Is it time we banished homework?

Schools say it’s essential and means pupils learn to work independently. But students – along with some of their teachers – say it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Here, a headteacher and a pupil lay out their arguments for and against.

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Robot essay graders a growing possibility

Yale faculty may have postponed their vote on the grading overhaul to November, but students concerned about grading policies may have something bigger to worry about: artificial intelligence software that could be used to evaluate their essays.

EdX — an education nonprofit founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — has just introduced a free online tool that automates the essay grading process. EdX president Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science, told The New York Times he believes his software will give professors more free time and allow students to receive helpful instant feedback. The software first analyzes 100 of a professor’s already graded essays, then uses machine-learning techniques to grade future papers on its own.

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Student Engagement – Motivation

Courtesy of @cybraryman1

Teacher Notes: During the course of my teaching career I saw the need to try to engage my students in the learning process. I tried to find what each child liked and used that to get them more involved in learning. I had success with some turned off and disruptive students by having them use their writing, art or music skills in their school work. One student completed changed for the better when I got one of his poems published in a local library newsletter. One class that no one could handle loved when I had them produce their own news show.

Favourite infographic for March: Theories of learning

Courtesy of @yearinthelifeof

I I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time these days digesting information through infographics. Indeed, I find myself regularly talking about them at conferences, even in my own presentations. I’m a firm believer in their value: while they should not be seen as a replacement for reading, they are a very useful tool when it comes to getting key ideas across quickly and in a visually stimulating way.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to post an ‘infographic of the month’. Firstly, this will mean a blog post requiring very little work from me! Secondly, it would be nice to give further exposure both to infographics with succinct yet useful information, as well as those that I find to be eloquently or innovatively designed.

Five best practices to consider when using Facebook with students

Courtesy of @gcouros…

As a school division, we are deep into developing blogs as portfolios with our students. To do this with approximately 10,000 students is a major undertaking but the work is important and I really believe that students should have a space to share and reflect on the work. This should not be unique, but the standard.

With that being said, as a school division we have decided to use a blogging platform (Edublogs) for student portfolios, as it can be used both as a “learning portfolio” (here is what I am learning right now) and a “showcase portfolio” (here is my best stuff). Through my own experience both blogging, and using my blog as a portfolio, I have seen some powerful benefits of blogging that would directly benefit our students.