Finland moving to Topic based learning

Finland has been the envy of much of the modern world in the field of education/schools and has proven that it can produce top results with only minimal testing (one standardized test when they are 16) and almost no homework, emphasizing play and creativity. A still radical concept for many countries (including Hong Kong!). Not content on its already impressive and by some measure revolutionary progress Finland is pressing on with even more fundamental reform changing the core of its system away from Subjects to emphasizing Topics with even more emphasis on play!

This is exciting on many levels; imagine a classroom setting where instead of being taught Maths it will be about “Middle Eastern relations” which might cover history, economics, maths and geography or “Animal Conservation in Africa” which would cover the same elements but also include the Sciences. Schools do this today in the form of special projects but it is not at the core of the program and rarely comprehensive focusing still in a very subject-specific manner even though real life today does not function that way (unless you are an academic!). This concept of “joyful learning” is something we could really do a lot better at in Hong Kong!

Full article available here:

Student’s brain flatlined during classes

Student’s brain flatlined during classes

I seem to know a lot of people who seem to flatline during classes (or grand lectures of any kind?). The below should be tested on a wider scale to see how effective Classes are for most students, the results may be surprising (and shocking perhaps?).

From “A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-term Assessment of Electrodermal Activity” (by Poh, M.Z., Swenson, N.C., Picard, R.W. inIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol.57, no.5), a chart showing a single student’s electrodermal activity over the course of a week. Note the neural flatlining during classtime. As Joi Ito notes, “Note that the activity is higher during sleep than during class.” He also adds, “Obviously, this is just one student and doesn’t necessarily generalize.”

via boingboing and Joi Ito

Flatlining Student in Class

Poh, M.Z., Swenson, N.C., Picard, R.W., “A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-term Assessment of Electrodermal Activity,” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol.57, no.5, pp.1243-1252, May 2010. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2009.2038487