Be Truly Educated


Dear Students

As promised, after a long year of forced slavery at purely clerical and administrative work, I, Inkyfinga (alias Sanjukta Sivakumar) am back at the keyboard.

Here’s the Noam Chomsky video I promised you. I think you’ll hear him more clearly on your personal devices. Don’t rely on the captions on YouTube which are highly inaccurate for this video. So, I suggest you replay to understand what Chomsky says, rather than switching on the captions.

Enjoy the video and think about how you can end up “truly educated”.


With regards

Sanjukta

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Education Boards


Dear Parents and Teachers

I have always studied the different education boards with great interest to see what is new and progressive in each. I do admire the CBSE as the best option at present, because it is trying to reduce its shortcomings. Another European board I’ve always admired is the International Baccalaureate (IB) which generally includes the most progressive trends of teaching-learning, while maintaining high standards of achievement. Passing the final exam, or Le Bac, as it is fondly called, is a tough challenge.

It was thus sad to read, that the IB Board is not being done justice to in Indian schools, even in the more advanced states of India. Those of you, who share my interest in educational news would perhaps be interested in reading this

Facing admission woes, IB students shift to CBSE/ICSE

To balance the negative news above, here is something positive that interests us all:

The Rise of EdTech

Please leave your Comments on what you think after reading these two articles.

Principal

Blog to Learn


Dear Parents, Teachers and Learners

Are you genuinely interested in learning for life? If yes, then you cannot shut your eyes to technology in this age of digital technology gone mobile. We work on iPads and computers and even on iPhones. Even children in Indian villages are supposed to be accessing mobile technology as a viable learning option.  The people of Gujarat, our state, have the most technologically advanced mindset – starting with our Chief Minister and not excluding your kamwali bai –  everyone is in sync with the latest mobile tech!

Then, why should we, in one of the most advanced systems of schooling, resist the advantages of technology in the classroom and at home?

Surat has often been labelled as an educationally backward city. As its citizens, the onus is on us to do away with this slur on our reputation. We will not remain behind in educational issues. Our schools already have smart boards, T.V.s and iPads in the classroom. We have a Wi-fi campus. Let us extend our classroom beyond mere textbooks and task sheets and go global. If we wish our children to compete on an international platform, then we must equip them with the skills required for this. We must look forward, not backward.

So what has happened in the ongoing education revolution in the world? The same technology (TV, iPads, iPods, iPhones) that you use for entertainment  is also used to provide learning tools in the classroom. In the world’s most technologically and educationally advanced nations, class blogs are now enabling home and school to connect on different fronts.

DPS Tapi is only just entering into this new and exciting world of learning through class blogs. Our teachers are exploring the various ways of learning with the class blog. There is so much more potential for learning with the class blog than in the printed task sheets! We wish to make learning multidimensional. Why remain limited to the one-dimensional print media? The blogs will make it possible for students to continue enjoying their audio-visual learning experience, not just in school but at home, as well.

I have spoken earlier about the usefulness of class blogs in my post on Extension Blogs and in my DPST-CIR-02-13.14. The articles in the links below are evidence in support of this innovative move forward by DPS Tapi:

http://yollisclassblog.blogspot.in/

http://smartblogs.com/education/2012/08/08/rewards-teaching-young-children-blog/

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/11/tablet-edtech/

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/strategy/item/31639-outdated-technology-holding/

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ipad-apps-all-content-areas-andrew-marcinek

The class blog is a crucial aspect of the educational vision of DPS Tapi.  We are slow and cautious innovators and do not rush into anything without thinking deeply of all the pros and cons.  We  understand that any revolutionary innovation in education has to confront an initial spate of reactionary criticism. We welcome the criticism because it improves our functioning.  We have already begun parent-teacher interactions on the uses of new mobile technology in teaching. Our staff are here to provide individual guidance and suggestions to parents on technological hitches that they may face.

On this post, I will deal with the parental problems that have come up so far, in the FAQ mode:

  1. I do not have a computer or an Internet connection: You have selected the very advanced DPS system of schooling for your ward in order to ensure the best possible learning. At school, your ward goes well beyond the textbook with the smart-board, iPad and internet access. Hence, it would be counter-productive to your educational aim if your ward is deprived of the same facility at home.
  2. What happens when my Internet is not working?: When your (or our) Internet is not working, then postpone the homework by a day. Discuss possible solutions with your teacher at school, the next day. There will be occasional technical glitches at your end (and at ours). These are temporary and can be overcome/minimised in time.
  3. My ward’s eyes are over-strained from staring at the screen: The homework tasks all have fixed time-limits well under the eye-strain mark. Besides, the entire task does not involve looking continuously at the screen. In any case, you should minimise the brightness of the screen to acceptable limits and blink frequently. Yet, if your ward’s eyes are still over-strained, then stay off the class blog and just ask your ward to do the exercises in the text-book to the extent his/her eyes can bear the strain.  Definitely consult your ophthalmologist. You should get an eye check-up at regular intervals for your ward. Reduce T.V.  and film viewing. I am only surprised that the same students have used the class smart-board / TV or attended computer and iPad lessons with no eye complaints so far!
  4. Why not just keep sending printed task-sheets?: During the last academic year, we had task-sheets uploaded on the school website and homework posted on the class blog.  Yet, many of you did not access your class blog because you received printed task sheets. In keeping with environment-friendly policy, we are gradually phasing out paper. The entire task-sheets will continue to be uploaded on the school website (Resources) at the end of each cycle.
  5. Then, I must buy a printer and print everything for myself: Please do not use a printer or print anything from our school website or class blogs. If you have to fill in and return a form, then, we will send it to you in print. If your ward has to do something on a task sheet and submit, then we will send it to you in print. As you may expect, we will go online with this function too, in time. Then, you can do your submissions online and save much time. Meanwhile, you can download and save pdf.docs in your own computer or tablet, for later reference.
  6. My ward is too young to be exposed to the dangers of the Internet: Definitely the Internet is dangerous, but these children are digital natives. If you are scared to enter – they will run in without waiting for you!  Your ward is old enough to access the content on his/her class blog but you should always monitor any net-surfing. Keep your Search engine’s safety settings on and periodically, track the history of your ward’s searches. Talk to them about the Do’s and Don’ts of the Internet. If your ward is coming to school, then it is not too early for you to be aware of the Internet safety rules.
  7. Is this all, or are you planning to go further?: Gradually, all circulars and other notifications will be only on the website, not in print. We will continue to notify you of uploads via the school diary.  Moreover, we will set homework on iPad apps on a regular basis, very soon. Anything that challenges our students to learn more and learn better – and makes learning more fun – we are ready to explore!
  8. On tuition/coaching class versus the class blog: Surat students rely heavily on tuition/coaching classes. I consider this a needless waste of time – and against learner development towards autonomy. I am aware that it is difficult for tuition coaches to access class blogs daily in order to do the home-work for their school-going customers. The sooner these paid-homework shops shut down, the better for the educational reputation of Surat!

We (teachers and learners) invite you to join us in taking the first steps of a long journey ahead. The route is challenging, because the signposts are constantly changing. There are many dangers of social-networking and Internet surfing to guard against. But we will get nowhere by hiding our heads in the sand and refusing to look at changes that will overtake us and sweep us off our feet if we are not ready for them.

Above all, do remember that your children see you buying and using the latest cars, phones, T.V.s, A.C.s, refrigerators, ovens  and other gadgets. Then, they will definitely demand to know, why they should not get to access their class blogs or use learning Apps on the iPad or iPhone.

I would like all parents to read this post and decide for themselves where they wish their children to be on the global education scenario. Those who are with DPS Tapi in our Learning Partnership should Like this post and talk positively to other parents they meet at the bus-stop or at school.  Those who have further questions/doubts, please post these in Comments. I will definitely answer ASAP.

Let’s Teach Kids to Code


Dear (Older) Learners

I enjoyed this very much – because the speaker, Michael Resnick,  shares my views (hopes and anxieties). Do watch – it’s interesting!

Share it with your parents and friends – they might enjoy it too!


Now here’s a self-check on what you’ve just viewed:

This is an MI-RBT Task testing your Listening at the RBT Thinking level of Evaluation.

If you visit Scratch and make your programme then, you’ll reach the RBT level of Creativity, while exercising your Logical Intelligence.

I like this way of learning – the whole world becomes your syllabus and digital technology becomes your  learning tool.

The global classroom is full of ideas every moment – and the greatest learner is always alert!

I know that some of you follow my Blog and repost some of the stuff (under different headers). That’s creative! 

I also share my recently gained learning on Weekend Watch-n-Weigh under Teachers’ Club in this blog. Keep an eye on the updates here! I like people who can keep up with my ideas and share their own with me. So please do leave a Comment, after you’ve viewed what I put up for you.

NASA Rover ‘Curiosity’ on Mars


Dear (Older) Learners

I think, you’ve had a fantastic Maths Mela Week! Congratulations!

Now, here is science challenge for your smart, logical brains. Earth (NASA) has landed a probe on Mars, called Curiosity.

I read about this in an article on NASA’s rover ‘Curiosity’ on key mission lands on Mars 

A.  There are two things that I am confused about.

1) What is a ‘probe’?

2) What are the functions that this probe will perform on Mars?

Can you bright young people help me out with answers in your Comments after reading the article above?

B.  Here is the Curiosity Rover:

720860250

Now, use your scientific imagination. Imagine that you are a scientist analysing the data collected by this probe. What are your findings??? Your findings (even little green Martians and UFOs) should be logically linked to the article you read in the link given above.

I eagerly wait for interesting answers in your Comments.

This MI-RBT Task helps you to exercise your Verbal and Logical Intelligences through Reading at the level of Analysis

After doing this task, do give me feedback on Comments and on this Poll:

Jarrett J. Krosoczka: How a boy became an artist


Dear (Older) Learners 

I would like to share this TED talk on Jarrett J. Krosoczkathat I greatly enjoyed, about a writer and illustrator of books for children. 

I watched it more than once to set you some questions. If you are a good listener, you should answer them correctly. You can pause and replay the video, like I did, to locate the answers.


Now test yourself with this MI-RBT Task and see how well you Listen, Understand, Remember, Analyse and Evaluate


 

If you’ve done all eight questions above – you’re a real Champion!

Now, check out the Answers, Champ!

You can visit Jarrett’s website StudioJJK to try out the creative Activities he has designed.

Jarrett tells you how to pronounce his surname, Krosoczka

I especially liked his various Biographies!

Finally, do remember that Jarrett faced hundreds of rejections before his talent was finally recognized and his dream came true.

Do you, too, have a special dream? Would you like to share it in the Comments below?

 

Pingu, The Baby-sitter


Dear (Tiny) Learners

This video on is for you, with help from your teacher/parent.


Pingu is a little boy-penguin. 

Penguins are birds who cannot fly. They live in the South Pole, Antarctica

Pingu lives with his parents and his baby sister, Pinga, in an igloo made of ice.

This is a story about Pingu as a baby-sitter. A baby-sitter is someone who looks after a baby when its parents are absent. 

After watching Pingu, The Baby-sitter, do vote on the opinion polls below.

This is an MI-RBT Task where you have exercised your

  • Listening Skills
  • Verbal Intelligence 
  • Logical Intelligence
  • Inter-personal Intelligence
  • Higher-order Thinking skills to Know, Understand, Apply, Analyse and Evaluate

If you enjoyed doing this, let me know in your Comments. More Pingu stories will then come your way.