Dangers and Responsibilities of the Internet

note_from_the_teacherHere is a timely reminder to keep an eye on what our gifted students need to be careful of as they participate in open online courses and MOOCs for meeting their needs. So much is available free, outside of the “walled” offerings that are paid for. Watch out that “free” sign doesn’t become more costly than you’d ever imagined.


Thanks to Brett for his words of wisdom.

One Space – Free Online Learning Courses for Single Parents

One Space is a popular UK social networking site for single parents from Single Parent Action Network (SPAN). It launched a series of free online learning courses recently.

The online learning courses help to up-skill single parents in current work practices so that they can gain and maintain successful employment.

The interactive learning modules are easy to follow and available 24 hours a day to enable lone parents to fit their self-development around family commitments and work at their own pace.

I know and appreciate how well online learning can benefit single parents unable to get childcare for their little ones. I was in that position many years ago now, and completed my first ever degree from Massey University, extramurally, as was available then – through the post). I completed my Bachelor in Business Studies – Accountancy over six years. It fitted in well around my roles as full-time child caregiver and my part-time work with an accountant. I retrained as a teacher when I found accountancy professional development cut too far across family time. Later, I went on to study my Masters in Education via online study while I taught in a full-primary school.

Online education became an interest, and then developed as a major for me during my Masters’ research and study. I developed an online journalism course for gifted seniors who anticipated following this line of work after school. It included role play exercises to familiarise participants with taking an alternative point of view on a topic. By doing so, they had to research a topic much more deeply and their journalism improved as a result.

So – well done One Space, for not only recognising a need for single parents, but for using current technology to improve the chances for those in need.

Thinkers Online is back …

Hmmmm . . .

I’m thinking . . . where do you start when you have so much to say?

Have you met a disillusioned parent of a gifted child who is not enjoying school? They have every right to expect their child should be able to enjoy their school years as much as the next child, but sadly, so often, they don’t.

There are many different reasons for this, just as there are many different reasons for being late home from work!! I couldn’t cover them all in two years of blogging, but I am going to have a try for as long as I can. If one little morsel helps one gifted child to enjoy school, or one teacher enjoy their gifted child more, or one parent of a gifted child to sleep with less anxiety, then I will be pleased.

But for now, what do I start with? The letter “A” is one idea!

“A” might be for anxiety, acceleration, awesome activities, assessment, asynchronous development, or attitude!

I’ll start with asynchronous development – the meaning of which is developing in uneven levels depending on the factors being studied. Often, our gifted students are exceptionally good at some activities, but very average or even under-developed in others. It would be sad to think they would miss out on working with their strengths, in favour of dealing with their weaknesses all the time. You know, the very child who misbehaves in a regular class is not allowed to take part in the extension class, where his/her behaviour might miraculously improve because of the fact there is real challenge for them in a subject they enjoy.

Oral language can be way above reading development and spelling, or academics way above social development. That’s ok, it is what makes our gifted even more unique, and difficult to generalise about. We will just have to treat them as individuals, and start personalising their learning just as we are asked to do for all students.

And then there’s “Johnny” – great sportsman, wins all the titles, exemplary behaviour, but put him in the classroom with a pencil and paper – and suddenly, turmoil on the planet! But “that’s ok, he’s just not an academic!”

Why do we accept that someone is a great sportsman, but not very good academically, but if the shoe is on the other foot, and we have a great academic who doesn’t enjoy sport, we are told for their own benefit, they should be given a broader education outdoors and be compelled to join a team?

Life’s not fair – I accept that, but can’t it be not fair on everyone, to make it fair?

Just a thought to leave you with …