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learninglabnotes

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

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Learning is…

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?

Problem Solving Skills

Complex Probem Solving is said to be a skill which was in demand by prospective employers in 2015 and will comtinue to be in 2020. Check out The Future of Jobs.

The challenge is for educators and parents is to provide children with opportunities to practice their problem solving skills; using the knowledge they possess.
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I have watched my children progress in this area through the years. From shape sorting blocks, to wooden bricks to Duplo, Lego and games by THINK FUN and  GAMEWRIGHT.

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Formally, we worked through Singapore Maths  Primary books. The scaffolding in the curriculum and problem solving type of questions exposed them to an array of perspectives in approaching a given problem.

I was delighted to find the following riddle to solve in
http://ed.ted.com/lessons/can-you-solve-the-locker-riddle-lisa-winer#review

I think the creativity in the presentation of the problem to solve is engaging. The solution to the problem involves applying fundamental Mathematical principles. It gives a sense a greater purpose to learning these principles rather than knowing it as it might be asked in an exam.

Making Time for Play

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Lego is very much of the Learning Lab.  As we homeschool, free time in between lessons are really that FREE TIME and it is usually on building a lego scene like the one above.

A child’s imagination is such a precious gift, shaped by his/her personality and experience.  Time, space and opportunity are some of the key conditions for it to thrive.  

Sadly, many education establishments inhibit this as children are made to restrict their imaginative impulse.  I am glad the LEGO Foundation and Cambridge University are collaborating to promote play in early childhood.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/mar/15/children-learn-play-age-eight-lego?

Appreciating Mistakes

I often tell my kids its ok to make mistakes during homeschooling lessons. My immediate reaction after reading this article, was that it was time I work on helping them distinguish the different types of mistakes as they get older.

Taking one further step back has made me realise I need to ‘frame’ my childrens’ ‘mistakes’ so as make sure I react positively. I suppose I have just had an ‘Aha’ moment.

Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

Check out this amazing TEDTalk:

Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!
http://go.ted.com/vtKZbw

I listened to this talk a few years ago. It influenced my thoughts on what learning should include. It’s wonderful to have thinkers like Ken Robinson who challenges the norm.

Learning is about Exploring

It never fails to surprise me at Learning Lab (LL) my kids always ask ‘When are we going to do art?’

Naturally I diligently cover the academic subjets but when it comes to art I sometimes think…. hmmmm we need to work on spelling really…. or maybe we should do more maths practice….

But seeing the pride on my children’s face of their finished art pieces or newly painted Greek helmet made out of paper mache, I think no I am glad we didn’t do more spelling work…. my child has just explored how to use a pencil differently. He has discovered he can represent a carrot in the form of lines n shades.

Spelling can wait….

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A carrot

A carrot by JMW

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Top- Ancient Greek Helmets
Bottom-Trojan Horse n Greek Temple

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