Education Matters - News impacting schools, teachers and students
  •      

Laptops drive results: study

Laptops have helped a number of senior high schools in Sydney achieve improved results in science.

Education Review reported that in his PhD thesis for the University of Sydney, Simon Crook – demonstrated that teaching with laptops helped NSW Year 12 students achieve better results in Higher School Certificate biology, chemistry and physics.

Mr Crook’s thesis involved a six-year study of 16 Sydney Catholic schools and case studies with four NSW science teachers during the federal government’s Digital Education Revolution.

Implemented by then-federal education minister Julia Gillard in 2008, the initiative saw the government allocate $2.4 billion over seven years to provide laptops to all high school students in Years 9–12.

Crook found laptops were of most benefit to physics students, as they could run simulations of scientific theories.

“Currently in the physics syllabus there’s an experiment called Thomson’s experiment, which is about the discovery of the electron,” Crook explained.

“Now, this is mandated as part of the syllabus. That apparatus [needed for the experiment] is very rare in Australian schools. It’s even rarer if it’s intact and working, and even rarer still that the teacher knows how to connect it all up safely and to use it; and even in those extremely rare cases that they do have it, it would be a teacher-directed demonstration.”

“Using a simulation, every student can perform that actual experiment themselves in their own time, either in class, at home, on the way to school even, and can actually learn the experiments, the steps of the experiments and the relative effects, and even calculations within the experiment,” he continued.

“That’s something that you couldn’t do without technology basically, and that example has been cited time and time again, among other examples.”

NAPLAN, PISA results

Storybook reading could help with vocabulary

Simple repetition learning techniques could help young children struggling with language to learn vocabulary faster, according to international research.

The European study looked at whether repeated storybook reading may assist children with specific language impairment (SLI) retain information and words compared to those developing at the typical rate for their age.

Working with three-year-old German children, researchers from the University of Sussex in the UK and Germany’s Paderborn University discovered pre-school children with language impairment learned more new words through repetition.

Tests were carried out with two groups of children on new word retention after identical storybook reading. Those with SLI performed significantly worse than their peers on the initial word learning tests, but it was found there was no difference between the two groups just one week later.

Researchers said the results will come as a big boost to parents of SLI children as they indicated that over time they benefit from hearing the same stories over and over again.

“We hope these results will be encouraging to parents of children with SLI,” said Dr Jessica Horst from the University of Sussex.

“Although there is much left to do, these findings are promising and may help us create cost-effective intervention for children with SLI, including interventions that parents can participate in too.”

Professor Katharina Rohlfing, of Paderborn University, said reading a story again and again, and establishing a reading routine, might be the best combination.

Tony Church presents his insight into interactive displays in schools

Schools failing to prepare kids: report

Schools are failing to prepare kids for the world of work, a new report has found.

The Mitchell Institute report, Preparing young people for the future of work, found that students are not graduating from school with the abilities they require to prosper.

“Our education system was formed in the manufacturing era, it was not designed to teach students how to navigate complex environments and multiple careers,” said report co-author, public policy expert Megan O’Connell in a statement.

“Young people need different skill sets to what is taught in the traditional curriculum if they are to thrive in high-tech, global, competitive job markets. Many young people are being left behind, and without significant change, we can expect to see more missing out in the future.”

Among the reports findings were that technology was rapidly replacing many jobs but our education model has been static for years and an estimated 40 per cent of jobs are at risk of being automated in the next 10-15 years.

It also highlighted that children starting preschool this year will have jobs not yet imagined, but our education system was designed in the wake of the industrial revolution.

The report emerged after the Victoria University-based institute gathered leaders from government, education and industry to discuss why unemployment rates were so high among young people, even those with qualifications.

Mitchell International Fellow, Professor Bill Lucas, said the school curriculum should prioritise creativity, critical thinking, curiosity and communication skills.

“Young people need to bring more than knowledge to the modern workforce. If you struggle to solve problems, collaborate or come up with new ideas, you won’t fare well in today’s or tomorrow’s job markets,” Professor Lucas said.

“It is time to accept that what students have learned for decades is no longer enough — it is time to change.”

Program to help disadvantaged students

A not-for-profit organisation has partnered with the Victorian Government to assist disadvantaged high school students interested in a career in public life.

Through its University Pathways Program, Doxa aims to introduce disadvantaged young people to a wide range of roles and employment pathways available within a government department. The four-year program also aims to create aspiration and build valuable knowledge and skills to support a career in government.

Doxa CEO, Stephen Silk, said the new partnership will see disadvantaged young secondary students learn and understand current initiatives that will help shape the future of Victoria.

“We have teamed up with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources to give disadvantaged high school students the opportunity to learn about current projects such as drought programs, infrastructure projects and transport programs,” he said.

“From the tender process and planning to finance and marketing, participants will be immersed in government projects and how they are rolled out from start to finish. The University Pathways Program also includes valuable and important modules on personal development and employability skills,” Dr Silk said.

The Program creates pathways to university and employment for young Victorians between grades nine to 12. It involves students attending a disadvantaged state or independent school from outer and metropolitan Melbourne to ensure they have the best possible chance at gaining a foothold in the job market when they finish their studies.

Science and Mathematics Teacher, and High Achiever and Extension Coordinator at Fountain Gate Secondary College, Nicole Tritter, said the Doxa University Pathways Program gives students valuable insight into the government workforce and life beyond secondary school.

“The program allows participating students to begin to explore the world of work. The workshop also allows students to gain confidence in their personal and communication skills to help them realise their potential and achieve personal greatness,” Ms Tritter said.

The first session took place on Thursday, 23 March and involved five Victorian schools including Fountain Gate Secondary College, Narre Warren; Kurunjang Secondary College, Kurunjang; Sale College, Sale; Lyndale College, Dandenong North and Suzanne Cory High School, Hoppers Crossing.

Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 – A New Perspective on Scanning

FROM OUR PARTNERS:

The Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 is changing the landscape of printing. We are seeing printing opening doors to scanning books without hassle and digitizing 3D objects such as school kids artwork. The SV600 is capable of high quality scanning of large documents up to A3 size in a compact unit. The SV600 uses new Versatile Imaging (VI) Technology that maintains high image quality and ensures user-friendly operation.

INFORMATION IS JUST A SCAN AWAY!

Imagine that instead of paying for a textbook, you are able to just borrow it from the library, and in five minutes, scan the important pages directly to your computer. On top of that, ScanSnap scanners convert your files into searchable PDFs, so you can save time by easily searching a scanned document for exactly what you need. Think how easy it would be to search through your book using just the ‘Ctrl+F’ function.
The SV600 can directly scan large documents (up to A3 size) as well as bound books to document quality. It maintains the ScanSnap series’ reputation for sharp scanned data images as well as inheriting the iconic “One Touch” feature from the ScanSnap Series. Unique features of the SV600 include an in-built “Book Image Correction” (ability to remove distortion caused by the curve of an open book) feature and “Page Turning Detection” feature, which initiates the scanning operation via the detection of page turning movements.
The release of the SV600 with its simple and fast desktop to digital data capture capability, allows the scanning of documents such as broadsheets and thick books that were previously difficult to handle. Its compact design and overhead scanning operation, reduces desktop footprint and even allows capture of multiple business card details just by scattering them within the scanning area. This is a welcome addition to the ScanSnap series of personal scanners, which deliver fast and simple document digitization to PDF.”

2. All-in-one unit lets you create and read your own digital books
The page turning detection function and the image correction feature, greatly simplify and speed the scanning of book pages. Rack2-Filer Smart and Magic Desktop software, makes SV600 the all-in-one model for organising and enabling the reading of scanned images as digital books.
(1) Book Image Correction automatically corrects the distortion caused by the curve of an opened book
Scanned images can be confirmed and fine-tuned using the preview dialog to ensure that the data scanned from magazines and books is as sharp as the original.
(2) Page Turning Detection makes continuous page scanning efficient
SV600 automatically detects when a page is turned, allowing books to be scanned at a rate of 3 seconds per open pair of pages.
(3) Easy Book Creation converts image data to digital books with ease
The new “Rack2-filer Smart” and “Easy Book Creation” features can automatically create a virtual book based on the front cover, back cover and spine of the original. It can also be placed in a virtual bookshelf for easy selection.

3. Other benefits
(1) Fast start up and scanning times
The SV600 is ready to scan in 3 seconds after switch on. Three seconds are needed to scan large A3 size documents.
(2) “Multiple Document Detection” feature enables scanning and cropping of multiple documents in a single scan.
Ideal for multiple business cards, sets of photographs, business receipts, as the SV600 does the cropping automatically.
(3) Additional Bundled Software
“Nuance® Power PDF Standard” for editing PDF files, and “CardMinder” for managing business cards, are buddled as standard with the SV600.

PRODUCT INFORMATION SITE
http://www.fujitsu.com/au/products/computing/ peripheral/scanners/scansnap/sv600/index.html
Or contact Proscan for pricing and purchase options http://www.proscan.com.au/brands/fujitsu

SV600 FEATURES
1. Easy to digitise different document types using the new VI Technology
VI Technology combines a lens with variable depth of field, a direction controlled LED lamp and a CCD linear image sensor to minimise unevenness in image quality. This ensures distortion is removed and scanning produces uniform document quality. As a result even large documents and bound books can be easily digitised.
(1) Able to scan newspapers and magazines up to A3 size
No need to cut or fold. Simply position the documents, books, newspapers, within the scanning area and they can be easily scanned. Thick documents (up to 30mm) such as books or greeting cards, and even those with sticky notes attached can be scanned directly without difficulty.
(2) Able to scan old or delicate documents Because the SV600 does not touch any document surface it is possible to scan precious items that would otherwise be damaged by too much handling or feeding into ordinary ADF scanners.

2. All-in-one unit lets you create and read your own digital books
The page turning detection function and the image correction feature, greatly simplify and speed the scanning of book pages. Rack2-Filer Smart and Magic Desktop software, makes SV600 the all-in-one model for organizing and enabling the reading of scanned images as digital books.
(1) Book Image Correction automatically corrects the distortion caused by the curve of an opened book
Scanned images can be confirmed and fine-tuned using the preview dialog to ensure that the data scanned from magazines and books is as sharp as the original.
(2) Page Turning Detection makes continuous page scanning efficient
SV600 automatically detects when a page is turned, allowing books to be scanned at a rate of 3 seconds per open pair of pages.
(3) Easy Book Creation converts image data to digital books with ease
The new “Rack2-filer Smart” and “Easy Book Creation” features can automatically create a virtual book based on the front cover, back cover and spine of the original. It can also be placed in a virtual bookshelf for easy selection.
3. Other benefits
(1) Fast start up and scanning times
The SV600 is ready to scan in 3 seconds after switch on. Three seconds are needed to scan large A3 size documents.
(2) “Multiple Document Detection” feature enables scanning and cropping of multiple documents in a single scan.
Ideal for multiple business cards, sets of photographs, business receipts, as the SV600 does the cropping automatically.
(3) Additional Bundled Software
“Nuance® Power PDF Standard” for editing PDF files, and “CardMinder” for managing business cards, are buddled as standard with the SV600.

PRODUCT INFORMATION SITE
http://www.fujitsu.com/au/products/computing/ peripheral/scanners/scansnap/sv600/index.html
Or contact Proscan for pricing and purchase options http://www.proscan.com.au/brands/fujitsu

Mackay West State School’s positive behaviour program

A North Queensland school says a program rewarding positive behaviour, as opposed to punishing negative behaviour, is resulting in improved outcomes for its students.

Mackay West State School prep teacher Lexie Wykamp told ABC News the state-wide opt-in Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) program was not about punitive measures but instead, about emphasising what students were doing right.

“Rather than saying ‘you’re doing the wrong thing, this is what you need to do’, I’ll go ‘I love the way all these children have their legs crossed and are listening to me’, and it’s a bit like a chain reaction,” she said.

“That then creates that attitude throughout the school.”

Teacher librarian Margaret Spillman told ABC News the school-wide nature of the program gave students consistency in learning as they progressed through the year levels.

“I believe as an educator it’s never too young to start. You have to start somewhere and … we are starting at Prep,” she said.

“We are now in our third year and as the children move through to Year Six, we believe that our data shows that we are making a difference.

“We are absolutely equipping very young children with the tools that they will need to make them responsible and respectable citizens.”

Deputy principal Sally-Anne Rolfe told ABC News the PBL program was designed to help with children’s behaviour at home as well as at school.

“We have a matrix that says ‘this is what the behaviour looks like [at school]’,” she said.

“We also have one that goes home and says ‘this is what it can look like in the household’.

“It might be helping mum and dad set the table or it could be helping mum or dad making the bed in the morning.”