Eidy meets the Spacewelders

I was privileged to visit the HQ of the Spacewelders podcast network in late 2015.   We were able to discuss software, education and educational software where eidy fits into this. I really enjoyed my time there.

Not only did I get to be on their famous show, but I got a tour (it took a while) of the complex which actually takes up half of a planet.  As a matter of fact at the time they were preparing some kind of device called the “Star Killer”.    It didn’t seem very environmentally friendly to me.    Anyway, if they say it’s alright it must be.  Apparently it’s rigged up with the latest unit tests and uses react.js for ui, so it should work well for whatever they’re getting ready for.

Photography was strictly forbidden, but I was able to take a few snaps using the eidy augmented reality eyeballs I wore for the occasion (don’t tell anyone).

Here’s a picture of the guest bedroom:

screenshot_20151126_214618

Here’s a picture of the main broadcast tower where we did the interview:

Eidy tower

Pirate ship in the artificial lake:

pirateship-lg

Here’s a picture of the Mike’s old Wang:

wang

(Note: All mention of this artifact was removed from the podcast)

Have a listen to episode 17 of spacewelders, where Mike, Steve and myself discuss eidy and leading educational software.  It has absolutely nothing to do with cucumbers.  Either use the player here, or take a look at the site – http://www.spacewelders.com/episode-17/

Talking to kids – start by listening

Listening is the important first step to helping kids to open up.  This means you’ve got to stop talking and listen.  You may have a lot to say, and you may have little time, but we’re looking for long term benefits here.

Usually there’s silence at first.  That’s ok.  Be patient, things will change.

When they finally talk, restate what they’re saying so they know you’ve understood.

…then be quiet so they can talk some more….

If they don’t keep talking, you can ask another question, but keep your tone friendly, this isn’t an interrogation.

It sounds easy, but being a parent means you may have alot of wisdom to share and it’s right that you want to share it.  But to share, you need to build trust.  That means listening.

 

Need some help – Try EAP

How are things with your family? The December period is not always a joyous time of year for all families. Even the “Christmas spirit” is sometimes not enough to give harsh reality a break.

Something that might help is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This is a work-based intervention program designed to enhance the emotional, mental and general psychological wellbeing of all employees and includes services for immediate family members.

The idea is to offer preventive and proactive interventions for the early detection, identification and/or resolution of both work and personal problems that may adversely affect performance and wellbeing. These problems and issues may include, but are not limited to, relationships, health, trauma, substance abuse, gambling and other addictions, financial problems, depression, anxiety disorders, psychiatric disorders, communication problems, legal and coping with change.

Nicole from FIFO Families gives a good overview of Australian programmes here:

[vc_video link=’https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_7dS5x-2ao’]

Find out more here:

http://www.eapaa.org.au/

Increased emphasis on phonics in new Australian Curriculum

In a complete change from what was taught in the past, more phonics will be taught in Australian schools.  According to the Australian Curriculum website,

“The presence of phonics and phonemic awareness in the Australian Curriculum: English has been increased. The sound and letter knowledge sub-strand of the language strand has been strengthened and renamed phonics and word knowledge, comprising three threads: phonological and phonemic awareness, alphabet and phonic knowledge, and spelling. The content on the Australian Curriculum website has been revised to support these changes; the glossary has expanded to include all relevant terms.”

Does that mean phonics is taking over completely?

Apparently not.    Teaching reading is best done using a combination of techniques, with phonics being only one.

http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/home/whats-changed

Teaching Kids the Art of Conversation – Questions

A big part of a child’s development is the ability to converse with others.  It has been found that asking questions can help a great deal.

In the past, test-centric education was about asking direct closed questions.    Questions that require a “right” answer.  Open ended questions are different.

Even in adults, open ended questions can stimulate creativity and a comprehension of ambiguity.

The article “Scientific Studies explain the best ways to talk to Children”,  a study is cited on asking questions, where over 70 kids aged between 5-8 were asked 3 sensible open questions (eg: “What do birds eat?”), 3 sensible close-ended questions (eg: “Is summer hotter than winter?”), 3 nonsensical open-ended questions (eg: “Where do circles live?”), 3 nonsensical close-ended questions (eg: “Is a box louder than a knee?”), and two “scrambled” questions (eg: “Than is louder thunder whisper a?”).

All the children were told that they could say they didn’t know the answer and, when asked three weeks later, nearly all of the children correctly identified the questions as making sense or being “silly.” Almost all of the children answered the sensible questions, both open and closed, correctly. And 90% of the children answered the open-ended nonsensical questions correctly, saying they didn’t know. However, 72% of children tried to answer the nonsensical close-ended questions, even though they later said that the questions were “silly.”

Now, as much fun as it is to ask children nonsense questions and watch their faces as they try to answer them, if the goal is have a conversation, stay away from close-ended questions.”

 

http://io9.com/scientific-studies-explain-the-best-ways-to-talk-to-chi-582531307