The Finnish company that created Angry Birds is marketing an early childhood curriculum around the world that is meant to make learning more fun.
The program is based on the Finnish national curriculum for children ages 3 to 6, which is largely based on free play and physical exercise. It builds in more technological tools, a reconfigured learning environment — and some of the popular Angry Birds characters — to maximize learning through engagement. The company also has worked music and games into the program and is partnering with publishers to create activity books and other learning materials.
Rovio is now training some teachers in China to use the new curriculum, and the company hopes to expand its reach in all directions. (via ‘Angry Birds’ creator develops preschool program to promote learning through fun - The Washington Post)
LONDON – The kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in northern Nigeria by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram is beyond outrageous. Sadly, it is just the latest battle in a savage war being waged against the fundamental right of all children to an education. That war is global, as similarly horrifying incidents in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia attest.
Around the world, there have been 10,000 violent attacks on schools and universities in the past four years, according to a report by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. The evidence is as ample as it is harrowing, from the 29 schoolboys killed by suspected Boko Haram militants in the Nigerian state of Yobe earlier this year and Somali schoolchildren forced to become soldiers to Muslim boys attacked by ethnic Burmese/Buddhist nationalists in Myanmar and schoolgirls in Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been firebombed, shot, or poisoned by the Taliban for daring to seek an education. — Gordon Brown proposes a comprehensive initiative to protect schoolchildren around the world. - Project Syndicate
Singapore has one of the best educational systems in the world, according to international assessments, and its teacher training program has been cited as one reason why. As the country increases the use of digital devices in schools, it’s making a parallel effort to train teachers not just in the latest tech trends – like how to work a SmartBoard or what app to use to practice fractions – but in how to determine when and why to use technology.
But the broader goal of the Classroom of the Future is to get Singapore’s future teaching force and visitors to consider how new technologies could change education. Could 4D –where actual sounds and smells join with 3D models – increase student learning? What are new ways for students to share information and ideas? Would video conferencing with foreign peers make students more globally conscious?
(via In Singapore, training teachers for the ‘Classroom of the Future’ | Hechinger Report)
DAKAR / NEW YORK, 6 May 2014 – “The abduction of eight more girls in Nigeria is an outrage and a worsening nightmare for the girls themselves and for the families of the more than 200 girls who have been stolen from their communities in the last several weeks.
“That the girls are alleged to have been abducted to prevent them from attending school is especially abhorrent.
“UNICEF calls on the abductors to immediately return these girls unharmed to their communities, and we implore all those with influence on the perpetrators to do everything they can to secure the safe return of the girls - and to bring their abductors to justice.
“Our hearts go out to the families of these girls. UNICEF continues to monitor the situation and expresses its solidarity with the people of Nigeria.” (via UNICEF statement on second abduction of Nigerian school girls | UNICEF Canada : No Child too Far)
Girls brave violence for their education in northern Nigeria.
The kidnapping of 234 girls from a physics exam by Boko Haram grabbed the world’s attention. But this isn’t isolated – fear of school has become ingrained in northern Nigeria
Halimatu Usman, 14, spends her days doing house chores in her home of Marte, near Lake Chad in Borno state, Nigeria. Her school has been shut to pre-empt attacks from members of the Jama’atul Alhul Sunnah Lidda’wati wal Jihad or Boko Haram (meaning western education is forbidden) a group waging an insurgency to establish an Islamic government in Nigeria. As she fills the earthenware pot, she counts herself lucky not to be in a refugee camp in neighbouring Niger Republic or among the 234 girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from a physics exam in GGSS Chibok and taken to the Sambisa Forest reserve, leaving their parents and an entire country distraught. (via Girls brave violence for their education in northern Nigeria | Global Development Professionals Network | Guardian Professional)
SPAIN has recorded the highest number of school drop-outs in the European Union for the third year in a row.
Nearly a quarter of young Spaniards (23.5%) grow tired of the education system and quit before reaching the compulsory age, according to Eurostat.
While this is double the EU’s average rate of 11.9%, it is still Spain’s best result on record and a huge decrease from 2007’s 31%.
(via Massive drop-out rate in Spanish schools)
Bangladesh: Innovative Floating School Improves Access to Education
The floating school works in the remote river basin where access to education is hard, particularly during the monsoon season. From late June to October one third of the country goes underwater, making access to basic services very difficult. “It is the main reason for school drop outs in rural Bangladesh” Mosammat said. Were it not for innovative inventions such as this floating school, many of these children would find accessing education impossible.
The school collects children from their homes, teaches them on board and returns them at the end of the session. Mosammat describes the boat’s architect’s philosophy as ”if the children couldn’t come to school, then the school should come to them”.
(via Bangladesh: Innovative solutions to improve education for the disadvantaged | World Education Blog)
In the Netherlands … 15-year-olds score higher than the OECD average in reading, mathematics and science literacy. So how does one country achieve such good results? Cees, who teaches in a secondary school in Amsterdam, says: “I find it difficult to answer why the Netherlands is doing so well, because what do grades mean? To which countries do you compare?
But there are several clues to the Netherlands’ high performance in his answers he gave to our questions about how he does his job. They reflect many of the strategies to provide the best teachers that we outline in latest EFA Global Monitoring Report, Teaching and Learning: Achieving quality for all, including getting enough teachers into school; training teachers to meet the needs of all children; including the disadvantaged; providing teachers trainees with mentors; and providing ongoing teacher training and professional development. (via Student-focused learning helps the Netherlands achieve | World Education Blog)
AMMAN, Jordan, April 24 (UNHCR) In a suburb of Amman, surrounded by piles of garbage and stray sheep, Jamal and his cousin Akram teach the Arabic alphabet to a small group of Syrian refugee children. The classroom is a small orange tent where the young pupils sit on the ground with their text books on their laps. A whiteboard dangles from a wall of the tent.
It’s very simple, but effective. In a country where about half of the school-aged Syrian refugee children are unable to attend public schools, the residents of an informal camp in the Jordanian capital’s Kherbet Al-Souk district have taken matters into their own hands. (via UNHCR - Syrians get round education crunch by running their own school in Jordan)
Over 40 percent of India’s children drop out of school before finishing 8th grade, despite a recent law designed to provide free and compulsory elementary education for all.
Most students who quit school are from the lowest rungs of Indian society. A new Human Rights Watch report, “They Say We’re Dirty,” shows that discrimination by teachers and school officials fail to provide a welcoming and child-friendly school environment for these children.
(via Q&A: Talking Discrimination and School Dropout Rates in India | Human Rights Watch)