June 30 - July 7, 2019

Summer is upon us!  [...in the Northern Hemisphere.]

Two interesting feature articles this week: the first is a description of how teachers are using virtual reality (VR) in the classroom to enable students to more fully inhabit new experiences.  Generally, I'm skeptical of the immediate application of new technology, as the promise of their educational value is typically exaggerated and the timeline for realizing that promise is usually much longer than expected, but I recently tried a new VR headset at a friend's house, and the experience was eye opening, if you'll forgive the pun.  I felt in another world. There is extraordinary potential, and it will take time for VR to provide meaningful experiences across the curriculum, but the rich, multi-sensory experience is one that educators should consider.

Second, it doesn't take long to find your weekly article or two debunking learning myths, and there are a few myths in particular that recur in nearly every post.  But the Middle Web post this week included a few new ones to me, especially the idea that using examples aids learning.  Now, I imagine the source material is more nuanced in its approach and would explore the benefit of examples to make ideas concrete, but I do appreciate the idea that people often miss the forest for the trees.  We often take single examples as evidence either proving or disproving an idea, and we can often get lost in a tangent when exploring individual cases.

These and others this week, enjoy!

Peter Nilsson
Head of School
King's Academy


Virtual Reality is Not Just A Techno Gimmick For Educators  Hechinger Report
"Unlike textbooks or video, virtual reality fully immerses users in a dynamic virtual world – and the headset device can be as simple as a mobile phone inserted into an inexpensive Google Cardboard viewer. Now, teachers around the world are using virtual reality to overcome barriers of physical distance and give their students a first-person view of the changes scientists are observing in remote areas. Many say these VR experiences are sparking new interest in global environmental issues."

Five Learning Myths Debunked, Including... Using Examples?  Middle Web
"Using examples in our teaching does not help students generalize or make lessons more interesting. In fact, the research shows that when we offer examples students tend to focus on the more trivial aspects of the example – the authors call these the “seductive details” – rather than the important content we had in mind. Similarly, when we offer entertaining examples to get students excited about a topic, it can have a diminishing effect as attention is pulled from the actual learning target."


#BottleCapChallenge: Viral Social Media Challenge For Precision Athletes  Digg


"Kindness Vs. Cruelty: Helping Kids Hear The Better Angels Of Their Nature"  NPR


An Evidence-Rich Meditation On Exclamation Marks In Poetry  The Millions


Large Scale Changes In Teacher Workforce: Age Gender, Experience"  UPenn

"The report summarizes seven of the most prominent trends and changes; we found that teaching force to be: 1. Larger 2. Grayer 3. Greener 4. More Female 5. More Diverse, by Race-Ethnicity 6. Consistent in Academic Ability 7. Unstable."  [Full Report]

"What If You Posed Your... Mission Statement As A Question?"  Quartz


2019-2020 K-12 Education Conference Schedule  EdSurge


More On How Computational Thinking Lives Across The Curriculum  Education Dive


On How To Navigate A Transition In School Leadership  Inside Higher Ed