Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Learning by Design: Under-graduate Students’ Practicum & New Forms of School-based Training

In 2010 discussions about the New School reform in Greece were well underway generating much debate in the public sphere. It was at that time when a few academics were proposing new ways of conducting school-based training with the use of digital media. The universities of Rhodes, Patras and Athens took part in a pilot project funded by the Ministry of Education where Learning by Design (LbD) was the principal method of action research and training in selected Greek schools.

Research findings of this attempt were very supportive and thus the Greek LbD network expanded to include trials in different levels and universities concerning curriculum design and teachers’ training. Greek teachers and university students were very receptive of the new means in designing of dynamic learning environments. They gradually perceived themselves as being knowledge producers and workers in times of crisis. Educators redefined their teaching practices and collegial relationships both at regional and national levels whereas post graduate research projects emerged.

In this context the 1st International Symposium on Early Childhood Pedagogy at the University of Ioannina, Greece, run by Associate Professor Maria Sakellariou in association with Learning by Design project Coordinator in Greece, Eugenia Arvanitis, will take place between 22-23May 2013. The symposium is devoted to Learning by Design and its application for the first time in Greece in undergraduate preschool education students’ Practicum, which evolved during the last year. It also came as a pre-conference event to the 20th International Conference on Learning ( to be held at the University of Aegean, Rhodes ( 11-13 July 2013). Thus, celebrating the active engagement of Greek academics, teachers and students to the newly formed learning community, which envisages to promote innovative pedagogical practices in Greece.

The 1st International Symposium on Early Childhood Pedagogy will be a multimodal forum, which will present and reflect on Learning Elements designed at laboratory level and taught at schools by 250 undergraduate students as part of their compulsory Practicum exercises in kindergartens in the city of Ioannina. Students’ presentations will be supplemented by academic reflections and rigorous discussions in an attempt to draw up a synergy between theory and practice in the Greek context. Another aim is to generate a public dialogue amongst academics, teachers, students, educational personnel and administrators on best practices of teaching and training and, thus, promoting a bottom up change of school-based training culture in Greece.

Greece is in turmoil at the moment suggesting that it is time for visionary initiatives and hands on approaches. Greek educators and academics create a common ground for a change.      More information:

Collaboration in the Scholar Learning Environment

Scholar is a web-based writing and learning environment which brings together formative assessment (diagnosis and feedback) and summative assessment (measuring student progress over time and in comparison with other learners). The Scholar team has been working with instructors in a variety of settings to field-test the product, build new features, and develop a greater understanding of social media and computer-supported learning environments. Bring your laptop and join Bill Cope for a detailed tour of the Scholar learning environment.

More information at:


Virtual Schools on the Rise, but Are They Right for K-12 Students?

Virtual schools are cost effective and allow for certain flexibilities (in scheduling, environment), but are critics worry about the lack of individualized learning, the loss of a face-to-face student-teacher relationship, and the lack of socialization. This article examines these points, allow ample room for virtual school proponents to mount a defense.

by Athena Jones / CNN / 30 January 2012

K12 Chicago Ad

It’s a Tuesday morning in January, and seventh-grader Katerina Christhilf is learning algebra. But it’s no ordinary class. This one takes place entirely online, led by a teacher a few miles away.

As part of her training to become a ballerina, Katerina takes dance lessons four times a week, including up to eight hours on Fridays. All that training makes it hard to go to a conventional school, so she takes science, literature, composition, vocabulary, history, music, art and French – a full course-load – from the comfort of her home, through Virginia Virtual Academy, a program run by K12 Inc. that began operating in the state in 2009.

“Ballet is really important to me and it’s usually in the mornings, so if I went to school I would only be able to go on the weekends,” Katerina explained. “Sometimes I’ll study in the morning and I’ll do a few classes and then I’ll go to ballet for maybe like three or four hours and I’ll come back home and I’ll do some more.”

Katerina is one of a growing number of students who go to school online full time. About a quarter of a million students in kindergarten through 12th grade were enrolled in full-time online schools last year, according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a 25% increase over the previous year. Some parents choose these schools because their children are struggling in traditional schools; others do so for their flexible schedules.

To read more and view video…

Image Source: K12 Chicago

Video: The Google Effect, and What This Means for Teaching

Journalist John Bohannon takes up how new social media and internet technologies are changing the learning landscape.

by John Bohannon / Online Educa Berlin / 9 September 2011

John Bohannon

Nowadays we use the Internet as an extension of our brains. If we wish to find out the name of the actor we have just seen in a movie we google it on our computer or smartphone. We can look up the recipe of a dish or re-read a newspaper article we liked at any time online. But this way of accessing information “in the cloud” is changing the way we process and store information. We no longer try very hard to recall facts, and students are now better able to remember how to find information than the actual information itself.

What are the implications of this for teaching and learning? John Bohannon, a Boston-based journalist for Science magazine and visiting researcher at Harvard University will examine this question in his keynote speech at OEB 2011.

To view video…

Image Source: article

Top Ten Web Tools for Teachers

In this short piece, Saltman discusses the most popular web tools for educators, with an emphasis on classroom management and communications.

by Dave Saltman / Harvard Education Newsletter 27.2 / March-April 2011

In the quest to work smarter, not harder, teachers are flocking to an ever-expanding galaxy of web-based tools for help with everything from classroom management to classroom discussions. Here are some tools that are now grabbing teachers’ attention—and the attention of their students. Virtually all are free, with a few offering paid upgrades that add some technological bling.

To read more…

Image Source: article (application pictured: Weebly)

Assess-as-You-Go, a University of Illinois College of Education Project, Makes the News

Assess-as-You-Go–a University of Illinois College of Education research project funded by the US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences–was featured on WAND news, focusing on how the project may make summative, standardized testing a thing of the past. Project commentary was given by Bill Cope, the project’s principal investigator; Sarah McCarthey, collaborating faculty; and Colleen Vojak, project coordinator. For the story, see here.

Text Complexity and Other Not-So-Simple Things

An encounter with Timothy and Cynthia’s Shanahan’s introduction to disciplinary literacy. The duo are reading experts at University of Illinois-Chicago. Timothy Shanahan’s blog (which chronicles the visit described in Gewertz’s blog) can be found here, at Shanahan on Literacy.

by Catherine Gewertz / Education Week blog / 10 March 2011

Ever since that morning I spent in a basement in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood a few weeks ago, I can’t get text complexity off my mind. Nor can I shake the image of the opening slide in a PowerPoint presentation about “disciplinary literacy”: a curvaceous woman in leather and high boots, carrying a whip.

Contrary to what you might think, I did not make that up to get your attention. It really happened. I was hanging out with teachers from a high school in the Bronx at a professional-development day that was part of a city pilot on secondary literacy.

The pilot was prompted by New York’s adoption of the common standards, which harp heavily on the need for students to be much stronger at grappling with complicated informational and literary texts, and the need for teachers to learn “disciplinary literacy” strategies to help students decode the challenging grammar, vocabulary, writing, and ways of thinking specific to each subject.

To read more…

Image Source: Daniel Fazier, HHMI Bulletin

Goal-Setting Programs Lead to Student Success

The article reports claims that goal-setting programs lead to student success, by encouraging students to break down larger goals into smaller ones that are less intimidating and more achievable in the short-term.

Making Kids Work on Goals

by Sue Shellenbarger / Wall Street Journal / 9 March 2011

Thirteen-year-old Jackson Sikes has been struggling for years to raise his test scores in math. When he got a 33% last year on fractions, Jackson says, “I didn’t know how I was ever going to learn them.” Battling his homework just made him frustrated, says his mother Linda, of Gilmer, Texas.

New research suggests the inability to set personal goals is a weak spot for U.S. children and hurting their academic achievement. Sue Shellenbarger explains.

Jackson’s teachers proposed a solution: They taught him to trim his goal into smaller steps and try improving his scores just a little from test to test. Gradually, he raised his results to 90%. “I’d take those little steps, then I’d just keep on stepping,” Jackson says.

To read more…

Image Source: article