VIEWS & OPINION Not just for nerds -

play-based learning for a brighter future

Comment by AADITYA YA TANGRI, Co-Founder & CEOof

Kalebr Americas and Founder of STEAMathalon Imagine a space where the lines between a

classroom, the real world, who the teacher is, when one learns, how one learns and whom one learns from are being redefined. Education should be a space where learners work together to answer questions that are relevant and fascinating to them and celebrate their discoveries. Learning for the future must be based on skills and values, far beyond the limitations of “today's” testable knowledge and

evaluated by application rather than generic tests. Further, the happiness of learners and their overall well-being is essential to nurture and grow human capital for sustainable growth, we must not only instill ideas such as a growth mindset, design thinking and positive education but actively engage learners throughout. Isn’t this, by definition, There is an important distinction between play as

an activity, and play?

playfulness as an attitude. "Playfulness" is about being open to new

possible. It's about exploring possibilities. Play is not the problem, but experiences. It’s about imagining, a spirit of making the impossible,

learners and are key to creating spaces for positive exploration and more Playful educational approaches encourage the development of playfulness might just be the answer.

importantly, the development of 21st-century skills.Most educators will agree that our childhood years set the stage for future success in the

environment where children learn the foundational skills necessary for workplace. These formative years are essential for creating an

growth and development. As educators, we must make a subtle shift to transformative, integrated learning systems.Whether we like it or not, artificial intelligence, algorithms, advances in genetic engineering, nanotechnology and biology are already shaping our world at a pace we can scarcely comprehend.

There are examples of educational institutions globally, who are creating "tomorrow's classroom, today", championing play-based learning with the support of Kalebr, an education company whose products promote 21st-century skills, happiness, well-being, sustainability, making, coding and innovation for students of all ages. Having introduced STEAMathalon to their curriculum, these schools are tapping into the equitable access to quality, scal learning tools, support, resources and environm educators.

ents for learners and able and engaging

STEAMathalon are exciting, play-based competitive innovation league focusing on STEAM(Science, Technology, Engineering, Art,Math), positive education, making, coding, UN Sustainable Development goals and citizenship within the core curriculum. STEAMathalon arm innovators of all needs and abilities with powerful tools and projojects to control physical objects remotely and compete to solve a real-world problem. Organised into teams and provided with a brief of a real-life challenge to solve, learners use Kalebr's innovation and well-being framework to create exciting inventions that come together to form a "future proof" portfolio.

Involvement in play-based learning programs such as STEAMathalon stimulates a learner's drive for exploration and discovery, motivating the individual to gain mastery over their environment, promoting focus and concentration. It also enables the learner to happily engage in the flexible and higher-level thinking processes deemed essential for the 21st- century learner, including inquiry processes of problem-solving, analysing, evaluating, applying knowledge and creativity. Play-based programs for young learners support the wellbeing, happiness and development of socially competent learners, able to face challenges and create solutions.We must be effective leaders in necessitating the change required to transform pedagogy and to maximise the fered by modern learning methods and digital technology.

benefits of significant

Formore information:www fo

Fear of times tablesmust not prevent deeper understanding of multiplication

Comment by JAY 3P Learning


The government’s announcement that it will be introducing a mandatory times tables check for Key Stage 2 pupils was met with a flurry of opposition, with opponents to the test citing increased workload for teachers and additional stress for children, as well as maintaining that in the digital age the need to learn multiplication has been largely voided. As a former teacher and passionate

advocate of maths learning, it is my belief that a renewed focus on times tables is a positive

step for schools.Multiplication is a foundational skill for mathematics and must be mastered by primary-aged children if they are to succeed in


maths at secondary level. However, the crucial factor that educators and government alike must ensure, is that the pressure of the test itself doesn’t push teachers into a rote learning approach to times tables. To succeed at long multiplication and multiplication of two digit

numbers a concept of

times tables. This means using models and images to move t secondary level, students must understand the deeper

pupils from a concrete understanding of mathematics (for example, lining up three blocks of three to see you have nine), to a pictorial understanding (eg, using arrays), to an abstract knowledge (knowing that 3 x 3 = 9). Ensuring pupils understand why the numbers on the page equal a particular figure, rather than just knowing that they do, is essential if the UK is to improve its maths and STEMskills.

Another fundamental change the UK must make is in its attitude to maths. If you were to ask the majority of parents whether they read to their child they would know the answer to this question should be yes – irrespective of whether or not they do. In contrast, if we were to ask parents whether they practise maths with their child the majority wouldn’t feel under pressure to say yes. This mindset must be changed and maths learning placed on an equal footing to reading and writing practise.

Ultimately, I believe the renewed focus on times tables is a positive step for maths learning. Reciting times tables at the front of a classroom is not the correct way to embed knowledge; however, we must not let this outdated view of times tables learning allow us to neglect it all together. By taking the tests online, undue stress can be avoided as can excessive teacher workload. If the UK is to improve its performance in maths and become a world leader in STEM, ensuring our children have a strong knowledge of multiplication is essential.

May 2019

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