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Great interview about the difference between achieving great OECD/PISA results and developing 21st century students.

  1. Asian schools, through decades of focussing on standardised tests scores have come to learn that they are not what is important for our students future.
  2. Does top marks in PISA test scores truly measure students maths ability or their ability to take a maths test?
  3. What is the sacrifice of getting those top marks? Are students missing out on opportunities for play, music and art, scientific thought.
  4. TIMMS studies show that countries, for example Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, have great maths scores but their students aren’t interested in maths, don’t value it or aren’t confident in their ability. Finland similarly show that despite great science scores, students have less interest in science compared to students of lower scoring countries.
  5. What matters is that children remain curious and confident but also that we value a diversity of talents and shouldn’t discriminate against those that aren’t interested in STEM subjects.
  6. Shanghai is considering dropping PISA as it’s measure of educational outcomes are too narrow. They don’t include assessments on how schools have taken care of children’s social/emotional wellbeing, engagement level, fitness and health - a look at the whole child.
  7. Why would asian families with means spend lots of money and send kids overseas if their education systems are #1?
  8. Chinese kids in Australian schools do just as well in PISA tests as those in Shanghai despite being in a different education system. Cultural factors are stronger than the education system in “test” performance.
  9. Korea’s government (which has a high level of youth suicide) is trying to reduce the pressure on students to succeed just in these narrow approaches and standards.
  10. Australia’s determination to match asia’s educational system based on standardised testing should be rethought.

Found this as part of a small blog post over at Etsy.

The video is called “The Future Belongs to the Curious,” and it celebrates how we are all programmed with curiosity from birth. This curiosity drives us to do amazing things, and those of us who can hold on to it throughout life have a competitive advantage. As a parent, the celebration of learning for its own sake is definitely something I can get behind.

Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference materials, be something you’re interested in knowing, from an early age, however silly it might seem to someone else… that’s what YOU are interested in, and you can ask, and you can find out, and you can do it in your own home, at your own speed, in your own direction, in your own time… Then, everyone would enjoy learning. Nowadays, what people call learning is forced on you, and everyone is forced to learn the same thing on the same day at the same speed in class, and everyone is different.
Isaac Asimov

I make parents see their children for who they are and who they can be.

Taylor Mali


Educational apps are usually flashcard, textbook or calculator substitutes: They make games that help with memorization, are references for information, or give you the answer. What’s exciting about Wolfram Alpha’s new apps is that they sometimes give you not just the answer, but a step-by-step explanation of how they arrived at it. Instead of just spitting out an answer and a line for a one-variable equation, for instance, the Algebra app shows each step of the equation.

Wolfram Alpha Takes on Education With Algebra, Calculus & Music Theory Apps

Educational apps are usually flashcard, textbook or calculator substitutes: They make games that help with memorization, are references for information, or give you the answer. What’s exciting about Wolfram Alpha’s new apps is that they sometimes give you not just the answer, but a step-by-step explanation of how they arrived at it. Instead of just spitting out an answer and a line for a one-variable equation, for instance, the Algebra app shows each step of the equation.

Wolfram Alpha Takes on Education With Algebra, Calculus & Music Theory Apps

Gameful’s aim is to attract people who “want to make or play games specifically designed to a have a positive impact on the real world, or on our real lives: game designers and developers, game writers and artists, programmers and producers, project managers and marketing experts, reporters and critics, students and researchers, players and playtesters.
Even if you’ve never made a game before, you’re welcome to join Gameful — you’ll surely find people who would love your help with their games… or who would be interested in helping you make YOUR idea a reality!”

It all sprang out of Jane McGonigal's TED talk.

Here is another game that crossed my path that does what I hope all game developers would do - educate! Fate of the World is a dramatic global strategy game that puts all our futures in your hands. Just imagine if Pokémon educated about biology, Farmville about the food chain, etc etc… - anyway, it’s good to see some work in this area.

via @samdoust