Opinion

Educational Podcasts

Updated
|
Educational Podcasts
I've selected some general purpose and some robotics podcasts to enrich your classroom teaching. With over 2 million podcasts available, be careful to review any podcasts you want to use at home or school.

Audio-visual materials have enhanced teaching since the beginning of the last century. As a student in Montreal in the 50s and 60s, I remember what a treat it was to listen to a recording or radio broadcast. Those aids were a welcome change from our very formal, British-style lessons taught by teachers who lectured and expected you to memorize reams of tables and facts. Here's a chronology of when the various devices were introduced into classrooms.

Audio-visual aids such as recordings and film projectors have been used in K-12 classrooms for decades. Here's a brief history of their use:

  • Phonographs: In the early 1900s, phonographs were used in classrooms to play recordings of music and speeches.
  • Film projectors: In the 1920s, film projectors became available and were used to show educational films in classrooms.
  • 16mm films: In the 1930s, 16mm films became the standard format for educational films, and schools began building libraries of educational films.
  • 35mm filmstrips: In the 1940s, 35mm filmstrips were introduced, a series of images printed on a long strip of film accompanied by an audio recording.
  • Slide projectors: In the 1950s, slide projectors became popular in classrooms, allowing teachers to display images and information on a screen.
  • Overhead projectors: In the 1960s, overhead projectors became widely used in classrooms, allowing teachers to display written and visual material on a screen in real time.
  • Video cassette recorders: In the 1970s, video cassette recorders (VCRs) were introduced, allowing teachers to show pre-recorded videos in the classroom.
  • Digital media: In the 1990s, digital
. . .read more

Resources For Families Affected By Autism

Updated
|
Resources For Families Affected By Autism
There are over five million people in the U.S. with autism. Here is some basic information and resources to understand autism.

I don't remember hearing about children with autism growing up in Montreal. It only came onto my radar when I was older, and I had some co-workers with autistic children. From what I was told, these children seemed to have mild cases of autism. This was later confirmed when I saw posts on Facebook recounting academic and other successes. Many years later, while working at the local classical music radio station, I interacted regularly with two adults who had much more severe cases of autism. Both individuals seemed to know more about classical music than I did, and I am a professional musician! But neither of these two adults appeared to be able to function in a so-called usual manner.

That got me thinking about how I would parent a child who was autistic. So, let's look at the facts, and then I'll offer you some resources on the subject. But first, here's the definition of autism.

Autism is a developmental disorder with symptoms that appear within the first three years of life. Its formal diagnostic name is autism spectrum disorder. The word "spectrum" indicates that autism appears in different forms with varying levels of severity. That means each autistic individual experiences unique strengths, symptoms, and challenges. Source: Autism Research Institute

This video from The Mayo Clinic explains what autism is.

The diagnosis

You can't do a blood or

. . .read more

How To Control Your Child's Screen Time

Updated
|
How To Control Your Child's Screen Time
We parents want to keep our children safe from anything and everything. That's always our biggest worry. We don't want our children watching inappropriate content or playing violent games on their smart devices, do we? That's the rationale behind controlling our children's screen times. So, here are a couple of tips on making that happen.

We parents want to keep our children safe from anything and everything. That's always our biggest worry. When I was raising our children, keeping my daughters safe meant showing them how to cross the street and how not to speak to strangers. But, fast forward to the 21st century, and keeping children safe comes with a whole set of digital challenges, besides the analog challenges of crossing streets safely. Smart TVs, tablets, computers, and smartphones can consume vast amounts of a young person's time when we allow that to happen. However, what concerns me most is the quality of the material available on all those digital devices. We don't want our children watching inappropriate content or playing violent games on their smart devices, do we? That's the rationale behind controlling our children's screen times. So, here are a couple of tips on making that happen.

Create healthy screen habits.

Children are curious. Insatiably so. They want answers. They want to explore. And they want to have fun doing it. Create healthy screen habits by configuring your child's smart devices to be tools for learning and exploration. That will open up vast worlds for them to explore. The kid who dreams of building a robot can find tons of information about robotics. The same with the arts, sports, literature, languages - you name it, her smart device will have it. The trick is to configure her smart devices so that she can only access the good stuff, not the

. . .read more

The CRT And Other Controversies

Updated
|
The CRT And Other Controversies
Issues such as CRT and vaccination mandates have become polarizing influences in education at every level. We look at how public and private schools handle these issues.

Stories about parents upset with CRT, vaccine mandates, virtual teaching, and, well, you name it, just about anything you can think of in our public schools have brought home the essential difference between public schools and private schools. Of course, most public schools have to cater to a large, in some cases, a vast constituency of parents, teachers, administrators, taxpayers, unions, and politicians. But, on the other hand, private schools only have to satisfy the families that opt to send their children to them.

As much as possible, let's compare apples to apples as we look at how public schools and private schools cope with the incredible number of pressure points involved in running a school in the second decade of the 21st-century.

This video from PBS explains critical race theory.

A public school district's mission

Constituency

Generally, a public school district serves the municipality in which it is located. The exception occurs when several towns band together to create a regional school district. Thus, public schools have to be responsive to the community's needs. They also have to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations that pertain to their operation.

Funding

Most of a public school district's funding comes from real estate taxes levied by the municipality. Most school district budgets are presented, discussed, and voted on in the first four months of the calendar year. If the taxpayers

. . .read more

Bubble-wrapped Children

Updated
|
Bubble-wrapped Children
With so much uncertainty in the world today and a pandemic further confounding our lives, it's reasonable for parents to want to protect their children whenever and wherever possible? But overprotecting or bubble-wrapping? Well, that's another matter.

I have written about the issue of over-protective parents recently. The subject intrigues me because I have always wondered what drives parents to be that way. Why would any parent want to disempower their child? After all, that's one of the downsides of being over-protective. Unfortunately, I can only speak authoritatively from my own experience raising two daughters and two sons. In this article, I will refer to and quote more knowledgeable people to explain what's involved with raising bubble-wrapped children.

How we raised our children

We were always concerned with our children's safety. Fortunately, the communities where we lived were safe. Back in the 70s and 80s, we didn't have to worry about social media and video games. As a classical musician, I recall being appalled at some of the popular music my children listened to. But they had caring, experienced teachers in the private schools they attended. We provided enrichment activities including horse-riding, music lessons, summer sessions at talented and gifted schools. Looking back at those times, I must confess that I probably would have been a helicopter father, that is, if my dear wife had let me act that way. But she didn't. She never missed a trick. Nothing escaped her when it came to her children. Absolutely nothing. Her secret was to let her kids make mistakes. I remember when our eldest daughter came in 30 minutes after she was supposed to be home. Her mother was waiting patiently and greeted a

. . .read more

Recent Articles

Secrets to Becoming a Great School
Secrets to Becoming a Great School
Discover the essential ingredients that drive academic success and cultivate a thriving school community.
Applications Calendar
Applications Calendar
Keep track of application deadlines as well as all the other aspects of choosing a school.
Making Social Media Work for Your School
Making Social Media Work for Your School
An introduction to using Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest to promote your school.

Opinion