One thing is indisputably clear — kids learn from media, and the fact that they now have 24/7 access to screens nearly anywhere and everywhere means they’re learning more than ever. So “what” they’re watching — content — matters.

Diana Graber

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Photo by form PxHere

In 1975 my mom was a busy single mom of three girls. In the late 70s I spent a great deal of time in a Jolly Jumper or in a play pen with classic Sesame Street relentlessly playing in the background. In the 80s my mother banned all media in my home but though I was only five, I still remember those early lessons of numeracy and literacy. …

The COVID-19 pandemic is having significant impact on schools, students and their families. It is not just remote learning that now looks and feels very different but also the very fabric of in-class inquiry-driven learning.

First it is important to say that it is okay that all of us are finding this new learning landscape difficult to navigate. Parents, teachers, and students have evidenced increased anxiety due to a complete change in patterns, social norms, and expected behaviours. Mental health and wellbeing are important and fundamental rights of children, but I will delve into that extensive subject in a subsequent article. …

It’s true, I don’t believe in report cards. They are an archaic system based on the often subjective views of tired humans. There are so many other more powerful and student driven ways to provide feedback for learning. That being said, in many schools, districts and countries it is still report card season! So, if we have to do them, let’s do them right!

Every new teacher struggles with how to write reports objectively and as data driven as possible. Many turn to sites like Teacher Pay Teachers for banks of comments. However, every experienced IB Teacher knows that it takes time and practice to develop the report comment skill, just like everything else in teaching. …

We are in unprecedented times. Students and teachers are facing a reality that has the potential to change the very fabric of teaching and learning- but change is hard and education has a tendency to change at glacial pace.

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Traditional education offers a plethora of examples of experiences that create rote memorization, disconnected habits of mind, and drudgery. In the age of COVID-19 it is easy to simply turn the remote learning interface into that same traditional experience for learners. After all, in times of great stress it is easy to go back to familiar habits of mind. So, how do we break the habit? …

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Parents, caregivers, educators, and friends with children at home right now.

Over the last few months have been watching as we have pulled together as a global learning community and shared resources ideas, platforms, and information in order to help each other provide the best care for students that we possibly can during this challenging time. I have been proud that we truly do actively live the values we want to see in our learners.

This morning I ran across a conversation about getting kids together to chat online, and the digital learning coach in me thought, I think we need a safe, equitable forum for kids and families to do just that. This morning I created 1) a document to frame safer online conversations and 2) a FlipGrid for kids and families to engage in an asynchronous global conversation. …

In education we always seem to be behind in innovation. Now that we are firmly within the Fourth Industrial Revolution schools scramble to keep up with the newest ideas for pedagogy and integrate the latest technologies. This is not due to the lack of innovative practitioners or teachers who lack passion for teaching. It is because we operate within a massive industrial machine which is the normative educational institution. School organizations are generally concerned with success, and success is measured by what has come before. Schools are pressured by higher education entrance requirements, job markets and parent’s beliefs about learning. Under this pressure it is easier to mimic the norm than break down institutionalized beliefs and innovate. …

Often when I speak at conferences about individualized, personalized or differentiated learning it is clear that the people in the room have very different ideas of what those terms mean. Teachers, parents and students have a hard time biting into a what a day would look like learning in a personalized learning community. To help place our community on the same page, in this blog post why we have embraced personalized learning.

Differentiated learning

Within the context of education, differentiation is a type of learning where instruction is tailored to meet the learning needs, preferences and goals of individual students. This means that students within the ‘class’ or grade share overarching academic goals or objectives, however the teacher can tailor the resources and teaching methods to each child’s learning. …

I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day’s work — Frank Lloyd Wright

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Photo Credit: Dr. Tosca Killoran. Kalamalka Lake 1 hour 27 minutes from Unisus

Strip down the pomp and ceremony of most schools and what we really want to create is happy, healthy, lifelong learners. As educators we often observe that stress levels appear to be affected by time outdoors. In fact, the science behind the stress levels in children who learn indoors is well documented. For example, In the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2017), Dettweiler and his team measured daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol in two groups of children. They were interested in the pattern of cortisol levels across a regular day. In a healthy person, cortisol levels spike significantly upon waking up in the morning, then drop until about midday and plateau through the afternoon. At about four or five p.m., cortisol levels drop again until sleep. Dettweiler’s study measured cortisol in students’ saliva three times a day. The intervention group of thirty-seven students spent one day each week learning outdoors and the rest of their time in school as usual. A control group of eleven studied indoors only. The outdoor group showed a healthy, balanced pattern in their cortisol levels, but the children who stayed indoors did not show the expected drop in cortisol in the afternoon. …

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Photo: Dr. Tosca Killoran. KVR trail from Summerland to Penticton

The world is rapidly changing and schools around the globe are working to keep up with advancements in technology, pedagogies, programmes, and extracurricular opportunities for the learners in their care. To help young adults access a full repertoire of skills, attitudes, and aptitudes needed for this new paradigm many parents are choosing a private boarding school education, such as Unisus. Here, I have outlined the reasons why parents are choosing to give their children the unique experience of a boarding school and why it’s worth the financial investment.

The ‘Big Picture’

The decision to attend boarding school does not come lightly. It is an investment of time and money and is the first step in what many consider a big picture decision: by attending boarding school, the advantages that come with it will pay off in the long term. Boarding schools offer opportunities for students to embrace their learning journey a bit differently. Learners in boarding schools have access to activities, programmes and learning engagements that typical schools are unable to offer. The Unisus boarding student is one who wants to fully embrace the opportunity they’ve been afforded. These are learners who want to offer their highest level of academic contribution, and to live in a community full of other learners where learning, personal growth and exploration are top priority; where programs and activities are abundant; where making lifelong friends is the norm. …

In 2011, I organized my first TEDxYouth event. Since then, I have founded three events (TEDxYouth@BIS, TEDxYouth@NIST, and TEDxYouth@Jingshan). From my successes and failures I have learned enough to give some tips to schools who want to start an event within their communities. In 2012, I wrote two books specifically for organizing TEDx events. One comes with a free website full of resources. A link is provided at the end of this post.

Here are 12 tips to help you make your first (or next) TEDx event a success.

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Image Credit: Janet Hannah

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It began as a small conference in California but has grown to be a worldwide community, many million strong, focused on exchanging and spreading ideas. …


Tosca Killoran (EdD)

#Principal, #Author, #EdTechCoach, #InternationalBaccalaureate, #Equity, #TEDx Organizer, #GlobalCitizen

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