seen as less valuable. My attitude is, and was before I started teaching about childrean and tech., that you give the best [insert variable] to the children to get the best children, and that the best children lead to the best adults. But we give the worst to children. (I’ve used best and worst for their vague sense of value without specifics to keep with the notion of the article). I don’t know if the OLPC project is the best thing for children, though I’ve been following the topic for longer than this specific project’s been around, but they might as well have the best possible security, since the world does such a poor job of keeping them safe in most other categories.

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YouTube - In My Language (use this link if you don’t get the embedded)

A bit of simple and insightful brilliance. JuliaD sent this to me, thinking of the (c)cld419ers. But anyone who has felt misunderstood, or is curious about what in the world they can no longer sense, or [insert variable] should watch it.

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Building Bridges: A resource and training guide for Early Childhood Educators working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered families

The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care has launched a public education initiative for early childhood education programs.

Building Bridges is an attempt to ensure that early childhood environments are free of discrimination and that they promote respect and value for all family backgrounds. The project will develop practical and concrete training, resources and education materials for the child care environment.

Check out the link to down load the document!

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Looks like I’ll be in halifax in june for the National Child Care Conference 2007. The Ryerson School of Early Childhood Education is sponsoring an all day-conference session on Friday June 15, and a lot of us will be there. Should be fun!

jason: jason (Default)

Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

Jeremeanie started me thinking again with Too many topics, too little time. » This note’s for you » One Laptop Per Child? about the One Laptop Per Child issue, and then I found this on SlashDot below. I think what’s bugging me is that old standard of ‘what was good enough for me is good enough for everyone’ nonsense. When was our modern notion of the child invented. I’ve heard it variously put as post war, turn of the century, early 19th C or beginning of the industrial revolution. And this has nothing to do with whether we loved children or not. Point: how we see children is socially constructed and open to change. Secondly, technology for children is also not eternal, and will change, just look at the history of children’s books. Personally, I think TV was a bad thing because it opened up children to advertising, aside from the notions of what the CRT does to the brain. Point: children are already wedded to produced content and current technologies of the time.

As with most everything, people think that what they grew up with is the norm, and befores and afters are somehow unenlightened.

I don’t know if the OLPC project is a good thing. It definitely bugs me for its lack of transparency and inclusivity, and the hegemonic air about it. Perhaps I’m just out of the loop and everything’s kosher, but who knows.

I do know that there’s no validity in the status quo argument at all.

I’ll wait to see what happens.

Slashdot | OLPC’s UI To Be Kid-Tested In February
“The AP is reporting that kid testing of Negroponte’s ‘$100 Laptop’ starts in February. This article is some of the first mainstream coverage of just how different the user interface of the XO Computer is — it ditches the traditional office metaphors in favor of a ‘neighborhood’ and an activity-based journaling approach. Video of Sugar, as the UI is called, has been out on the net for a while, and Popular Science recently gave the color / monochrome display a ‘Grand Award’ in its 2006 technology roundup. What do you think of this new UI?”

Related links:
Low-cost laptop could transform learning - Yahoo! News

YouTube - Slightly better demo of the OLPC User Interface

PopSci’s Best of What’s New 2006

jason: jason (Default)

Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

Nice thing to watch on Christmas day. Instead of opening presents we’re watching the docu How the Kids Took Over: “The fight for your children’s money & influence.” Wonder how I can get this into my course.

[related: Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood]

jason: jason (Default)

Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

Found this link on myomancy , one of my fav blogs: The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow (Horizon 2006) - Google Video:
“Dr Temple Grandin has a legendary ability to read the animal mind and understand animal behaviour when no one else can. But this is no feat … all » of telepathy; her explanation is simple. She’s convinced she experiences the world much as an animal does and that it’s all down to her autistic brain.” I’ve read some about Dr Grandin, and I need to know more.

jason: jason (Default)

Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

I love tom waits. I love ’scary’ children’s stories. And here’s one altogether.

jason: jason (Default)

Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

I just posted the final exam for CLD121 Fall2006: The Competent Learner and Reflective Practitioner.

Imagine that you are given the task of creating a school for children. Describe that school in a personal reflective essay format so that it reflects your personal system of values. Explain some or all of the following:

  • how the school would function;
  • what it would look like;
  • what activities would go on;
  • what its goals, mission and social function would be;
  • the role adults would play;
  • how would students be evaluated;
  • how it would integrate with the community, society, and/or world.

I like to give the question a week in advance so that there is no panic. Students get to plan out their answer and bring in a sheet with their notes on it. It makes the exam performative rather than a ‘guess what’s in the prof’s head’ sort of thing. I’m really excited to see what sort of answers I get. Definitely more fun than multiple choice or short answer: explain the significance of critical thinking in your personal and professional life. Ugh.

jason: jason (Default)

Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

This is a great video, via Jeremy. I like what it says about indoctrination. As one commenter put it, something like, what’s worse, the hegemony of the parents or religion. How do children get to form unbiased viewpoints? Of course, I don’t think anyone has unbiased viewpoints. The language and culture we grow up in doesn’t allow it.

October 2013

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