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learninglabnotes

Reflections on education and what it means to prepare kids for their world

Month

May 2016

Learning to Strike the Balance

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It was only at University that I started using a Personal Computer. The first Mac Computer is now a Museum piece! My kids regularly search for Minecraft and Lego ideas on YouTube, Skype with friends on different parts of the globe and use the computer for different assignments. Their gadgets are both a source of learning, entertainment and communication.   When I was their age, I was calling up my friend on the land line phone to ask about Maths.  The boundaries certainly have changed. The challenge, as parents and educators, is to consider how we can facilitate this change for this digital generation.

I have a written a few posts on the need to keep kids safe online.  Another area to consider is are  children and teens able to switch their minds off from whatever they are doing online; social media, games etc back to their work when they need to?  While doing a research online it can be tempting for a child to reply to a message alert. It is after all takes less than a minute.

Interestingly, research points out that the brain is not able to multi-task in this manner.   It is not a matter of time spent but the inefficiency of doing two tasks which makes one less productive.

I summarised the above article at the Learning Lab. It was well taken by my kids. We had a discussion on it. I admitted to them that I too had to cease trying to read tweets while while cooking dinner or thinking about a blog post during a lesson. It just overworks the brain!  Part of raising digital natives is being role models of good users of technology.  I am still figuring my way through this. What about you?

Appreciating Shakespeare

One of the challenges of homeschooling is to remember not to pass one’s biases regarding subjects onto the children. 
My first introduction to Shakespeare was listening to a teacher read to us A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in a monotone voice, while sitting in a hot classroom. I was 13 and I did no have a clue what the story was all about.  Thankfully, I had better teachers in subsequent years and went onto to study The Merchant of Venice for my ‘O’ levels.  While I enjoyed the book, my appreciation for Shakespeare never went beyond the exam.

Determined not to allow history to repeat itself, so to speak, I introduced the children to Shakespeare pretty much early on with these simplified version of some of Shakespeare’s plays.

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They are retold by Andrew Matthews and illustrated by Tony Ross. Fans of the Horrid Henry series  will recogise the Ross’ artistic style. 

For more experienced readers,  the biography on William Shakespeare by Haydn Middleton makes an excellent read.

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Apart from books, there are excellent Shakespeare related resources such as word search and quizes for children to enjoy.  To help appreciate Shakespeare as a writer check out this engaging Ted Ed clip.

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To help children appreciate the structure of the globe theatre click here.   If you have a younger child it might help expanding the  printable in a larger size.

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