Category : Education

Education Work

The answer to the UK's looming digital skills crisis might be more obvious than you think

For every looming economic crisis, there’s a reinvention, and these days it’s always the same one.  Each time fiscal armageddon looms there’s a minister suggesting that the economy will simply restructure itself (somehow), and these days the answer is always (always) that the tech economy will set the country afloat again. That the UK will be a tech-hub driving the globe’s innovation.
But that reflotation may well be heading for an iceberg. A set of problems both self-inflicted and structural.
Coadec, the self-styled ‘policy voice’ of the UK’s start-ups is warning this week, convincingly, it has to be said, that there is a ‘triple whammy’ ahead, creating a huge skills crisis in the UK’s tech industry, which will mean 2.8 million unfilled vacancies for digitally skilled workers, over a quarter of them software developers.

  • A critical fall-off in the STEM skills of the population, due to lack of funding (the structural)
  • Visa restrictions, which will emerge from the withdrawal from the Single Market, meaning fewer skilled specialists from overseas.
  • Those same overseas specialists affected by the uncertainty of Brexit and liable to move to tech-literate countries which feel more stable.

Coadec is assuming the latter two issues (the self-inflicted) are too big for it to take or (or, at least, need to be left to Mr Blair), and the issue of STEM education is largely one of funding. So good luck with that.
So what next? Well, the chances are that at least part of the answer could be sitting right by you. They’re called ‘women’. You may have heard of them. And it’s time they were a much bigger part of the UK’s tech sector.
As it stands, 4% of gaming programmers are women. As are seven of the of the world’s top 100 tech billionaires. In 2015, women held 57% of all professional occupations, but only 25% of all computing occupations. The only place where women get involved in coding on anything like an equitable basis is in teaching it.

The culture remains one of ‘coding is for boys’, and ‘too difficult’ – and that’s a problem. It means the existing tools for coding education are actually putting most girls off wanting to learn more about coding and creating on the web. Instead, we want to build tools to give girls both the skills and the confidence to code.
There’s plenty of places they can learn coding (really, plenty) and plenty of ways they can be empowered to do so. But so many of them start after to most formative years, at primary level. And while that might address the immediate post-Brexit skills issues, it won’t do so quickly, nor will it do anything for the long term.
Tool like the coding game Erase All Kittens can be especially useful – aimed at girls, aged 8+ and teaching HTML, CSS and Javascript – the real languages of technology, it already has 50,000 players across the world, effectively pre-launch, 47% of them girls (it is estimated that less than 20% of girls participate in code education outside of school).
That’s where the difference will come – equality in coding education will, eventually, lead to equality in the gender balance in the tech industry. And it’s no coincidence that there is greater gender equality in the education industry – the role models are there, we just need the tools.
In the meantime, we’re heading for a skills chasm. And there was an answer there all along.

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Education Work

The answer to the UK’s looming digital skills crisis might be more obvious than you think

For every looming economic crisis, there’s a reinvention, and these days it’s always the same one.  Each time fiscal armageddon looms there’s a minister suggesting that the economy will simply restructure itself (somehow), and these days the answer is always (always) that the tech economy will set the country afloat again. That the UK will be a tech-hub driving the globe’s innovation.

But that reflotation may well be heading for an iceberg. A set of problems both self-inflicted and structural.

Coadec, the self-styled ‘policy voice’ of the UK’s start-ups is warning this week, convincingly, it has to be said, that there is a ‘triple whammy’ ahead, creating a huge skills crisis in the UK’s tech industry, which will mean 2.8 million unfilled vacancies for digitally skilled workers, over a quarter of them software developers.

  • A critical fall-off in the STEM skills of the population, due to lack of funding (the structural)
  • Visa restrictions, which will emerge from the withdrawal from the Single Market, meaning fewer skilled specialists from overseas.
  • Those same overseas specialists affected by the uncertainty of Brexit and liable to move to tech-literate countries which feel more stable.

Coadec is assuming the latter two issues (the self-inflicted) are too big for it to take or (or, at least, need to be left to Mr Blair), and the issue of STEM education is largely one of funding. So good luck with that.

So what next? Well, the chances are that at least part of the answer could be sitting right by you. They’re called ‘women’. You may have heard of them. And it’s time they were a much bigger part of the UK’s tech sector.

As it stands, 4% of gaming programmers are women. As are seven of the of the world’s top 100 tech billionaires. In 2015, women held 57% of all professional occupations, but only 25% of all computing occupations. The only place where women get involved in coding on anything like an equitable basis is in teaching it.

The culture remains one of ‘coding is for boys’, and ‘too difficult’ – and that’s a problem. It means the existing tools for coding education are actually putting most girls off wanting to learn more about coding and creating on the web. Instead, we want to build tools to give girls both the skills and the confidence to code.

There’s plenty of places they can learn coding (really, plenty) and plenty of ways they can be empowered to do so. But so many of them start after to most formative years, at primary level. And while that might address the immediate post-Brexit skills issues, it won’t do so quickly, nor will it do anything for the long term.

Tool like the coding game Erase All Kittens can be especially useful – aimed at girls, aged 8+ and teaching HTML, CSS and Javascript – the real languages of technology, it already has 50,000 players across the world, effectively pre-launch, 47% of them girls (it is estimated that less than 20% of girls participate in code education outside of school).

That’s where the difference will come – equality in coding education will, eventually, lead to equality in the gender balance in the tech industry. And it’s no coincidence that there is greater gender equality in the education industry – the role models are there, we just need the tools.

In the meantime, we’re heading for a skills chasm. And there was an answer there all along.

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Education

Online learning for refugees earns UN prize

As a university graduate, Korvi Rakshand wanted nothing more than to help break the cycle of poverty in his native Bangladesh by teaching children on the margins of society.
He rented a single room in a slum for his lessons and provided half a kilo of rice a day to parents as a way of encouraging them to send their children to class.
A decade on, what started as a hobby has led to a network of 10 online schools and three regular schools which aim to give thousands of children in remote areas of the South Asian country of 163 million an education via technology and the internet.
“What we’ve done is not rocket science but the thing is no one ever tried it. It’s a very simple system,” said Rakshand, whose JAAGO Foundation has become the joint recipient of a $25,000 U.N. award for innovation in education.
Even though primary education is free in Bangladesh, only half of all children in the country’s slums attend school, a rate 18 percent lower than the national average, according to the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF.
Rakshand said initially lessons were delivered over Skype, a messaging and video call service, but now teachers in the capital Dhaka use interactive video conferencing to present live tutorials, analyse charts and watch educational videos with students in remote areas.
“For the kids, someone appearing on a television is like a celebrity, so the kids love the concept that they’re talking to a television and there’s someone from the capital who’s probably famous teaching them and giving them time,” Rakshand said.
Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all is one of 17 development goals adopted by U.N. member states in 2015 as part of an ambitious agenda to end global poverty by 2030.
Yet millions of children and adults around the world have little or no access to education due to war, poverty and displacement, experts say.
To address the deficit, non-profits and others are increasingly harnessing technology to reach disadvantaged communities and plug gaps in traditional education systems.
“NEW LIFE”
Promoting learning among refugees who have fled turmoil in countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan can transform their lives, according to Kiron, a non-governmental organisation whose work providing refugees with free access to higher education was also recognised by the prize from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Based in Germany, the NGO runs an online platform that allows refugees to sign up to accounting, engineering and other courses by logging on via their smartphones from anywhere in the world, including camps and shelters.
More than 2,000 students have enrolled in the courses working with 27 partner universities across Germany, France, Turkey and Jordan.
See also: How to start an online learning programme
“For refugees that are in a new society, it’s a lot about their identity of feeling like a student and not like a refugee anymore, and just having fun with each other,” said Markus Kressler, co-founder of Kiron.
Kressler said Kiron had been inundated with requests from volunteers and academics who wanted to offer their services to the online university.
“They (refugees) need just one shot in order to start a new life,” he said. “We need to give everyone a fair chance.”
Despite the success of such projects, internet connection remains a challenge, according to Rakshand, who said JAAGO had considered introducing online classes in Sierra Leone and Nepal but faced limited bandwidth in those countries.
See also: Online university offers refugees the chance to learn for free

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Education

What are the 9 easiest languages for English speakers to learn?

The ubiquity of the English language can make its native speakers a little lazy in learning other languages, but it can be done…

To mark International Mother Language Day, introduced by UNESCO in 2008, as a way to celebrate multiculturalism and acknowledge language as a powerful instrument in furthering our heritage. Your mother language can also help discover new cultures. In honor of the internationally recognized event, the linguists at language learning app Babbel (which uses the mother tongue as a foundation to unlock a new language) have put together a list of the  9 easiest languages to learn for English speakers:

Norwegian
This may come as a surprise, but Norwegian is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn, primarily because both languages are members of the Germanic family of languages. Not only do they share a fair amount of vocabulary, such as vinter and sommer, but the grammar is also very straightforward. Norwegian verbs only have one verb form for each tense, while the word order is also very similar to English, for example kan du hjelpe meg? translates to ‘can you help me?’ Lastly, due to the vast number of accents in Norway, there is more than one correct way of pronouncing something.

Swedish
Another member of the Germanic family of languages, Swedish is another language that is not as  difficult for English speakers to learn. The two languages have a large number of cognates. Cognates are words in different languages that stem from the same language, or sound similar to one another. Similarly, English speakers have had a lot of subtle exposure to the Swedish language thanks to IKEA. For example, IKEA Lack tables are named after the Swedish word for ‘varnish’, while the children’s items in the furniture catalogue are named after animals.

Spanish
Many English-speakers are adept at learning Spanish. Derived from Latin, this romantic language shares a lot of cognates with English. Spanish likely comes as less of a surprise, given it is such a popular choice for English-speakers to learn, due to its wide reach and practicality. Additionally, the Spanish pronunciation is fairly straightforward as it’s a phonetic language, meaning that it is pronounced as it is spelt. Lastly, Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world, meaning that you are likely to already be familiar with a lot of the words, even if you don’t know it yet.

Dutch
Yet another Germanic language, Dutch is spoken across the Netherlands, as well as part of Belgium and Germany. Interestingly, Dutch has a lot of words that are spelled exactly the same as they are in English (more so than any other language), however, they are often pronounced differently. For example, ‘rat’ has the same spelling and meaning as the English, but it is pronounced like the English ‘rot’.

Portuguese
Another member of the Romance language family, Portuguese is spoken across Portugal and Brazil. Similar to Spanish, it shares a lot of vocabulary with English, which makes it easier to learn. However, look out for false cognates, for example ‘pasta’ in Portuguese means ‘folder’.

Indonesian
Another surprising addition to the list, Indonesian is a good pick for English speakers for a number of reasons. First of all, it is a language spoken by a massive 23 million people, while also being one of the few Asian languages which uses the Latin alphabet. Indonesian is also a phonetic language, making the pronunciation aspect incredibly easy. The grammar is very different to the English, but the lack of rules make it easy and exciting to learn.

Italian
Another Romance language, which has an impressive 63 million speakers. Due to its Latin roots, it shares a lot of cognates with English, such as future (future) and lotteria (lottery). The best thing about learning Italian is that you can learn with food. Italian cuisine is such a staple in Western countries, that a number of the words are already part of the English vocabulary.

French
The last of the Romance languages on the list, French is often a favorite amongst English speakers. Although it isn’t as easy as some of the other languages, it is spoken in many corners of the world, from France to Canada to Madagascar. One of the benefits of learning French is its shared vocabulary, as English speakers are familiar with words such as avant-garde and a la carte.

Swahili
The least easy of the easy languages, it is slightly less conventional than the eight languages listed above. Swahili is spoken across a number of countries in south-eastern Africa, usually as a lingua franca. It is said to be the easiest of the African languages for English speakers, as the pronunciation is relatively easy to manage, while a lot of the words like penseli means ‘pencil’ and mashine meaning ‘machine’ are derived from English.

See also: Seven apps to learn seven new skills

The Babbel app for web, iOS and Android makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 7 display languages. Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and are split into useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements. The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months. Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers.

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Education

Education publisher Pearson face real test of John Fallon's homework

John Fallon needs to show he has a plan to navigate Pearson through the sinking sands of its main markets when the world’s biggest education company reports full-year results.
Shareholders, still reeling from Pearson’s latest profit warning, are already calling on the board to review both Fallon’s role as chief executive and its overall structure.
A warning in January, sparked by U.S. students opting to rent textbooks at lower prices rather than buy them, sent shares in the 173-year-old British firm down 30 percent in a day.
Fallon’s fifth such warning during his four-year tenure will mean a dividend cut for the first time in more than two decades and has damaged his credibility with analysts and investors, who are awaiting Pearson’s full year results on February 24.
But while some question Fallon’s ability to see the scale of the challenge ahead and are now urging action, there is little consensus on what Pearson, which sold the Financial Times and a stake in the Economist magazine in 2015, should do next.
“When you’ve given up on something like 22 years of dividend growth, you need to get on and do something drastic,” one top 30 shareholder said, on the condition of anonymity.
Employing 35,000 people, Pearson provides everything from textbooks to school testing, college courses and online degrees, with Britain, the U.S., South Africa, Brazil and China its most important markets.
“It’s not about cost control any more, it’s about are these markets structurally changing. Do we have the right people? What could we be, what could we do? There are no sacred cows,” the shareholder said.
Pearson has focused on the once stable business of education and grown strongly since the turn of the century, but has been hit by the same digital shift that shook-up music and newspapers and has now caught up with the classroom.
ACHIEVABLE AND REALISTIC
Fallon, a 20-year company veteran, has said he accepts responsibility for failing to predict the changes in the market but that his job now is to prepare Pearson for the rapid move to digital.
The group has said it will move more aggressively into ebooks by slashing prices and will launch a print rental programme, which analysts note will dent its finances.
“This is going to become a materially smaller industry,” said analyst Sarah Simon at Berenberg Bank.
See also: What next for Pearson?
Pearson shares have risen 19 percent since the January warning on hopes of a further cost cutting drive to prop up earnings but, having already cut nearly 8,000 jobs in recent years, it will have to avoid damaging its sales capability.
Analysts at Barclays also warn that previous cost cutting drives have merely worked to counter falling revenue and higher investment needs, and have not driven meaningful growth.
With so many challenges, the top 30 shareholder and some analysts question the conglomerate model and whether value could be found in selling off some the group’s assets.
“We’re finding out that education is fragmented, some positions are strong, some are less strong. I would put a real question mark against that and say it’s something they should review,” the shareholder said.
Pearson has already said it will seek to sell its 47 percent stake in the Penguin Random House book joint venture, but any further break up could be complicated by integration between different assets.
See also: The death of the textbook hits Pearson shares
For now, yield-hungry investors want more guidance on how low a rebasing of Pearson’s dividend could go.
“What you’ve got here is no sign of stabilisation,” Neil Campling, head of Global TMT Research for Northern Trust Capital Markets, said.
“If they come out and rebase with a clear and strategic plan that is achievable and realistic, then, even if that means short term pain, the valuation rebases and you can rebuild from that.”

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Education

Ten speeches to restore your faith in the Presidency

It’s fair to say that 2016 was a rollercoaster of a year for politics, and 2017 has gotten off to a pretty volatile start too. A lot of us are lacking faith, feeling a little lost, and are unsure about what to expect of the political landscape over the next few years, but let us not forget that America is a great country with a history of great strength.

To boost morale and remind you just how far America has come, the leading podcast platform Acast, has delved into the historical archives to launch a collection of 10 of the most inspiring presidential speeches from the last 70 years, to coincide with Presidents’ Day.

From Obama’s landmark first inauguration, to Reagan’s famous “Tear down this wall” speech, this collection holds examples of great words from great leaders, all of whom helped to make America the powerhouse that it is today.

Here is the full list of presidential speeches you can listen to in their entirety on Acast:

President Barack Obama – In 2009, Barack Obama made history as the first Black President of the United States. Here you can listen to the first inaugural of one of America’s most loved Presidents.

President George W. Bush  – Love him or hate him, George Bush saw America through one of the toughest times in its history. Listen here as he addresses the nation to inspire unity and strength at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. on September 17 2001, just days after the harrowing 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

President Bill Clinton –  Bill Clinton was the first Democrat to be elected into a second term in six decades. His presidency had its fair share of scandal, following his impeachment in light of revelations about Monica Lewinksy, he led the nation to a strong economic period. Listen to his first inaugural address here.

President George W. H. Bush  – Credited with improving U.S. and Soviet relations, one of Bush Senior’s main focuses was foreign policy. Unlike his son, he only served one term as president, but his inaugural address stating “When America says something, America means it”, we can hear first-hand just why he was elected.

President Ronald Reagan – A former actor, Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States. With Donald Trump currently trying to ‘build a wall’ listen to this inspirational speech that Reagan made in front of Brandenburg Gate as he asked leaders to ‘tear down’ the Berlin Wall.

President Jimmy Carter  – Jimmy Carter’s famous “crisis of confidence” speech, came 10 days after the 39th President of the United States pulled out of an Independence Day Speech. This speech, known as his “malaise speech” was a bold, thought-provoking one, chastizing the nation for failing to address the energy problem and criticized how Americans were living their lives.

President Gerald Ford  – Following President Richard Nixon’s resignation, Gerald Ford is the first and only person to serve as both the Vice President and President of the United States without being elected to either office. In these remarks, following taking his oath of office, Ford addresses the Watergate scandal that forced Nixon to resign, and asked America to pray that Nixon “who brought peace to millions, find it for himself.”

President Richard Nixon  – In his inaugural address, Nixon invites us to share with him “the majesty of this moment”. His presidency was chequered with scandal and the infamous Watergate brought to light many illegal activities undertaken by the Nixon administration however, he was offered a pardon by his successor and attempted to rehabilitate his public image in later years.

President Lyndon B. Johnson  – Johnson assumed office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In this important speech, Johnson addresses the right to vote and states that every man regardless of race, ethnicity, or position, should have the right to vote. Listen as he asks congress to assist him in passing legislation that allows all to vote.

President John F. Kennedy –  JFK is undoubtedly the most famous president in modern history. Serving just two years of his presidency before his tragic assassination in November 1963, In his inauguration this much loved president hopes to address the issue of poverty in the United States, and asks America to think what “together we can do for the freedom of man.”

Caitlin Thompson is the US Director of Content at Acast the world’s leading technology platform for on-demand audio and podcasting. 

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Education Health

Later school starts lead to better attendance

When high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later, attendance rates and graduation rates improve, according to a new study.

The study backs previous research that says additional sleep boosts psychological, behavioral and academic benefits for teens.

“So much research explains the impact of insufficient sleep on suicide, substance abuse, depression, auto accidents and more,” said lead study author Pamela McKeever of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

“This connects the dots between the world of science and education,” she told said.

“Through this, educators and parents can see how lack of sleep impacts the school indicators that we use to measure student success.”

McKeever and colleague Linda Clark looked at school start times, graduation rates and attendance rates for 30,000 students in 29 high schools across seven states. They found that two years after a delayed start was implemented at these high schools, average attendance rates and graduation rates had increased several percentage points.

For example, the average graduation completion rate was 79 percent before the delayed start was implemented, and it was 88 percent afterward.

“This doesn’t only impact our high school students. This impacts all of society,” McKeever said. “As graduation rates improve, young adults experience less hardship after graduation, a lower chance of incarceration and a higher chance of career success.”

Delayed bell times could close the achievement gap as well, McKeever and Clark wrote in Sleep Health, the journal of the National Sleep Foundation. When schools start later, students in lower socioeconomic categories are more likely to get to the bus on time. When they arrive at school on time, they’re more likely to stay in class and graduate.

“When kids miss a bus early in the morning and that’s their only form of transportation, they miss class and then soon the credits,” said Kyla Wahlstrom of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who wasn’t involved with this study. “People don’t understand the link between early wakeup times and graduation rates, but it’s that direct.”

Since the late 1990s, Wahlstrom and other researchers have suggested that delayed high school start times may help students. In 2014, she and her colleagues reported that in a three-year study with 9,000 students in eight public high schools across three states, attendance rates increased with a start time of 8:35 a.m. or later.

In December, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine advised that later school start times could improve sleep, reduce car accidents and reduce sleepiness. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends 8:30 a.m. as the earliest time to begin school.

But school policies have yet to change nationwide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 42 states, 75-100 percent of public schools start before 8:30 a.m.

Teens are “driven by biology to go to sleep later, and there’s not much we can do about that, but school start times are the main reason they get up when they do,” said Anne Wheaton, an epidemiologist at the CDC in Atlanta. Wheaton wasn’t involved with this study.

A limitation of the study is that many variables affect attendance and graduation rates. Changes at the school level, such as different teachers, policies and the surrounding community itself, could affect students and their ability to complete class credits, extracurricular activities and afterschool jobs. Also, the data didn’t measure sleep time or indicate whether students slept more due to delayed start times.

“The debate about school start time and adolescent sleep patterns has been going on for a number of years,” said Mary Carskadon of the Sleep for Science Research Lab at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who wasn’t involved with this study.

“Efforts to delay the school bell are more likely to succeed best when parents and the teens themselves use better choices,” she told Reuters Health by email. “This includes having a set bedtime and limiting arousing activities in the evening.”

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Education Work

Schools trial police-style body cameras

Teachers at two British schools are trialling the use of police-style body cameras to help maintain discipline, a survey has revealed, prompting a civil liberties group to warn that teachers could be turned into snoopers.

The Times Educational Supplement survey said the experiment comes as over one-third of a sample of over 600 teachers said they would be willing to wear a camera, while one in five said it would improve their teaching.

The survey did not reveal the names of the schools undertaking the trial.

“The aim is to reduce constant low level classroom disruption which is reducing the effectiveness of teaching,” said Tom Ellis, a lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth who will be advising the schools trialling the cameras.

“Teachers are actually very concerned that they’re spending their time managing order in the classroom instead of actually teaching,” said Ellis, adding that students might become more aware of their behaviour if they knew it was being filmed.

Ellis said the pilot scheme started about two weeks ago and is likely to run for three months.

“The use of body cameras is not the same as CCTV. Body cameras within the classroom have to be incident-specific … so the teacher has to be trained to make a decision as to whether use of the camera is necessary,” added Ellis, a former Home Office researcher.

Civil liberties groups have expressed concern.

“This sounds like an over the top response to an age old problem,” said Daniel Nesbitt, research director at Big Brother Watch.

“These schools have to be very careful about how they use this intrusive technology as it risks turning teachers into snoopers.”

Mary Bousted, general secretary at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said that if schools had good behaviour policies they should not have to resort to using body cameras or CCTV.

“CCTV can have a useful role in monitoring entrances and exits to schools to prevent strangers gaining access or vandalism, but we do not support their use in schools to monitor children and staff,” she added.

According to the ATL, four out of 10 teachers experienced violence from pupils in 2015.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said trialling body-cams was a matter for schools to decide.

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Education

How to make an area counter in Google spreadsheets

Google sheets is pretty powerful – heck most spreadsheets program are pretty powerful. This guide will show you how to create your very own spreadsheet that will automatically calculate area. Area is not terribly difficult for students but it is always nice to have a little something in your pocket to check your work.

I’m going to do this for with my grade 6 math class this week and thought I’d share it out! Feel free to change or get in touch with me about any questions!

  • Rectangles/squares
  • Parallelograms
  • Triangles
  • Trapezoids

Step 1 – Create a new spreadsheet

Before you can start working on a spreadsheet – we need to create it. This is very easy

  1. Go to http://drive.google.com
  2. If it asks you to log in – go ahead and do that
  3. Click on the New button
  4. A drop down menu will appear. From here select Google Sheets

NOTE: IF YOU DON’T HAVE A GOOGLE ACCOUNT, YOU CAN DO THIS ON EXCEL, LIBRE OFFICE, OPEN OFFICE, NUMBERS OR ANY SPREADSHEET PROGRAM

Google spreadsheets

Step 2 – Set up the spreadsheet

Here is our brand new spreadsheet and we are going to set it up.

  1. Name the file
  2. Copy the information you see on my spreadsheet onto your spreadsheet – make it look exactly the same!

We can format it later to make it look better.

Google spreadsheets

Step 3 – Area of rectangles and squares –  length x width

Let’s add the formula for the rectangles and squares.
When writing formulas in a spreadsheet program (any spreadsheet program), you will need to start with the equal sign (=).
Now we are ready to start adding in some formulas. This is where the magic happens. We will start in cell B4.
Copy the following in B4

=B2*B3

When you do this and hit enter you should the formula replaced by the number 12.
What is happening is the spreadsheet is taken the number in cell B2 and the number in cell B3 and multiplying them together.
When you hit enter you should get an answer of 12!

Google spreadsheets

Step 4 – Area of parallelogram – base x height

This formula is going to be very similar to the rectangle/square formula.
This time we will be typing our formula into cell D4.

=D2*D3

When you hit enter you should get an answer of 42
Again, what is happening is the spreadsheet is taking whatever number is in D2 and D3 and multiplying them together.
When you hit enter you should get an answer of 42!

Google spreadsheets

Step 5 – Area of a triangle – 1/2 x base x height

Now that we have the rectangle, square and parallelogram taken care of, let’s try the triangle.
Since we are doing more than just multiplying two numbers our formula will look a bit different. We will be typing this formula into cell F4.

=.5*F2*F3

When you hit enter you should see the answer of 20!

Google spreadsheets

Step 6 – Area of trapezoid – 1/2 x (base 1 + base 2) x height

Now we are to our final and most complicated formula.
We will be typing this formula into cell H5.

=.5*(H2+H3)*H4

Everything must be copied perfectly! If not it will give you an error. If you do this correctly you should get an answer of 15!

Google spreadsheets

Formatting (if you want)

Now that it is built you can type any dimensions of those shapes and it will automatically and correctly calculate the area of those shapes. Below is an area calculator that I’ve been working on.
Google spreadsheets
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Education

School bullying linked to poorer academic achievement

Not only does bullying at school affect students’ emotional and social lives, it also directly affects their schoolwork and engagement in the classroom, suggests a U.S. study.
Students who faced bullying for much of their time in school had the greatest risk of low achievement and engagement, researchers found. And kids who were victimized only in earlier years showed gains in self-esteem, school performance and how much they liked school after bullying stopped.
“Bullying and peer victimization in school-age children has become more important in recent years because we recognize the damage it can do,” said lead author Gary Ladd, a psychology researcher at Arizona State University in Tempe.
“Nationally, there have been high-profile suicides and school districts trying to implement bully prevention programs,” Ladd told Reuters Health. “Teachers, parents, school administrators and anyone who knows a school-age kid should understand these effects.”
See also: 14 ways to tackle cyberbullying.
Ladd and colleagues followed 383 children – about equally split between boys and girls – from kindergarten through senior year of high school. With regular surveys, they measured the degree and frequency of peer victimization that kids experienced – including physical, verbal and relational bullying – as well as their academic self-perception and level of school engagement. They also used grades and teacher evaluations to measure academic achievement.
Based on these data, the study team categorized victimization into five types based on when it began and ended and how intensive it was. Some kids were never or rarely bullied, some were victimized in their early school years but not in later years, while another group was increasingly victimized in later years.
In Kindergarten, 21 percent of children experienced “severe” victimization and another 38 percent experienced a moderate level of bullying. These proportions declined steadily over the years until the final year of high school, when less than 1 percent were severely victimized and just under 11 percent were moderately bullied.
However, across the years, 24 percent of kids fell into the researchers’ category of “high-chronic” victimization. And these were also the ones most likely to have low school engagement, academic self-perception and academic achievement, particularly in math, the study team found.
“Some pockets of children remain bullied across their school careers,” Ladd said. “That’s a long time to be continually bullied. We’re most concerned about those kids.”
The fact that bullying typically starts in the younger grades and declines into middle school and high school runs counter to popular culture, which depicts the most severe bullying after elementary school, the authors write in the Journal of Educational Psychology.
“In the movies, you see the ‘mean girls’ in high school, but it often begins as kids enter kindergarten and learn how to assert themselves in a large group of peers,” Ladd said. “We may be waiting too late to look for warning signs.”
Among the five groups, Ladd and colleagues note that the early victims typically became less bullied over time and it would be interesting to investigate how these students were able to escape victimization as they moved through school. On the other hand, the group that was victimized later in life became more bullied by middle school and had achievement levels similar to the chronic group.
“The fact that children whose victimization levels declined over time showed improvements in academics was a very encouraging finding,” said Jonathan Nakamoto, an education researcher at nonprofit agency WestEd in Los Alamitos, California. Nakamoto, who wasn’t involved with the study, has previously researched the link between bullying and academic achievement.
“This suggests that many anti-bullying interventions could improve students’ academic outcomes as well as reduce bullying,” he said. “There are some ‘quick wins’ that teachers can do to combat bullying.”
Nakamoto pointed to the California Department of Education’s Safe and Supportive Schools program, which recommends best practices to improve school climates for learning. With bullying, the department suggests that teachers and parents educate themselves about different types of bullying, create “safe spaces” to talk, and take action when students seem isolated.
“When children are just starting school, pay attention to certain comments about kids not liking them or not letting them play,” Ladd said. “Take it seriously. Our ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘girls will be girls’ mindset prevents us from seeing what’s happening.”

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