I was listening to a radio talk show from Scotland recently where teachers and parents were invited to call in with their views on distance learning. I was curious to compare my experience with those of teachers in my native land. Among the difficulties some communities have faced has been the slow or non-existent internet access. While living in Sweden, it is easy to forget how privileged I am in terms of accessing reliable, high-speed broadband internet. Indeed, Sweden compares favourably with other countries when it comes to digitalisation – only Finland ranks higher in terms of digital competitiveness in Europe. Consequently, having access to a digital device, reliable internet connection and adequate IT-skills do not pose significant problems for most teachers or students in Sweden. The concerns lie elsewhere. Continue reading
This week I reviewed a presentation with my mentor students on the dangers of social media. This presentation builds upon the ideas espoused by Dr Cal Newport of Georgetown University. In his blog, Study Hacks, Dr Newport writes about “how to perform productive, valuable and meaningful work in an increasingly distracted digital age”. His book, Deep Work, refers to studying for focussed chunks of time without distractions such as email and social media.
In brief, Dr Newport concludes that social media reduces our capacity for attention, leads to loneliness and isolation, and causes a state of continuous latent anxiety. Continue reading
Last month I received a copy of Vi får det att funka! (We get it to work!) from Lärarnas Riksförbund (The National Union of Teachers in Sweden) which outlines successful teaching practice using information and communication technology (ICT). In this book, a variety of teachers from a wide range of subjects share their experiences and practical tips of using IT in school. Continue reading
A few weeks ago as the school year was coming to an end I was tearing my hair out. The National Tests in English had just finished and my organised desk was now hidden under a pile of marking.
In Sweden there is no external examination board so, while end of year exams are compiled and distributed by a central authority (Skolverket), they are administered and assessed by the schools.
This mountain of marking needed a quick turnaround in order to work with calibration of the tests and then the entering of test results on our School Soft system. What should have been a time to socialise more with students during sports day and other school related activity days became a bit of a struggle. Continue reading
This year I wanted to breathe some new life into student presentations. Students have become adept at using PowerPoint or Google Slides and I wanted to add variety and challenge their creativity by using some old tech in the classroom- the classic poster presentation. My aim was to create visually appealing poster presentations that would engage viewers and be educational but not loaded with text. Continue reading
Our latest inset day focused on the growth mindset. The concept of growth mindset is attributed to Carol Dweck. In The New Psychology of Success, Dweck says students can be described according to how they view their own success. Some (fixed mindset) believe success is the result of innate ability. We encounter students every day who claim they simply are not good at Maths or that they can’t succeed in a certain subject as their parents were bad in it too when they were at school. Other students (growth mindset) view success as the result of hard work, learning and determination. Continue reading
At last it’s the half-term holidays and all of us are enjoying a well deserved break from the classroom. The autumn hiatus offers teachers and students a welcome opportunity for rest and relaxation: a chance to get away from the rigmarole of planning and delivering lessons or designing and marking tests. The reality however for most teachers is that the work will follow us on our holidays. Continue reading