Another week, another instalment of Education Update bringing together the latest news and ideas in education. A somewhat quiet week, but plenty of interesting reading nonetheless. The first article this week is a nice way to start because it reaffirms what we already know; that teachers matter!

There are also articles looking at building positive school culture, fuelling creativity in the classroom and bringing student interests into the classroom in an effort to secure a greater connection with their subjects. As seems to be the case each week, there is also an article that looks at making changes to our existing model of teaching and learning, in this case to specifically prepare students for their entry into university.

Anybody who, like me, has attended EduTECH in Brisbane this week will no doubt be inspired, amazed and perhaps a bit overwhelmed by the technology that is available for use in education today. There were many genuinely innovative and useful technologies on display at the expo that had me constantly thinking of really creative ways they could be used in the classroom. However, the article Finns Beat U.S. with Low-tech Take on School explores how the Finnish education system has attained its status as the best in the world with minimal reliance on technology. The debates around the integration of technology into education have been ongoing for a long time and will probably not end anytime soon, so it is interesting to realise that greater integration of, and reliance on, technology does not necessarily produce better educational outcomes. I mean, quality teachers and a cultural valuing of education are just two of the critical factors that can lead to good outcomes for students.

Education News 2

Teachers Matter (Now More Than Ever)

It’s not easy being a teacher today. National, state and local politicians, philanthropists, researchers, journalists and many other people who have never actually taught a K-12 student are deciding how and what teachers should teach, and how their effectiveness should be assessed….read more

Ways to Build Positive School Culture Now

Life is about relationships. Building a positive environment in individual classrooms and throughout your whole school is too. It takes commitment and consistency from the whole team—administrators, teachers and support staff. But you can make it happen, even in the most challenging school environments….read more

Fuel Creativity in the Classroom with Divergent Thinking

Recently, I showed a group of students in my high school art class a film called Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink), about a seven-year-old boy named Ludovic who identifies as female. Ludovic has an active imagination, but is bullied by both adults and other kids who are unnerved by his desire to wear dresses and play with dolls. The film challenged my students to broaden their understanding of gender and identity and led to a discussion about ways in which our imaginations are limited when we are forced to be who we are not….read more

Connected Learning: Tying Student Passions to School Subjects

What if your extracurricular activities weren’t just extra but a part of your academics too? New thinking on education intends to bring students’ interests into the classroom. It’s called Connected Learning and promotes the idea that students will excel in school if what they are learning is relevant to their lives, experiences, and passions….read more

Redesigning School to Graduate Capable, Confident Learners

Twelfth grader Stazanae Tidwell sits on a stool facing three teachers and two students, ready to present her thesis, the product of four years of hard work….Tidwell’s presentation represents Envision Academy’s focus: to teach and measure skills that go beyond algebra and essay writing….read more

Finns Beat U.S. with Low-tech Take on School

HELSINKI — At the start of morning assembly in the state-of-the-art Viikki School here, students’ smartphones disappear. In math class, the teacher shuts off the Smartboard and begins drafting perfect circles on a chalkboard. The students — some of the highest-achieving in the world — cut up graphing paper while solving equations using their clunky plastic calculators….read more