Educational Readings October 25th

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Not purely educational but of great value all the same.

‘I’m going to tell you that libraries are important. I’m going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. I’m going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.’


‘The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.’

 The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic

Fallout from GERM? Not purely educational but of great value all the same.

When Hinshaw compared the rollout of these school policies with incidences of A.D.H.D., he found that when a state passed laws punishing or rewarding schools for their standardized-test scores, A.D.H.D. diagnoses in that state would increase not long afterward. Nationwide, the rates of A.D.H.D. diagnosis increased by 22 percent in the first four years after No Child Left Behind was implemented.’

 Following on….. we really are living in a very sad world.

 Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School

“We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

Will NewsCorp Soon Own Your Child’s Student Data? Education Technology and the Murdoch-Klein Connection (via Mary Mackay, Amsterdam)

A nearly inevitable end point for the collection of data on children, not just in the USA. Big data is turning into a 21st century nightmare.

‘…the ability to store large amounts of student information and provide tools for analyzing the data–information that will be available not only to educators, but also to education-technology developers who can tailor products to student and school needs. The article also explores the privacy concerns raised by the easy access that large numbers of companies will have to a vast array of information, ranging from academic achievement to disciplinary problems, for potentially tens of millions of students.’

 Free schools: our education system has been dismembered in pursuit of choice

‘Our uneven and unclear education provision now allows well-informed, persistent parents to entrench social advantage.’

An article about how the English education system is being gradually dismembered. Spot the similarities with New Zealand’s developing education agenda.

This next item isn’t educational but is well worth watching. Amazing eloquence!

Russell Brand interview.

 This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Howard Gardner – developing a disciplined mind

This is a recursive link back to Bruce’s blog and this excellent article.

‘The most important reason to develop disciplined understanding is that through achievement a desire for more is created. Once one has understood something well an ‘appetite has been whetted for additional and deeper understanding…..having eaten from the tree of understanding, he or she is likely to return their repeatedly for ever more satisfying intellectual nourishment’.’

 How Soft Skills, Passion and Connection Can Promote Learning, Competence and Employability

‘Jane McGonigal is an ambitious alternate reality game designer who believes gaming has the potential to unlock solutions to world hunger, poverty, and conflicts.’

 Some Good News About Public Schools

Bashing the public school system, wherever, is a prerequisite to introducing school reform. This must be countered with everything we’ve got.

‘The public school system is not broken. Just like the parents of most 15-year-olds, it is overwhelmed and overworked. It is also underrated and underfunded. But still our school system is pushing the world forward. We are as responsible for our successes as for our failures.’


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