Education Evolution

Are education systems adapting to meet the needs of students?

In the words of arguably, the most famous Aussie political slogan of all time… It’s Time!!!

Recently I asked a group of preschoolers to pretend they were taking a photo of each other. Every one of them confidently held their pretend camera away from their body to look at the pretend preview screen before they clicked. Gone are the days of putting your eye to a viewfinder!

Children use technology as easily as I used a pen and paper or read a book when I was growing up. My parents still read a newspaper to keep up with current affairs but I access news sites online or ‘google it’ while my 20something daughter relies on social media sites.

We live in a world where children are stimulated continually from the day they are born by technology… television, dvds, ipods, phones, cameras, image files, internet and so much more. When they come to school we ask them to sit quietly and listen to a teacher who has important things to tell them. It might be important but in comparison to the student’s ‘techno’ world it is usually not very entertaining… and we wonder why students are so easily distracted! How can we expect them to learn if they are not excited to be involved?

Education is about learning how to think in a variety of ways. Some subjects teach a student to follow procedures or research while other subjects teach problem solving, questioning and creativity. If our children are to develop their creative thinking skills, we need to offer opportunities for them to have a go. Creative thinkers often work collaboratively and understand that there can be more than one answer. Often they can see many solutions!

The following short video created by G&T middle students in the Dallas/Fort Worth indicates that change is needed and that technology is their answer… what do you think?

Welcome to 2011

Change.  It has the power to uplift, to heal, to stimulate, surprise, open new doors, bring fresh experience and create excitement in life. Certainly it is worth the risk.” Leo Buscaglia

I have decided that it is time to steer my life in a completely different direction and follow a new passion… travel!

I love travel! I enjoy the event and the consequence. I love seeing new sites, meeting new people and trying to understand how a region’s history created cultural behaviours, apparel and wonderful culinary delights. I particularly enjoy observing how visual and performing artists interpret these events and so I want to taste each country up close.  I need to wallow in the aromas of life, fill all my senses with creative experiences and… I would like to share this!

And so, my ongoing plan is to set up a travel business that will offer opportunities for women to discover the joys of travel in small groups and share in the adventure of a lifetime!

Where would you like to visit first?

The Traveler IQ challenge ranks geographic knowledge of cities such as: Vienna, Branson or Budapest by comparing results against 6,509,717 other travelers. Brought to you by TravelPod, a TripAdvisor Media Network member

I have left my job as Coordinator of Operation Art. I have loved every aspect of this position over the last 7 years and in fact some might say that I may have been a little obsessed… but that’s what you do with things that you love and believe in so strongly. Working as a teacher for 30 years has been rewarding but being allowed to use those skills creatively on such a unique program for the last 15 years has been a privilege and I would like to thank everyone who has worked alongside me. I am so proud of how far we have come!

Recently, I was sent an amusing vocabulary list (below) derived from working with a large government organisation. You can beat yourself up, you can smile or you can leave… I choose to leave smiling!

  • SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.
  • SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything and then flies out.
  • PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.
  • BLAMESTORMING: Sitting in a group, repeatedly discussing failing aspects of a project and who is responsible.
  • PEDESTRIAN SUBMISSION: Annually, quarterly or monthly fills in forms using the correct font and type space requesting ongoing approval for previous requests.
  • CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.
    PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm and people’s heads pop up over the walls to see what’s going on. This also applies to applause for a promotion or birthday because there may be cake.
  • OH-NO SECOND:  That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you’ve just made a BIG mistake eg: you’ve hit ‘reply all”.
  • MYSTERY BUS *my favourite*: The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you’re in the toilet after your 5th red and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners and great intellects when you come back in.

Enjoy what 2011 brings you!

Happy Christmas

“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”  John Lennon

 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Having recently remembered JL on the 30th  anniversary of his death and now about to celebrate the 2010th anniversary of JC’s birth…  it seems appropriate to wish everyone a Happy Christmas using the talented musician’s song alongside images of peaceful and happy events with friends and family throughout my year. 

 

My wish is that we take Christmas into every day of the year because I think only then can we give peace a chance.

“We need Christmas because it helps us to be better people, not only in December but in January, June, and November.”  Hugh W. Pinnock

Changing Paradigms

RSA Animate – Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson, the world’s leading authority on creativity, is still questioning the methods born out of the industrial revolution that we continue to use to educate our children.

Recently a friend sent me the video below! Hallelujah! Sir Ken speaks AND I am given visuals! I could ask for no more…

I am a teacher with 30 years of experience teaching and my speciality is Visual Arts. While I appreciate a good artwork and quite enjoy hanging a few, I believe this subject teaches far more:

1. The choices children make about which tool to use, what line to draw, what shape to cut and onto what surface to apply… gives them the confidence to make choices at other times in other subjects and out of school.

2. When they began to understand that the idea that started in their mind doesn’t always transfer easily to a material or surface then they adapt their approach, change the tool, experiment with new techniques, observe mistakes, restart and sometimes even try something new … and they learn from each seesawing step… this develops their thinking skills and sometimes they even do that laterally. How creative!

As a student myself, I knew I learned things a little differently to many other children. I never thought of myself as academically clever and indeed often felt the things I enjoyed and did well were not important. Often I could see several possible answers and wondered why I was limited to only one as the ‘right’ one. I also needed to visualise ideas and see how they fitted together. For this I needed to ask questions and the more I asked then the more information I could visualise. However, I soon learned that if I asked too many then it was assumed that I didn’t understand a concept and this resulted in being given more work or a poor report card. I soon learned to parrot back the expected  ‘right’ answer so I could get on with enjoying other things in which I was really interested. How many other children do this? How soon do they learn to ‘play’ school correctly? How soon do they get bored with the game with dire consequence?

Listen, watch and think for 11 minutes! Thank you RSA! Thank you Sir Ken!

New Life

 “Dubito ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum. (I doubt, therefore I think; I think therefore I am)” Rene Descartes

Is it Art? Science? Creationist? Fantasy?

How can it help us? What can we learn? Does it have an educational purpose or is it purely for entertainment?

I find Theo Jansen’s creatures clever and mesmerising but is it an animal? It doesn’t reproduce independently from its creator! It doesn’t think for itself and is only reactionary. Is it art? Jansen thinks outside the square and his creation is beautiful but is it just too fantastical or popular to be considered an artform?

Is it a commercial product? Not yet!

 Like all TED Talks I find these concepts challenging…  so what do you think?


Sculpture By The Sea

Sculpture monumentalises everyday life.

28 Oct – 14 Nov 2010

‘Bondi’s spectacular coastline is transformed into an interactive canvas as an estimated 400,000 visitors engage with more than 100 sculptures.’ Dr Andrew Bell SC

I love this annual exhibition because it’s always exciting to see how the artists use this extraordinary exhibition space. 

'm.100901'

'm.100901'

'Leaf Vessel'

'Leaf Vessel'

'Bondi Venus'

'Bondi Venus'

'At The Table'

'At The Table'

 

'The Adaptable Migrant'

'The Adaptable Migrant'

'Splash'

'Splash'

'What Have They Ever Done For Us'

'What Have They Ever Done For Us'

'The French Litter' detail

'The French Litter' detail

'Sea Cells'

'Sea Cells'

'Transfiguration Link XXIII'

'Transfiguration Link XXIII'

A soaked sculpture walker

A soaked sculpture walker

 Which artworks are symbiotic to this environment? 

 

 

 

 

Which artworks encourage me to question context?

 

 

 

 

Which artworks exhibit beauty?

 

 

 

 

Which artists show quirky originality and make me smile?

 

 

 

 

What is unique about the form?

 

 

 

 

What materials have been used and how has an artist manipulated line and space?

 

 

 

 

 

In the past I have enjoyed sunshine saturated sculptures… but not this year.