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84 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 926485 3-Nov-2013 10:14
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My last say on the subject.

 

I too have my doubts about bring your own devices, but really investigate what other devices are capable of, especially the Surface Rt or Surface 2. Cost alone should encourage you or your school to buy one these devices and test it. Remember there is a special education price for this device $294.00. (ask at your administrator Dept.).

 

Its USB port allows you to connect a multiple USB adapter (4 ports). Bluetooth keyboards and mice. I prefer the mouse when using Office I find touch rather difficult at my age.

 

Some people say that there are lack of apps. But until they have hands on experience and go to the store and TEST OUT the apps available they should restrict their comments. I use paint apps (fresh Paint) music apps (Piano Time, Guitar). There are many word and language apps available as well as maths, plus all the other topics that are provided for Pre-schoolers through to older students. It takes many hours of research and testing to test the value of these which unfortunately teachers do not have the time to do.

 

The use of Microsoft Office is a major reason why you should investigate tablets using the RT.

 

Moving on. I am sick and tired of the few whingers (I am usually not derogatory) who continually attack out teachers. Whingers you are. If teaching is such an easy jobs with all these holidays high pay become one.

 

You can be spat at, sworn at, hit and kicked and even punched or attacked all for free by an increasingly group of unruly students even younger that five. You can give up your tea and lunch breaks two or three days a week to be on duty supervising students during their breaks. You can spend hours at home researching apps and send a list to me of those you find would be of value to a school, if you have time, after collecting all the data about student progress and planning your work for the next day or week. I could go on and on. We seem to spend more time collecting data and adding it to our reporting systems than we do teaching. This to me has been a huge backwards step.

 

Hours are spent writing reports for parents which in many cases are read and then filed. Reports can take up an hour per report

 

Aside from all this teaching is a wonderful job with many unpaid rewards which is why many of us do it.

 

Teachers are not overpaid when compared to other groups in the community, yet they along with, nurses and police are doing what I consider the one of most important jobs in the country. I know plumbers carpenters and electricians who earn double what teachers are earning.

 

Sure there are some teachers who do not reach the standards that many of us believe in but you can also find in every other job whether it is professional or labour intensified people who do not perform.

 

Perhaps I should end here but would really like to tell those of you who do not see the value of ICT in schools, of how they can be used to enhance learning experiences not replace the good teacher.

 

Google search “Woodlands Reading” look at all the activities in Literacy, Maths, Science, which cover many levels. These can all be used as extra activities adding to the enrichment of what should be taught. Most Children really respond well to visual aids.

 

Download and install “TUX Maths” another great activity to enhance tables and basic facts.

 

A Computer can be a tool that really allows children to be creative. Word and Powerpoint are to perfect examples.

 

Internet is a wonderful research tool as we all know and used correctly in school can provide that latest information on any subject at all. Google “10 Most endangered species” Students are taught about plagiarism and by splitting Screens can develop their own project in Word or Powerpoint while finding facts on their topics.

 

I could continue, but hope I have painted good enough picture.

 

A couple of points of interest. Fibre is going to be provide to all schools (Govt initiative)in the next period of time, free, I am sure that the provider which I believe is going to be Telecom put filters in place to prevent the access of inappropriate site.

 

Our school policy clearly states that no student is allowed to access the internet without a teacher the room.

 

Google has a pretty good filter for blocking inappropriate sites under their setting tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

84 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 926487 3-Nov-2013 10:16
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Hi Cleveland
I don't know why but when pasting from word formatting seems to disappear. Shame on ME


 
 
 
 


895 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 926568 3-Nov-2013 14:38
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zaptor:
blackjack17:
zaptor: 
...
Unfortunately, the relatively few really good teachers aren't enough to make up for the rest. If you want an example of total utter incompetency look no further than our public education system. I agree. It's unfair to tar every teacher with the same brush. But, when you have a system which basically protects the lowest common denominator (not even mentioning the predators), it's not hard to understand why good teachers either give up or eventually metamorphosize into mediocre (at best).
...


Yes NZ teachers suck  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_Index


Fascinating. I tried decoding the reference material (albeit briefly). Made no sense to me. I'm not sure that's actually a reflection of our education "standard", as opposed to the "index" - whatever that is.

However, I did find this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_student_performance

Which still puts us in relatively good light (still somewhat surprising to me).

Perhaps a more realistic assessment is this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_New_Zealand


Choosing your sources to reflect your preconceptions?

NZ's education system has done well, internationally ranked, for quite a while.  Reading recovery is internationally admired.  Doesn't stop the government trying to stuff everything up (unit standards, NCEA, etc).  US-style charter schools aren't brilliant there but it doesn't stop us copying their failed ideas.  I was at high school when unit standards were introduced.  I think I technically failed 6th form chemistry because I didn't get 100% in one test.

zaptor:
The debate about teaching/education standards is a controversial one. I believe teachers - by and large - start their careers with the best of intentions. I would never question their sincerity.
Teachers are well protected by the system. Under performing ones get shuffled (from what I've seen), but, I've only ever known one paycheck teacher to actually be let go. Even in that instance it was just because said teacher got themselves in circumstance where they could be removed relatively smoothly without hurting any reputations.

Decent teachers are worth their weight in gold. But being that committed is hard. Many new teachers burn themselves out when they first start - because they want to make a positive difference in kids lives. Plus they don't get paid that much to begin with. When they see their higher earning paycheck buddies winging it, eventually they ask themselves whether it's really worth the extra effort.

Ideally, you'd have a system which rewards/compensates teachers prepared to make that type of commitment, and at the same time disposes of (or at the very least gives them a serious rocket) teachers who are basically overpaid daycare workers.


In general, performance pay doesn't work.

zaptor:
Unfortunately, charter schools are little too late for my brood.


Hopefully mine will avoid them too.  They're not the silver bullet some people think they are.  The US experience -- what our charter schools will be modelled on -- is not a positive one.

2136 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 926579 3-Nov-2013 15:08
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I don't think they really need them in Primary school. In High School yes.

 

 

 

And why are they saying iPad 3's? iPad minis would be good.

351 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 926666 3-Nov-2013 18:56
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gehenna: ^I despair for your world.


Why?

351 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 926667 3-Nov-2013 19:00
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deadlyllama: 
In general, performance pay doesn't work.


So are you saying we shouldn't be tackling the issues around under-performing teachers?

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 926684 3-Nov-2013 19:40
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jfanning:
deadlyllama: 
In general, performance pay doesn't work.


So are you saying we shouldn't be tackling the issues around under-performing teachers?


What issues?  Have you got some statistics to quote?  I've never heard anyone talk about bad teachers and have any numbers to quote -- just anecdotes and hand waving.  I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but no one has yet convinced me it's severe.

If there is a problem, performance pay is not the only option.  Better training and professional development, and more effort put into recruiting people who will make good teachers, are other things we can do.

Educational attainment depends on more than the teacher, too.  It also depends on the student and their home environment.  I used to tutor some primary school kids -- one needed it badly, the other, his brother, didn't -- and even getting a quiet place in the house for them to do their homework was a battle.  Would you want those sort of factors to influence what you were paid?  I wouldn't.  Generating a single number to capture the performance in any complex job is difficult to impossible, and invites people to game the system.  Imagine if you were a programmer and paid per line of code, or per bug fixed...


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 926686 3-Nov-2013 19:46
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I still don't understand why, if the purpose is only to access web based material/learning (as the school seems to have stated), a child would be "left behind" if they had a chromebook, MS surface or a droid instead of a particular model Ipad?

I'm glad I don't have to contend with this. Not just the upfront cost, but how many times will it need to be replaced over the course of a year because it has been lost, broken or pinched?

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  Reply # 926691 3-Nov-2013 20:01
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My wife's been busy writing school reports (which she spends about 5 hours a night after work every night for 3 weeks doing) today so hasn't had a chance to reply, and I was in the after hours doctor for hours for a thumb infection (which is gross I'll add) and hadn't had time to remind her. But hopefully she'll get to it tomorrow.


351 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 926699 3-Nov-2013 20:13
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deadlyllama: 

What issues?  Have you got some statistics to quote?  I've never heard anyone talk about bad teachers and have any numbers to quote -- just anecdotes and hand waving.  I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but no one has yet convinced me it's severe.

If there is a problem, performance pay is not the only option.  Better training and professional development, and more effort put into recruiting people who will make good teachers, are other things we can do.

Educational attainment depends on more than the teacher, too.  It also depends on the student and their home environment.  I used to tutor some primary school kids -- one needed it badly, the other, his brother, didn't -- and even getting a quiet place in the house for them to do their homework was a battle.  Would you want those sort of factors to influence what you were paid?  I wouldn't.  Generating a single number to capture the performance in any complex job is difficult to impossible, and invites people to game the system.  Imagine if you were a programmer and paid per line of code, or per bug fixed...



Statistics, well people on this thread have just said "google them", so I will continue with that style.  You can start by looking at the ERO reports.

Maybe you don't talk to the right people, or maybe you don't want to know.  I know of teachers that don't perform to the level I would expect them to be, these performances aren't measured, and they happily move through the payscales.

And your example doesn't count, that isn't how performance based pays work, one statistical outlier wouldn't mark down a performance level.  Why don't you have a look at some of the things health professionals need to do before moving through payscales before getting all worried.

658 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 926727 3-Nov-2013 20:57
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deadlyllama: 

Choosing your sources to reflect your preconceptions?


Well, no more so than the other guy I responded too. Having said that, I did read that page, and tried to understand the reference material. Like I said, it seemed a bit cryptic to me, and I couldn't quite understand how it actually related to the real educational standard in this country. The other links seemed to make more sense.
If anything I thought the 1st link I provided tended to support his argument - we ranked 5th overall. The 2nd link was closer to what I was referring to.

I gather you would've read both "preconceptions" links before labeling them as such?

However, I'm perfectly fine with simply ignoring any external sources and focusing on the issue based on personal experience and common sense.

deadlyllama: 
NZ's education system has done well, internationally ranked, for quite a while. Reading recovery is internationally admired.  Doesn't stop the government trying to stuff everything up (unit standards, NCEA, etc).  US-style charter schools aren't brilliant there but it doesn't stop us copying their failed ideas.  I was at high school when unit standards were introduced.  I think I technically failed 6th form chemistry because I didn't get 100% in one test.


Reading recovery may be admired internationally (not sure why...), but, I don't think it's making much (if any) difference to the target "at-risk" demographic.

Wasn't overly enthused when we decided to introduce elected boards of trustees during the late 80's education reforms.

Not a huge fan of unit standards, let alone NCEA (what a mess). Thankfully, we're dropping unit standards.

I can remember when the old core-subject-focused University Entrance was deemed too discriminatory and so was scrapped (that decision boggles the mind to this day).
Now we're almost full circle, with the new NCEA level 3 curriculum designed to weed out the ones who really shouldn't be attending University. Not necessarily because the government actually want's only the best and brightest entering Uni (like in the old days), but because it's costing a fortune approving loans for students who barely achieved NCEA level 3 in the old curriculum - where students could pass NCEA level 3 without doing any Math or Science for years 12 & 13 and/or English in year 13.

Now I don't have a major issue with non-core subjects, but to have Maths/Science/English with the same effective weighting as Dance/PE/Media Studies/Drama and many others that I won't name (because that will definitely start a flame war - check NZQA for the old list) is ludicrous.
From next year achieving (the new) NCEA Level 3 will be required to enter Uni. A bit unfair on the class of 2014 (and beyond), but, there you go.

To be honest, I don't particularly want charter schools. I'd rather the normal public (funded) schools provide a decent level of education.

What charter schools are doing in the US is amazing. I'd agree they aren't always what their advocates claim to be - there are certainly issues.
But, charter schools have provided something that's been sorely missing from the US education system for a long long time - competition.
Now public schools are being forced to up their game, because of a lot of that cash-cow state funding can now be allocated to better performing charter schools. Under performing public schools are being closed. Most importantly, it's breaking the back the of that monopolistic self-serving institution called the teachers union (coincidentally, we have one of these as well).


deadlyllama: 
In general, performance pay doesn't work.


Agreed. Probably should've re-worded that a little differently. Something like, pay performing teachers an above average salary, and those that don't can be shown the door. So, it's not no performance pay, just no pay.
Apparently, there is a relatively high turnover rate with charter school teachers in the US. I imagine that's because of the high commitment associated with job - some teachers are required to be "on-call" in the evenings (that's right, after class has long finished). So, the "best" ones tend to be young/new/single/hungry.
I think because of the relatively early induction of the charter system it's still evolving. I am of the belief that good teachers should be renumerated handsomely. But, you can't do this to one without upsetting the rest. So, the simple solution is to raise (somehow) the standard of the rest so that the lowest common denominator is still a high standard. Achieving this level of excellence is literally impossible in your typical public school.

deadlyllama: 

zaptor:
Unfortunately, charter schools are little too late for my brood.


Hopefully mine will avoid them too.  They're not the silver bullet some people think they are.  The US experience -- what our charter schools will be modelled on -- is not a positive one.


If you're happy with the paycheck teachers then fair enough.
Although, I get the impression your kids, either haven't started primary/intermediate, or college or are about to (assuming you have kids - please correct me if I'm wrong).

81 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 926732 3-Nov-2013 21:17
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zaptor:
Now I don't have a major issue with non-core subjects, but to have Maths/Science/English with the same effective weighting as Dance/PE/Media Studies/Drama and many others that I won't name (because that will definitely start a flame war - check NZQA for the old list) is ludicrous.


You may be right about starting a flame war :P

To say those other subjects aren't worth the same is ludicrous, especially when many of them offer numeracy and literacy credits. To get merits and excellences in Level 3 you are judged on your critical thinking more than anything else. I think the ability to think critically is more important than anything else and is a skill that can be practised through any kind of hard work, whether in a core subject or something like Art/Drama/Technology.

658 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 926796 3-Nov-2013 23:36
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thelimoman:
zaptor:
Now I don't have a major issue with non-core subjects, but to have Maths/Science/English with the same effective weighting as Dance/PE/Media Studies/Drama and many others that I won't name (because that will definitely start a flame war - check NZQA for the old list) is ludicrous.


You may be right about starting a flame war :P

To say those other subjects aren't worth the same is ludicrous, especially when many of them offer numeracy and literacy credits. To get merits and excellences in Level 3 you are judged on your critical thinking more than anything else. I think the ability to think critically is more important than anything else and is a skill that can be practised through any kind of hard work, whether in a core subject or something like Art/Drama/Technology.


I don't think you can get literacy or numeracy credits (pre-2014) for the non-core ones I mentioned (unless you're referring to the ones I didn't explicitly mention?)

I agree with the concept of teaching critical thinking in principle. The problem is the real world practice.
The sad practice of rubber stamping student achievement during primary/intermediate years seems all to common. It seems easier to pass any learning difficiencies to next year's teacher. This sort of thing can carry on until college. Along the way you get the odd teacher who does make a difference - but, they're in the minority.

I can't recall any teacher during my kid's pre-college years that taught critical thinking to any meaningful level. College wasn't much better. In an age where one would expect our teenagers to question and challenge the world around us (you know, like in the 60s-70s), it just seems we have widespread apathetic acceptance.

Personally, I think one of the best subjects to teach critical thinking would be coding/programming. Unfortunately, there's not enough people with a high degree of coding knowledge actually teaching (they tend to work as IT professionals).

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  Reply # 926801 4-Nov-2013 01:00
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So I caught up with my friend who is a Technology teacher at Massey High, she spoke of a shift in the way her subject is being taught, less requirement to remember information and a larger focus on being able to research ideas, and for students to problem solve through access to many different online resources.

Her personal view was that she didn't care what devices were used as long as it would help the students supplement their learning, not fully take over all aspects of it.

She also mentioned that teachers get so little time to train themselves that it would be hard to integrate the devices into the curriculum.

It was a long conversation but I certainly got the impression that BYOD was certainly getting more attention in teaching circles, and that can only be a good thing.

458 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 926842 4-Nov-2013 09:26
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Very good piece on how computer science is being taught in Vietnam. Be afraid for the future of our IT industry if we think shoving iPads into students hands makes them technology literate.

https://neil.fraser.name/news/2013/03/16/

I'm sure a few of you remember learning Logo.  Apparently not any more in NZ schools :(

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