Jun 26 2016

Highly Recommended: Alternative Education Conference in Portland, Oregon

After five years, the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) is finally bringing their annual conference back to the US West Cost at Portland, Oregon, August 3-7, 2016. Sign up right away if interested. There is not much time left. As one who attended the conference the last time it came to Portland, I can attest that it was a wonderfully moving experience. The keynote speakers will be: Yong Zhao, Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of… Read more

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Sep 17 2015

New Osmo Game

Osmo®, the educational game platform that incorporates actual, hands-on pieces while giving software-based feedback and enhancements, has a new game for teaching basic math concepts and operations, called “Numbers.” As I mentioned in a previous post, Osmo uses the camera on an iPad to “see” which game pieces the player(s) have put in front of it. The creators of “Numbers” attempt to avoid math anxiety by incorporating flexibility and creativity, avoiding time limits, and building in options for collaboration and fun…. Read more

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May 12 2015

New Story for Young Children Supports Nature as Natural

Category: Health,Learning,Play,Self-Directed LearningAdmin @ 3:41 pm

To counteract "Nature-Deficit Disorder," a new release from Barefoot Books, Outdoor Opposites, plays with words for opposites while portraying children enjoying the natural world. Macy Koch has written a nice description of the book (for ages 3-7) here. It is good to see a book that reminds children and parents how much fun playing outside can be while teaching an early “academic” skill in a fun way. Playing outdoors helps children develop physical and social skills while keeping their bodies, minds and hearts healthy. Watch any… Read more

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Apr 15 2015

Recommended Books are Back

Category: General Spark a Playful Mind (SAPM)Admin @ 3:06 pm

I put up a “Recommended Books” page again, this time with my own brief descriptions for many of the books. Check it… Read more

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Mar 04 2015

Schooling and Interest

When students study what interests them, their work develops a natural, invigorating flow. They engage creatively with their topic, ask their own questions and pursue answers to their own satisfaction. They remember what matters. When someone else chooses their work, students may not find much of personal relevance. The learning becomes a chore, the students’ feelings become an obstacle to the learning, and energy is drained. I am reminded of the title of a book: The Student Resistance Handbook. While I am not advocating any action… Read more

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Mar 01 2015

Conference on Alternative and Child-Centered Education

Category: Alternative EducationAdmin @ 6:28 pm

The Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) is the best resource I know for learning about alternatives in education. Their conference in Portland, Oregon, which I attended a few years ago, was fantastic. I heartily recommend this year’s conference, which will be near New York City from May 20 to 24, 2015. Presentations will include a variety of learner-centered approaches, including democratic education, progressive education, homeschooling, Montessori, Waldorf, charter schools, magnet schools, and more. Keynote speakers… Read more

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Nov 28 2014

Children Need to Direct Themselves

Category: Self-Directed LearningAdmin @ 2:14 pm

Here is evidence that too many children’s lives are over-scripted at the expense not only of their free time, but also of their cognitive development. Psychologists at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO (USA) and the University of Denver in Denver, CO published their research in the June 17, 2014 Frontiers in Psychology journal entitled, “Less-structured time in children’s daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning.” The “executive function” is the part of the brain’s function which oversees other parts so that we can… Read more

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Jun 17 2012

On Teaching and Motivation

Category: Alternative Education,LearningAdmin @ 5:11 pm

Long ago, I trained employees in data and word processing systems and efficient workflow practices. To better prepare me, management sent me off to a conference at the American Society for Training and Development. I was enthralled to discover a focus completely unlike anything I had encountered as a student in public schools and four years of private college. Instead of centering on using or constructing a specific curriculum or how to teach it, the emphasis was on how to assess employee training needs and the training programs we were… Read more

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