Abundance in Education – One Tablet Per Child

My mother is reading this book called “Abundance – The Future is Better Than You Think” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. She marked a chapter titled “Education” starting on page 174 and told me I would be interested in this. I am. If you’re interested in education, not just teaching, I think you would be too. In the next few posts, I am going to summarize the sections in this chapter so I can remember them and hopefully you will likewise find it interesting and provide your own insight on each section.

“One Tablet Per Child” (177-179) talks about the importance of students having access to technology and the internet, especially in higher poverty areas where students are less likely to get a good education. One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is an organization that attempts to get a laptop, chomebook, or tablet in the hands of every student. The program has been very successful dropping truancy to zero, which means that students are feeling that what they are doing in school actually matters.

They quote a book called “The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need – And What We Can Do About It,” by Tony Wagner. It talks about how half of the students that drop out of high school do so because they don’t feel like what they are learning is relevant, not because they didn’t have the ability to finish. I’m with them. I came close to dropping out because I felt like high school was a waste of my time. Luckily my parents would not let me and I had a lot of support to stay in school.

Having technology and teaching students to use it to learn whatever they need to learn is a transferable skill that applies to today’s world.  Maybe I should work harder to have more technology in the classroom. We have access to chromebook carts and ipad carts as well as the computer room. But it’s all first come first serve. I’m also not sure how to utilize it in a way that would make content more meaningful. Just more computerized. How do you use technology in the classroom to make the content more meaningful?

Do you agree that providing a laptop, chromebook, or tablet for every child would benefit their education? Why or why not?

Abundance in Education – The Hole-in-the-Wall

My mother is reading this book called “Abundance – The Future is Better Than You Think” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. She marked a chapter titled “Education” starting on page 174 and told me I would be interested in this. I am. If you’re interested in education, not just teaching, I think you would be too. In the next few posts, I am going to summarize the sections in this chapter so I can remember them and hopefully you will likewise find it interesting and provide your own insight on each section.

“The Hole-in-the-Wall” (174-177) talks about a man who was concerned about students in areas that were higher poverty and where good teachers didn’t want to go. He mainly carried out his experiments in India, but his methods can be applied all over the world. One thing he did was have a computer station (theift-proof) out where children could get to it. Children that have never seen a computer or browsed the internet before. Children that didn’t even speak English. They played with the computer and even taught each other how to click on things and get on the internet and look things up.

In one of these towns, he challenged a group of students to learn biotechnology in English. These children were using a device they have never seen before to learn a subject they have never heard of in a language they didn’t speak. They did it. With two months of unsupervised study, this group of kids was able to get a 30 percent score on a test about the subject in English. Over the next two months they had an older girl act as a “tutor” even though she didn’t know any biotechnology. She just encouraged them and asked them questions to further their own learning. Their scores rose to 50 percent.

After doing more experiments to refine his method, he determined that schools could install computer stations – one computer for 4 students to collaborate on – give students specific questions to look into (ie “Was WWII good or bad?”) and offer Skype with older ladies who would encourage the students. When students were tested on what they learned, the average score was 76 percent. Even better, because they figured everything out on their own, the information was retained. When the students were tested again two months later on the same material, even though they had moved on to learn new material, their scores were about the same as the first time.

I love this. It uses the natural curiosity of children to get them to learn without a teacher. They have someone asking questions or giving them specific topic and someone occasionally encouraging them along the way, and they are able to educate themselves. I really like how this concept can be used with any group of students, no matter the location or the language. Of course, I don’t love the idea of not having a teacher, but the point of this method is to use it in places where there are no teachers, or there aren’t many teachers. I think, though, it could still be beneficial in the classroom. Many teachers give a group of students specific research topics with questions for them to answer and have them figure out how to find the answers online. I know I have done this. Have you? What are your thoughts and observations on this concept? Do you think this could be an effective method to bring education to students who don’t have access to good schools or teachers?

Keto Mini Cheesecake

I have been doing Keto for a little over a month now and I finally figured out a good recipe for mini cheesecakes. This recipe is a combination/modification of my friend Jacob Philips’ recipe and this one I found online. I highly recommend swerve for the sweetener. I used the powdered version and it measures just like sugar.

Makes 12

Need bowl, mixer, muffin tin, and cupcake paper.

Crust:

¾ C Almond Flour

3 Tbsp Melted Butter

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

½ Tbsp Cinnamon

½ tsp Sugar Equivalent

 

Cheesecake:

2 – 8 oz Blocks of Cream Cheese

½ C (or to taste) Sugar Equivalent

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

1 Egg

⅓ C Heavy Whipping Cream

Pull out blocks of cream cheese to soften (preferably 20-30 minutes prior to use).

Pre-heat oven to 350. Place 12 cupcake papers in the muffin tin cups.

Mix all crust ingredients in a bowl until it resembles a dough. Scoop a little into each muffin cup – try to get an even amount in each. Use spoon or fingers to flatten out the crust. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.

Place one block of cream cheese and ¼ c sugar equivalent in bowl and blend with mixer. Scrape down sides, add second block of cream cheese and blend. Scrape down sides, add ¼ c of sugar equivalent and vanilla and blend. Add egg and blend. Add heavy whipping cream and blend just until well-mixed and stop.

Use an ice cream scoop and evenly spoon batter into each muffin tin cup. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. The batter will rise some and when it’s done it should have browned a little and be cracking.

Set in fridge for 24 hours or let cool on counter for 10 minutes then place in freezer for several hours. Take out and let thaw for 15 minutes before eating.

 

Beach Beauty

Crashing waves bringing in squeals of delight.

Fire in the sky.

The bright blue calm of twilight.

Moonlight reflected on the water.

Contrast of white sand and blue sky.

Beach beauty has nothing to compare.

Though mountains are pretty in their own right,

the sandy hills of oat-covered dunes

with rabbits scurrying through and wind brushing the grass

is unique to the wild consistency of the beach.

The wind never stops here, the waves always crash.

Storms roll in and out keeping everything cool and hydrated.

Sand as white as snow, but hot enough to burn.

It never leaves your feet.

Pink skin and happy faces – peace can be found here.

Peace in the crashing waves.

Peace in the constant breeze.

Peace in accepting sand will forever be on the floor and furniture.

Peace in being.

Peace

in Beach Beauty.   

Strength 5: Intellection

This is part of a series where I explore my top five strengths in detail and think of ways I can utilize them in the classroom. Check out the intro post hereThe two books I reference in this post are “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath and “Teach With Your Strengths” by Rosanne Liesveld and Jo Ann Miller.

Intellection means that I am a deep thinker and introspective (129 Rath). Makes sense. My brain never seems to stop running and I frequently need alone time to process events, conversations, and ideas. I also day-dream a lot, making it hard to pay attention to any one thing. Probably why I focus better when there is music or some kind of background noise. This video on Intellection helped me understand that this strength is the reason I work better alone because that’s where a lot my ideas develop. This can pair nicely with my analytical strength because after I have an idea, I can start forming a plan for data collection, data analysis, and/or implementation of the idea.

Next year I will be teaching two different classes in two different departments. That’s two different groups to plan with. I need to be sure to set up a schedule for what days I plan with what teachers and what days I plan alone and be sure to set those boundaries and expectations with the other teachers. Without this, I could easily see spending both my off periods planning with each department instead of having time on my own to plan.

One suggestion that Liesveld and Miller had is to ask important questions and “keep track of the questions that have stimulated the most discussion and generated the most learning (138).” They are right in that I do come up with some pretty good questions when I have time and space to think. Perhaps I should include whole-class discussions as a regular activity in my instruction. At least small group discussions. Or maybe they can start out as small group discussions and turn into a while class discussion, once students have had the opportunity to develop and voice their ideas in a less-intimidating setting.

Oh! Maybe I could have a big question that I pose to students at the beginning of class for them to keep in mind the entire class. Then at the end of class, after clean-up time, they can partner up or group up and discuss that question until time to leave class. I like it.

What other ways do you suggest I implement deeper thinking into the classroom? I would love your suggestions on ways to make class discussion more successful. I haven’t done many of them, so this will be fairly new territory for me.

Strength 4: Responsibility

This is part of a series where I explore my top five strengths in detail and think of ways I can utilize them in the classroom. Check out the intro post hereThe two books I reference in this post are “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath and “Teach With Your Strengths” by Rosanne Liesveld and Jo Ann Miller.

Responsibility basically means that I take pride in my work. I will volunteer for task after task and feel personally responsible for the success or failure of whatever I take on. Others can rely on me that if I say I will do something, I will. If something goes wrong, I feel like I have to fix it or make it up to the person, rather than just apologizing. (149 Rath) I learned in college that I have to be careful to not put too much on my plate. I would volunteer for things left and right and would have to drop the ball on something. I learned to look at what I already had to do and if I could realistically take on another thing and get everything done without skimping quality.

I am honestly not sure how to apply this one in the classroom. I burnt myself out in my first semester because of this trait. I felt like it my responsibility to make sure everyone learned, even the ones that didn’t try or care. That meant that I was constantly stressing about how to help certain students that didn’t want help. I even put extra work on myself to help them succeed even though they didn’t care and didn’t do it anyway. It was a frustrating nightmare for me and I had to learn to let go.

Maybe I can use this strength to help divide out responsibility in the classroom. These high school students are about to be adults and have no idea what that means. Maybe I should find a way to incorporate responsibility into my lessons and/or classroom management. One idea would be to have students tidy the classroom before they leave. I could put a timer on for 1 minute where they have to pack up, put things away, tidy up, and throw away any trash they find. I can also help them divide up the various responsibilities of group work.

Liesveld and Miller say that my “heightened awareness of right and wrong could position and prepare you to make significant contributions to the ethical and moral development of students,” (153). I’m not entirely sure how I could tie that in other than just making moral choices and letting the students see that.

What suggestions do you have on making “significant contributions to the ethical and moral development of students”? I would also love to read your ideas on how I can bestow I sense of responsibility on my students. What other ways do you think I can utilize this strength in the classroom?

Strength 3: Individualization

This is part of a series where I explore my top five strengths in detail and think of ways I can utilize them in the classroom. Check out the intro post hereThe two books I reference in this post are “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath and “Teach With Your Strengths” by Rosanne Liesveld and Jo Ann Miller.

This strength involves my ability to see people as individuals rather than a group. I don’t like generalizations and I have the ability to see what’s unique about a person, including their strengths (121 Rath). It may seem like I have high patience, but really I have high understanding (which leads to having patience). According to this video on individualization, “it is the ability to personalize and customize.” Rath asks the question “What is your best method for building relationships?” (122) For me, it’s games. Depending on the game, I can get to know certain things about a person, or in a game of chance that doesn’t involve a lot of thought, I can get to know whatever I want through conversation. Having fun together builds relationships and playing co-op games can really build relationships.

Maybe one of my reward systems can involve getting to play a game with the teacher instead of doing whatever review the rest of the class is doing. These would have to be students that understand the current material well enough that I’m not worried about them reviewing – so I will have to be careful that everyone gets included somehow. I’ll also need to be selective that the games accomplish my goal – for us to get to know each other better in some way, build our relationship, and encourage teamwork.

I’ll also need be sure to explain to my students that it is completely fair to treat everyone differently (123 Rath). They need to know that I will treat them fairly, but not equally because they are all unique individuals. I should incorporate a way to remind them of this regularly – perhaps in my lesson or in an activity that shows how equal does not mean fair.

When I lecture (yuck), I should try and relate what we are learning to my individual students (123 Rath). This would probably work best by asking them “has anyone ever _____?” and maybe having one or two share a story, then explain how that was related to the subject.

The most obvious way I can utilize this strength is by differentiation. However, I’m not quite at that point yet. I am hoping I will be able to at least figure out three different levels that students are at and have different assignments based on their level of understanding, but we will see. I definitely plan on incorporating more differentiation in the future, but for now I have enough to focus on.

What suggestions do you have for incorporating games into the classroom? I would also love to read your suggestions on enforcing that idea that fair doesn’t mean equal or how to relate lessons to individual students.

Strength 2: Analytical

This is part of a series where I explore my top five strengths in detail and think of ways I can utilize them in the classroom. Check out the intro post hereThe two books I reference in this post are “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath and “Teach With Your Strengths” by Rosanne Liesveld and Jo Ann Miller.

This strength explains why I plan on doing so much research with each step for my summer goal. And why I get all “ga-ga” over someone showing me methods of collecting and tracking data. Basically, I love evidence, data, getting down to the root cause of a problem, and questioning ideas (49 Rath). This isn’t to say I don’t have wishful thinking type ideas, it just means that I do the research to turn the wishful thinking into a more realistic view. And then I can share those ideas with others and satisfy my relator strength. I need to be careful that I don’t just analyze and collect data – that I actually follow through with action. If need be, I should find someone who pushes me into action. A good person to partner with would be someone with the Activator strength. (51 Rath)

Things I can help do for my students with this strength include pointing out cause-and-effect, being the “voice of reason” when students get “emotionally charged,” explain my thinking process when figuring things out, and help my students see the path they need to be on to succeed (77-78 Liesveld & Miller). One thing I want to try to get better at is teaching my students to use their learning styles to help them learn in any environment. My analytical strength can help with that by talking through the process of what I do to learn in an environment that doesn’t automatically meet my learning style. I can also give them data and examples of how to do this in all kinds of situations with all different styles of learning.

Perhaps my analytical strength would allow me to explain my reasoning behind each rule/routine to my students which could allow them to benefit and perhaps even be more invested in following it. Or at least know that the rule isn’t for nothing, even if they don’t agree with the reasoning. I’ve been reading a book “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek that so far talks about the importance of starting with the reasoning behind something, then the how, then the what, instead of the other way around. This strength could make it easy for me to do that in the classroom.

What suggestions do you have for applying the analytical strength in the classroom? I can see how it can be used to research classroom management techniques and lesson planning idea, but I would love to read your ideas on how I can use it in the actual classroom as I design my classroom management plan.

Strengh 1: Relator

This is part of a series where I explore my top five strengths in detail and think of ways I can utilize them in the classroom. Check out the intro post hereThe two books I reference in this post are “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath and “Teach With Your Strengths” by Rosanne Liesveld and Jo Ann Miller.

The relator is all about building up close relationships (145 Rath). These are the people that are more happy having a few close friends than a bunch of casual friends. This means that I am comfortable with intimacy, only value genuine relationships, excel at building lasting trust, and have a desire to really get to know the people I interact with regularly (145 Rath). In my case, those people would be my students. This means I need to make sure to implement a system where I can get to know my students and they can get to know me – just not too much. I need to have firm boundaries going in of off-limits topics or I know I will be open about anything and everything. I need to know what these limits are beforehand. I like the idea of encouraging others to also make deeper connections with each other, so I need a system in place that encourages my students to make that connection with one another, but also allows me to spend one-on-one time with students to get to know them better. I also want to incorporate a way for students to get to know me, within the limits that I set. I may want to think about making this system more informal than formal, if I can. (149-151 Liesveld & Miller) Although I know that structure is absolutely necessary in a classroom, looking back, I do believe that I enjoyed having some informal systems in my classroom. As long as I can find a way to keep them well-managed.

Watching this video on relators has helped me realized more about my relator-self. I am not a shy person, I’m just not as good with interacting with people on a casual level as I am on a deeper level. Once I pass that threshold, I’m good. A good trick would be to have others introduce me to people (which I actually do that sometimes). I think another good trick would be to ask questions that show an interest in their lives and find a window to open up about my own life. I don’t want to ask too many questions, because that can push others away, but I also want to be able to show an interest.

An idea that the video gave me is to do frequent check-ins with my students. He used to do weekly check-ins with his employees on a one-on-one basis, and I really like that idea. I probably wouldn’t try to do them weekly for every student, but maybe I could make monthly work or just once every 6 weeks. We look at personal progress in class and with their goals and behavior. It would also be a good check-in to make sure their needs are getting met.

What are your suggestions on how I can incorporate some of these systems in the classroom? I would love to read your ideas on how to let my relator talent shine, but still make sure that everyone is getting the attention they need.