New Years Resolution Goals

Ring in the New Year by the Ringing of the School Bell

Resolve to Learn

The year is rapidly coming to a close, with it a flurry of activity and holidays are being celebrated worldwide.  This is a time of excitement and joy. It is also a time for introspection and goal setting.

Come December 31st, millions and millions will create resolutions with the intent of improving themselves and their lives in the coming new year.  Among the top resolutions are losing weight, exercising, quitting bad habits, and finding a job.

What if this year, you resolve to learn something new?  Learning exercises your brain, creates balance in your life, leads to better decision making capabilities, and could help you land that job or improve your chances of promotion at your current employment.

Surfing the Web to Learn

Continuing education is more readily available than ever, delivered directly to your laptop, tablet, or phone. Here are some resources to jump start your lifelong learning habit.

Udemy Like shopping on Black Friday for all the deals? Then this learning platform is for you!  Forget the latest craze, sign up for a class! Udemy has a Black Friday special going on right now with courses costing only $10!!  There is so much to learn, and with this deal, you could chose to learn more for less.

SkillshareSkillshare offers short courses on specific skill sets from photography to e-commerce, this website has opportunity to grow in your career and hobbies. The lack of long term commitment for classes makes this an ideal place to start.

Open Course WareVirtually every major university offers open courses online for the public to take at will.  These courses are free and are the same courses offered at the university itself. While you cannot earn a degree through these courses, you will still learn from top notch professors. In addition, you could test drive a program or major.  Lastly, you can use the courses to prep yourself for CLEP examination which can earn you college credit.

KHAN AcademyFree video based courses for kindergarten through adult education. KHAN Academy covers diverse subjects with an intense focus on science, math, and computer programming.

YoutubeAside from the funny videos and viral pranks, Youtube offers an immense amount of knowledge for free.  There are videos on every subject and many skills to be learned in a “one-on-one” setting.  Decide what you would like to know how to do in the new year and find an appropriate Youtube channel. You may have to dig around to find the presenter who works best for you, but don’t worry there are 300,000 new videos loaded every day!

Looking for more online opportunities?  Check out this list of 20 Places to Educate Yourself For Free! You are sure to find something to tickle your fancy and expand your mind!

Offline Learning

Online learning, elearning, and virtual coursework are all the rage right now. The Internet does surely provide unsurpassed access to information and is a flexible tool allowing educational opportunities to reach where traditional schools never could. However, online classes are not the only means of continuing education in the 21st century.

If online classes just aren’t your thing or your bandwidth doesn’t accommodate videos, learn the old fashioned way-through books and other people. Books are still just as valuable as they were pre-Internet days.  Find a good book on whatever you are yearning to master. Don’t have a skill you need to learn? How about you just read some good classic literature?  Your brain will get pumping and you will surely expand your vocabulary. All around, a worth while endeavor!

In addition to amazing books, see what learning opportunities exist in your area. Is there a club offering demonstrations? Could you sit in on a course offered at your local trade school or college to learn more about the study program?  Libraries offer a vast array of programs, course, and groups that can enrich your lifelong pursuit of knowledge, oh and they also have books–many, many books!

How will you resolve to learn this coming year?

 

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Fun with Learning – The Raven

Recently, I was able to participate in a Global Learn Day Story time at our 2017 partner, Baby Cotton Bottoms. Education is fun for me, especially when I am able to work with people who are fully engaged. Excitement about a project often breeds the best educational opportunities!

So, as I planned our event for #GLD2017, I selected a children’s book I had not seen before. I chose “Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart” by Jennifer Adams. It is one of the Baby Lit First Steps Books that you can purchase through Baby Cotton Bottoms. To go with our story time, we needed a fun craft that kids and bystanders could work on. I loved the spooky theme of the book and tied it in with Halloween to create this!

These make great trick or treat bags and Halloween gift bags!

To make one…

  • Buy a pack of white or brown plain gift bags.
  • Black stick on felt paper. (These come in two packs – you can easily make a dozen with one pack.)
  • A stencil or cut out for the raven (we got ours here!)
  • Puff paint or other art supplies. (We had pipe cleaners, markers, extra scraps of the paper and google eyes in addition to the puff paint!)

To make things easy for our #GLD2017 event, I prearranged everything. Then, during the event we were able to read our story, which you can watch here and work on our craft. The kids had a blast!

Their finished products were each unique and one little girl even decided to take home supplies for her friend!

And just like that, we had introduced children to Poe and Literature while they had FUN!

Did you enjoy this craft or book? Let us know!

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When Should Education End?

Education Road Maps

There are many theories and much debate about when education should begin.  On one side there is a push for earlier and earlier learning, formal studies beginning in the toddler years.  On the other, there are proponents of delayed study beginning at age seven or later.  In all of this back and forth, the question of when education ends is not addressed.

At the start of formal schooling, children are presented with a road map of how to make it to the end of their school career with several exit points and choices along the way.  Make it through high school and then choose a trade school or college to attend. Have you earned your bachelors degree? Well you could continue to a masters or doctorate, or jump into your career.

What Is Required of Me?

Much of this plan is based on checklists and diplomas. Do this and get that. Is that the goal of education, though?

Education is the passing on and accumulation of skills and knowledge.  While learning is often a means to an end, it has value beyond getting a career or earning degrees.

An Education of Your Dreams

If you could learn anything what would it be?  Is there something you have always wanted to try?  Maybe you dream of being able to play the guitar. Or have you always wanted to speak Russian?  Is there a craft you admire and wish you knew how to make? How about a home improvement task that you wish you didn’t have to hire someone to do?

Education is learning, not school. It is a lifelong process to shape your abilities, interests, and understanding of the world.  While formal education is a linear process to a pre-determined goal, true education is integral to the life process.

When Is It Too Late?

The saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has derailed many an aspiring learner.  It is never too late to learn. Never too late to complete a learning task, and surely never too late to begin. Learning may take longer and be more difficult to fit into your daily life but that does not diminish its value, nor preclude it from happening at any age.

Today is the best day to begin your education.  Begin today and continue tomorrow.  Continue your education for career. Learn a new craft, skill, or trade.  Educate yourself about subject matters you do not understand. Study history. Investigate politics and world news.  Pick up a work of literature you have never read.  Whatever you choose, there is no wrong choice in furthering your education. Anything that you learn becomes a new jewel to line your pockets.

The Real Worth of Education

Not all education will earn you higher wages, but every bit of learning will make you richer in life, independence, and understanding.  Education is not a piece of paper to hang on your wall, it is a process to enrich your mind that provides resources that can never be taken from you.

When does education end?  The real answer is when you let it, because learning is a gift you give to yourself each day.  Change the world–learn something new today!

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Fractions Are a Piece of Cake

Mathematics and the Arts

Hands up for Hands-on

Education circles have made great strides in creating hands-on learning experiences for kids.  STEM challenges, math manipulatives, and makers stations are just some ways our schools have transformed to embrace different learning styles. At the same time, though, the practical and fine arts have lost their footing in priority, sometimes being cut all together.

However, these labor intensive fields are the true core to hands-on learning.  Science, mathematics, problem solving, and engineering are all practiced through the traditional arts courses.  The key really is to incorporate the disciplines.  A true liberal arts education has the benefit of covering every discipline so that connection can be made and all parts of the brain exercised.

How Many Cooks in the Kitchen?

Do you know how to cook or bake?  How did you learn? Cooking is a science and an art.  It incorporates the principles of STEM while lending itself to creative exploration.  A life skill, cooking also teaches self confidence and independence. Let’s look at three reasons why cooking may be the perfect addition to your STEM project repertoire.

Struggling with Fractions? Bake a Cake!

Fractions are one of those “Why do we have to learn this?” topics for many children. It can be hard to grasp that the bigger the bottom number the small the fraction.  However, knowledge of fraction is essential to baking. Not only that, but using measuring spoons and cups give a hands-on, visual lesson in what each fraction actually means.

Once your students have mastered reading the fractions and choosing the correct tool to measure them, up the anty.  What if you double the recipe? How about cut in half?  What if you convert all the measurements into 16ths?  A simple cake recipe becomes a lesson in multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction of fractions without the endless stacks of worksheets.  Best yet, at the end of the lesson, there is sweet victory to share if the calculations are correct. Now that is motivation to learn!

Order Operations Pizzas

Can you follow a recipe? Doing things in the correct order and quantities is essential for recipes to work.  The first time I made chocolate chip cookies, I just dumped all the ingredients in the mixer and baked. What came out of the oven tasted good, but was nothing like cookies. Order and procedure are important.

If you are trying to teach order of operations and getting moans and groans that it shouldn’t matter, make a pizza together as a class.  First give the students ingredients and measurements but no written recipe and ask them to make pizza dough. This can be done in small groups.  A recipe can easily be cut down to not waste so many ingredients and reduce the risk of huge messes from flour.

After their “dough” has been created ask them what they think about how well it would make a pizza.  Segue to reason to follow order.  Demonstrate how the same ingredients when combined in the correct order and procedure create a perfect crust.

Once the dough is ready; stretch, top, and bake. Serve up some lunch with a side of lessons.

Master Chef and the Secret Ingredient

As much as baking is a science, cooking is a scientific art.  While there are certain procedures and rules to follow, there is also more room for creativity.  Have you ever held a cook off?  What would students do if they were given 5 secret ingredients and had to make snack?

Cooking experiments are part hypothesis and part ingenious creativity. Have an easy recipe to make in class–what if one of the ingredients is missing and five other choices are in their place?  There’s garlic powder, all spice, black pepper, paprika, and sage on the shelf, what to do?  If you are making banana bread, all spice is the best option, but for chili it may be paprika.

How will they choose which one to pick.  Why does that one fit what is being made?  Hypothesis, experimentation, conclusion! Creatively solving problems in cooking can lead to better building of bridges later.  Life skills and STEM go hand in hand.

What kind of lesson can you cook up today?

 

 

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Where in the World? Building Map Skills

Globetrotting on a Map

Our planet is so vast. From mile high peaks to low lying islands, arctic tundra to arid rain forests.  The beauty and splendor is amazing.  This breathtaking canvas is occupied by 7.6 billion people and organized by the invisible borderlines of 195 countries. How many could you find on an unlabelled map?

Exploring a map or atlas is an adventure in itself.  The different names, the topography, the climates and animal habitats all weave a tapestry like none other.  As One Planet, One People, we have so much in common but, also so much to share that makes us each unique.  Understanding our world begins with understanding our globe!

Why Learn Map Skills?

With the advent of GPS our reliance on technology has decreased our perceived need to learn how to read a map.  Moreover, not only are we not versed in how to uses maps, but are less likely to even encounter one.

Map skills are still an important ingredient to understanding your surroundings and the world at large.  When listening to the news, our knowledge of geography helps us better understand where items of interest are happening and how they could effect other parts of the world.

How to Build Better Map Skills

The easiest way to learn more about maps of the world is to spend time exploring them.  Hear a geographic name you don’t recognize?  Look it up!  Not sure which countries border an area in conflict? Pull out an atlas and find out.

Here are four other projects to build map skills for young and old:

  1.  Google up some geography. While technology has made us less able to self-orient, it has also opened doors to experiencing geography like never before. Instead of just a static drawing or photograph in a book, interactive maps, such as Google Earth, brings the maps to life.  Spending time exploring and “voyaging” via Google Earth you can become a globetrotter right from your living room. There are numerous projects online to enhance your learning.
  2. Build the world by hand! Making a globe by hand is a great way to gain an understanding of where places are and how they relate to each other.  Globes can be made from pumpkins, paper mache, styrofoam balls, or printable that are assembled.
  3. Map what you read. Find locations mentioned in the books, and news that you read.  Learn more about the area around the point you discovered.  Get a wall map and mark each of these spots to keep track of your reading travel.
  4. Play a game. Playing games, both board games and video games, that include travel is a fun and easy way to learn more geography. Puzzles, as well, turning playing into learning. Try some of these:

Where will you explore today?

 

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What Is Gamification?

Gamification is the latest trend in education but what exactly is it?

Gamification involves bringing game elements to ordinary or already established practices.  The use of gaming technology to teach attracts many students who are more enticed by video games than textbooks.  Games can be used for teaching, studying, practice, and assessment.

Gamification creates scenarios of challenge and reward that shape behavior and expand skills.  These techniques have become common place in marketing, self-improvement, even politics. With schools attempting to engage a generation born into the digital world, these techniques provide an opportunity to draw in those children that are struggling or otherwise not interested.

Why Gamify School?

As stated above, gamifying appeals to many students.  It creates a level playing field, also, since students are working to their abilities and progress at their own pace.  Working independently helps remove stigma and encourage students to keep going to earn more rewards.

The elements of any game, digital, card, or board, that make you want to keep playing even when you don’t win is the key to how and gamifying works. Reaching those who would otherwise be disengaged is the main goal.

To Game or Not to Game?

How Do I Gamify My Classroom?

You may be sold on the idea but where to start.  The idea of creating levels, rewards, interactive interfaces, and score keeping software can be overwhelming.  Thankfully, there are many resources online.

Gamification does not just involve using games or technology within the classroom.  The overriding principle is to entice students to learn by using gaming concepts such as rewards, points, do-overs, the opportunity to fail and start over, interaction, choice, instant results, and expanding capabilities.

There are services online who can create a gamified class for you. There are also numerous tutorials and youtube videos to help you along the way. The greatest advice to doing this is plan ahead of time and don’t be afraid to just try it!

Gaming in School

Playing educational games is not something new to education.  It has existed for many years, gamification take it to a new level by making the entire class part of a gaming system.

Gamification can be very expensive and requires a large investment of time and effort on the part of the teacher. Both of these may make it impractical for some schools.  However, applying some of the gaming principles outside of the digital design can still help to engage those students in need of additional motivation.

Motivating students to keep learning and want to do better is the first step in becoming a lifelong learner.  Gamification could be the tool to achieve this in your classroom.  For more information about gamifying your class, please visit our Pinterest board Technology in Education.

 

 

 

 

 

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Are Teachers Obsolete?

Artificial Intelligence and Modern Education

Science fiction books and movies have predicted the takeover of the world by human like robots for decades.  In some sectors of society, this fantasy has become a reality as computer technology replaces cashiers, bank tellers, and even waiters. However, could the same happen in our brave new schools of tomorrow?

 

How AI Has Already Changed Education

Education has been significantly changed by technology in recent years.  The use of smart boards, tablets, and e-books are hallmarks of modern classrooms. Instead of drawing a picture of a giraffe on the chalkboard, teachers can now pull up live feed of zoo webcams.  Hundreds of books can be carried in a backpack without even noticing it.

 

AI tutoring, online practice, and computer generated review are all common uses of technology that are allowing students to access more help without costing taxpayers more money or stretching a teacher’s already limited time even thinner.  The use of innovation for drill and review in subject matters like math is a smart use of resources in schools where teachers are continually expected to do more with less.

 

The other ways that education has changed is more subtle.  Computer apps have replaced taking attendance. Parents can view grades hourly instead of just on report cards.  Technology has also made assessments that grade themselves, with AI they also provide feedback to instruct students in how they can improve next time. The automation of many tedious tasks, has helped to relieve time constraints on teachers.

 

Online School and Autopilot Teaching

The Internet has revolutionized how we learn, access information, and conduct our daily lives.  With the speed of light, information is distributed all over the globe.  This has led to a boon in the learning industry. Instead of classes conducted at set times in a brick and mortar school, they can be accessed any time of day by anyone the world over with a click of a mouse.

 

While most of these classes are still taught by people and then distributed electronically, automated learning does exist.  Apps that are coded to instruct and then assess are a growing trend.  AI teaching is a real phenomenon.

 

With this trend, online schools have popped up to serve every need and style of learning.  These include public schools for children in grades K-12.  These schools allow less teachers to reach more students in less time for less money.  This new version of public school meets homeschooling has left many wondering if school building will one day be laid to waste.

 

The Human Connection

There is much to learn thanks to technological advances and access to information. The automation of instruction has opened doors to learning and changed the face of educational play.  However, none of these can actually replace the human connection that we all desire and need.

 

Algorithms, coding, apps, they all have their place in our information age.  In the ways that they have made our lives easier, there are also drawbacks–viruses, hackers, internet predators, etc. We need to be sure to keep technology in its rightful place, a useful tool but not real life.

 

The arts of compassion, intuitive conversation, and companionship through life, cannot be replaced by even the best AI.  We are One Planet, One People united not by codes and programs but by our intellect, interaction, and understanding.  The one element of this life that can never be replicated is the human touch.

 

Remember that Robot from Third Grade, It Changed My Life!

Education is so much more than checklists, assessments, and lessons learned. It is the development of connections, understanding, and perspective.  When thinking back to our own education, we will not remember pedagogy, curriculum, and educational trends, what impacts us most is the people who taught us.

AI is changing the role of teachers from instructors to facilitators and guides, but it will never replace the value of a good and dedicated teacher.  Passing on knowledge and know how from one generation to the next is the hallmark of the human existence.  In our quest for more knowledge, the who will always be as important as the how.

 

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Pinterest

Piquing Interest and Pinterest

Piquing Interest

Do you relish browsing the aisle of bookshops or libraries, discovering new books to read and picking up tidbits of information? Are you a lifelong learner, always pursuing a new adventure or skill?  Would you love to have the world of endless information at your fingertips? Pinterest may just be for you.

Pinterest, like much of the Internet, is a treasure trove of endless possibilities.  There are how to posts, videos, daily inspiration, self help advice, and more.  However, it is not just another encyclopedia online. Pinterest is also a personal organization system, allowing you to curate your finds and catalog new ideas.

 

Joining the Bandwagon

For these reasons and more, Global Learn Day has created a Pinterest account to share all our finds with our followers and allow you to learn something new today and everyday.  We currently have twenty boards teaming with resources.  These boards include Education Around the World, STEM, Literature, and Early Education.

 

Get Involved!

In addition, many of our boards, such as Lifelong Learning, are collaborative boards.  These group boards allow people of similar interests to connect. It also provides an opportunity for our followers to share their discoveries with the world. This means you can add to our boards!

 

Have you stumbled upon an amazing website for elearning?  Did you just see a post about scientific discovery that blew your mind? Did that last article you read make you think of Global Learn Day?  Now, you can share that with us and all of our fellow GLDers.

 

The following boards are collaborative and more will be added soon!

 

To become a contributor, simply comment on any pin on the respective board.  We will send you an invitation and welcome you into the Global Learn Day family of lovers of education.

 

Join us and come help build bridges as One Planet, One People journeying together in learning.

 

What would you like to see on our boards?  Have an idea? Comment below!

 

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MeetOurTeam

Meet the Crew – Kelsey

Hi! My name is Kelsey and I am from Ohio! I am very excited to be a part of Global Learn Day 2017! This is my first year being involved with this great program, and I can’t wait. I have always been a curious learner, meaning if I wondered why something was the way that it was I would go look it up and learn as much as I could about it. I also love to read and I find it fascinating how the authors can really draw you into their story and keep you on your toes until the end just by using words. The way that words can be used in so many different ways to teach something or share something is truly amazing.

At around the age of 14, I joined the golf team at my high school having never picked up a club in my life. This was a giant leap of faith for me but I was confident in my ability to learn a new skill. Turns out, after hours and hours of practice, I was actually pretty good at golf and went on to be the captain of my college golf team! This is just another example of how anyone can learn a new skill with a whole lot of patience and practice.

Here are a few fun facts about me!

What is your favorite thing to learn?

My favorite thing to learn is anything and everything about the human body. I just find it amazing how all the different body systems work together to keep us alive. It seems as if there is always more to learn and I think that is why I find it so intriguing. The study of science is pretty endless which is why I chose to major in Biology.

 

What is your current learning obsession?

My current learning obsession is probably building furniture! I love to take something that would ordinarily be tossed aside and make it into something beautiful to be used in my home and the homes of others. There is so much to learn when it comes to building furniture and there is always something new to be tried. I really enjoy reading up on different staining or painting techniques in order to create something new and unique each time. This is a skill that I have completely taught myself with the use of books and the Internet and I believe that is why it makes this skill so fulfilling.

 

How did you become a life long learner?/When did you realize you were a life long learner?

One interesting thing about my learning style is that I read and study up on EVERYTHING before I actually go and do it. So much so that I can teach someone how to do something without having ever done it myself! I think this is how I became a life long learner. There is something to be said about mastering a new skill and having confidence in your ability to complete a certain task or teach a new subject. I have always been a very creative person and while growing up I was always found reading or painting or building something. I was always looking for something new to learn and master and this is still how I am today.

 

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Outdoors

The Outdoor Revolution

Give Them More

There is a push in modern education for more.  More hours. More requirements. More technology. More studying. More subjects to cover. Just more!  How about more time outside?  This may seem counter to a modern, progressive education but it is a growing trend with established roots.

 

Time outdoors in all kinds of weather is not anything new.  Charlotte Mason, a famous educator from the turn of the twentieth century, advocated long hours outside exploring, playing, and experiencing nature. Her methods presented a gentler approach to education that also build a strong foundation.

 

In this high paced, cutting edge world, Ms. Mason’s techniques are gaining popularity and a fresh take.  Nature based education is nothing new but it is gaining momentum as we realize our children are deprived of the simple pleasures of the great outdoors there is actually a new disorder! Nature Deficit Disorder is a widespread problem with an easy cure, give kids more time outdoors.

 

Around the World

In Finland, where education is nearly the opposite of the rest of the world, children are given multiple recesses, play breaks outdoors in any weather–even the cold, Nordic winter.  Up to four outdoor times are planned each day for unstructured play.  This play does not take away from education, it is education for these children.

 

In an effort to return to nature, there is a new movement in Germany called Waldkingergarten or Forest School.  These schools are housed in the great forests of Germany.  Students are dropped off in the morning and picked up sometime in the afternoon.  They spend their entire days outside, even having meals together on the forest floor.

 

You may wonder what do these children learn from days of wandering the forest?  Well, recent studies have shown that “Forest Kindergarten children come well-prepared for school and that they are often ahead of their school mates physically, mentally and in their social behaviour.”

 

In the United States, a similar movement is occurring with Tinkergarten.  Bringing young children outdoors to experience and create, this program is building an education foundation built on curiosity and teamwork.

 

What Does All this Mean for Education?

As we forge ahead into the tech-savvy twenty-first century, we must be mindful of not cutting our children off from their roots in nature.  The importance of learning the latest innovation must never crowd out children’s need to be children.  Children play, wiggle, and wonder – that is their nature.  By creating space, time, and opportunity for young people to unplug, stretch their legs, and breath fresh air, we will not be wasting valuable time but investing in the health and well being of future generations.

As One Planet, One People, understanding, appreciating, and conserving the natural world serves everyone around the planet.  Providing the latest technology will change the face of education and teach something new. However, some things never change, and children were built to learn and explore, especially outdoors.  Play, laughter, and dreams are a language that unite us all.

 

Where are you exploring? What have you learned from these experiences?

Join us for our Global Learn Day 2017 Voyage!

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