echildhood: e-tools in pre-school

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21st Century Teacher Checklist

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Becta has produced a lot of useful material. Now is the time to have a quick look at anything that might help you. SEE NEW LINK AT END.

A good way to get a tailored overview of what might interest you is to complete the Teacher Checklist, which responds immediately to your checked answers, with links to material on the Becta site about your particular circumstances.

“Becta has worked with schools and teachers who use technology effectively to have a real impact on pupil progress, standards and engagement with parents. The following checklist is for you to use with a colleague or mentor and help you review your progress in using technology and identify actions to inform your professional development plan (PDP).”

Becta Teacher Checklist

UPDATE: As the BECTA material is no longer available see the checklist here.

Written by one parent

7 June 2010 at 06:00

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Coming up

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A key ain source of good information is likely to disappear. The UK Government have announced a package of public sector savings which includes the planned closure of Becta.

Graham Badman, Chairman and Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive of Becta responded:

“Naturally we are very disappointed at the Government’s decision. Becta is a very effective organisation with an international reputation, delivering valuable services to schools, colleges and children. Our procurement arrangements save the schools and colleges many times more than Becta costs to run. Our Home Access programme will give laptops and broadband to over 200,000 of the poorest children.

Our top priorities now are to make sure we have an orderly and fair process for staff, and that as far as possible schools, colleges and children continue to benefit from the savings and support that Becta has provided. We will be talking to Government Departments and our other stakeholders including the industry about this.”

Becta’s website might remain live for a period but that is not certain. So we’ll watch that and if they close, we’ll take that as a cue to close too.

Written by one parent

30 May 2010 at 06:00

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Who wants what?

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Who needs outside when you can Play Country at Playfish? No wet feet there.

Are PowerPoint videos on the wall providing a couch potato training area for your child? “Several studies have indicated that television harms educational and social development” according to a Canadian study.

“We found every additional hour of TV exposure among toddlers corresponded to a future decrease in classroom engagement and success at math, increased victimization by classmates, have a more sedentary lifestyle, higher consumption of junk food and, ultimately, higher body mass index,” says lead author Dr. Linda S. Pagani, a psychosocial professor at the Université de Montréal and researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center.

See the NZ Herald too.

Written by one parent

30 May 2010 at 05:00

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Teachers do it

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They say it themselves:

TeacherStudio is a vital, worldwide professional learning community allowing teachers to see, hear, and collaborate with exemplary educators in action. Through a unique combination of networking technology, rich-media, and proprietary tools, TeacherStudio™ allows educators from member districts to come together anytime, anywhere to share ideas, receive mentoring, and learn best practices.”

Written by one parent

22 May 2010 at 06:00

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Valuation vs. Radiation

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A proposed cell tower in tech-savvy, rich San Francisco has prompted diverging reactions from real estate and childcare businesses.

Tracy Sichterman, a real estate agent who lives in the Arlington Park neighborhood, said “Real estate values are clearly affected when an electrical or cell tower looms over a property’s backyard,” she said, “but this impact quickly diminishes when the tower is distant.” Meanwhile Ms. Sichterman has started to see “poor cellphone reception” appear as a property defect in real-estate disclosure statements

Nancy Kelleher runs Hug A Bug Pre-School, which is a few hundred feet from where the tower would stand. “There are no guarantees this is safe,” Ms. Kelleher said, “and it’s always after the fact that we find out there are health hazards in cases like this.” “Child care is a competitive field,” she added. “I might have to relocate.”

From the New York Times 6/7 May 2010.

Written by one parent

9 May 2010 at 06:00

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“Owing to uncertainty about radiation hazards, children should not use mobile phones” said UK Government adviser and Radiation Expert, former Head of the Government-funded Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research programme (MTHR), Professor Lawrie Challis.

He said “‘They are more sensitive to pollutants. There is a thinking that they might be at increased risk.”

The UK Government has launched the 30-year project COSMOS to investigate mobile phones and health which “has been identified as a priority by research agencies worldwide, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA).” COSMOS adds ‘“…short term (less than ten years) exposure to mobile phone emissions is not associated with an increase in brain and nervous system cancers. However, there are still significant uncertainties that can only be resolved by monitoring the health of a large cohort of phone users over a long period of time.”

The U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information at the U.S. National Library of Medicine says “we recommend to use precaution when dealing with mobile phones and, whenever possible and feasible, to limit body exposure to this radiation… The last 10-20 years are the first years in the history of human species when our brains are being closely and directly exposed to this, novel to them, radiation.”

Mobile phones deliver more potentially harmful radiation because they emit plenty and are held close to the head. It has been estimated that a year’s daytime exposure to a wifi hotspot is equivalent to using a mobile phone for a 20 minute call. All is not lost though –  the EPA says both “it is not strong enough to affect the structure of atoms it contacts” and “scientific evidence linking long-term use of cell phones to cancer or other health effects is not conclusive”.

UPDATE: Israeli government points out that (a) school children attend by law, (b) radiation harms, (c) wired solutions are available in school so radiation ecxposure is wilful and not necessary.

UPDATE: Quotes from experts on radiation exposure.

Written by one parent

30 April 2010 at 06:00

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NZ eportfolios

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ePortfolios have begun their journey towards Early Childhood Education centres according to ECE Educate which describes a number of ECE eportfolio initiatives.

These pages offer five tips to get started with e-portfolios
* Be clear about the purpose of your e-portfolios.
* Do your research first – will enough parents be able to access e-portfolios from home or work?
* Undertake courses in cybersafety (offer to parents too) before you begin.
* Draw up ‘use agreements’ for managing e-portfolios, online etiquette etc.
* Test manageability before you roll e-portfolios out to all families/whānau.

To which might be added – start small, test, test, test.

See past posts and BECTA’s Parental Engagement page.

Written by one parent

26 April 2010 at 06:00

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