Forget about turning your cellphone off before you enter class.
Forget about having it confiscated for texting during lectures, or for browsing the web while you should be listening.
Your cellphone is now part of your classroom experience, so you better make sure that your battery is fully charged before you head to school.
Many school districts have bans on cellphones in classrooms, citing them as learning distractions or tools for social harassment.
Schools in the Toronto area have lifted the ban on cellphones in the classroom and are looking at the different ways that cellphones and other hand-held technology can be harnessed to make class time interactive.
Across the US, school boards have been have been researching the effectiveness of iPads as learning tools for students of all ages.
Classrooms already using personal electronic devices (PEDs) to teach and learn all report success:
- improved student engagement
- increased literacy
- ongoing student communication outside of the classroom
Cellphones—or other PEDs—are tools to access social media, which can be harnessed as a benefit to the classroom, and might help students who might be too shy to interact in the classroom otherwise.
Universities are already using personal technology and social media to interact with students. A recent study shows that up the 30% of profs use social media regularly.
And other studies are showing that social media site Facebook can actually help increase grades.
It will take a few years to implement a district-wide cellphone policy in Toronto, but certain teachers are embracing the technology ahead of schedule and engaging students using the technology—and the ability to learn—that they already have in their hands.
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Does a shorter school week seem like the opposite of what school boards should be doing to improve on the quality of education?
A few school districts in the US have passed legislation to allow a four-day school week.
The main goal is cost-cutting, but there have been some surprising academic results.
By eliminating the Friday school day, and by extending the Monday-Thursday school hours to maintain the same number of total teaching hours, educators have noticed:
- reduced absenteeism
- reduced drop out rates
- extracurricular participation increased
- increased feelings of student positivity
- better test scores
A report examining the four-day school week indicates that the shortened week might be more beneficial to high school students to lower drop out rates.
Read more: Los Angeles Times: Shorter Week, More Learning
Interested in alternative school schedules or better test scores? Contact your local centre today!
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Time they are a changing…especially in classrooms
Today’s students don’t send notes, they text. And, they don’t need to cart heavy textbooks around. They can download their class notes off the Internet.
They use iPads and other hand-held technology in class. They don’t need to go to class to “hand-in” an assignment when it can be emailed, or uploaded to a class page. They use social media to confer about homework, and gadgets of all sorts to research.
New technology has ushered in not only new ways to communicate, but also new words to talk about this communication. Lingo formerly used in texting has gone mainstream–they have made their way into the lexicon and are widely accepted. In fact, the OED has added “initialisms” such as lol and imho to the acceptable lexicon.
Language and education are changing rapidly… but it’s where these two intersect that is slower to adapt: grammar.
Educators and grammarians (and purists) still cling to tried-and-true rules of grammar—they way things always have been. And students, who are masters of communication outside the classroom are struggling to conform to a rule set that doesn’t seem relevant.
The rules of grammar are based on rules that were created decades ago. When it comes to grammar, unlike when it comes to words, change does not come so easily or with as much acceptance
However, maybe it’s time to accept that some of the hard-and-fast rules are ready to be bent, or at least ready for a classroom update as well?
If the goal is teaching students how to express themselves clearly—even display some style—using today’s technology and lexicon, then it’s quite possible that the “old” rules might not be appropriate anymore.
Outside of the classroom, in much of the printed material that students encounter, the “rules” are being broken—even encouraged. Some of the most common “broken rules” that students will come across in books, blogs, magazines, and across the Internet in general include:
• Starting sentences with AND or BUT.
• Splitting the infinitive
• Sentence fragments
• Ending a sentence with a preposition
• Turning nouns into verbs.
However, students still need to know the rules in order to communicate clearly and effectively. Grammar sets the rules of our language and provides parameters to guide comprehension.
Don’t fail that English test! Understand the basics first, and then add in style and creativity. Start a sentence with a conjunction (but know what a conjunction is). Use sentence fragments—they add punch. Impress your teacher. Break the rules, but be smart about it.
Just don’t write lol in your essay. The OED may have accepted it, but it’s doubtful that teachers will.
Need help developing grammar skills? A program at Oxford Learning can help! Contact your local centre and learn those grammar rules inside and out! Begin today!
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In class, I often have a tough time figuring out how much of what the teacher is saying I should be writing down.
Some of my classmates write almost every word the teacher says, and some don’t write much at all.
When it’s time to study I find it hard to read pages and pages of notes, so I have started to try to write down less. I try to focus on only writing down the key points. Then, if there are any examples, or other info that are relevant or important to the key points, I write one or two words as well.
When it’s time to review for a test, I find the rest of the stuff is pretty easy to remember and I can focus on the key points. If I am not sure about key points from a class, I make sure I ask the teacher before I leave.
About me: I go to South Secondary School in London, ON and I have two younger siblings. I have always been a movie guy. But movies aren’t the only thing I enjoy. In the summer I love to bike with my friends down to the Thames River and ride along the trails. The sights and the entire ride are always beautiful. Anyway, hopefully you’ll enjoy my posts! Remember to leave feedback and comments at the bottom! – Dylan.
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