Review: International laptop programme does not improve education | England's teachers turn up the heat on classroom temperatures | North Korean students begin new school year with old traditions
10 April 2012
ASCD Worldwide Edition SmartBrief
An ASCD SmartBrief supplement for international members

Learning and Teaching
South Korea's digital textbook initiative faces obstacles
In South Korea, 63 schools are testing digital textbooks before they are adopted nationwide in 2015. Officials say they are still working to determine which grade levels and subjects should be taught with digital textbooks, and will continue to use some print textbooks as all subjects might not be suited to digital resources. They also are working to train teachers to use the new technology in the classroom. The Korea Herald (Seoul) (08 Apr.)
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Review: International laptop programme does not improve education
The One Laptop per Child programme, which operates in more than 30 developing countries worldwide, has not been successful, according to a recent review. The Inter-American Development Bank found that in Peru -- which has the largest OLPC programme -- students' scores did not improve after they began using the laptop computers. At issue, according to the review, is the programme's lack of guidance for teachers in how to use the new technology. ZDNet/iGeneration blog (09 Apr.)
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England's teachers turn up the heat on classroom temperatures
Teachers in England are calling for legislation that would, among other things, protect teachers and students from working in overly hot classrooms. The proposal stems from a recent survey showing that last summer, almost all teachers worked in classrooms that were 24 degrees Celsius and one-third taught in those that reached 30 degrees Celsius. While union leaders say the classrooms are excessively hot, government officials say schools already are required to comply with temperature regulations. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (08 Apr.)
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Other News
Professional Leadership
Britain's teachers could ramp up industrial action
In Britain, teachers are preparing for work-to-rule protests and strikes following dissatisfaction with negotiations over their pay, retirement benefits and workload. The discontent comes as teaching unions attend their annual conferences and as educators prepare for a second year without pay raises. "There has been no respite from the attacks on every aspect of a teacher's working life and this is inevitably taking its toll," said Chris Keates, union general secretary. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (06 Apr.)
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Teachers in England oppose role of school watchdog
In England, several changes in the way schools are inspected and evaluated have drawn criticism from teachers, who voted recently to ban the chief schools watchdog, Ofsted, from schools. The message, says Martin Powell-Davies, from Lewisham in south London, is "Ofsted, you're not welcome in our schools." Ofsted officials, however, say the inspections have had positive outcomes for education. The Independent (London) (tiered subscription model) (09 Apr.)
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Canadian board eliminates school librarians
A school board in Nova Scotia, Canada, has approved the elimination of all librarians from schools in an effort to cut costs. The 41 librarians are among 130 full-time equivalent employees expected to be cut by 30 June. "It's like taking the food out of a cafeteria -- what will they do without librarians?" said Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union. The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax, Nova Scotia) (07 Apr.)
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Teachers in Brazil seek pay equity
Brazil plans to raise minimum salaries for teachers by 22% in 2012. However, educators and their advocates say the minimum wage still will be too low for the country's teachers, who earn about 60% of what other professionals with their educational background earn. "Only one teacher's salary would not be enough to support a family," said Amelia Enrietti, a long-time teacher in Brazil who also works with Teachers Without Borders. United Press International (05 Apr.)
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Regional Spotlight
ASCD Worldwide Edition SmartBrief highlights education practices and policies in specific regions to give readers more in-depth insight into that country or region's education system. This edition focuses on New Zealand.
Spotlight on Australia
ASCD Worldwide Edition SmartBrief highlights education practices and policies in specific regions to give readers more in-depth insight into that country or region's education system. This edition focuses on Australia.

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Australian schools task students with technical support
In some Australian schools that have adopted Bring Your Own Device programmes, students are responsible for their own technical support. At one school, students use an online forum to troubleshoot technology problems. Another school has partnered with Apple, and students and teachers can use a dedicated phone in the school to call for technical support. The company also plans to train a team of students to provide technical support for Apple devices. The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) (06 Apr.)
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Australian schools back away from new funding programme
Some schools in Australia are beginning to abandon a government trial programme in which school principals control 70% of the school budget. The move follows concerns the programme could lead to budget cuts. "Anywhere in the world they have introduced systems like this it has been the first step to reducing government expenditure on education," said Murray Blundell, a teacher at a school that is part of the government trial. The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) (08 Apr.)
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The Buzz
3-Minute Motivators is a collection of over 100 simple, fun activities for any grade that will help you use "a little magic" to take a quick break, engage students, and refocus them on the task at hand. Click here to browse Chapter 1 online!
Reform and Research
Italian study links visual problems, children's dyslexia risk
Italian researchers assessed the visual spatial attention of children for three years and found that those with visual attention deficits also experienced reading problems. They said that simple visual attention activities would be helpful for the early detection of dyslexia. The findings appear in the journal Current Biology. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (05 Apr.)
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New leaders for new schools: Taking up the challenge of urban schools
How can leaders in challenging urban schools help forge a culture that truly supports student achievement? In a 10-column ASCD Express series, New Leaders for New Schools' co-founder Ben Fenton presents practises, structures and attitudes that he's seen really make a difference. His columns emphasise the importance of believing in the children you serve, forming aligned instructional leadership teams and using time strategically and creatively. Read on.
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Are you meeting your students' needs for love and belonging?
Seeking out attention -- in whatever form it may come -- is one way kids meet their need for love and belonging, points out early-childhood education expert Muriel Rand in her ASCD Express article on effectively working with children who frequently act out. Ignoring these students is unprofessional, says Rand, but there are many ways to increase the amount of positive attention you give them at other times. Rand shares a handful of strategies for doing just that and explains how employing them can support students socially and academically. Read on.
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It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of [humour].
Max Eastman,
American writer, philosopher and activist
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