Pre-IB (1): What on Earth is TOK?

When asked about what makes IB students better ready for university than others, admissions officers tend to highlight two things, the Extended Essay and TOK. TOK, which is short for Theory of Knowledge could be regarded as the heart and the crown of the IB. It forms the foundation of the whole programme and it elevates the DP curriculum to a level of sophistication not achieved by other qualifications. Sure, it is possible to pursue courses in Critical Thinking outside ...

Encoding and Decoding

Anyone connected to ICT and education is familiar with the word "code" - and recently "Teach the kids to code" is all the rage. It usually implies that we should teach kids the fundamentals of computer programming. (In this post I'm going to use the word "kids" as a code word for "learner of any age".) But if you think about it, we also teach kids to code, as in reading and writing, all their lives, all the time.  Let's explore this ...

Not so secret ingredients in learning with technology

Part of my morning routine, after looking through email, is checking through new Scoop.it and Flipboard postings.  I often have to check the date a story was posted originally, because even though it is "new" on the sharing sites this morning, it may be "old" news, and has been shared and re-shared again and again, only now turning up in the thread of a subject or person I follow.  That's what happened this morning: an interesting title caught my attention scooped ...

Universal Design for Learning in the DP

This morning I read a brief blog post by Jennie McKenzie titled More Universal Design for Learning (UDL) needed in the IB, which I quote here in it's entirety, as the author has asked that readers share the link : "I just finished reading a summary on the need to employ more UDL in IB schools. One of the main challenges for the DP is the very nature of the limited assessment format... which is under pressure from higher education's limited assessment format. Here is ...

To collaborate, or not to collaborate – that is the question!

There are many reasons to work together. A lot of fantastic learning can happen when we work in pairs or groups. It’s a beautiful thing. In addition, sharing ideas and skills is a great creative PROCESS, and can lead to unusually creative RESOLVED work, with different art-makers being able to contribute specialist competencies. There’s also the idea of socialization and the concept of being part of and contributing to a bigger idea - when discussing plans, sharing ideas etc. Examples of famous and ...

Technology Rich and Innovative Poor

Cleaning off my desktop this morning, I found this pdf from Alan November, that I've been meaning to write about on this blog. The original post from November Learning is at this link.   Written in January 2015, "Clearing the Confusion between Technology Rich and Innovative Poor: Six Questions" is an important, on-going discussion for every teacher and school leader, well worth looking at each school year. It begins "In a recent webinar, more than 90% of school leaders responded that they were ...

What will they understand 20 years from now?

This morning my Flipboard reading brought me this news commentary: Do You Really Understand Why Water Boils? New Survey Says, Probably Not.  by Nadia Drake.  Ms. Drake writes about the newest Pew Research Center Science Knowledge Survey, asking some very pertinent questions that anyone teaching in an IB school should recognise. She writes: The key with such surveys, says the University of Michigan’s Jon Miller, who’s been studying science literacy for nearly four decades, is to ask questions about core concepts. Things like what molecules are, what ...

Emotions in Learning and Make it Stick!

Well, the holidays are almost over and the busy classrooms will soon get most of our attention (and time). It would become more challenging to browse the increasing flow of information regarding the latest developments of pedagogical theory. I wanted to share a couple of links and resources that came to me through the blog of Annie Murphy Paul and especially a post regarding "The Feeling of Learning". In it the author points that "In educational settings, it’s the “academic emotions” that ...

Thinking in Black and White

The human brain seems to mostly operate using a default either/or operational system. Our experience of the world often seems to come to us in a way which requires choosing between two mutually exclusive options. This expresses itself in what philosophers call dichotomies. Dichotomies are so pervasive and embedded that we navigate through them in an entirely subconscious way. So much so that we may even fall into the trap of accepting that when it comes to making choices, whether ...

How to learn with zero effort

  The brain's capacity is unlimited, if only you use it correctly (Credit: Getty Images) What is the easiest way to learn? David Robson meets a group of scientists and memory champions competing to find techniques that make facts stick... fast. As exam season is upon us and the Grade 12 exams are soon to begin, I thought you might be interested in "how to learn with zero effort". I was recently reading an article at BBC that discussed such a topic. The article discusses ways ...