The Jaffa Cake Fitness Plan – Efficiency vs Effectiveness

I wonder if sometimes looking for the most efficient solution might actively damage our chances of finding the most effective solution.

Let’s take an example “fitness drive”.

Being lazy, I’ll usually want to do this in the most efficient way, so I’ll lie on the sofa, ploughing through the internet, clicking, skimming and reading, and perhaps downloading an app, or buying something off Amazon as I slowly comes up with the combination of routines, diets and gizmos that will almost certainly guarantee me a six-pack in 21 days.…

Cellular Automata in Google Sheets

I’ve been exploring binary with Year 8s and thought they might like to have a look at the weird world of Cellular Automata.

There are lots of resources out there but I couldn’t find one that helped them create their own easily.…

Remote Learning, The Cathedral and The Bazaar

COVID-19 has forced schools to offer some sort of elearning service. It has forced schools, essentially, to swivel and offer something they’re not used to, at a time of high stress and uncertainty. As teachers, we tend, naturally enough, to look for “solutions” in the direction of education for what works: academic research on elearning, guides on “live teaching” and, less loftily and perhaps more pragmatically, stories from any schools that have managed an even half-way successful prototype.…

Some edtech maths

Have been doodling on the back of a napkin this evening about edtech and its cost-benefit.

Let’s say a new technology is being introduced into your school, with the promise of “50% better learning for all”.

Let’s assume the following:

  • your class has 25 students
  • you teach them your lesson 4 hours a week for 30 weeks
  • each hour each student progresses on average “1 unit of progress” which we’ll call 1P.

3D Education

I am finding Charles Koch’s framework for education more and more useful. If nothing else it helps me place some of the drier research on things like dual-coding and spaced retrieval in the context of a richer, more human approach and what Jeremy Barnes calls “Albert Hall Moments”.…

Keeping Children Safe in Education Quiz (and how to make your own)

In September, which seems miles away now, the government’s Keeping Children Safe in Education Part 1 section was changed.

It’s the sort of document I diligently read but then, when quizzed go blank. So to help me revise, so to speak, and make reading it into knowing it, I made a quick Google form and then shared it with staff at the school.…

Punctuated Equilibrium, Progress and Schools

Punctuated Equilibrium is a theory in evolutionary biology that seems to fit well with progress in students’ learning.

What is Punctuated Equilibrium

Punctuated Equilibrium was first proposed in the 1970s by Nile’s Elderedge and Stephen Jay Gould. They argued that while most of us think that evolution happens gradually, the fossil record showed  evolution happens in spurts.…

Praxis – The Rarest of the Three

Aristotle divided human activities into three broad categories: thinking (theoria), making (poiesis), and doing (praxis). Put another way, I suppose, they are the why, the what, and the how.

In very coarse terms, and trying to link it to rhetoric,  I wonder how it matches the various posts I read on Twitter and blogs.…

What Shaolin Monks Taught Me About Teaching

The best teacher training I have ever had was from a 34th Generation Shaolin  Warrior Monk, Shi Yan Jun.

Over the years, I have had in-school training such as INSETs, after-school twilight sessions, teacher observations (given and received). I have had off-site training run by battle-hardened professionals but sweetened with coffee, fancy biscuit and lecture notes.…