When you check in with your kid, who is now into hour three of his Halo marathon, you repeat that well-worn phrase your mother used on you about killing brain cells and trading in the controller (well, it was a joystick back in your day) for a book. A new article on PBS’s Mediashift web portal presents a different argument: our definition of literacy is outdated. Kids may be learning a “new literacy” through playing video games.


Since 1983, the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) http://www.hfrp.org/ has focused their work and research on complementary learning, which acknowledges that “children need multiple opportunities to learn and grow ˆ at home, in school, and in the community.”  Visitors will definitely want to check out the “Webinar Series”, which can be found on the homepage.  The archive consists of seven webinars consists that have been released monthly over the past year, and cover topics such as “Data Driven: Making Student and School
Data Accessible and meaningful to Families” and “Ensuring School Readiness Through Successful Transitions”.  The learning doesn’t stop with the webinars, as each webinar provides additional resources including research- based definition and framework, data use, and professional development. Many of these supplemental resources are from the HFRP website, and the combination of the webinar and reading materials can provide visitors with an in-depth introduction to the subject presented. [KMG]


B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon is hinting that Surrey school district will soon have money to build more schools for its burgeoning population.

Click here to read the full story.

The B.C. government is proposing significant changes to the education system that it says would help public schools move from good to great.

But the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) says the government’s plan is really an attempt to strip teachers of professional autonomy, seniority rights and due process.

To read the entire Vancouver Sun article, click here.

The Burnaby school district is considering offering a Punjabi language course for elementary students at Second Street Community School. Students may be able to learn Punjabi in class this fall.

Click here to read the entire story.

A recent report from school district staff states that the cost of maintaining and repairing Vancouver’s old schools is far higher than the amount provided by B.C.’s Ministry of Education for such purposes.  Click here to read the full story.

This article appears in the June 2011 issue of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.

Abstract: This paper examines how and why student teachers made use of information and communication technology (ICT) during a 1-year initial teacher education programme from 2008 to 2009. This is a mixed methods study involving a survey (N = 340) of the entire cohort and a series of semi-structured interviews with a sample of student teachers within the cohort (N = 21). The study explored several themes, including the nature of student teachers’ use of ICT; variation in the use of ICT; support for, and constraints on, using ICT; attitudes to ICT and to teaching and learning more generally. It was found that nearly all teachers were receptive to using ICT – more so than their in-service counterparts – and made frequent use of it during their placement (internship) experience. The Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) was central to nearly all student teachers’ use of ICT, in good part, because it was already used by their mentors and was widely accessible. Student teachers’ use of ICT was categorized in three levels. Routine users focused mostly on the use of the IWB for whole class teaching; extended users gave greater opportunities for pupils to use ICT for themselves; innovative student teachers used ICT in a greater range of contexts and made more effort to overcome barriers such as access. ICT use was seen as emerging from a mix of factors: chiefly student teachers’ access to ICT; their feeling of ‘self-efficacy’ when using ICT; and their belief that ICT had a positive impact on learning – in particular, the impact on pupils’ behavioural and affective engagement. Factors which influenced ICT use included mentoring, training and support. Limitations on student teachers’ use of ICT are explored and it is suggested that new teachers need to be supported in developing a more discerning use as they begin their teaching careers.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) are back at the bargaining table, trying to reach an agreement before June 24, when the union plans to begin a strike vote. From all reports, there’s been little progress. Read Janet Steffenhagen’s full blog post here.

A significant number of children fall behind in school and never catch up, simply because they are the youngest and most immature in their kindergarten class, says a study released this week. Click here to read the entire article.

The Roots of Empathy program, which arranges to have babies brought into classrooms to encourage respect and kindness among young students, will be expanded this year into 360 kindergarten classes in B.C., Premier Christy Clark announced today. Click here to read the full article, published by the Vancouver Sun.

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