Cellular Automata in Google Sheets

Piers YoungLife, Thoughts6 Comments

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. So I made this in Google Sheets. It’s pretty simplistic but essentially there are 2 steps. Step 1) … Read More

Remote Learning, The Cathedral and The Bazaar

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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, … Read More

Some edtech maths

Piers YoungThoughts1 Comment

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 … Read More

3D Education

Piers YoungThoughts1 Comment

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”. I came across Koch’s model listening to him being interviewed by Tim … Read More

Punctuated Equilibrium, Progress and Schools

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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. Stasis (or equilibrium) … Read More

Praxis – The Rarest of the Three

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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. The categories match well but I’m struggling … Read More

What Shaolin Monks Taught Me About Teaching

Piers YoungLife, Thoughts1 Comment

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. And I have followed … Read More

Early Steps in Blended Learning

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I think a penny has finally dropped. I’ve been mulling over blended learning for a while but have never quite summoned up the energy. I’ve also been thinking about ways I can apply the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle to my teaching, so I can spend more time doing the fun parts of teaching. Slower than most, I suspect, but … Read More

The Master and His Emissary

Piers YoungAsides, Thoughts2 Comments

I keep on thinking about the below. There was once a wise spiritual master, who was the ruler of a small but prosperous domain, and who was known for his selfless devotion to his people. As his people flourished and grew in number, the bounds of this small domain spread; and with it the need to trust implicitly the emissaries … Read More