The ofﬁcial newsletter of The International Research Association for Talent Development and Excellence (IRATDE) Volume 2, Issue 1 - January 2011
FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMITTEE
elcome to the third issue of our newsletter. Since the last edition of Talent Talks, the IRATDE has continued to expand and develop due to the efforts and contributions of its valued members. Membership in IRATDE continues to blossom, with 302 active members representing 54 countries at present. Among the signiﬁcant developments since our July 2010 is the successful publication of the new issue of our journal: Talent Development & Excellence (available from our website); the wide variety of authors and the breadth of the treatment of the theme (excellence in sport) is a testimony to both the uniquely international nature of our endeavor and the depth of talent represented by our contributors. Please look in Talent Talks for the announcement of our second international conference to be hosted in Jubail, Saudi Arabia in November 2011. We continue to receive a ﬂow of positive feedback about both our journal and Talent Talks, and I would like to take this opportunity to invite members to become more active participants in IRATDE events and to contribute to Talent Talks by submitting news about gifted and talented development in their countries.
Prof. Abdullah M. Aljughaiman
I would like to thank the contributors to this issue of the newsletter as well as the editors of Talent Talks, Prof. Shane N. Phillipson and Dr. Sivanes Phillipson. In addition, I would like to thank the Editors-in-Chief of the IRATDE Journal Prof. Albert Ziegler and Prof. Jiannong Shi, all of whose continued efforts help to spread the message and vision of IRATDE. Abdullah M. Aljughaiman IRATDE President
TALENT TALKS CONTENTS Volume 2, Issue 1, January 2011
Editor’s Report Conference Announcement Symposium Announcement Research Briefs Country Report Talent News Spotlight on Talent Book Review p. 2 p. 3 p. 3 pp. 4 - 12 pp. 13 - 16 pp. 17 - 19 pp. 20 - 22 pp. 23 - 25
FROM THE EDITORS
e are pleased to introduce to you the third issue of Talent Talks. Members of IRATDE supported the previous issues overwhelmingly, and we thank everyone for their positive comments and encouragement. With the third issue now completed, we are conﬁdent that the vision of IRATDE is welcomed and accepted by many in the ﬁeld. With this in mind, we would like to forge further in our effort to showcase as many talent developments and trends in the new year of 2011. The third issue of Talent Talks brings together a refreshing mix of recent developments from across the world. First of Sivanes Phillipson (left) and Shane N. Phillipson (right) all, as announced in this issue, we welcome readers to submit proposals to the second IRATDE conference that will be held in Jubail, Saudi Arabia in November. For members of IRATDE traveling to South Korea in August, we invite you to spend some time in Hong Kong for a symposium planned for 1st -3rd August at The Hong Kong Institute of Education. Entitled Giftedness in East-Asia: Exploration in the Actiotope Model of Giftedness, the symposium will bring together a number of researchers who are interested in understanding the basis of the outstanding academic achievements of students from this region of the world. In the research briefs section, we have Tim Dracup presenting to us a layman’s analysis of the recent PISA results in comparison with the 2006 results. The write-up is both informative and critically observant of the contrasts in high achievers from the participating countries. In this issue, we also have Margaret Keane and Anna Giblin reporting to us the positive outlook of gifted and talented progressive movements in Ireland despite its economic downturn. The article has some useful links to sites where many gifted advocates might ﬁnd interesting and practical even if you are not from Ireland. Further, Mary St George contributed an exciting paper on how to use digital distance education to teach gifted students. This is an important development in light of the current IT era and readers might want to take stock of some of the strategies mentioned in this paper. In the Spotlight on Talent, we learn from our interviewers from China, USA and Germany about the blind-fold chess champion, Marc Lang. Talent Talks belongs to the members of IRATDE. Please support Talent Talks by contributing items of interest and by letting your colleagues know about us. We welcome submissions in all areas, including short proﬁles of researchers, concise research ﬁndings and discussions of recently published and interesting research.
We particularly welcome contributions of students’ research, including undergraduate and doctoral studies. If you wish to advertise a forthcoming course, workshop or conference, please also let us know. Please contact us by email (email@example.com). Best wishes, Sivanes Phillipson1 PhD and Shane N. Phillipson2 PhD Editors of Talent Talks Hong Kong Baptist University 2 The Hong Kong Institute of Education Hong Kong
Those interested are welcome to participate in the discussion.edu.ictde2011. With the theme of “Talent Development and Excellence” our conference will bring together some of the brightest lights in the profession and highlight the truly international and multidisciplinary nature of our ﬁeld.com/ictde/ . Saudi Arabia.CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT
We are proud to announce that the second international conference for the IRATDE will be held from 26th29th November 2011 in the seaport city of Jubail.
Date: 1st-3rd August 2011 Venue: The Hong Kong Institute of Education Title: Giftedness in East-Asia: Exploration in the Actiotope Model of Giftedness Overview: The 3-day symposium will provide a forum for researchers to discuss the variability in the development of students from East-Asia. Please check our website for more detailed information about the conference: http://www.hk)
. Contact for further details: Dr Sivanes Phillipson. The Hong Kong Baptist University (E-mail: sivanesp@hkbu. including those with the potential for exceptional academic achievement.
interpreting it. application. exposition and argumentation…both print and electronic texts…these distinctions are based on the principle that individuals will encounter a range of written material in their civic and work-related adult life (e. It is important to have a clear understanding of exactly what is being assessed. Fifty-seven countries took part in PISA 2006. mathematics and reading. Reading Literacy According to the PISA 2009 Assessment Framework: ‘Reading literacy…is deﬁned in terms of students’ ability to understand. as it is assumed that most 15-year-old students will have acquired these. Rather. Ireland. mathematical literacy.
. It examines: • average performance by country. Science was the main focus in 2006. which is domestically focused on quite different priorities. scientiﬁc. PISA assesses reading. Canada. a total of sixty-seven countries have taken part in PISA 2009. such as narration. for 2009 only. forming a broad general understanding of the text. even though the overall number of high achievers in the bigger country is greater. Background to PISA The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial OECD survey of the performance of 15 year-old students in science. If a country’s national assessments are congruent with PISA then it will be likely to perform much better in PISA than a similar country. use and reﬂect on written text to achieve their purposes…the capacity not just to understand a text but to reﬂect on it. The twelve countries and regions included in the analysis are the highest performers – Hong Kong (China). which have received scant attention in the wider media coverage of the PISA results. Shanghai (China) and Singapore – plus Australia. including changes between PISA 2006 and PISA 2009 • the performance of high achievers. reading is the main focus in 2009. especially the inclusion of very highperforming areas. forms. I should state at the outset that I am not a statistician: this is a lay analysis and I apologise in advance for any transcription errors. or diagrams… a range of prose forms.g. comparing the relative results of different countries in 2009 and how those have changed since PISA 2006 • relative differences between the performance of high achievers and average performance by country – expressed in terms of rankings – and how those have altered between 2006 and 2009. not least so we can understand to what extent this differs from the nature of our own national assessments. graphs. forms. reﬂecting on its contents and reﬂecting on its form and features. notably Shanghai and Singapore. The effect of this increase in numbers on rankings should be borne in mind. Finland and. reading literacy is assessed in relation to the: • Text format…continuous texts or prose organised in sentences and paragraphs…non-continuous texts that present information in other ways. • Reading processes (aspects): Students are not assessed on the most basic reading skills. they are expected to demonstrate their proﬁciency in accessing and retrieving information. Nevertheless. It concentrates on what we can deduce from the ﬁgures rather than causation: that will be addressed in subsequent posts. Taiwan. I hope it reveals some signiﬁcant ﬁndings including points. In PISA. such as in lists. It is also worth noting at the outset that PISA rankings do not reﬂect the overall numbers of students achieving speciﬁc levels: a small country that has a high percentage of its stu-
dents achieving a high achievement level outscores a bigger country with a lower percentage of high achievers. advertisements) and that it is not sufﬁcient to be able to read a limited number of types of text typically encountered in school.RESEARCH BRIEFS
PISA 2009: International Comparisons of Gifted High Achievers’ Performance Tim Dracup
his post is an initial review of what PISA 2009 tells us about the performance of gifted high achievers in England and other English-speaking countries compared with the countries at the top of the PISA 2009 rankings. New Zealand the UK and the USA. drawing on one’s own thoughts and experiences. Korea.
Levels 5 and 6 combined (lower score limit of 625. educational.3). and 3) interpreting scientiﬁc evidence and conclusions.6. Reﬂect and evaluate tasks may require the reader to hypothesise about or critically evaluate a complex text on an unfamiliar topic. algebra and geometry). a major revision of the PISA mathematics framework is currently underway in preparation for the PISA 2012 assessment. This may well be attributable to changes in the level of demand in the assessment framework rather than an overall dip in performance. formulate.’ Deﬁning high achievers in PISA PISA performance scales are designed so that the average student score in OECD countries is 500 or thereabouts. a novel. Tasks may require the reader to deal with unfamiliar ideas. In PISA 2009. A salient condition for access and retrieve tasks at this level is precision of analysis and ﬁne attention to detail that is inconspicuous in the texts. This analysis assumes therefore. Mathematical Literacy Mathematical literacy is concerned with the ability of students to analyse. public and scientiﬁc.’ And tasks at level 5: ‘that involve retrieving information require the reader to lo-
. However. space and shape. reason. they are applied to the content of the items and not just recalled. According to the PISA 2009 Assessment Framework (or the PISA Results book Volume I in the case of reading) tasks at level 6: ‘typically require the reader to make multiple inferences. based on their distance from the students. • Situations or contexts: These concern the application of scientiﬁc knowledge and the use of scientiﬁc processes applied. and communicate ideas effectively as they pose. comparisons and contrasts that are both detailed and precise. The framework identiﬁes ﬁve situations: personal. a manual or report for occupational use. it is desirable to include a range of types of reading in the assessment items. The PISA mathematics assessment has. chemistry. and uncertainty) and only secondarily in relation to curricular strands (such as numbers. The PISA science assessment is designed in relation to: • Scientiﬁc knowledge or concepts: These constitute the links that aid understanding of related phenomena. Three such processes present in PISA relate to: 1) describing. so far. that levels 5 and 6 together in 2009 can be compared with level 5 in 2006. personal letter or biography is written for people’s personal use.• Situations: These are deﬁned by the use for which the text was constructed. and interpret solutions to mathematical problems in a variety of situations. They require demonstration of a full and detailed understanding of one or more texts and may involve integrating information from more than one text. We can conclude that overall higher-level performance in OECD countries fell by 1. • Mathematical processes: These are deﬁned by individual mathematical competencies. taking into account multiple criteria or perspectives.6% of OECD students. and applying sophisticated understandings from beyond the text. deﬁned in terms of the competences demonstrated by students achieving that level. 2) understanding sci-
entiﬁc investigation. and to generate abstract categories for interpretations. a level 6 was introduced (lower score limit of 698. Reading In PISA 2006 in reading. in the presence of prominent competing information. For example. while the concepts are the familiar ones relating to physics. been designed in relation to the: • Mathematical content: This is deﬁned mainly in terms of four overarching ideas (quantity.0% between 2006 and 2009. Scientiﬁc Literacy Scientiﬁc literacy is deﬁned as the ability to use scientiﬁc knowledge and processes not only to understand the natural world but also to participate in decisions that affect it. and a textbook or worksheet for educational use. ofﬁcial documents or announcements for public use. explaining and predicting scientiﬁc phenomena.8% of OECD students. occupational. In PISA. modelling and problem-solving skills… • Situations: These are deﬁned in terms of the ones in which mathematics is used. science in Earth and environment. change and relationships. Student performance is divided into 6 proﬁciency levels (only 5 for reading in PISA 2006).6) were achieved by 7. These include the use of mathematical language. the highest proﬁciency level 5 was achieved by 8. biological sciences and earth and space sciences. solve.6% of OECD students with a lower score limit of 625. The framework identiﬁes three main areas: science in life and health. Since some groups may perform better in one reading situation than in another. and science in technology. interpret and act upon evidence. which was achieved by 0. • Scientiﬁc processes: These are centred on the ability to acquire.
9. and can compare.3 % of OECD students with a lower score limit of 669. identifying constraints and specifying assumptions. In PISA 2009.9. and the appropriateness of these to the original situations.0% requiring a lower score of 633. inferring which information in the text is relevant. For all aspects of reading. The science framework does not seem to have changed signiﬁcantly between the two assessments.5% of OECD students with a lower score limit of 633. Mathematics In PISA 2006 mathematics. compare. these ﬁgures were: level 6 achieved by 1.3 and level 5 and above by 12.3% of OECD students and required a lower score limit of 707.cate and organise several pieces of deeply embedded information. They can construct explanations based on evidence and arguments based on their critical analysis. and utilise information based on their investigations and modelling of complex problem situations. the framework does not appear signiﬁcantly changed and so we can provisionally identify a small drop overall in the proportion of OECD students achieving these higher levels. ‘At Level 5 students can develop and work with models for complex situations. symbolic and formal characterisations. Students at this level can use well-developed inquiry abilities.1% of OECD students with a lower score limit of 669.3% of OECD students with a lower
score of 607. arguments. level 5 and above achieved by 8. students can: ‘identify the scientiﬁc components of many complex life situations. They can link different information sources and explanations and use evidence from those sources to justify decisions. generalise. level 6 was achieved by 3. select and evaluate appropriate scientiﬁc evidence for responding to life situations. appropriate linked representations. drawing on specialised knowledge. Level 6 students can: ‘consistently identify. The PISA 2009 rubric says: ‘At ‘Level 6 students can conceptualise. and insight pertaining to these situations. In 2009.3. These students can apply this insight and understandings along with a mastery of symbolic and formal mathematical operations and relationships to develop new approaches and strategies for attacking novel situations.1% of OECD students with a lower score limit of 707. Students at this level can use scientiﬁc knowledge and develop arguments in support of recommendations and decisions that centre on personal. level 6 was achieved by 3. science level 6 was achieved by 1. explain and apply scientiﬁc knowledge and knowledge about science in a variety of complex life situations. Both interpretative and reﬂective tasks require a full and detailed understanding of a text whose content or form is unfamiliar. As with science. At Level 5. so we can provisionally identify a small overall dip in higher-level performance between 2006 and 2009. They can reﬂect on their actions and formulate and communicate their interpretations and reasoning. and they use their scientiﬁc understanding in support of solutions to unfamiliar scientiﬁc and technological situations. tasks at this level typically involve dealing with concepts that are contrary to expectations. link knowledge appropriately and bring critical insights to situations.3 and level 5 and above by 13.’
. Students at this level can work strategically using broad.7% of OECD students with a lower score of 607. Science In PISA 2006. apply both scientiﬁc concepts and knowledge about science to these situations. and evaluate appropriate problem solving strategies for dealing with complex problems related to these models. Reﬂective tasks require critical evaluation or hypothesis. Students at this level can formulate and precisely communicate their actions and reﬂections regarding their ﬁndings. social or global situations. They can link different information sources and representations and ﬂexibly translate among them. Level 5 and above was achieved by 9. They clearly and consistently demonstrate advanced scientiﬁc thinking and reasoning. Students at this level are capable of advanced mathematical thinking and reasoning. They can select. well-developed thinking and reasoning skills.3. interpretations.
which attract most media attention and they are included here primarily for the purposes of comparison. Only Ireland has experienced a signiﬁcant drop in its ranking
. These are essentially the headline ﬁgures. Given the relatively tougher assessment framework and the associated overall dip in cross-OECD performance. the average score has increased signiﬁcantly in Hong Kong and the US. perhaps suggesting they may need to focus more on aspects of reading newly introduced into the 2009 assessment framework • In maths. The change in reading in particular may be more attributable to a tightening of the assessment framework • In reading. there have been more signiﬁcant falls in reading performance in Finland. but these results should be a matter of concern in all three countries. However. Hong Kong. there have been small falls in overall OECD performance in reading and maths between 2006 and 2009 and a corresponding small increase in science performance. these countries have arguably done well to maintain their scores • However. remained unchanged in New Zealand. PISA 2006 and 2009 results by country Table 1 above compares average scores by country in PISA 2006 and PISA 2009. it is worth drawing attention to some key points arising from the table: • As indicated above. Ireland and Korea – all three strong performers in PISA 2006. and fallen slightly in Canada. Taiwan and the UK. the average score has increased slightly in Australia. remained largely unchanged in Canada. Only Ireland has experienced a signiﬁcant drop in ranking as a consequence.Table 1. Finland. Ireland and Taiwan. New Zealand and the UK and fallen signiﬁcantly in Australia.
and has declined signiﬁcantly in Canada. • All except Taiwan and Ireland exceeded the OECD average. New Zealand and the UK. all three lauded to some degree as PISA world leaders. Finland and Taiwan. maths and science in 2006 and 2009 respectively.
Table 2. in 2009. they should take some comfort from their capacity to sustain their 2006 performance when their competitors are clearly not doing so • On the basis of this evidence. These four countries arguably need to concentrate more on the very top of their achievement range. New Zealand and Singapore (Shanghai and Singapore did not take part in the 2006 assessment). the leaders were Shanghai. Finland. • The percentage achieving levels 5/6 has increased over the 3-year period in Australia and Taiwan. Finland and especially Taiwan. The decline in Korea is particularly startling. the countries with the biggest overall headaches are Canada. That said. Australia. Finland and Canada should be concerned about the dip in their performance of 6-7 points in each case. This cannot be attributable to other countries leapfrogging them in the table • In science. remained largely unchanged in Hong Kong and New Zealand. • In all three areas. Ireland and Korea.
. while performance is largely unchanged in Australia. Ireland. The latter countries should be concerned. Percentage of high achievers in PISA 2009 and 2006 Table 2 compares the percentages of high achievers in each of our 12 countries who achieved the higher levels in reading. fallen slightly in the UK and fallen substantially in Canada. Korea and the US have all made signiﬁcant improvements since 2006. Reading • The 2006 leaders amongst our subset of countries were Korea. loss of rank combined with fairly static performance is attributable to other countries improving at a faster rate and is a matter of relative competition. Hong Kong. although the percentage of the highest-level 6 achievers in 2009 was lower than the OECD average in Taiwan and Ireland and equivalent to it in the UK and Korea.• Nevertheless. Finland and New Zealand respectively whereas. It is not possible to depress the performance of a competi-
tor so these countries must concentrate on improving their own performance.
improvement was made in the period by Hong Kong. • There were declines in performance at level 6 for Canada. New Zealand and Hong Kong led the ﬁeld for level 5 and 6 performance. other countries improving their performance included Australia and Hong Kong (level 6) and Canada and Hong Kong (levels 5 and 6) though only Hong Kong managed signiﬁcant improvement. the leaders are Shanghai. There was a decline in Finland.
. but the UK’s performance has declined somewhat and Ireland’s has declined signiﬁcantly. US and Ireland were below the OECD average for level 6 performance and the other nine countries were above it. while countries doing relatively better with their higher achievers (levels 5 and 6) include Canada. This continued to be the case in 2009 though. level 6 performance declined in the UK and Ireland. the UK. Korea and the US (very slightly in the case of the US). and in Finland. Finland and the UK. Insofar as this is not attributable to changes to the assessment frameworks. we see that countries doing relatively better with their highest achievers (level 6) include Australia. Performance was relatively unchanged in Canada (level 6) and New Zealand (levels 5 and 6). conversely. • In terms of levels 5 and 6 combined. the UK and the US. Taiwan had
fallen below the OECD average for level 6. performance across all OECD countries fell slightly across the board between 2006 and 2009. The worst declines were in Canada. Ireland and Korea were below the OECD average for level 6 performance but all countries were above the average for levels 5 and 6 combined. Korea and Taiwan at levels 5 and 6 together. drawing level with the UK. Hong Kong. Shanghai and New Zealand respectively were leaders in level 6 performance and Shanghai. the fall in Taiwan being particularly marked. Korea and Hong Kong respectively at level 6 and Taiwan. Finland. Singapore and Finland respectively for levels 5 and 6 together • In 2006. Taiwan and the UK. Korea. • Examining the rate of change for level 6 compared with levels 5 and 6. Korea the UK and the US seem to be doing relatively worse As we have noted above. we might reasonably note that the OECD’s effort in producing PISA has not of itself resulted in improved performance across OECD countries for high achievers over this 3-year period. Taiwan. Singapore and Hong Kong respectively at levels 5/6. • In 2006. identifying this as an aspect potentially requiring attention in both countries. the US has improved its performance. most noticeably in Finland and Korea. Singapore and Taiwan respectively at level 6 and Shanghai. all countries were still above the OECD average for levels 5 and 6 together. New Zealand and Taiwan at level 6. Ireland. In 2009 Singapore. the UK and the US. Finland and Korea. it is hard to detect a clear pattern but Australia and Ireland seem to be doing relatively better with level 6 while. In 2009. Finland. Canada. In 2009. • If we compare rates of change for level 6 and levels 5/6 respectively. • In 2006. Taiwan. Korea matched it and Ireland had exceeded it. This suggests that higher achievers also need more attention in both countries • Between 2006 and 2009. the same three countries were below the OECD average for level 5/6 performances and this continued to be the case in 2009.Maths • The 2006 leaders in our subset were Taiwan. Korea and the US (very slightly) improved their performance for levels 5 and 6 together. New Zealand. Science • The 2006 leaders in terms of level 6 performance were New Zealand. whereas the US was moving in the right direction. As with level 6. Finland. Hong Kong and Korea respectively at levels 5/6. • Australia was the only other country to improve its level 6 performance in science during this period while Hong Kong. while Korea ﬂat lined. This suggests that Ireland as well as Korea deserve credit for the progress made with their highest achievers in science. There were declines in performance in Canada. Taiwan and the UK. Korea. New Zealand.
its ranking for high achievers (levels 5 and 6) was slightly higher than its overall ranking in science. although in some cases it appears that slippage down the overall rankings has inﬂuenced matters. these distinctions continue but are becoming relatively less clear-cut. These latter four countries might therefore be expected to concentrate disproportionately on their lower achievers in future. perhaps suggesting a degree of responsiveness to PISA 2006. but the rankings are more readily available and are a reasonable guide to changes in the relative performance of countries. • For maths. it is clear that in 2006. New Zealand. It fell two places in the rankings in all three areas in PISA 2009. however.Table 3. This comparison could also be undertaken on the basis of percentages achieving the different levels and/or the average scores achieved. with their higher achievers – and this is particularly pronounced in the last three of these countries. Taiwan because it did so much worse. Taiwan and the UK were relatively unusual in 2006 because of the dissonance between their rankings – the UK because it did so much better for its higher achievers. the rank is signiﬁcantly lower for level 5 and above than it is for all students. these gaps have almost invariably narrowed. In 2006. except for small improvements
. while Australia. Ranks of high achievers and all achievers in 2006 and 2009 Table 3 compares rank positions for high achievers and all achievers in 2006 and 2009 respectively. relatively speaking. if not absolute changes. was unchanged in science and fell signiﬁcantly in maths. By 2009. the UK and the US were stronger performers. Certainly there is no real evidence here that high achievers in maths are particularly neglected compared with their peers. Conclusions The analysis above provides some detailed pointers for future support for high achievers. there are some clear disparities between relative national ranks in 2006. although its average score increased slightly in maths. but what overall assessment can we offer for each of our English-speaking countries? Australia In PISA 2006. but not in reading or maths. Hong Kong and Korea are beginning to follow the same trend as Taiwan. or vice versa. Australia. • For reading. • For science. New Zealand and the US have joined the UK. Australia achieved high overall rankings in reading (7) and science (8) and a relatively good ranking in maths (13). this remained true of science and had became true of reading as well. In the case of Canada and Ireland. following a similar pattern to maths. By 2009. By 2009. but the equivalent percentages in maths and science remain largely unchanged. The percentage of higher achievers (levels 5 and 6) in reading has increased signiﬁcantly between 2006 and 2009. By 2009.
but particularly maths and reading. fell slightly in maths and increased slightly in science. United Kingdom The UK achieved good to mid-table rankings in PISA 2006 for science (14). New Zealand is another country with a relatively ‘balanced scorecard’ but its higher achievers seem to be doing comparatively well and it may wish to concentrate more on lower end of the achievement spectrum. rankings for higher achievers were signiﬁcantly higher than overall rankings in science and reading. it slipped 2 places in reading and maths but retained its position in science. It needs to focus on all levels of achievement. This continues to be the case in 2009 with the decline shared across achievement levels. though maths may be a relatively higher priority. although average scores remained unchanged in maths and fell somewhat in science and reading. The position is similar in 2009. The UK has to improve in all three areas. but somewhat lower relative rankings for high achievers in maths. Its 2006 rankings for high achievers were signiﬁcantly lower than its overall ranking in maths and science but identical in reading. and fallen slightly in reading. but in reading the relatively higher ranking of the higher achievers is now more pronounced. The PISA 2009 outcomes show that the US has improved its ranking by six places in science (23) and four places in maths (31) while it achieved a ranking of 17 in
. In terms of the percentages achieving higher levels. Average scores were unchanged in reading. In PISA 2009. For the future. the priorities for Australia are likely to be improvement in maths across the board and probably for relatively low achievers in reading and science. but very similar in maths. including its higher achievers. Canada PISA 2006 showed Canada achieving very highly overall in reading (4) and science (3) and highly in maths (7). but effort is required across all levels of achievement to ensure that lower achievers do not improve at the expense of their higher-achieving peers. reading (17) and maths (24). Canada has a relatively ‘balanced scorecard’ and will likely continue to focus on improving its results in all three areas and all achievement levels. In 2009 it fell two places in reading (6). The percentage of higher achievers has fallen signiﬁcantly in maths and reading and slightly in science. three places in maths (10) and ﬁve places in science (8). The percentage of higher achievers has declined in reading and in science between 2006 and 2009 but has increased slightly in maths. Average scores fell slightly in all three areas. Moving forward. In PISA 2009. Average scores also fell signiﬁcantly in maths and reading and were unchanged in science. In PISA 2009. By 2009 the difference between science rankings had closed somewhat. High achievers must be a priority in maths especially. The percentage achieving higher levels has fallen signiﬁcantly between 2006 and 2009 in science and maths. it fell slightly in science (16) and maths (27) and signiﬁcantly in reading (25). but this is attributable to slippage in the higher achieving rankings. Rankings for higher achievers in 2006 were significantly higher than overall rankings in science and slightly higher in reading and maths. there was still little difference in the relative rankings for science and reading and now little difference in maths either. Ireland Ireland’s overall rankings from PISA 2006 were high for reading (6) and mid-table for maths (22) and science (20). Ireland will need to reverse its downward trend in maths and reading whilst not neglecting improvements in science. The 2006 rankings for higher achievers showed very little difference to overall rankings in science and reading. In 2006.for the highest achievers (level 6). No result was declared for reading because of problems with the administration of the assessment. In 2009. United States The PISA 2006 overall rankings for the US were low to midtable in science (29) and maths (35). although the change in maths is attributable to a fall in overall ranking rather than an improvement for high achievers. a high ranking in science (7) and a relatively high ranking in maths (11). maths or science. New Zealand achieved a very high overall ranking in reading (5). there has been relatively little change in reading. and there is marked slippage down the rankings in reading – and to a lesser extent maths – for higher achievers as well as for all achievers. Ireland’s ranking for science remained unchanged (20) but fell very signiﬁcantly in maths (32) and especially reading (21).
New Zealand In PISA 2006. In maths the position is broadly unchanged.
should they choose – as the UK has done – to align their priorities ﬁrmly with those assessed by PISA and other international comparison studies. 2006 rankings for higher achievers were much higher than the overall ranking in science and slightly higher in maths.reading. including the economics of gifted education and the application of online learning and social networking techniques.wordpress. And this analysis has also shown that there is clear room for improvement in the performance of other world
leaders. Tim Dracup recently took early retirement from England’s Department For Education. The UK and the US are therefore in very similar positions. the gap had narrowed in science and maths. educators and parents. such as Finland.com/
. 2(1). T. as with the UK. In reading higher achievers are ranked signiﬁcantly higher than the overall ranking. the US is already moving in the right direction. He tweets and blogs under the alias Gifted Phoenix and you can ﬁnd his blog at http://giftedphoenix. care is needed to ensure that higher achievers are not neglected as a result. He is now an independent consultant with a particular interest in national and international support for gifted and talented learners. Between 1996 and 2009 he was the Department’s senior ofﬁcial responsible for gifted and talented education. By 2009. The US is moving in broadly the right direction but has to continue to improve in all three areas. This evidence suggests that the focus should be predominantly on lower achievers – except in maths where there is a problem across the board – but. 4-12. Tim was responsible to Ministers for all aspects of the development of England’s national programme for gifted and talented from its inception. Hong Kong and Korea: we should take with a big pinch of salt from the news headlines that say we need only emulate them to be successful. Talent Talks. There is an agenda for improvement in all these countries. He is a Trustee of the National Association for Gifted Children in the UK and sits on a working group that is developing a new umbrella organisation for gifted and talented in England. (2011). Average scores increased signiﬁcantly in both maths and science. and Head of the Department’s Gifted and Talented Education Unit throughout its existence. but whereas the UK needs to arrest a downward trajectory. To cite this: Dracup. PISA 2009: International comparisons of gifted high achievers’ performance. The percentage achieving higher levels is little changed in science between 2006 and 2009 but there is a signiﬁcant improvement in maths.
Who is Tim Dracup?
Following a 27-year career. especially maths.
Examination and Assessment (CCEA). which is working directly with a small number of post-primary schools in a number of local regions to address the needs of students with exceptional ability and dual exceptionality.These were distributed to all primary and post primary schools throughout the country but unfortunately remain at draft status. there is no co-ordinated effort to reach this group of students in its entirety at either primary or post-primary level. unfortunately for all of the wrong reasons. running enrichment courses in subject areas ordinarily unavailable at school. As such it is the only organisation in Ireland providing challenging academic programmes for young people with high ability. This loss of our talented youth. it seems. entitled “Metacognition for the classroom and beyond: Differentiation and Support for Learners” was developed with the input of Dr. ‘Equality of Challenge’ is a small scale post primary project run by the Special Education Support Service (SESS). Teacher training in gifted education at the primary degree level is non-existent which means that educators often struggle through no fault of their own when it comes to the identiﬁcation and support of gifted learners in their classroom. The initiative ran in three schools during the 2008-10 academic years and according to the SESS has now expanded to 10 other schools for the 2010-12 schools years. There was also a CPD programme developed for the support of the teachers involved: “These include ongoing support and advice by SESS personnel. In addition.” The Metacognition resource. those in the 95th percentile and above of intellectual ability. however.Draft Guidelines for Teachers”in collaboration with the Council for Curriculum. writers and thinkers is entirely avoidable. PROBLEMS FACING EXCEPTIONALLY ABLE STUDENTS IN IRELAND There are an estimated 27.
POSITIVE STEPS TOWARDS THE SUPPORT OF THESE STUDENTS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & SCIENCE INITIATIVES In 2007 the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) published their “Exceptionally Able Students . although this cohort of students were identiﬁed as having special educational needs in the 1998 Education Act.ie).icepe. Sarah McAlwee of the University of Oxford. In recent months Ireland has made the frontpage headlines of newspapers worldwide. designers. Unlike other national education systems. the development of a resource on metacognition strategies and a teacher workshop. Yet. we have now crossed the Rubicon. their parents and teachers. Northern Ireland. all references to this group were purged from the EPSEN Act 2004 (the act which deals with special educational needs supports) leaving them and their teachers with no support or direction. There is. Gifted learners are not an easily identiﬁable homogenous group and this is problematic. Economically.000 exceptionally able children living in Ireland. IRISH CENTRE FOR TALENTED YOUTH The Irish Centre for Talented Youth (CTYI) is a not for proﬁt organisation which provides services for academically talented children aged 6-16 years. The result is that we are in great danger of abandoning our Irish gifted population to an education system that provides inadequate educational challenges and few opportunities for peer group development. CPD-related meetings for teachers. from all communities and can present with often crippling disabilities or challenging learning differences. technologists. an online course . with eligible students typically functioning in the
. a Department of Education & Science Unit.COUNTRY REPORT
Ireland 2010 Margaret Keane & Anna Giblin 010 has been a signiﬁcant year for Ireland in many ways. Readers will be aware of the huge economic turmoil that has engulfed the country in the past year leading to severe adjustments of the Irish ﬁscal budget and the involvement of the IMF. resulting in chronic underachievement and worse. some excellent gifted education CPD course material available for teachers but these remain optional and it is entirely up to individuals to seek this information out. who have the potential to be Ireland’s next generation of scientists. Many are unaware that exceptionally able and twice exceptional children can come from all socio-economic backgrounds. despite this gloomy backdrop there has been some positive news on the gifted front.Teaching Gifted and Talented Students: Rising to the challenge of highly able students (www.
CTYI is based in Dublin City University. CTYI courses provide a lifeline for many families with gifted children. taster days for primary and secondary school programmes with over 700 students attending. They can quickly and erroneously learn that everything should come to them with ease. students can’t learn about the need to devote time and study to their learning.000 students through its doors. Colm O'Reilly. CTYI on the occasion of the receipt of the prestigious Taoiseach Award for Public Service Excellence for the ACCESS Programme. teachers were asked to identify students
(Left to right) Dr. Academic Coordinator. “ 2010 was a very successful year for CTYI with many new initiatives brought on stream including: additional correspondence courses. but has a number of satellite centres around the country. Eleanor Cooke. July 2010. Since it began in 1992 the Centre has had nearly 40. The decision to start these classes was taken after a ‘needs-analysis’ report from local primary school principals highlighted the lack of support for bright students from classes in disadvantaged areas. According to Catriona Fitzgerald. In November. Academic Coordinator of CTYI: “The courses at CTYI allow students to learn at a level that is more appropriate to their academic ability. because everything comes easily to them. Mr. Then when faced with a problem that they can’t ﬁgure out. the extension of the Early Entrance Initiative for transition year secondary students and crucially new sponsors coming on board. the Centre was again rewarded with a Google Rise Award.
. a new residential Summer Program (CAT) for post primary students between the 85th and 95th percentile. The Centre for Academic Achievement (CAA) programme has allowed over 900 primary school students. In the absence of educational challenges within schools and difﬁculties with ﬁnding an educational and social “ﬁt” for their children. Brian Cowan.95th percentile. In less challenging environments. a fantastic Innovation Day with inspirational
speakers. Using a Steering Committee of interested parties from various schools. CTYI also received funding from Matheson Ormsby Prentice to allow disadvantaged students to attend programmes. Director. This programme is a collaboration between the ACCESS Service and Irish Centre for Talented Youth (CTYI) at Dublin City University. they don’t have the necessary skill-set to work it out. CTYI. It is important for them to access a learning environment that is motivating and challenging. so that they can learn the tools of scholarship. CTYI was also recognised for it’s continued contribution to social inclusion for children from disadvantaged areas with it’s pioneering Access Programme which won the prestigous Taoiseach Award for Public Service Excellence in July 2010. An Taoiseach (Ireland’s Prime Minister) . from socio-economically disadvantaged areas of Dublin to attend special after school classes at Dublin City University since its establishment in 2006. Ms.
C. “Motivating Gifted Children”.E. To this end in 2010 we partnered with Daynuv.who could participate and greater develop their academic talent.ie. The series is supported by the National Centre for Technology. parents and policy makers with a view to rais-
ing awareness in gifted issues amongst these groups.
.ie is the support and advocacy website for exceptionally able and twice exceptional children in Ireland. “Social & Emotional Sensitivities”. com MissionV Project. Sarah McElwee. ie and Daynuv. children and teachers and runs a very active online community forum where participants can share resources.“How to be your Child’s Best Advocate”. Dr. We are in the process of building a bank of resources which can be used in either a CPD capacityfor teachers orfor parents needing information. Wesley College and Dr. Oxford University. One of the most exciting and innovative ideas to emerge was the possible use of 3D immersive technology. “Dual Exceptionality”. which could be used with this group of students in the classroom.IE Giftedkids. In response to teacher requests for practical strategies we have also been considering new and innovative teaching tools. GIFTEDKIDS.
The ﬁrst ﬁve "Missioners" who were the inaugural team of exceptionally able students for the Giftedkids. The site acts as a signpost to resources for parents. We are especially grateful for the support of the Irish Centre for Talented Youth and the Institute of Child Education & Psychology Europe (I.com. was awarded a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award. We have now run a total of six webinars covering the following key topics: “Characteristics of the Exceptionally Able”.E. The goal was to encourage students who traditionally would not have access to university resources and materials towards an academic path and to fulﬁl their potential. Peter Lydon. Colm O’Reilly and the staff of CTYI are committed to supporting this often overlooked group of exceptionally able students. “Classroom Strategies for the Support of Gifted & Talented Students” and most recently. There is no charge to the students or their families or schools for attending these programmes. In autumn 2009 Margaret Keane. and is run through the global educators’ network Learncentral. Colm O’Reilly and Catriona Fitzgerald of CTYI. seek advice and offer support. a Department of Education & Science Unit based in Dublin City University. This award facilitated a pilot series of online webinars aimed at teachers.net.org.org and our presentations can be downloaded from Slideshare. The Access Programme has now expanded to cover all 32 DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools Policy) schools that cover the DCU area. We have a small but dedicated voluntary team of parents and teachers who help to run the site and moderate the forum. founder of Giftedkids.)for this series and particularly to our guest speakers. Dr.P. All of our webinars are recorded and can be viewed at Learncentral.
.an organisation specialising in the use of virtual worlds technology in education. Ireland 2010. Based in a primary school in Carlow. and Sciencecan put funding in place to support these students at all levels. Communication Studies) is the founder of Giftedkids. SUPPORT GROUPS Apart from these initiatives.the MissionV Pilot demonstrates that 3D learning software can aidhighly able and twice exceptional students to unlock abilities which can go unnoticed in a traditional learning environment. Margaret has worked in corporate video production. After all. (2011).A. 2(1). it was pupil driven rather than driven by me. name!
Following the hugely positive response to the pilot we are currently exploring a number of possible funding partnerships to facilitate this rollout. if the Department of Education struction and it improved team work and social skills. A. The site provides information. supported by NCTE. Ireland. to launch a pilot ICT project called MissionV. According to Brid Uí Mhaoluala. Institute of Child Education and Psychology Europe (ICEPE)
. This project has just been awarded “First Runner Up” in the Edublog Awards 2010: Best Educational Use To cite this: Keane. At present we are in great dan“MissionV stretched my students in ways I could ger of losing that talent to an education system that not. Courses: “Parenting a gifted child”.ie Administrator. through the global educators network Learncentral. publishing.
Who is Margaret Keane?
Margaret Keane (B. UCD Certiﬁcate. Learning Support Teacher. Giftedkids.
Who is Anna Giblin?
Gifted education advocate with special interest in dual exceptionality. 13-16. former committee member and Secretary of the Irish Association for Gifted Children (IAGC) (dissolved in May 2009). the voluntary advocacy and support website for exceptionally able and twice exceptional children in Ireland. there is also some wonderful work being done by independent support groups and advocates. Talent Talks. ICT skills training and web design.g. us to integrate subject areas – e.org. “Educating a Gifted Child” by distance education through the University of South Africa. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Ireland has a wealth of talent and creativity just waiting to be discovered. resources and a forum for parents and teachers and hosts a free series of webinars. M. particularly focusing on the early In response to school and identiﬁcation and support of young gifted learners we learning support enquiries we intend to roll out this project to a further 19 can ensure that our country is well placed to develop a primary schools (20 schools in total) true “SMART” economy.create and collaborate in a virtual world of their own making. raising “gifted” awareness locally. nationally and globally through social network sites.Gaelscoil Eoghan Uí Thuarisc:
of a Virtual World. local history with conLooking to the future. “Educating Children with Asperger Syndrome“. it allowed fails to support their unique special education needs. there’s a clue in the within this school year (2010/2011). These form part of a life support system for families with gifted children in Ireland and play a pivotal role in advocacy. an innovative 3D online learning environment where exceptionally able and twice exceptional primary school students have the opportunity to connect. Trustee. Part of the parent consultation group who met with the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCA) to assist with the development of their guidelines for educating gifted children.ie. She is a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardee and is a member of the Irish Centre for Talented Youth Advisory Board. & Giblin. To learn more about this project from the Missioners themselves watch their video.
but may be the only suitable means of synchronous discussion where bandwidth is poor. St George. The textonly chatroom yields the poorest responses in terms of abstraction and complexity. Can we hold back on developing further distance education programmes until the research is written. Dixon. that child has reduced access to intellectual peers. 2010. a text-only chatroom. Practitioners in the ﬁeld are rare. 2009). A Google search for the term “how to” yields over 4 billion hits (google.
. Research is needed alongside this process. Where a gifted child is learning in an isolated or rural situation. Much of what has been written or presented describes a single online programme and its delivery (Adams & Bannister. it becomes possible to use the same network to support the parents and the regular classroom teachers of these students. Parents of isolated gifted children usually lack access to support groups and other relevant services. or is there such a need for services in this area that practice must grow hand in hand with research? My experience as an online teacher of rural and isolated students suggests to me that the need for online services to supplement the regular education of gifted children in rural and isolated situations is great. Once a network is created in which isolated gifted students can meet and in-
teract. a variety of means must be used to model and encourage appropriate responses from learners. 2010. This kind of free exchange of ideas and mutual construction of understandings is important in many curricula for the gifted. These channels of communication are far less available online. and is just one indication of the volume of information put online with the intention that others may learn from it. Christensen. because these will only be replicated online through a process of careful and reﬂective planning and review.TALENT NEWS
Teaching Gifted Children Online – Why Digital Distance Education Matters.com. whether studies are cross-curricular or domain speciﬁc. However. Regardless of this. the Internet has become a very natural medium for ﬁnding new information. with body language and gestures sometimes playing a signiﬁcant part. Formal education provision via the internet is a growth industry. and whether the programme is full time or a pull-out programme. having a more holistic effect on the students' lives. in ways above and beyond what would be needed in the regular classroom. wellbeing and experiences. 2010. 2010. Curriculum and Philosophy of Education The philosophies and intentions underlying the face-to-face teaching of gifted students vary depending on the educational models followed. The face-to-face teacher communicates a huge amount about valued learning behaviours in incidental and even unconscious ways. regardless of the quality of the curriculum provided for these students. It is important that the online practitioner be clear about which aspects of curriculum and philosophy are of central importance. the issues are broader than that. and on opportunities to work and learn collaboratively at a challenging level. The key considerations in creating and evaluating online distance education for gifted students will also have relevance for hybrid programmes where some teaching takes place face-to-face while some is online. Asynchronous discussion via an internet message board will sometimes yield better results than text-only chat. An example is the use of teacher's questions to guide open-ended student discussion. 2010). as is the creation of courseware or learning management software. and what is implicit in the classroom must often be made explicit in the virtual learning environment. and a webinar meeting where visual material can be displayed while the question is discussed. but can be utilised rapidly to beneﬁt as many gifted students as possible. This lack of access to other gifted children will be signiﬁcant. and for informal learning about a variety of subject matter. In such instances. Overview studies that identify successful patterns or best practice methods by comparing a number of online programmes for the gifted have yet to be written. and will be useful to consider in posing relevant research questions to establish best practice guidelines. impacting on social and emotional development. an audioconference. Eckstein. little has been documented about the online education of gifted students. It is my experience that the same question yields qualitatively different results in a face-to-face teaching situation. and that there is some urgency in expanding the provision of these services. and teachers in remote communities often have reduced access to professional development and support. and are just beginning to ﬁnd one another and exchange information about their online programmes for gifted students. to ensure that the trial and error learning of pioneers in this ﬁeld is not wasted. I believe there are four key considerations: 1. Mary St George
or most of us.
multifarious paths to learning. They may share a photo of a pet rather than their own photo and encourage students to do the same. and the varying ﬁle formats of diverse product creation. the urgency for research in this area becomes apparent. compromising the ability to motivate and to work collaboratively (St George. and from gifted education. from distance learning. An interface that uses “bleeding edge” plugins and stunning graphics may be crippled by a limited ability to handle divergent thinking. 2009). research into the kinds of interfaces that are consistently inviting and enabling to students of varying ages will be important. Relationships To the young gifted child. being cautious that students who feel safe sharing their own identities fully in the virtual classroom may do the same in less protected areas of cyberspace. 2009). In order to meet some learning goals involving complex online interactions. and merits further research. we must avoid the temptation to replace the sage on the stage with a new “sage on the screen”. Our problem is complex. but they may not lead children to grapple with meaning in ways that enable them to construct fresh understandings or look at information in new ways. The best ways to promote depth of thinking. When we put this together with data about the student-teacher relationship being a key factor in effective teaching practice (Hattie. the more that the identity of teachers and students are hidden. 2.commodate more complexity and lower levels of intuitiveness in the software interface. These adults who already know the student and can meet with him or her face-to-face are also in a better position than a distant teacher to offer critical feedback and monitor the child's response and resilience. 3. software must ﬁt with the philosophy and curriculum for gifted education of the organisation concerned. A boy interacts with his peer through the Internet. The appointment of contact teachers in local schools who assist and motivate local students while they work through the online programme. Hybrid learning systems. Many learning management systems seem to have one foot in the future and one in the past. making a dismal contrast to the colourful. However. may go some way toward addressing the issue of relationships that seem real. Some courseware is coldly sterile. The digital game-making industry is able to solve the problem of guiding children through unfamiliar interfaces and keeping them engaged. can acStudents using online learning technologies need some baseline information from the teacher before they launch into their own investigations. and educators and courseware providers must rise to the same challenge in creating digital learning applications (Blachnitzky. 2010). Vidcasts and podcasts are easy to create. Technologies Software chosen as an online learning platform must work with the expected hardware and bandwidth of students in remote locations. However. for example. In particular. abstract reasoning. and in how this is done. and this can give rise to some uneasy compromises. Parents who can set aside time for involvement in their children's online studies can also reduce the effect of a somewhat intangible student-teacher relationship. Are these experiences with the use of questioning universal in online teaching of the gifted? This is one of the many unknown factors in this emerging ﬁeld. and productive reﬂection also appear to differ from what works easily in regular classrooms. as we work towards understanding the best online delivery format for our gifted students. unless we have very clear reasons for doing so. a teacher he or she has never met may not seem real. buzzing world of online games which your students will compare your virtual learning site with. The role of the online education provider can therefore lie
. We must combine the best practice from e-learning and m-learning (electronic learning and mobile learning). or other interactive software. and research to establish best practice in these areas will therefore be important too. Our online learning curriculum must develop skills both at and beyond the keyboard. Care must be taken in how much information is supplied. in that online teachers often seek to model cybersafety by limited disclosure about themselves. the less real the relationships seem. hybrid delivery may be worth the logistical difﬁculties of getting geographically remote teachers and students together at times. as does the ability of a student to personalise his or her place on the web. and who facilitate peer collaboration on a local level. in which students have some face-to-face teaching about how to use the learning management systems. Even more importantly. The navigability and intuitiveness of interfaces also matters.
and this is also reported by Michelle Eckstein (2009).co. Aspects of the delivery of online programmes that enhance the engagement and success of young gifted children and twice exceptional students are an important area for research. (2010) Stranger-centred pedagogy: Reaching the rural child. Eckstein. younger gifted children have more difﬁculty with the complexities of an online learning situation than older children. 20-28. J. rather than to look at each online programme on a case by case basis. but when her gifted children began their schooling she realised that their needs were not being met. (2010) XSEL: NSW ﬁrst virtual selective school. Paper presented at the 11th Asia Paciﬁc Conference on Giftedness. retrieved 13.com. dual exceptionalities and other individual factors affect the ability of gifted children to engage successfully with online delivery of learning activities.nz St George.
Who is Mary St George?
Mary St George ﬁrst trained as an occupational therapist. References Adams. In particular there is a need to look for effective practices that are successful within a number of programmes. we have further opportunities for relationships. Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. Mary has presented on gifted education at the Reaching Forward conference in 2009. once we have some local teachers and the parents of our students active in our virtual networks. (2009) ICT Design & Gifted Children. the technologies used. rural and remote. 2010. (2009) The Gifted Kids Network. July-August. search result. Retrieved from http://books. This ambitious goal is still a work in progress. July-August. A variety of methods and approaches are possible. for purposes of support and education about the nature of giftedness. (2010) The Western New South Wales regional virtual opportunity class: Providing extension and enrichment opportunities for gifted and talented students in regional. with the goal of making a difference for gifted children in New Zealand schools. 2010. M. 2010. & Bannister. Mary has taught gifted children aged 3-14. M. A. Paper presented at the 11th Asia Paciﬁc Conference on Giftedness. Individual Needs Age. Conclusion Digital distance education of gifted students is an emerging area of practice which has the potential to meet the needs of many gifted students who are currently underserved. March 2009. L. and currently works for The Gifted Education Centre in New Zealand. The curriculum and philosophies of education.google. July-August. B. Sydney. and research into which of these are the most effective will be important as we continue to develop online programmes. She retrained as a teacher. the relationships supporting online learners and individual learning needs will all be important factors to consider in looking for patterns of best practice in this ﬁeld. (2011). Gifted Child Today. Christensen. 4. and the 11th Asia Paciﬁc Conference on Giftedness in 2010. Sydney. and gathering evidence about features that enable such students to succeed will be important in developing these specialties. Hattie. Distinc-
tion Hotel. 2(1). In my experience. Blachnitzky. Mary studied education at the University of Waikato. Dixon. 17-19. M. Sydney. Talent Talks. Taylor & Francis. Teaching gifted children online Why digital distance education matters. R.google. teaching gifted children online and face-to-face. Paper presented at the 11th Asia Paciﬁc Conference on Giftedness. Sydney. (2009) Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. An online learning programme catering speciﬁcally for gifted students with dyslexia could operate quite differently from one for gifted students with autism spectrum disorders. Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. making it possible to ﬁnd and involve sufﬁcient numbers of students to specialise in curricula for certain age groups or dual exceptionalities. W. Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. July-August. and gifted education at Massey University. Paper presented at the 11th Asia Paciﬁc Conference on Giftedness. Online courses need not be limited in their geographical reach.10. To cite this: St George. 32 (2). Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. Paper presented at the Reaching Forward Conference. 2010.2010. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database. N. and has presented on online learning at New Zealand Shar-E-Fest 2010. networking teachers with teachers and parents with parents. anytime. for example. Also. (2010) Online gifted programs for primary students: Anywhere.
.in equipping signiﬁcant people in the child's vicinity to have the kinds of learning conversations and interactions that are typical in a face-to-face classroom for the gifted. Rotorua.
Playing a single chess game without seeing the board signiﬁcantly overwhelms the normal human memory and human information processing. like it would blow up your memory. Hannelore Palau Govela (Mexico) & Nicolette Talbott Helling (United States)
hess is a board game that is played with 32 chess pieces on 64 squares. He lost only two games. but I spent lots of time exercising. an interval of several days would be possible. but loses all the games. ﬁcult. locations. after about eight moves all the items are stored safely and are updated with each new move. In theory. If a blindfolded simultaneous event begins.SPOTLIGHT ON TALENT
Interview with a Cognitive Magician Albert Ziegler (Germany). After the ﬁrst six moves. you must be able to think of the chess board and chess pieces in an abstract way. on which the chess pieces are only points. What do you do for your ﬁtness? MARC LANG: I believe that a good constitution is essential for such an event. like when the opponent makes a move.it makes no sense if one can remember all the positions. But surely you should chess player. Instead. or take a break and relax for a long time. In addition. It would take a huge amount of concentration to keep each board and each chess piece (with 35 chess boards that means there are 1120 chess pieces at the beginning of the event) accurately in your head. When this happens. there are nine million variations and combination possibilities which "explode" over the course of the game. in preparing for the challenge I spent little time playing chess. Spe-
ciﬁcally. This level is at ﬁrst a little unclear and unstable. Later. The possibilities for moving the chess pieces are so complex that even the most powerful computers have not been able to come close to ﬁnding all the potential options. six times a week I would bike 50 km and then swim a mile. Ideally. but with increasing time it becomes clearer and more stable. I can leave this “chess level” at any time during the event and talk with opponents or spectators. It is no exaggeration to describe this as one of the most well-known human cognitive accomplishments. Then I only have to make “cosmetic changes”. It is very important to ﬁnd (especially when I am at large event playing against many opponents) an “energy saving” way to think. it was about 21 hours of playtime. I see each board as a kind of very rough pencil drawing. It’s reason enough for Talent Talks to ask him for an interview. Therefore. TALENT TALKS: You have recently played 35 simultaneous games of chess and given the third best performance ever. otherwise it will be difnext move. I hope that something from the history of the game will be shown. I mentally return to the previous level and all the chess games are still there. mulls over his have a well-functioning optical memory. TALENT TALKS: Does a blindfolded simultaneous player need special talents? What are these special talents? MARC LANG: It’s hard to say because there is no “colleague” with whom I could compare myself or exArtur Krug. Marc Lang played 35 games of chess. some experience and playing strength in the game of chess is needed . How long did it take until all games were played? MARC LANG: The event lasted 23 hours. otherwise my memory is quickly overloaded. In addition. while blindfolded. TALENT TALKS: Your record makes great demands on physical ﬁtness. professional change. no matter how long the interruption was. such as when a Pawn “disappears” for a short time. almost as if by magic. TALENT TALKS: To keep the same 35 games in your memory seems impossible. no previous world champion has ever done this. After the deduction of four breaks of 30 minutes. Until now. If that is no longer possible. I never forgot a position completely. But there were times that I omitted details temporarily. simultaneously. How often did you forget your position during the record attempt? MARC LANG: Fortunately. it builds up in my head a kind of “second level” where I can only see the chess boards. I try to replay the entire game again in my mind.
nor my wife and children. where we wanted to play a couple of games with a small magnetic chess board. TALENT TALKS: Do you train everyday. like A1. How much does your environment support you? MARC LANG: My environment is ﬁrst and foremost my family. master games on the Internet or skimming through a good chess book. for about 32 years. Time away from my career was ﬁnanced out of my pocket and my wife supported me greatly by taking care of our daily life and looking after our two small children. For example. this is a rare opportunity. At this point Marc Lang laughed heartily]. I have always enjoyed studying chess books. After only a few
Competitors plan and memorize their moves behind a bar. The European record attempt was the ﬁrst time that I seriously trained. which has certainly trained my optical memory and imagination. then 23. just like the amount of time I spend training for these events.who knows. TALENT TALKS: Edison coined the famous phrase. Otherwise. such as looking at old.
. one can certainly achieve a high performance. How would you distribute the percentages for blindfolded simultaneous chess playing? MARC LANG: “Genius” means only that one can do something that the vast majority cannot do or cannot quite accomplish. in my opinion. Fifteen years ago I arranged to meet a fellow chess player in a Stuttgart café. from a point on the square. and ﬁnally increasing up to 35 games. At blindfolded simultaneous events is an even rarer situation. sponsors who support me on a regular basis are little. For my CV as a “blind simultaneous player”. How long have you been playing blind chess? MARC LANG: The ﬁrst blind simultaneous game I played was in a Stuttgart café 15 years ago. because the ﬁrst contact was really so random. chance probably played a big role. TALENT TALKS: The development of exceptional levels of performance usually requires an exceptional training environment. because one needs at least one partner. perhaps some of them would have been able to accomplish similar event. starting with 10 games. all participants must devote at least 6 to 8 hours. but as a child I was usually too lazy to build the game situation on a chess board. To play blindfolded chess games would be the best training.so to say. I just like to play chess and keep myself busy with it. I think that with appropriate training in simultaneous blindfolded chess playing. which. or can you train in another way?
MARC LANG: I have never tried to train blindfolded chess actively. I have heard from many the proposition that they never would have been ready to attempt such a marathon event. . and how many times per week? MARC LANG: For the blind simultaneous record I did four weeks of very intense sport. During the blind simultaneous record attempt. which makes it easier to develop and discover one’s own “talent”. To sum it up. I have played chess itself a lot longer. ambition and talent in this area. I have only played blindfolded simultaneous chess nine times. ranging from adequate time resources to understanding friends and generous sponsors. has various causes. however. TALENT TALKS: Usually it is assumed that you need a minimum of ten years to reach an international standard of play. TALENT TALKS: What role has chance played in your career? MARC LANG: Doesn’t everything in history happen by chance? [Interviewer's note. But I don’t do a structured training with a ﬁxed schedule. One of the causes is random physical ability. So I just read these books and followed the games or problems in my mind. the moving to 15. Because I have fun doing this. I “know” that it is a rook and I know where he could go or from what point it could be attacked. Then I order these points in my mind according to their proper function. genius is based on 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. My job would not allow this. even for an event with only ten chess boards. it makes it possible for me to continue even when “it hurts” and this is another element of genius. In addition. being a genius requires a certain consciousness. but I suspect that part of my own laziness is due to my natural ability or interest. TALENT TALKS: Does training for blindfolded chess require playing chess blindfolded.
TALENT TALKS: What are your next plans for blindfolded chess? MARC LANG: After the 35 simultaneous games of blindfolded chess worked so well. So we put the chess board away and decided to play without it. not very frequently in the public’s attention. we decided to play seriously: ten games. however. I will begin in late November 2011 to play against 46 opponents.
Team members of Marc Lang Interview
Nicolette Talbott Helling
Hannelore Palau Goneva
. After graduating from high school in Ditzingen (near Stuttgart). the waiter came to our table and told us that chess was not welcome in that cafe. Since amateur chess is currently very well received and causes astonishment.23. Interview with a cognitive magician. Presumably he was afraid that we would play all night and not drink anything. so I decided to continue playing with “seeing players” because the game of chess could use more media attention. Those who are interested can see more information and contact details at www.000 in the world chess rankings. And while we were at it. TALENT TALKS: Do you think that you can get a sponsor for this event?
Who is Marc Lang?
Marc Lang was born on 12. Goneva. two channels even reported live from the event. P. because I thought at that time that any player could do it. The money I will lose from not working will have to be supplemented somehow.1969 in Bad Mergentheim. Talent Talks.
Reporter interviews Marc Lang for a TV program. in which each player was black ﬁve times and also white ﬁve times. he never pursued a professional career because he didn’t think he had enough talent. H. but he dropped out this course after two semesters and transferred a year later to the faculty of computer science. unfortunately. He is currently ranked about 8. which will require two months minimum.. I have to do a more intense workout. In order for me to have a realistic chance. so I can beat Najdorf ’s record by one board. T. 2(1). I ﬁrst came into contact with the idea of simultaneous blindfolded chess and was very surprised to hear the incredulous reactions of fellow chess players.MARC LANG: Of course! Even at the European record in November 2010. At the same time. (2011). in addition to radio. and he had a great love for the game of chess. the media coverage was enormous.. So. Therefore. 20-22. Reports appeared in various regional and national newspapers and even a documentary on television. A. so the World record attempt will also depend signiﬁcantly on whether we can ﬁnd sponsors to support the event ﬁnancially. N. He came to chess at the age of 8 years old thanks to his father. This wonderful game is. blindsimultan. & Helling. when I told them about it. Work and family life always takes priority for Lang. the related image transfer for the sponsor is very positive. it would be a pity not to take it one step further and attempt the 64-year-old world record of the Argentine chess grandmaster Miguel Najdorf. moves. in our heads.de To cite this: Ziegler. Although in his youth he won a few regional and national titles. it was clear that this could be a type of event that would interest a wide audience. Since 2000 he works as a freelance programmer with a focus on the Internet. he initially studied mathematics at the University of Stuttgart.
Kalbﬂeisch and Vandervert. With 78 chapters by 118 different authors. For any researcher who is or wants to become involved in the ﬁeld of giftedness. amounting to a whopping 1539 pages. Some chapters are included that one would not directly expect in a handbook on giftedness – for example. The examples of gifted education around the world can serve as sources of inspiration. Larisa Shavinina’s (2009) International Handbook on Giftedness is the recommended literature. the debate can only start after the authors have had a chance to present their views. a branch with a great potential for growth in the next decade. such as Dai’s contribution devoted to essential tensions in the ﬁeld of giftedness. it offers original approaches for identiﬁcation such as M. Controversies are a normal part of the scientiﬁc process and often provide the impetus for change and progress. General chapters are included that summarise the basic knowledge and common practices for readers who are new to the ﬁeld. Dordrecht: Springer.V. or is the goal only reached when the participants in the gifted programmes ultimately make a valued contribution to society (over and above the one they would have
. Differences of opinion between various contributing authors are also staged prominently. Truly innovative uses of technology in gifted education are outlined by Shavinina. such as Silverman and Miller’s feminine perspective on giftedness and Ambrose’s discussion of macro-level inﬂuences on giftedness.BOOK REVIEW
Review of the International Handbook on Giftedness Emilie Prast havinina. Although the inclusion of such topics in the ﬁeld of giftedness is debatable. children with a high motivation for schoolwork or children who show potential to become an expert in a domain (regardless of IQ) in our gifted programmes? Do we want children from disadvantaged backgrounds to be represented proportionately in gifted programmes? Is the goal of these programmes reached when children receive appropriate education and therefore experience more personal fulﬁllment. experts in the ﬁeld can also ﬁnd something new in this handbook. do we want high-IQ achievers. For example. Root-Bernstein’s investigation of imaginary worldplay as an indicator for creative giftedness and Lohman’s procedure of using local instead of global norms to identify smart children from disadvantaged backgrounds. the two-volume handbook is one of the most comprehensive ever published. stimulating critical reﬂection. a common target group and a common goal need to be identiﬁed. Not only are chapters included that discuss controversies on a meta-level. The handbook is enlivened by its openness to new directions and unusual perspectives. However. However. (Ed. The book offers a broad overview of the ﬁeld in all its facets. International Handbook on Giftedness. L. In this sense. chapters on talent in cinema (by Simonton) and computer hacking (by Heinzen & Picciano). high-IQ underachievers. the ﬁeld is in need of an empirical clariﬁcation of the concept of giftedness (Stoeger). Research developments in neuropsychology of giftedness. some consensus needs to exist about basic concepts and goals of the ﬁeld to enhance transparent communication and progressive cooperation between researchers. Moreover.) (2009). Stimulating reﬂective chapters are included. On the other hand. most clearly so in the ‘battle’ between Gagné (who defends the traditional giftedness perspective) and Ericsson cum suis (who defend the expertise approach). Controversy is displayed openly. For example. are represented in three chapters by Geake. the reader is sometimes left a bit disappointed when titles of chapters promise more than the authors can offer at the moment because of a lack of precise operational deﬁnitions and research evidence.
This global perspective makes evident that culture inﬂuences the policies and practice of gifted education. although the end result of an intellectually gifted student may be higher. On the other hand. as (Cramond. the continuum ranges from curriculum compacting in one subject (which would be suitable for a relatively large proportion of all students) to accelerating more than one year in all subjects (suitable only for a small minority).and TASC programmes developed by Wallace and Maker are designed to bring the thinking skills of all students to a higher level. Indeed. Stoeger provides the reader with an overview of the history of giftedness research and an interesting discussion of the inﬂuence of Zeitgeist on giftedness research. As a solution. Tsai. Of course. p. For example. generate solutions. the Future Problem Solving Program is a powerful enrichment programme for gifted students but. A continuum of educational interventions could be made available. it should start to provide new insights to its parent disciplines such as general educational psychology rather than only receiving ideas from its parent disciplines. Successful examples include online advanced placement (Baldus. many of the educational programmes described in the book seem to be capable of bringing educational beneﬁt to more children than a select and ﬁxed group of students labeled ‘gifted’. afraid of missing something that might be important later on (Phillipson. resulting in the strange situation that two children of a similar ability level may receive a totally different treatment because they are living in different states. The ﬁeld should be proﬁled as a ﬁeld interested in successful learning and development. In this case. Indeed. is the ‘gifted’ primary school teacher considered as valuable as the ‘gifted’ inventor of the iPad or the ‘gifted’ Nobel laureate? To begin to answer such questions. the DISCOVER
. sell their solutions to others. Similarly. Assouline. the differences between countries are even larger and these are portrayed in the last part of the book.1150) asserts: ‘All students must learn how to ﬁnd problems. the strict examination culture in some East Asian countries seems to make students reluctant to skip a grade. large differences in identiﬁcation methods. evaluate them. Shavinina. with some of the interventions suitable for all children and some suitable for a smaller group of children. The essential tensions surrounding giftedness are well summarised by Dai and are evident in the other chapters of the book. an overview of standpoints is needed and this can be found in the handbook Ample attention is given to the nature of giftedness. Even within the US. Zhang. In fact. Croft & Colangelo) and early university entrance (Noble & Childers). By re-integrating gifted education into general education. These cultural variations underline the
Larisa V. and implement them’. all students could beneﬁt from successful practices for developing potential that were originally designed for gifted education. possibly already socially advantaged group versus developing the talents of all children equally. which can therefore be of great beneﬁt to its parent disciplines. which provides a kaleidoscopic view on giftedness research and education around the world. editor of International Handbook on Giftedness. Shi. The enormous power of acceleration as an intervention for students of above-average intellectual ability is demonstrated by Colangelo and Assouline. Quek. Matsumura & Cho). the excellence versus equity dimension reﬂects the conﬂicting desires of promoting excellence in a select. For example. An interesting aspect of this handbook is its attention for the inﬂuence of political and cultural surroundings on gifted education. For example. for the ﬁeld of giftedness to survive. legal rights and educational policies exist (as discussed in the chapter by Karnes & Stephens and VanTassel-Baska). made without the gifted programme)? And in the latter case. Dai proposes to reintegrate gifted education into general education. educational interventions that are suitable only for a more select group of students should always be included in a continuum of interventions such as outlined by Dai. the question is not whether to accelerate but rather how to accelerate gifted learners (Colangelo & Assouline). Ziegler posits that. organising the general education so ﬂexibly that every child (regardless of intellectual ability) works in his or her zone of proximal development.
It is based on the principles that all students have the right to be challenged. However. Subotnik et al. museums) available to
more students. especially in London’s most disadvantaged areas. London Gifted and Talented is only one example of a successful intervention that may be used as inspiration for gifted education in other countries. including an internship at a primary school for gifted children. With large improvements in academic achievement. Although personal development and the right for an appropriate education should be sufﬁcient reasons for gifted programming. many authors articulate the potential of gifted individuals to contribute to economical development (e. Many more are included in the book. the ﬁeld should consider potential drawbacks of economical arguments for gifted education. As part of the London Challenge of improving education for all youngsters. is by no means a guarantee for extensive and effective gifted programming. Indeed. the Netherlands. 23-25.need for the ﬁeld to become less dominated by Western views. is it comfortable with the idea of selecting only those children for gifted programmes who have the highest chance of making an economically valuable contribution to society? One way that may help in overcoming this tension is to organise gifted education in such a way that its existence is beneﬁcial to all students. for example in Africa (Maree & van der Westhuizen) and South America (Soriano de Alencar. Contact: emilie. she decided to study Psychology of Excellence in Business and Education at the LMU in Munich. Simonton. Besides cultural differences. educational interventions for developing the potential of (high ability) students. She combined her studies with a minor in violin playing at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. and that a focus on more able student groups can provide an impetus for improvement of the whole school. followed by some chapters by European authors and a few by Asian authors. and collaboration with institutions to make London’s resources (e. (2011). Because of her interest in giftedness. Review of the International Handbook on Giftedness. Governments will only fund gifted education if they are convinced of its necessity. 2(1). Various authors from other countries identify the need for carrying out and disseminating indigenous research about giftedness. However. A country’s wealth. e-resources for both students and teachers. The programme is structurally interwoven with London’s general educational provisions and functions in collaboration with local governments and school leaders. Emilie has gained ﬁrst experiences in the ﬁeld of giftedness. To cite this: Prast.
Who is Emilie Prast?
Emilie Prast obtained her Bachelors degree in Educational and Child Sciences at the University of Leiden. The programme is modern in its use of new technologies and realistic because it takes into account and accommodates to the busy schedules of teachers. programmes for students. Her research interests include conceptions of giftedness. the results of the London Challenge are very promising. described by Warwick. Emilie was awarded with the prestigious Huygens Scholarship to participate in this Masters programme. gifted children are often portrayed as ‘the hope of the future’ as long as their potential can be developed into something that is valued by society. however. variations in economical resources have a huge impact on gifted education. Hopefully.g. E. In the rest of the handbook. Ziegler points out that funding in the future is likely to be dependent on arguments of economical beneﬁt. Talent Talks. For example. Provisions include collaborative online networks for teachers.com
. that the most effective gifted provision is rooted in good daily classroom teaching. which she plans to ﬁnish in July 2011. According to Persson. Due to space limitations. most chapters of the handbook have not received the attention they deserve in this review. the large majority of the contributions are made by North American researchers. A successful example is the London Gifted and Talented programme. readers who take the time to read Shavinina’s International Handbook on Gifted Education will be provided with a great up-to-date overview of the ﬁeld. de Souza Fleith & Arancibia). and neurobiological correlates of intelligence and successful learning.g. the programme is strongly embedded in policy and is supported ﬁnancially by the government. Shavinina). This enables governments to invest money in developing potential without being accused of creating or perpetuating an elite.prast@gmail. The ‘International’ in the title of this handbook is mainly justiﬁed by this last section about giftedness research and education over the world. this can serve as the starting point for a fruitful discussion about the future directions in the ﬁeld of giftedness..