Saturday, November 26, 2005 | E-learning | John Davitt: Get an iLife ... | E-learning | John Davitt: Get an iLife ... : "Last summer the school dedicated one week to an integrated media project. At the end of the term it held an 'iLife creativity week' involving all pupils from years 7 to 10. After an initial training day on how to use the various applications, the pupils were split into small groups to produce either an advert for a new product or an original music track and video."

It is good to see a school allowing students to be creators of content and not just consumers of content.

There is a lot of power in Apple's iLife, from editing movies and creating music and editing photographs. An inexpensive Mac mini is a great educational tool.

The best thing it even comes with Grapher a calculator that graphs functions for you. That makes a lot of intermediate math like algebra much easier to understand, since it is all about generalized arithmetic and all possible solutions.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let's be 1/3rd literate

Beep. It's from Hamlet. 2B? NT2B?=??? - Yahoo! News: "'We are confident that our version of 'text' books will
genuinely help thousands of students remember key plots and
quotes, and raise up educational standards rather than decrease
levels of literacy,' the company, Dot Mobile, said in a press

Great they are translating Hamlet and others into l33t sp43k and so the destruction of our children continues.

Writing hasn't been all that great in school for a long time. Look at everyone who has problems with spelling if they don't have a spell checker.

Reading hasn't been doing to well, if you don't learn it at home you certainly won't learn it in school. Now with IM speak going mainstream we can see that reading is divebombing as well.

Even speaking is turning into a lost art, and I am not talking about speaking in public but just speaking out loud is turning in jargonese. but it is now being encouraged in schools.

You don't need to take you children out of school to homeschool, just teach then the right way to speak and spell and write and calculate at home after school and they will soon be able to learn whatever they want from books and that gives then a big leg up compared to everyone else.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Never practice a mistake

Mail 387 November 6 - 13, 2005

"The newest fad in education is to force children to independently reinvent every concept of mathematics from counting to calculus. This approach might work for the next Richard Feynman, but it is a disaster for every child who is not a mathematical prodigy."

Math is not like physical law. You can't just discover it from observation, it is an artificial construct that we use for convenience, that makes it as much a language like English or Chinese. Sure there are a few prodigies like Gauss and Feynman and a few others that could do it but they are like Mozart who started to play the piano at 3, very very rare.

That is why we have to teach the basics to children or anyone wanting to know how to use math. We don't speak in math so we have to teach it another way.

You won't expect a child to learn a language you never spoke to them.

Further along:
"My first grade teacher spelled the name of a red fruit as "appul". I corrected her. She told me I had to learn how to spell the wrong way before I was taught how to spell the right way. I ignored her. I saved myself two years of confusion, because by the time I was in third grade ITA had been abandoned. My classmates took years to recover."

This is a great way to completely destroy the learning potential of a child. Not long ago I posted about how MIT research found that habits are created when neural pathways are laid down, which comes from action and repetition.

If you want to set up someone to fail just teach them the most complex and hardest way to do something, they will make mistakes and soon be unable to do that task.

If you want to learn something quickly and well, start by doing it very slowly and correctly each time, soon speed will come because you are doing it right each time and you are not wasting time unlearning something.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Good genes beat good homes as guide to pupils%u2019 school success - Sunday Times - Times Online

Good genes beat good homes as guide to pupils%u2019 school success - Sunday Times - Times Online: "But the new study, to be published in the Royal Economic Society%u2019s Economic Journal, will argue that while income and home environment account for about 25% of educational attainment, inherited intelligence is responsible for the rest.
“Children of higher income parents probably do well in school because they inherit superior genes, not because they can afford to buy their children a better education,” said Vijverberg."

These PhDiots are so very wrong in their conclusions. Their data is probably not too far from the mark but their conclusions are so far off the mark it isn't even funny. And their recommendations will wreck even more students.

There are a couple of articles also out today that do a pretty good job of destroying their conclusions.

Is income a big factor in achievement? No, it isn't. The Army is finding that urban schools, which tend to get a larger fraction of money compared to rural schools, produce potential recruits that are far less well educated then rural schools.

The big issue I have is the genetic issue they bring up. They are so wrong it is astounding. But they do end up using the right words.
Inherited intelligence is the right word but its not passed down via DNA, like some kind of Gou'old racial memory but by concerned parents teaching their children at home.

That link goes to a NYTimes story about the battle parents are having with the math department in Penfield NY. The parents are engineers and scientists that are noticing that their children can't do basic math at all. Things like change from a $20 for a fast food meal.

So they do the only thing that makes sense: they are teaching their own children themselves.

Homeschooling doesn't have to mean that your children stay at home all day. An hour or two at night spent on what's important are all your have to have to make your child successful in life. A solid foundation in english and math will let your children learn anything they want from books and the internet.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Do you know what's happening in your school

|| "While parents were informed that the survey would cover "baseline . . . exposure to early trauma (for example, violence)," it specifically did not mention sex. In fact, the survey asked seven year olds to "rate the following activities" among which were these:
Seven year olds were asked these questions. The parents of the children learned of the survey questions when their children started telling them about the survey. Horrified, the parents complained to the school, arguing that had they know the true nature of the survey, they would have never offered their consent. The school district rebuffed the parents, and the parents sued.
The trial court rejected the parents arguments and today, in stunning language, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the "

It doesn't matter what the survey was about any more. it is all about control. The schools want to control our children and it is time to say no.

California just announced that they are going to educate all students to be above average. Since the current average is two years behind where they are supposed to be, I guess they have a long way to go.

Of course, they can't all be above average because half of them always have to be below average, by definition. I think someone didn't learn something in school like they were supposed to.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Too much preschool harmful, studies say | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Too much preschool harmful, studies say | The San Diego Union-Tribune: "The other study found that social harm resulting from too much preschool or day care translates into 'poorer work habits and poorer social skills through third grade.' The findings were not affected by the quality of teacher-student interaction during preschool."

Parents are truly a good influence on their children. The amazing thing from this study is how long the effects last--until third grade. That is a good long time.

My Speech on Success in Business and Career to a High School FBLA Chapter

My Speech on Success in Business and Career to a High School FBLA Chapter: "The reason why I gave the speech is that the son of a
friend of mine needed to fill a lunchtime speaker's slot.
The father, who runs a successful small business, came
along to hear my speech. Afterward, he said, 'I wish I had
head that speech when I was in high school.' I replied:
'You wouldn't have paid any attention to it. You would
have been too young.'"

Do you want your children to be financially successful? Consider that Social Security will be in big trouble come 2017, you might have to depend on what your children can do for you because the government can't do anything for you.