Sunday, July 26, 2009

Are kids Safe Online?

How many parents, teachers and mentors are worried when they see their little ones surfing online on their own?

Yes, very much.... would be the answer of all.

Then the very next question that would come to their mind would be: how can we help the children learn what is right and good for them and have a control over what they can do online?

Bewildered by the same question, Kidzui was formed. Kidzui is a web browser built for children, which is easy to use with access to large set of diverse online content and activities. Above all, the basic version of this web browser is FREE !!!!! for all.

This is not just any other product which was created to build a fortune, but a serious product because it was built with input from a diverse team of teachers and parents who went online and found the best content around for kids. The best part is that the parents and the teachers can approve the content that they want their kids to enjoy and this can be done easily without applying the buggy filters that block content. So give it a try and make learning fun for your kids.

There are some other popular sites like these which are worth attention of everyone who takes education seriously and are as follows:
: Videos, Games and a lot of information for both kids and teachers. A wide variety of easy to use resources for teachers. This is a video site powered by google which has loads of content for children. Excellent Moral based stories and more..
Nortel LearnIT A very good site with interesting resources for teachers and kids.
Oracle Think Quest Education Foundation Worth visiting... Students can create projects online.
Teachers Tap Professional Development Resources for Educators.

Enjoy and Keep Sharing !!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

NCERT - National Talent Seach Examination

NCERT conducts a national talent search exam every year. With this scheme NCERT gives out 1000 scholarships every year. Any student studying in a recognized school in 8th standard is eligible to appear for this examination. The examination is held in two stages, the first stage covers the social sciences, science and mathematics in the following categories at the state level :
  1. Mental Ability Test
  2. Scholastic Ability Test
The second stage comprises of the social sciences, science and mathematics in the following categories at the national level:
  1. Mental Ablility Test
  2. Scholastic Ability Test
  3. Interview
However in the second stage only the students who pass the written examination at the national level are interviewed.

Each student who is selected is entitled to receive a monthly 500 Rs scholarship from NCERT upto his/her doctorate education based on their selection of subject. The following are the important dates:
  • Stage 1 (State Level) : Last Date of Submission of Application form: 31st August 2009
  • Stage 1 Exam (Gujarat) : 8th November 2009
  • Stage II Exam (National Level) : 9th May 2010
I think in the limited scope of scholarship opportunity in India, this is a very good opportunity for students at a very early age and I personally think all 8th standards should appear for this examination.

Please visit the NCERT site under the scholarship section for more details or visit the following ad in the TOI newspaper.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Crescent Girls School - Singapore

I wanted to title this blog as the 21st century schools, but I thought it is better to title it with the name of the school which is leading the other schools of the world to incorporate the 21st Century tools and techniques in their schools.

Crescent Girls Schools - Singapore is one such innovative school which was declared as the model school to mentor other schools of the future by Bill Gates and Microsoft. The school is a pioneer in incorporating innovative technology, integration, community and partner involvement and effective use of research and development. Microsoft calls it the 6i Innovative Schools Program which consists of the following hierarchical steps:
  1. Introspection
  2. Investigation
  3. Inclusion
  4. Innovation
  5. Implementation and
  6. Insight
Why did Microsoft select Crescent as one of the model schools for their future schools program?

Well I was amazed to know that at Crescent the students have almost eliminated the use of traditional paper and pen. They take notes on their tablet pc's, complete their projects with the help of their tablets and also use a lot of e-textbooks. They call their program M-Learning which they introduced in 2004 and they have statistics which show that scores of all their students have considerably increased with the introduction of Technology in the school.

The students do all kinds of cool stuff other than studying the traditional courses with the help of technology, like creating their own digital arts and animation with the use of Movie Maker, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. To ensure that technology is not abused, the school has a stringent cyber wellness program. The students, teachers and administrators also engage in active podcasting and learn musical instruments with the help of Gigajam Online. Apart from the use of technology, character education is an integral part of the education at Crescent. The other fun part is that the have Wii Fits in their cafeteria which help the students to have fun while remaining fit.

A team of foreign journalists were taken on a tour of Crescent during the International Education Round table 2009 which had education ministers from seven top-performing education systems to discuss how to equip students with skills to adapt to an ever changing future. While there were representatives from Canada, Australia, USA, Sweden, Singapore, China and HongKong there was no one from India. The focus of the discussion was the need to attract high-ranking individuals to the teaching profession by providing competitive salaries, IT tools and equip students for globalized economies.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Math Jokes

Q: How does one insult a mathematician?
A: You say: "Your brain is smaller than any e>0!"

Q: Why do you rarely find mathematicians spending time at the beach?
A: Because they have sine and cosine to get a tan and don't need the sun!

Life is complex: it has both real and imaginary components.

Math problems? Call 1-800-[(10x)(13i)2]-[sin(xy)/2.362x].

The mother of already three is pregnant with her fourth child.
One evening, the eldest daughter says to her dad: "Do you know, daddy, what I've found out?"
"No." re
"The new baby will be Chinese!"
"Yes. I've read in the paper that statistics shows that every fourth child born nowadays is Chinese..."

more on:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Financial Education - at what age?

In the New York Times best seller book Rich Dad Poor Dad the author Robert Kiyosaki talks about his two fathers one rich and the other poor. He talks about how the rich teach their children about money at a very early age, so they know how to manage money and not to earn money.

Rafe Esquith the award winning American teacher narrates in his books about his vision for teaching life skills to his 5th grade students. He cleverly teaches the importance of money to his fifth graders through his unique financial program where students use money designed by Rafe to survive in school everyday, like paying for their seat etc, they also get bonuses of for several challenging things they perform daily. The best thing is at the end of the year there is an auction and the student can get his/her favourite item with the money they have saved that year. Rafe explains in his book that is important to teach students about money because it is one life skill which will make a difference in the childrens lives, depending upon the way they decide to save their money. Please read the book "There are No-shortcuts" and "Teach Like your Hairs on Fire" to know about the details of his program.

In India also the awareness amongst parents and teachers about teaching kids about money is picking up. Banks like ING Vyasa, ICICI and HDFC bank have special kids and students account where the parents and teachers can help them learn about money in a fun way. Some banks also have cool animations to teach the kids about banking.

I remember my parents had forced me to go and deposit money in a bank at a very young age, and I was very afraid of going alone but their force helped me overcome my fear. However today this can be taught to the kids in a fun way in their own comfort zone with the help of information and technology. Please read the following article which was published in Times of India Mumbai Edition on what Indian banks have to offer and how the parents are helping (They are never too Young to Learn about Money).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Favor, Color, Labor - Indian schools and International Boards now accept American Spellings at Par with "The English - Oxford Spellings"

Yea, I was surprised too when I read about it, but it good to hear that the Indians are now beginning to see the change that the world has become flatter. That nothing is right or wrong per say people depending upon their region can decide the way they write in English.

There is an article in the Times of India - Mumbai edition today, highlighting the fact that a lot of schools across India have accepted the fact that it is ok for the students to drop a letter from a word and still not get reprimanded from their teachers for their spelling error unless it changes the meaning of the word.

Even an ICSE spokesperson says that they allow American spelling and do not cut marks for its use. However they are penalized if the meaning of the word changes.

I think this a very bold step and a good change, as the article truly says with the computer and the internet today's youth is more familiar with the American way.

Hey, if you need to learn more modern slang keep visiting may be one day that will too be allowed in schools.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Creating Emotionally Safe Schools

Educationalists around the world are talking about Knowledge Economy but we still follow the Industrial Age Thinking in our teaching. We still want the students to be punctual, obedient and to be able to do rote and repetitive work.

We almost tend to forget that the world has become flat. The most important thing that needs to be taught in the class is not content but 21st Century Skills.

Educationalists around the world are trying their best to educate today's teachers about the knowledge age and about the changes that are required in their teaching today's youth. The title of this post is from a book written by Jane Bluestein "Creating Emotionally Safe Schools". She has written a couple books on current education and travels around the world training teachers. She has website which has a lot of valuable information on teaching today's kids.

We might have a lot of resources, but can't really work on them or improvise upon them unless we put them into practice. Please browse through her website and share, if you find something useful that we can put into practice.