Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ILTO Literacy/Numeracy Night

We had a good time and gave out some great gifts, games and guaranteed strategies at ILTO's Family Literacy and Numeracy Night. Great work by the ILTO committee for organizing the night; Tammy, Cathy and Shelley can be very proud. It was nice to see them there as well as the administration (Chester and Kathy), as well Tree Sky. It would have been nice to see more staff out to greet the parents and families that attended. The students got into the games and sat and participated wonderfully during Candy's component, a reading of The Rough Face Girl. Well done, ILTO organizing committee and admin!

Not Quite Numeracy, Moreso Media Literacy, Though Numbers are Often Used to Prove Anything

This article on propoganda makes me wonder about that quote about people living in glass houses when it comes to some of the things i post on this blog...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What the? Oh...there's a catch.

Children with home computers likely to have lower test scores, study finds

ScienceDaily (2010-06-19) -- Around the country and throughout the world, politicians and education activists have sought to eliminate the "digital divide" by guaranteeing universal access to home computers, and in some cases to high-speed Internet service. However, according to a new study, these efforts would actually widen the achievement gap in math and reading scores. ... > read full article

Saturday, November 20, 2010

10 Techniques to Massively Increase Retention

These are some great practical tips on how to boost reading retention, and these are the kinds of exercises that can easily be brought into our classrooms. The Ebbinghaus Curve shows the pattern our drop-off in retention normally follows.

These are tips that incorporate the liberal use of digital tools such as blogging and personal mobile devices which, among others, are getting a big spotlight in regards to their relevancy in the digital learning experience.

posted by Ian Jukes
Jun 28, 2010

view the original source for this post

10 Techniques to Massively Increase Retention

Do you like this story?

This is the classic ‘forgetting curve’ by Ebbinghaus, a fundamental truth in memory theory, totally ignored by most educators and trainers. Most fixed ’courses’ or ‘lectures’ take no notice of the phenomenon, condemning much of their effort to the world of lost memories. Most educational and training pedagogies are hopelessly inefficient because they fail to recognise this basic truth. Smart learners get it. They revise over a period, with regular doses to consolidate their memories.

Little and often

The real solution, to this massive problem of forgetfulness, is spaced practice, little and often, the regular rehearsal and practice of the knowledge/skill over a period of time to elaborate and allow deep processing to fix long-term memories. If we get this right, increases on the productivity of learning can be enormous. We are not talking small increase in knowledge and retention but increases of 200-700%.

It has the potential to radically alter the attainment levels in schools, colleges, universities and organisations. OK, that’s the theory, what about the practice?

What strategies enable spaced practice?

I’ll start with a few ‘learner’ tips, then a few ‘teacher/trainer’ practices and end on some technical techniques.

1. Self- rehearsal – This is very powerful, but needs self-discipline. You sit quietly, and recall the learning on a regular, spaced practice basis. The hour/day/week/month model is one, but a more regular pattern of reinforcement will be more successful. Research suggests that the spacing different for individuals and that it is good to rehearse when you have a quiet moment and feel you are in the mood to reflect. Recent research has shown that rehearsal just prior to sleep is a powerful technique. Another bizarre, but effective, model is to place the textbook/notes in your toilet. It’s something you do daily, and offers the perfect opportunity for repeated practice!

2. Take notes – write up your learning experience, in your own words, diagrams, analogies. This can result in dramatic increases in learning (20-30%). Then re-read a few times afterwards or type up as a more coherent piece. It is important to summarise and re-read your notes as soon as possible after the learning experience.

3. Blogging – if the learner blogs his/her learning experience after the course, then responds to the tutors’, and others’ comments for a few weeks afterwards, we have repeated consolidation, and the content has a much higher chance of being retained.

4. Repetition – within the course, but also at the start of every subsequent period, lesson or lecture, repeat (not in parrot fashion) the ground that was covered previously. Take five or ten minutes at the start to ask key questions about the previous content.

5. Delayed assessment – give learners exercises to do after the course and explain that you will assess them a few weeks, months after the course has finished. This prevents reliance on short-term memory and gives them a chance to consolidate their knowledge/skills.

6. Record – it is education and training’ great act of stupidity, not to record talks, lectures and presentations. They give the learner subsequent access to the content and therefore spaced practice.

7. Games pedagogy – Games have powerful pedagogies. They have to as they are hard. It works through repeated attempts and failure. You only progress as your acquired competence allows. Most games involve huge amounts of repetition and failure with levels of attainment that take days, weeks and months to complete.

8. Spaced e-learning – schedule a pattern in your online learning, so that learners do less in one sitting and spread their learning over a longer period of time, with shorter episodes. Free your learners from the tyranny of time and location, allowing them to do little and often. In education this is homework and assignments, in training subsequent talks that need to be emailed back to the trainer/tutor.

9. Mobile technology – the drip feed of assessment over a number of weeks after the course or redesign the whole course as a drip-feed experience. We have the ideal device in our pockets – mobiles. They’re powerful, portable and personal. Push out small chunks or banks of questions, structured so that repetition and consolidation happens. This usually involves the repeated testing of the individual until you feel that the learning has succeeded.

10. Less long holidays – it terms of public policy, increasing school results would be better served by avoiding the long summer holiday and restructuring the school, college and University years around more regular terms and less long vacations.


The retention benefit works like compound interest as you’re building on previous learning, deepening the processing and consolidating long-term memory. It is, in my opinion, the single most effective strategic change we could make to our learning interventions.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Are Texting and Facebook Worse for Teens Than TV?

Are Texting and Facebook Worse for Teens Than TV?

Way to go, Buffalo, er, i mean, Caribou

We had some fantabulous results in the second round of the Caribou contest yesterday. Congrats to the 7-3 class at JC Hill and a handful of grade 3 students at Emily C. General. We had some grade sevens finish in the top 50% (quite good, considering they are competing with grade eight students). As for the grade threes (who themselves are in direct competition with grade fours) we had some finish in the top 100, out of 600 students. That's amazing!!

All Caribou competitors should be proud and remember, you are accumulating points for the class in the Caribou Cup competition. The next contest date is on January 19th. Please register using the Caribou Math contest link on the right side of the page.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caribou Round Two!!

Tomorrow is the second round of the Brock University Caribou Math Contest. So far, I am aware of JC Hill Grade 7 and Emily C. General Grade 3 participating tomorrow in the quest for the Caribou Cup. You can still register today or tomorrow, whole class or small group or even individuals. Even if you did not participate in the first round, you can join in at any time throughout the year.

Click the "Caribou Contest" keyword below to see previous posts regarding the contest. There is also a link on the side to go directly to the Caribou page for details.

Thanks to those teachers who are challenging their students and approaching problem solving, math and technology in this integrated way.

(Note: Caribou Cup pictured at right is NOT the actual Caribou Cup, nor is it a reasonable fascimile. Actual Caribou Cup may differ in size, material and likeness.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ECG Gets Their Brains POPped

Today from 3:30 to 4:30 pm there will be a BrainPOP workshop for Emily C. General teachers and staff. It will be an overview of the website and how to connect it to your classroom programming. i look forward to your attendance, because as BrainPOP's motto says, "The More You Know, The More You Know."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Global Education Conference

A Collaborative Worldwide Conference on Globally-Connected Education

Multiple Time Zones, Multiple Languages, Multiple Tracks,
and it’s free and available through Elluminate™

November 15 - 19, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

What effective math teachers have in common

Here is an article that Mrs. Brant passed on to me. It is about using an inquiry based model in your math class.