Friday, March 30, 2007

Pixies magic as the original emo?

Ah the good ol days.

In this article The Pixies and contemporaies (Husker Du, Fugazi, Black Flag) are described as the original emo?

That is funny.



Monday, March 26, 2007

Walking the streets of Cyberia

A perspective from Robyn Treyvaud, a former teacher, who is a consultant to the Centre for Strategic Education. The CSE is headed up by Tony Mackay. Some interesting representation on the CES board.

This piece makes interesting reading next to my own views to be published in ACER's Teacher Magazine in the next couple of months, which you can also find here.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mobile dangers for kids

Interesting argument about the problems experienced with young kids and explicit material online becoming a problem for mobile phones in the future (or now).

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New call to 'teach basics'

More of the same from Dr Ken Rowe. Here he is speaking with an Age education writer, Caroline Milburn, who seems to enjoy reporting Ken's research and press releases. Dr Rowe, research director at the Australian Council for Education Research, has conducted a study investigating the connection between teaching methods, (or teacher inputs), and students learning (or student outputs). Here the teaching methods are systemtic, explicit phonics, referred to as 'extreme phonics' by other researchers.

After giving the teachers a crash course in back to basics teaching, Dr Rowe 'was suprised by the results' and found that the kids 'took off like rockets'. This kind of rocketing seems to be connected to Dr Rowe's ideal of Singaporean spelling success: '110,000 kids in year 6 in Singapore are significantly better spellers than a comparative group in NSW.'

Are there other measures of success for year 6 students? Other important abilities and skills that might be work talking about?

From the description of the research project, one wonders if Dr Rowe considered whether the improvement in student results might have occured despite his program intervention where teachers where taught how to teach the basics.

The simple act of telling teachers that you (as a researcher) are interested in seeing whether students results improve after you (the researcher) have taught the teachers some new (or old) method/content, is likely to have a variety of effects on the way teachers respond and go about their normal daily work.

A classic case of the Hawthorne effect? Or perhaps the Rowe effect?

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Students use web to diss teachers

More rate your teacher huff and puff from the Brisbane Times.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

TV blamed for rise in child-speech problems (again?)

We should thank Renee Switzer for reporting on this 'alarming modern trend' and in relying on Leonie Trimper's self acknowledged 'ancedotal evidence' from School Principals to support shoddy arguments and assertions like:
"Families aren't sitting around the dinner table any more every night talking about what's happened during the day and engaging with the children,"

"Children are sitting in front of televisions more and computers playing computer games. It's dinner in front of the television, video games after dinner, or parents both working and time poor — all those issues have to impact on children."
Also weighing in is 'Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg' who is always willing to offer his perspective on what young people are up to these days but less willing, it seems, to point to the specific 'good data' that he often uses to support his views:
"There is good data to show that the more often you sit around a dining room table and have a conversation around a meal, the better the language development of children," he said.
Thanks Doctor. You and Leonie may be interested in the increadibly large body of sociological, communication, literacy and educational research literature that gives a very different picture of the phenomena. Many of these studies show that young people engage with television, computer games and other forms of media culture in a range of rich and complex ways. Ways that strengthen and help develop their literacy skills.

It is far too easy to blame modern technologies for the ills and problems our young people face. Rather than create a panic or crisis, the likes of which Dr Kevin Donnelly would be proud, I would have thought educators and scientists such as yourself would be more interested in trying to communicate some of the complexity of the situation to the media?

Here is a brief selection of research that might be useful. Perhaps Dr Carr-Greg might want to clarify the 'good data' he refers to?

Bazalgette, Cary & Buckingham, David. (eds) (1995) In front on the children: Screen entertainment and young audiences. London: British Film Institute.

Buckingham, David. (1996) Moving images: Understanding children's emotional responses to television. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Buckingham, David. (2000) After the death of childhood: Growing up in the age of electronic media. Oxford, UK: Polity Press.

Buckingham, David & Willett, Rebekah. (2006) Digital generations: Children, young people, and the new media. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Calvert, Sandra L. (2002) Children in the digital age: Influences of electronic media on development. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Fisherkeller, J. (2002) Growing up with television: Everyday learning among young adolescents. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Gee, James Paul. (2002) Millenials and bobos, Blues Clues and Sesame Street: A story for our times. In D. E. Alvermann (ed.) Adolescents and literacies in a digital world (pp. 51-67). New York: Peter Lang

Gee, James Paul. (2003) What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillian.

Greenfield, P M & Cocking, R (eds) (1996) Mind and media: The effects of television, video games and computers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Himmelweit, H T, Oppenheim, A N & Vince, P. (1958) Television and the child: An empirical study of the effect of television on the young. London; New York: Oxford University Press.

Jenkins, Henry. (1992) Textual poachers: Television fans & participatory culture. London: Routledge.

Kline, S. (1993) Out of the garden: toys, TV and children's culture in the age of marketing. London: Verso.

Lohr, P & Meyer, M (eds) (1999) Children, television and the new media. Luton: University of Luton Press.

Marsh, J (ed.) (2005) Popular culture, new media and digital literacy in early childhood. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Marsh, Jackie, Brooks, Greg, Hughes, Jane, Ritchie, Louise, Roberts, Samuel & Wright, Katy. (2005) Digital beginnings: Young children's use of popular culture, media and new technologies. Literacy Research Centre, University of Sheffield. Accessed Dec 2005,

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Donnelly: Dumbing Down

Here is another review (from The Age) of Dr Donnelly's new book Dumbing Down.

I'll see if I can get URLs for the others later.



Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Julie Bishop gets an F for fairness

What a wonderful analysis of the Howard government's arrogance towards public schooling. We need much more of this kind of coverage, and from journalists themselves.

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Kevin Donnelly's New Book Reviewed

Prof Stuart Macintyre reviews Kevin's new book. I love the way he spends time 'personalising' Donnelly as Rasputin. The reader comments are here.

Here is Dr Donnelly's retort.