The conference has a panel debate on digital assisted learning on Saturday afternoon: ‘Promises and Limitations of Digital School Chess’ which will be an opportunity to discuss a topic which is becoming increasingly important to the teaching community. Schools are gaining experience in how to integrate online curricula into the classroom but there are many issues to be resolved. Digital applications supplement the traditional methods and teachers value the structure and insights these can bring especially as the applications evolve through feedback from many users. Teachers feel more effective and better able address the diverse range of abilities and interests of their children. Schools are exploring which systems to use and the best way to introduce them. On the panel are János Pallagi, who developed a chess learning system (that he will present on Sunday morning), Mads Jacobsen who heads the Danish Scholastic Chess Association, and Melissa Remus Elliot, the Headteacher of Heathside Preparatory School in London who strongly promotes chess for educational purposes.
János Pallagi´s LearningChess system arose from a project at Pipacsvirag Secondary School outside Budapest. János Pellagi, an IT specialist, worked with Erzsébet Sarlós, the school Director, on a Chess and Logic Curriculum which breaks new ground. The accompanying software was further transformed into a chess learning application system. This has been translated into English and made free for schools (see video). Already, a couple of thousand children are using it worldwide. The system has evolved so that pupils can track their own development and teachers can monitor the progress of their pupils and their strengths and weaknesses. The evidence suggests that tools such as this can improve attainment in chess, logic and mathematics.
Chess is evolving – its purpose has moved towards the needs of schools. Whilst playing chess competitively remains an important motivating factor for many children, there is so much more that can be done. Chesss may be regarded not as one game but as a resource for all sorts of logical and mathematical mini-games, game variants and puzzles.
The rapid rise of classroom chess has been achieved by teaching the game from the simplest beginnings. By working with children on the basic components of the game, literally one piece at a time, they grow in confidence and enthusiasm. Rather than throwing children in at the deep end, modern educational methods have been used to deconstruct the game into digestible components. Continue reading Classroom Chess and Mathematics→
The co-director of our conference and frequent author of this website is celebrating his sixtieth birthday this Tuesday. Of Irish origin, he studied in Oxford, Lancaster and London. He is also a qualified barrister. Apart from practicing law he worked in highly qualified positions in the film and media industries. Full of ideas, he has always a fascinating project on his hand.
A couple of years ago John saw opportunity and demand for better mathematics education at the time Chess in Schools and Communities was set up. It was a match at the right moment. The charity started to work with John and appointed him Director of Training and Education. John has since trained a thousand of teachers and chess tutors in England, Wales and Ireland, and has written teaching manuals and children workbooks. Always up for something new, this summer he co-organized an international chess summer camp in Riga. Continue reading John Foley is Sixty Today→
School chess experts and scientists from all over Latin America and Spain, as pictured left, are involved in a unique training project. 2200 teachers and chess teachers attended its recent launch in Mexico-City. The lectures took place in different venues at the world´s biggest university UNAM, the Teatro Hidalgo, the Palacio de Medicina and the EXPO Reforma congress centre. They are now followed up by an online-course for chess instruction, which is expected to reach 3000 participants with about three quarters of them school teachers. More lectures and in-presence-trainings are planned for April 2015 all over Mexico.
The ambitious project is the brainchild of Hiquingari Carranza. Well-known for the huge chess festivals he has been running since many years, he is now also the President of Kasparov Chess Foundation Iberoamerica. Many of the lecturers know each other from a series of chess and education meetings in Buitrago near Madrid, that have been directed by Leontxo Garcia. Leontxo is joining our conference as a liaison to the active and creative Spanish-speaking scholastic chess community.
More than one hundred school chess organisers and activists from the German speaking countries met in Bad Hersfeld, a spa town near Frankfurt, for the seventh German School Chess Congress. A dozen experts presented methods and ideas to improve chess instruction in the classroom as well as after school. Stefan Loffler presided over a “game inventing workshop” and presented chess-related mathematical games and puzzles. Local kids were invited for lessons as by Walter Raedler on mini games suitable for beginners.
A highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the Methodenkoffer, a unique collection of materials to enrich chess instruction. The box, which is sold by the Deutsche Schulschachstiftung for €170, will also be on display at the exhibition of chess instruction materials at the London Conference.
17 lost pawns have to be returned to their chess sets each of which comprises 8 pawns. How many boxes are required? The most common answer is “3”. This is plausible based upon some common assumptions – e.g. that a single-number answer is required or the judgement that only a few sets would have been affected, and so on.
This is such a simple problem you might think that virtually everybody gets it right. But curiously the Lost Pawns Problem catches out both children and adults. It is not as if people are addled, not knowing where to begin or how to approach the problem. In practice, answers come rapidly, confidently and erroneously.
You enter the room after the chess club has finished. All the equipment has been stored away. Unfortunately you notice that there are pawns on the floor. This is the bane of the chess teacher – pieces fall off the table and roll behind a chair leg. Tut, tut, we can’t allow the room to be untidy – the pawns will have to be returned to their boxes. You pick them up and count. There are 17 black pawns.
The question is “How many chess sets did they come from?”