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The Learning Success Blog

Peter Barnes

Peter Barnes has diverse background and experience that ranges from adult education & training in a human resources context, through learning & business innovation, to the leadership of large organisations. He has also worked in finance journalism, accountancy, and digital marketing.

Peter has been involved with the LearnFast Group since 2003, when he joined his wife, Devon, to help her manage the growth in the numbers of schools and individuals using LearnFast’s educational software programs to address language and literacy challenges for learners of all ages.

Peter is a passionate snow skier and has a wide range of interests – from mirror neurons, to American politics (and many others!). Peter has a vision for improving the education of future generations through the innovative and creative use of emerging technologies.

Recent Posts

4 Year Old's First School Assignment: Make a Video & Post It Online

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 20, 2018 at 5:06 PM

Peter Barnes

My granddaughter has just done her first school assignment.

Like all the other children in her kindergarten class in her local state primary school she had to make a video about her family and upload it to a password protected website for all to share.

She is not quite five years old. And she’s using technology to communicate with others and express herself. It’s a 21st century show & tell.

I expect this little girl and her classmates probably didn’t think there was anything remarkable about that project. But it’s a significant example of how technology is becoming such an integral part of our lives.

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Topics: School

Jack Ma: Teach Soft Skills, Not Knowledge, to Compete with Machines

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 19, 2018 at 4:40 PM

Peter Barnes

“Only by changing education can our children compete with machines.”  That’s what Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba believes.  Alibaba is China’s largest e-commerce company. On some measures it is bigger than Amazon.com.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Ma said, “We cannot teach our kids to compete with machines.  Teachers must stop teaching knowledge. We have to teach something unique, so a machine can never catch up with us.”

Don’t teach knowledge based things from the past 200 years

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Topics: School

Social Skills Training Can Help Lonely Children

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 1, 2018 at 10:20 AM

Peter Barnes

“All the lonely people, where do they all come from?  All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

 “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles (1966)

The stereotypical lonely old lady or man is what many people think of when confronted with the fact that there are lonely people all around them.

It's easy to understand why some old people may be lonely. They’re living alone. Their children may live far away, or they may not have children. These lonely men and women might have illnesses or physical disabilities that prevent them from easily leaving their homes to make or maintain friendships.

We don’t often think of children being lonely. But many are.

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Topics: Social Skills, Behaviour, Bullying, Social & Emotional Learning

Students with Better Social Skills Achieve Higher Test Scores

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 31, 2018 at 5:45 PM

Peter Barnes

Children who are co-operative, socially responsible and helpful in kindergarten achieve higher scores on reading, writing and numeracy tests in primary school, compared with children with less pro-social behaviour.

This is the finding from a 5-year study of more than 52,000 kindergarten students from nearly 2800 schools.  The study was led by Dr Rebecca Collie at the University of New South Wales School of Education. 

Test scores from the children’s NAPLAN (Australia’s National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy) in 2012 and 2014 were compared for four different social and emotional behavioural profiles observed when they were in kindergarten:

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Topics: Writing, Social Skills, Literacy, Maths, Social & Emotional Learning, NAPLAN & PISA

Why Sullivan’s Mother got Fast ForWord for Autism Help: Address Root Causes

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 15, 2018 at 5:05 PM

Peter Barnes

Why did the mother of 9 year old autistic boy, Sullivan, choose the Fast ForWord program for him, when she had a multitude of interventions available?

And did this neuroscience–based program help him?

Sullivan’s mum writes a blog, Rethinkinglearning, where she has documented her journey since he was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.

She writes:

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Topics: Autism, Fast ForWord

Read Aloud to Remember More 

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 15, 2018 at 12:38 PM

Peter Barnes

A new Canadian study shows people who read aloud are able to remember more.

This finding has implications both for older people and for students.

According to Medical News Today researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada put 95 people into four groups who:

  1.  Read silently
  2.  Listened to someone else read
  3.  Listened to a recording of themselves reading
  4.  Read out loud in real time.

The people in the group which read out loud had the best recall.  Those who read silently remembered the least. 

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Topics: Memory, Reading, Reading Assistant

Ekamai International School: Building English Language Brains Fast

Posted by Peter Barnes on December 1, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Peter Barnes

The Ekamai International School in Bangkok was close enough to visit whilst we were at the Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Asia conferences in November.

This Seventh Day Adventist school has over 1,300 K-12 students who come from 33 different countries and English is typically not their native language. 

I was intrigued to see the focus of Ekamai school’s leaders on the importance of English. Students can’t miss the prominently displayed signs proclaiming:         

Be Competitive Globally, Speak English Fluently  

Read More

Topics: English Language Learners, Fast ForWord, Fast ForWord123

ENS 2017 Asia Conferences: Accelerating Learning for all Students

Posted by Peter Barnes on December 1, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Peter Barnes

Hundreds of educators and other professionals enjoyed learning at the Educating with Neuroscience 2017- Asia conferences in Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok last month.

LearnFast was asked to extend the events to educators in Asia, following the success of the ENS 2017 conferences in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland earlier in the year, Some of the takeaways reported by those who attended:

“Sleep affects everything”
"The use of technology in studying brain activities that would help the students perform better in school and be a life-long learner”
"The importance of physical activities to improve cognition”
"I’m very touched by the generosity of information. The speakers’ passion for education and learning is inspiring"

Each day’s sessions started with:

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Topics: Conferences

Elite athletes: Leaving clues to better learning for all students

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 10, 2017 at 7:57 AM

Peter Barnes

Is it possible the neurofeedback tools elite athletes are using to lift their performance can also be used to improve learning for students? And not just for top of the class students, but for all students regardless of their current learning achievements?

You may have heard about educational neuroscience, the science of learning, but what about sports neuroscience?  What do you know about that?

Well, sports neuroscience uses brain science to investigate how to improve the performance of top professional athletes, where a very small improvement can help them stand out from the pack.  And they have discovered neurofeedback can make the difference between a gold medal or just missing it by the finest margin. 

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Topics: Teaching, Nervanix Attention Technology, For Principals

Is this your future classroom?

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 11, 2017 at 2:25 PM

Peter Barnes

Sydney University has published a very interesting article about how it's classrooms have changed.  To read Sydney Uni's complete post, go here.

Here is a summary of the article, which starts with this comment: 

"Today, the classroom is flexible, creative, and agile – our students are logging in and learning from all over the globe. The modern tutorial room, lecture theatre and laboratory are still hives of activity, but not in the way you remember it. Here are a handful of ways the classrooms at Sydney have changed."

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Topics: eLearning, School, Teaching, Successful Schools, For Principals

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