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High School Extra-Curricular Activities Complement Learning

Most of my high achieving students are also the busiest. They are involved in sports, clubs, tutoring and other activities in addition to doing their school assignments and studying for tests. It is of my (unscientific) conclusions that it is due to the neccessity to manage their time effectively that allows them to be such high achievers. They must make a schedule, compartementalize thier time into blocks, and they also feel better about all their accomplishments.

So, in conclusion, the busier the student, the better marks they usually achieve. So tell them to join those sports, clubs and anything else that allows them to time manage a busy schedule!

Social Media in the Classroom

Is Social Media taking away from classroom learning? It seems like every student is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or watching a video on YouTube rather than trying to learn the material taught in the classroom. It's a constant battle, but should these social media apps be outlawed or embraced? I think it is very difficult to for students to focus on several things at once and that the learning of the course material is suffering because of it. You wouldn't want a doctor checking his/her Instagram feed as they are giving you a diagnosis, right? The right part is to balance this obsession with the academic day. One way of doing this is to ban these sites during the classroom time, then allowing them over lunch and between classes. Just like we couldn't bring a Sony Walkman into the classroom back in the 80's, the idea seems analogous to the distraction that is created by students accessing social media sites during todays' classroom lessons.

Am I giving too much Homework?

My students seem to be learning in the classroom and must do homework to get used to the math lesson for that day, especially when it comes to the application of the math topic. But are they confused when they do too much homework? And am I turning them off the subject when they have to spend so much of their free time on 1 subject? I recently saw this documentary on Finland wherre they have a policy of "No Homework" and their students seem to do better on standardized math tests than North American students. Maybe homework isn't as important as it is thought to be. Perhaps if they fill their time with playing sports and reading for pleasure as well as getting ample sleep might outweigh doing a ton of homework. It is definitely a topic worth more research. I'm sure there has to be an optimal number of assigned homework questions assigned per night, I just haven't found it yet.

student with books


How the Student Environment is Changing due to Technology

Every day, it seems like there is more technology being added to our world. Whether it be a new device such as a smartphone, smart watch, tablet App, mobile App, website, program, or some new way of interfacing with the cloud, the students are always one step ahead of the education system. It seems like Facebook was something that was banned a few years ago in school and is now embraced. Our idea as a society as to which technologies are beneficial and which ones are detrimental to the students is contantly evolving. 

We are also at odds as to how to control the technologies in an educational setting without letting them take precedence over the curriculum. The school boards initially blocked certain sites through their network (LAN) but the students just connected through their phone providers service in order to get around the restricted sites or apps. Even the Universities these days (where the internet started, by the way) are constantly fighting the battle of students texting and distracting during the lectures. So what is the answer, to ban smartphones, laptops and tablets in school? That train is proabably too far down the tracks to get it back to the station by now. The answer seems to be in the students' hands now as they have to develop the self restraint to know when it is beneficial to them to use the available technology and for which purpose.

students in lecture hall



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