What’s Worth Learning in School?

Last winter Harvard Ed Magazine ran a piece about David Perkins’ new book “Future Wise.” Writer Lory Hough provides a look into the book and the professor.

“We teach a lot that isn’t going to matter, in a significant way, in students’ lives, writes Professor David Perkins in his new book, “Future Wise.” There’s also much we aren’t teaching that would be a better return on investment.

Professor David Perkins likes to tell this story: Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was getting on a train. One of his sandals slipped off and fell to the ground. The train was moving, and there was no time to go back. Without hesitation, Gandhi took off his second sandal and threw it toward the first. Asked by his colleague why he did that, he said one sandal wouldn’t do him any good, but two would certainly help someone else.

…  By throwing that sandal, Gandhi had two important insights: He knew what people in the world needed, and he knew what to let go of.

Educators, Perkins says, need to embrace these same insights. They need to start asking themselves what he considers to be one of the most important questions in education: What’s worth learning in school?”  Read the entire piece here.


It’s Time to Use Twitter in Your Classroom

flickr photo by Rosaura Ochoa http://flickr.com/photos/rosauraochoa/3939487692 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Twitter is an excellent tool for connecting, learning and sharing resources.

For primary students, a classroom Twitter account is a great way to authentically teach about digital citizenship. Each time you post a tweet, you’ll naturally talk about how it will be visible to everyone. You’ll model careful word choice. You’ll ask students about how the tweet might be perceived by readers. This scaffolding of digital awareness and skills is difficult to teach behind a firewall. And without those lessons, students are less prepared to navigate the world of social media.

There are numerous authentic uses for older students as well, including researching and connecting with industry experts and college professors, exploring trends and following various agencies, governments, and non-profits.

The tool can also be used for students to post questions and connect online around a specific class or unique hashtag.

Looking for other uses for Twitter in the classroom? Check out more ideas here, here, and here.

Two Great Science Bloggers to Follow

creative commons licensed (BY-NC) flickr photo by erase: http://flickr.com/photos/erase/6878180317

If you enjoy learning about the latest scientific discoveries or news, you should check out these two blogs housed on the National Geographic site.

1. The Loom is written by Carl Zimmer, who writes for the New York Times. He has written numerous articles and books. You can find his site here.

2. Ed Yong’s blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science can be found here. Yong’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Guardian, Nature, the BBC, and Wired. Yong has a regular post called “I’ve got your missing links right here,” which includes the best science links from around the web. You can see an example here.

Yong recently shared this excellent piece, Epigenome: The symphony in your cells. You can read it here.

The Teenage Brain ~ New Research

Photo Credit: bucaorg via Compfight cc

From NPR:

“Teens can’t control impulses and make rapid, smart decisions like adults can — but why?

Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. In a teenager, the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls decision-making, is built but not fully insulated — so signals move slowly.

“Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, ‘Oh, I better not do this,’ ” Dr. Frances Jensen tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.”

Read the entire story or listen along here.