Article | March 12, 2020
In the weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak first hit China, our education customers in the region have done amazing things to keep students learning while they transition to learning remotely. From eLearning innovations to keeping students’ spirits high with photo and cooking challenges, teachers and students have shown extraordinary resilience during this difficult time. Now, as countries around the world take steps to contain the virus, many schools and universities globally are moving classes online. However, teaching and learning from home is a big change for most students and Educators. Without a physical classroom, how can you check that students are engaged and progressing? How do Educators and faculty stay connected?
Article | June 21, 2021
When you think of a playground what do you think of? Swings, slides, roundabouts?
Many years ago, these would be constructed without too much thought gone into the risks to ordinary children falling or losing grip. I have several siblings. We all sustained injuries at the local park. One fell off the high slide and lost her front teeth. One slid forward on the slippery rocking horse and had stitches in her chin. Another caught her foot on the roundabout as she tried to jump off when another child was pushing it too fast for her liking. I could go on.
Today playgrounds have to meet the European safety standards and safety surfacing has to be installed under swings, slides, and roundabouts. This must adhere to the current standard for impact absorbing playground surfaces.
It is good that playgrounds today meet these safety standards.
Yet. If your child is unable to walk, how will they get on that swing, that roundabout, that slide?
More and more children with disabilities are being educated in mainstream schools. Parents no longer think that a disability should stop their child from accessing the local playground. What is available to students with disabilities in these playgrounds?
Special schools have had to cater for students with disabilities when planning a playground but do ordinary schools? It is an act of discrimination if a child with a disability cannot enjoy being out on the playground as much as the able bodied child.
There was a time when the only wheelchair swing took ages to set up for a child to enjoy just 5 minutes of swing time. Anbakgard in Denmark have designed a wheelchair swing that takes just two minutes to set up and has additional seating for peers to join the experience. To see one in action go to https://YouTube.be/vh4NSOTULdA.
There are roundabouts that include a safety space for wheelchairs and slides that allow adults to accompany children on them for support. There are outdoor trampolines specifically for wheelchairs. There are birds nest swings that allow students with mild physical disabilities more space to enjoy the vestibular sensory stimulation. There are many sites that now provide play equipment to suit all kinds of needs. One such site is https://www.gljones-playgrounds.co.uk who provided our school with a lot of its play equipment.
There are climbing walls specifically geared to wheelchair users. Visit http://www.rockclimbingcentral.comto see the benefits to building muscle strength, endurance, strength, agility and flexibility.
When our children have missed out so much on play during the pandemic it is important that we provide all children with their right to play by ensuring that playgrounds everywhere are inclusive.
Article | March 7, 2021
While the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our economy, women continue to be disproportionately impacted. Now is the time to look at the long game. What changes can society make in order to insure that when the next big crisis happens, women don’t bear the brunt of it. Education, of course, has always been on the front line of changing societal disparities. However, much of the time we don’t look at the root causes of why young women underperform in certain areas. Below are five ways we can position women for educational success, from girlhood to the moment they walk into their first job. If you are a teacher, give this list to the parents you work with. Help them set the tone now so our girls grow up ready to take on the world.
DON’T TELL ME I’M PRETTY
Little girls, from the time they are young, are praised for how beautiful they are. We talk to girls about how they look and boys about what they do. This escalates when little girls hit puberty. This is when girls start deriving their social capital from their looks and their grades start to tank. Fight this trend by praising young women for what they do. Don’t say, “You’re so beautiful!” Instead say, “I love how curious you are about the solar system! You’re such an interesting person to talk to!”
DON’T TELL ME I’M SMART
This sounds a little bit strange, but often little boys are praised for their hard work and girls are praised for their inherent intelligence. The problem with this is that when a little girl doesn’t do well she thinks it has to do with how smart she is rather than her work ethic. Her failures become a referendum on her intelligence. Say, “Wow, you really worked hard” rather than, “Wow, you’re so smart!” You can always work harder, but you can’t change the brains you were born with!
DON’T BE TOO NICE TO ME
When young women struggle in the sciences or STEM, often parents try to protect their feelings. This can take the form of telling young women who are struggling that perhaps their major is just too hard --maybe they should do something that makes their life a little easier. Boys get the message not to give up - girls get the message to take the path of least resistance. Don’t coddle your girls. Hold them to the same tough standard you have with your boys.
DON’T SEE ME ONLY AS A GIRL OR A WOMAN
Understand that if you are trying to support women you cannot do that in a White Woman vacuum. If a young woman you know is struggling, look at the other issues that might be intersecting. Does she have a disability? Is she a woman of color? Is she the first generation to go to college in her family? Audre Lorde famously said “there is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives.“ Make sure you are not treating every woman as if she is the same simply because of her gender. There could be all kinds of intersections that are also impacting her situation.
DO VALUE MY VOICE
If you are an educator, pay attention to who you are listening to. Note how you value different voices. The patterns that impact girls and young women follow them throughout their education and into adulthood. Pay attention to who you’re calling on in class. Whose voice gets more weight? Watch for classroom dynamics that make certain people feel they have the right to speak and others feel they must remain silent. Be sure to encourage every student from kindergarten to PhD candidates to speak up and then make sure you’re listening. It’s wonderful how much weight we give to the voices of men and boys. Women should be afforded the same courtesy.
Women’s success doesn’t just come from hiring women or making sure we are paid the same for doing the same work. It comes from making sure every woman, from the time she is a little girl, is given the message that she has worth, and that if she works hard enough, she can achieve her dreams. Let’s not tell our girls that they are pretty flowers who might crumble when life knocks them down. Let’s give them the message that life can be hard, but they can work harder, and if they do, success will be theirs.
Eliza VanCort is an in-demand consultant, speaker, and writer on communications, career and workplace issues, and women’s empowerment. The founder of The Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca, she is also a Cook House Fellow at Cornell University, an advisory board member of the Performing Arts for Social Change, a Diversity Crew partner, and a member of Govern For America’s League of Innovators. Her first book, A Woman’s Guide to Claiming Space: Stand Tall. Raise Your Voice. Be Heard., publishes May 11, 2021.
Article | June 18, 2020
When we talk about technology in current time and age, the first thing that pops up in our head is Data Science. There are a million reasons for saying so. The market is full of job opportunities, multiple field applications, growth, higher demand and much more. Data Science is not like other technologies which come and go instead; it is here to stay. Why I say so is that this stream has multiple co-streams that have sub-streams and the web is getting dense. The best part is due to its universal usage the technology is developing at lightning speed. Due to its high demand and lack of supply, the salary bracket of a Data Scientist is way more when compared to other technical streams irrespective of your experience.