Category Archives: education

Summer “makers”

Students who spent the school year working with motors, switches and gears as part of the “Maker’s Movement” initiative won’t miss a beat this summer.

Science centers, libraries, museums and even camps are inviting kids to use “real” woodworking tools, circuit boards, and soldering equipment.

“Making” has birthed the next generation of inventors, and these kids won’t stop just because it’s summer.

If your flashlight is missing a battery or bulb, check your preschooler’s light saber.

Prevent summer slide

As summer reading programs kick off, we’ll see more co-operative programs between libraries, school districts, zoos, aquariums and museums than ever before.

The softening of borders between these former “silos” is welcomed by educators who seek to reduce the impact of “summer slide,” or the loss of academic skills during the seasonal recess.

Look for programs in which literacy, parenting, nature, health and science all crossover to keep kids mentally and physically active.

Fake news spillover

The flap over fake news have spilled over into classrooms.

What was previously a challenge goal to “help students become responsible consumers” is no longer an an optional objective.

Because creating fake news is easy in the digital world, teaching students to examine content for bias, consider information sources and filter out anything suspicious has become a higher priority for social studies teachers.

Echoes of fake news

The types of hoaxes, fake news and conspiracy theories spread last fall continue to dupe kids and trigger conversations in school hallways.

For the first time, some librarians and social studies teachers are feeling a sense of urgency about helping students learn to distinguish real from invented news.

It’s past time for media literacy to shift from a “filler if there’s time” to essential content.

Blended learning

During orientation earlier this fall, our four-year old grandson checked into his preschool on a white board. That didn’t surprise me. As a member of Gen Z, Luke has only known a digital world.

This was a perfect example of how digital learning materials have been integrated into traditional classrooms.

The question which wove through conversations among educators during the last number of years, “Will ebooks replace printed volumes,” sounds ancient. This fall, we’ve seen an across-the-board shift toward the co-existence of digital and time-honored instructional techniques.

Now, let’s see if students learn.

The war on homework

It’s early in the school year, but the war on homework has already started…

Does homework significantly increase academic achievement? Allow students to develop executive thinking skills (organization, time management, etc.)? Contribute to personal development through extra curricular activities? In what ways does homework impact the parent-child relationship? Does a “fuller school day” (often 8 am to 4 pm) and no homework help kids achieve academic excellence?

We’re in the era of big data, so instead of lining up “for” or “against” homework, I’m eager for someone to collect and analyze information that contributes to better education!

Maker Movement goes to school

Echoes of the Makers Movement, which drove exhibit areas in most children’s museums and many zoos this summer, is moving into classrooms this fall.

The Movement picked up momentum during the DIY years of the Recession, when arts and craft lovers became entrepreneurs; hobbies turned into money-making businesses.

Now that stream of creativity in the Makers Movement is morphing with the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and STEAM (add the arts to STEM) educational initiatives.

So don’t be surprised if your student wants to take apart old cell phones and remote control toys to create a project for his math or science class.