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By Jesse Stommel "The digital humanities is as much about reading humanities texts with digital tools as it is about using human tools to read digital text. We are better users of technology when we are thinking critically about the nature and effects of that technology. What we must do is work to encourage students and ourselves to think critically about new tools (and, more importantly, the tools we already use). Far too much work in educational technology starts with tools, when what we need to start with is humans."
"My 5-year-old is bursting at the seams with excitement with the start of kindergarten this year. He tells me he wants to learn to tell time, tie his shoes, learn a new language, play basketball and make new friends. He attends an increasingly rare school that allows a decent amount of time for recess — something research has shown supports academics, healthy friendships and healthy bodies.
The average time Seattle students spend in recess has steadily declined over the past few years, according to a May KUOW investigative story. When the study tracking recess began four years ago, only one Seattle school reported an average recess time of 20 minutes or less per day. During the 2013-2014 school year, some 11 schools offered that sort of a recess.
What’s worse, the schools with the shortest recess times enroll disproportionately more low-income students and students of color.
Unfortunately, Seattle is following a national trend in reducing recess time in primary grades as school districts obsess about raising test scores. This obsession is driven by the federal education policy of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Race to the Top Fund.While students’ ability to interact positively with one another or develop positive self-esteem may not be measured by the next test, these interpersonal skills are the foundation of a fulfilling life and should be the most important feature of our young children’s education. As the American Academy of Pediatrics stated in 2007, “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.”
Controlled experiments by researchers Catherine Bohn-Gettler and Anthony Pellegrini show that recess improves children’s attention to academic tasks. Moreover, recess is a critical factor in a student’s social and emotional well-being. Recess facilitates children’s social development by allowing for cooperation and conflict resolution during unstructured free play, critical for helping children develop the necessary qualities for strong friendships.
In addition to the social and emotional benefits, recess plays an important role in the physical health of children. With adequate adult staffing, recess can significantly contribute to increased physical activity to reduce obesity, according to the American Journal of Public Health.
Students of color and low-income students disproportionately miss out on the benefits of recess."...
New research has found that the cerebellum, the brain's movement-control center, actually contributes to creativity.
By Katy French Whether it’s electrical stimulation of the brain, taking a walk, or doing something boring, scientists are constantly looking for ways to help us be more creative. Neuroscientists are particularly interested in which areas of the brain contribute to or control creativity, and new research is giving us a little more insight. A new study by Stanford’s School of Medicine and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design has found an unexpected link between creativity and the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls movement.
This part of the brain has never been recognized as contributing to the creative process, but it turns out that it does play a part. For the study, researchers devised a method to test creativity—without explicitly telling participants that they were supposed to be creative—and monitored brainwave activity to identify what areas of the brain were being activated.
Participants were given two tasks: Visually depict certain words (a la Pictionary), such as “vote” or “salute,” and draw a zigzag line (a task that requires motor skills but not much creativity). While they performed the tasks, participants’ brains were monitored via MRI scans. Once the drawings were completed, participants were asked to rate how difficult the words they were given to draw were (to give researchers a sense of perceived difficulty). After the experiment, researchers analyzed and rated the drawings for creativity according to specific criteria, including accuracy of depiction, number of elements in the drawing, how elaborate or original the drawing was, etc."...
"Amplify, the education division of Rupert Murdoch's company, is deeply in the red and on the auction block after its ambitious vision failed to materialize.
The global media giant News Corp. sought to push its way into the K-12 marketplace five years ago by betting big on technology. Now, despite a $1 billion investment and a steady stream of brash promises to radically disrupt the way public schools do business, the company's education division, known as Amplify, is deeply in the red and on the auction block.
Veteran observers of the fickle K-12 ed-tech market say they aren't surprised.
"There's a long history of education entrepreneurs who have crashed on the rocks because the market was not what they thought it would be," said Douglas A. Levin, a consultant on the ed-tech market and the recent head of the State Educational Technology Directors Association.
Inside schools, meanwhile, the ripple effects of Amplify's striking demise promised to be minimal. A majority of the 30,000 or so tablet computers sold by the company went to a single district, and Amplify fell far short of its modest goal of getting its no-expense-spared digital curriculum into the hands of 30,000 students by the 2015-16 school year.
Experts attributed the company's lack of impact on the K-12 market to a series of miscalculations."...
Objectives: To study the associations of screen time (Internet / video games / television) with health-related behaviors and outcomes in adolescents.
Methods: Regression analyses were performed to assess the associations of screen time with several health-related behaviors and outcomes in 2425 Dutch adolescents.
Results: Screen time was associated with bullying, being bullied, less physical activity, skipping school, alcohol use and unhealthy eating habits. Compulsive and excessive screen times were associated respectively with several psychosocial problems and being overweight.
Conclusions: Screen time was of significant importance to adolescent health. Behavioral interrelatedness caused significant confounding in the studied relations when behaviors were analyzed separately compared to a multi-behavioral approach, which speaks for more multi-behavioral analyses in future studies.
"To what extent is this a new model of learning in a digital age? How are private corporations employing old rhetoric to advance new avenues into public education? Most importantly, is blended learning becoming yet another overhyped myth on the crowded road of technology-as-education-reform panacea?"...
By Mary Plummer[Picture caption: Music teacher and former principal Carl Schafer has logged about 1,700 miles during his three-year quest to get arts taught in California's public schools. Mary Plummer/KPCC]
"There’s a little-known law that requires California's public schools to teach dance, theater, visual arts and music. Most school districts ignore it. Carl Schafer is on a mission to change that.
Schafer has spent the last three years lobbying to get arts instruction to every student in the state.
"When I first started doing this and bringing it up, there were lots of people in very important positions in education who were not aware," he said.
Since then, Schafer has made it his personal crusade to ensure the law is enforced. He's had meetings with state Sen. Carol Liu; Rick Pratt, the chief consultant to the state Assembly Committee on Education; and California Congressman Ted Lieu.
Schafer's made some progress. State Sen. Ben Allen is considering calling for an informational hearing to tackle the subject of arts instruction in the education code. The California Arts Council has also agreed to discuss the education code at a September meeting in Santa Cruz.
Schafer thinks all schools can offer arts instruction as mandated by the state.
"I think it’s attainable," he said. "It’s really, I think, a matter of learning how to do it." ...
"Nationwide, 42 states require the arts be taught from elementary to high school. But in recent years, the recession and an emphasis on standardized testing led to arts funding cuts in many school districts."...
Much of this frenzy of access is facilitated by mobile devices. Nearly three-quarters of teens have or have access1 to a smartphone and 30% have a basic phone, while just 12% of teens 13 to 17 say they have no cell phone of any type. African-American teens are the most likely of any group of teens to have a smartphone, with 85% having access to one, compared with 71% of both white and Hispanic teens. These phones and other mobile devices have become a primary driver of teen internet use: Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally. Among these “mobile teens,” 94% go online daily or more often. By comparison, teens who don’t access the internet via mobile devices tend to go online less frequently. Some 68% go online at least daily.
"Yesterday, I stumbled onto the KQED YouTube video about making memes. I love memes! A meme is a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied–often with slight variations–and spread rapidly by Internet users. I decided I wanted to find a way to incorporate memes in my English class. The timing was perfect. We are just wrapping upThe Joy Luck Clu and I had the computer lab booked!
I decided to have students create an original meme focused on one of the major themes we discussed from the novel. I was clear to tell that the meme was not about the novel, but rather dealing with a similar theme. I wanted their memes to be clever commentaries on life.
I shared a few memes that deal with the power struggles between children and their parents, unrealistic parent expectations, and the challenges of growing up. https://www.facebook.com/MommyMemes
Here’s a progression you can follow to guide students:
Step 1: Decide on a Theme
Ask students to identify a theme they want to focus on when they create their memes.
Step 2: Complete an Advanced Google Search
Show your students how to do an Advanced Google Search to look for images that have been labeled for reuse. Most students probably haven’t ever done an advance image search looking for images labeled for reuse. Unfortunately, many teens grab images online and reuse them without permission, so this is an important life lesson.
Step 3: Decide on an Image
Once they’ve decided on an image, have them save the picture to their device or take a screenshot.
Step 4: Upload the Image to a Google Drawing
Ask students to log into their Google Drive and create a new Google Drawing and upload their image. If you are using Google Classroom or Doctopus, you can create a Drawing for your students. If your students create their own Google Drawings, remind them to use a standard naming convention (e.g. Class Name – Last Name – Theme Meme).
Step 5: Add Clever Text!
Ask student to add text to their image to create their memes. I reminded my students that their mix of media and text should send a clear and interesting message about their chosen theme."...
"Why do you do what you do? What is the engine that keeps you up late at night or gets you going in the morning? Where is your happy place? What stands between you and your ultimate dream?
Heavy questions. One researcher believes that writing down the answers can be decisive for students.
He co-authored a paper that demonstrates a startling effect: nearly erasing the gender and ethnic minority achievement gap for 700 students over the course of two years with a short written exercise in setting goals.
Jordan Peterson teaches in the department of psychology at the University of Toronto. For decades, he has been fascinated by the effects of writing on organizing thoughts and emotions.
Experiments going back to the 1980s have shown that "therapeutic" or "expressive" writing can reduce depression, increase productivity and even cut down on visits to the doctor.
"The act of writing is more powerful than people think," Peterson says.
Most people grapple at some time or another with free-floating anxiety that saps energy and increases stress. Through written reflection, you may realize that a certain unpleasant feeling ties back to, say, a difficult interaction with your mother. That type of insight, research has shown, can help locate, ground and ultimately resolve the emotion and the associated stress.
At the same time, "goal-setting theory" holds that writing down concrete, specific goals and strategies can help people overcome obstacles and achieve.
'It Turned My Life Around'
Recently, researchers have been getting more and more interested in the role that mental motivation plays in academic achievement — sometimes conceptualized as "grit" or "growth mindset" or "executive functioning."
Peterson wondered whether writing could be shown to affect student motivation. He created an undergraduate course called Maps of Meaning. In it, students complete a set of writing exercises that combine expressive writing with goal-setting.
Students reflect on important moments in their past, identify key personal motivations and create plans for the future, including specific goals and strategies to overcome obstacles. Peterson calls the two parts "past authoring" and "future authoring."
"It completely turned my life around," says Christine Brophy, who, as an undergraduate several years ago, was battling drug abuse and health problems and was on the verge of dropping out. After taking Peterson's course at the University of Toronto, she changed her major. Today she is a doctoral student and one of Peterson's main research assistants."...
"There are people who can quickly memorize lists of thousands of numbers, the order of all the cards in a deck (or ten!), and much more. Science writer Joshua Foer describes the technique -- called the memory palace -- and shows off its most remarkable feature: anyone can learn how to use it, including him."
"For those of us who worry that Google might be making us stupid, and that, perhaps, technology and education don’t mix well, here’s a new study to confirm that anxiety.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looked at computer use among 15-year-olds across 31 nations and regions, and found that students who used computers more at school had both lower reading and lower math scores, as measured by PISA or Program for International Student Assessment. The study, published September 15, 2015, was actually conducted back in 2012, when the average student across the world, for example, was using the Internet once a week, doing software drills once a month, and emailing once a month. But the highest-performing students were using computers in the classroom less than that."...
Authors: AndrewLepp, Jacob E.Barkley, Aryn C.Karpinski DOI: 10.1177/2158244015573169 Published 19 February 2015ABSTRACT: "The cell phone is ever-present on college campuses and is frequently used in settings where learning occurs. This study assessed the relationship between cell phone use and actual college grade point average (GPA) after controlling for known predictors. As such, 536 undergraduate students from 82 self-reported majors at a large, public university were sampled. A hierarchical regression (R2 = .449) demonstrated that cell phone use was significantly (p < .001) and negatively (β = −.164) related to actual college GPA after controlling for demographic variables, self-efficacy for self-regulated learning, self-efficacy for academic achievement, and actual high school GPA, which were all significant predictors (p < .05). Thus, after controlling for other established predictors, increased cell phone use was associated with decreased academic performance. Although more research is needed to identify the underlying mechanisms, findings suggest a need to sensitize students and educators about the potential academic risks associated with high-frequency cell phone use."...
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By Joseph Ganem "Recent evaluations of the state's preschoolers have determined that only 47 percent are ready for kindergarten, compared to 83 percent judged ready last year. This drastic drop isn't the result of an abrupt, catastrophic decline in the cognitive abilities of our children. Instead it results from a re-definition of kindergarten readiness, which now means being able to succeed academically at a level far beyond anything expected in the past. For example, a child entering kindergarten is now expected to know the difference between informative/explanatory writing and opinion writing. The concern is that preschoolers without that knowledge will not succeed at meeting the new higher-level Common-Core standards. However, I think a more pressing concern is: Why do we have educational standards that are not aligned with even the most basic facts of human development? Clearly these test results show that the problem is with the standards, not the children.
Educational attainment is part of human development, and fundamentally this is a biological process that cannot be sped up. We cannot wish away our biological limitations because we find them inconvenient. Children will learn crawling, walking, listening, talking and toilet training, all in succession at developmentally appropriate ages. Once in school, for skills that require performing a physical task, that are in what Bloom's Taxonomy classifies as the "psychomotor domain," it is understood that children will only learn when they are physically and developmentally ready. No one expects four-year olds to type fluently on a computer keyboard, play difficult Chopin Etudes on the piano, prepare elaborate meals in the kitchen or drive a car.
However, for skills in what Bloom calls the "cognitive domain," the school curriculum has become blind not only to the progression of normal child development but also to natural variations in the rate that children develop. It is now expected that pre-school children should be able to grasp sophisticated concepts in mathematics and written language. In addition, it is expected that all children should be at the same cognitive level when they enter kindergarten, and proceed through the entire grade-school curriculum in lock step with one another. People, who think that all children can learn in unison, have obviously never worked with special needs children or the gifted and talented.
Demanding that children be taught to developmentally inappropriate standards for language and math comprehension is not a harmless experiment. This exercise in futility wastes the time of teachers and students and unethically sets all of them up to fail. It exacerbates the very problems that the new curriculum is supposed to fix. It leaves boys, whose verbal development for biological reasons already lags behind girls, even further behind and will accelerate the trend of fewer boys going on to college. Even today boys only make up about 40 percent of college students nationwide and their numbers will continue to dwindle.
The new curriculum standards and testing regimens are motivated by a well-intentioned desire to close achievements gaps that exist between the various socio-economic and ethnic and racial groups. There is a belief that by demanding that all children meet a set of rigid and arbitrarily high academic standards, achievement gaps can be closed and economic opportunities increased for all. The apparent reasoning is that if all children receive the same education and are held to the same academic standards, then all children will have equal opportunity to succeed as adults.
However, addressing pervasive economic inequality by pretending that in an ideal world all children should be alike isn't a solution. The inequalities that plague our society are inherent in the structure of our political and economic systems. A new curriculum will not change the underlying pathologies corrupting these structures. It is a mistake to conflate unjust economic inequalities that arise from our broken political and economic systems with normal differences in abilities and dispositions among people that arise from being human. If all barriers to inequality were broken down, people would still be different from one another and normal human development would still unfold.
Education should be about helping each child, regardless of background or academic readiness, achieve his or her full, unique potential as a human being. It should instill not just academics but also physical, emotional and social skills, which are also essential for making meaningful contributions to the well being of our families, communities and the economy. Differences between people that arise across all skill sets and educational domains are an inherent and valued part of the human experience that should be celebrated in school, not erased.
Joseph Ganem is a professor of physics at Loyola University Maryland and author of the book "The Two Headed Quarter: How to See Through Deceptive Numbers and Save Money on Everything You Buy." His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neuroscientist Richard Davidson presents his research on how social and emotional learning can affect the brain. Read more about the topic, including how to use social and emotional learning to stop bullying, on the Edutopia website: http://www.edutopia.org/social-emotional-learning
"Psychological science has much to contribute to enhancing teaching and learning in the everyday classroom by providing key insights on:
* Effective instruction
* Classroom environments that promote learning
* Appropriate use of assessment — including data, tests, measurement and research methods that inform practice.
We present here the most important principles from psychology — the Top 20 — that would be of greatest use in the context of pre-K to 12 classroom teaching and learning. We encourage consideration and practice of the Top 20 throughout all teacher preparation programs to ensure a solid foundation of psychological knowledge in pre-K to 12 instruction."
"As someone wiser than us once said, “You don’t get anything in this life for free…”
Certainly not when it comes to finding half-decent stock photos to use to spice up your Teachmeet or Edcamp presentation, to make inspiring classroom posters out of or spruce up your blog posts. There are two problems with using stock photos — firstly, the good ones aren’t free and, secondly, the free ones aren’t very good!"...
..."Thankfully, the design community and teachers such as Jane Hewitt are doing their best to provide alternatives to the cheesy and the costly — stylish and high-resolution stock photos that are completely free to do what you like with. Gone are the days of doing a quick Google Image search and cut and pasting an image without really considering who it belongs to. On the back of our post on digital citizenship, we’ve been meaning to write this as a follow-up. What good is an encouragement to cite your sources, respect copyright and give credit where it’s due without any help to do so? Here, then, is your help…
Half-decent stock photos are not always easy to locate, but here are the best we’ve found. What’s great about this list is that for the vast majority, you don’t need to include attribution — the photographer has provided them for you to do what you like with — whether that be the background for your TED talk (!), a story-starter for your English lesson or for your students to use in their project work."...
Ed. Note: Today we present a guest post from Josh Cuevas, a cognitive psychologist and assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of North Georgia. Enjoy!
"Since early on in graduate school when I began studying cognition, I’ve followed the learning styles movement because it was such a powerful phenomenon. It took hold rapidly, seemingly overnight, at all levels of education. And, like so many fads in education and science, it created a big-money industry involving conferences, training seminars, paid speakers, how-to manuals, and a variety of other mediums, inevitably linked to a profit in some way. Yet in the peer reviewed studies I was sifting through, evidence for learning styles was nowhere to be found. And more than a decade later I’m still looking for it.
Today when I suggest to students that learning styles are no more than a myth, I can hear their collective jaws drop, regardless of whether they’re undergraduates or graduate students, because learning styles have been preached to them the entire time they’ve been in school. The graduate students concern me the most because they’re supposed to know the research. And I used the term “preached” because these students have been convinced via no more than word of mouth, are asked to accept the information based on faith, and many come to hold a strange religious-like fervor for the concept. That’s not how science works and it shouldn’t be how education works.
It has been no easy task combating this common misconception in college classrooms, particularly when it is reinforced in textbooks, by other professors (who are also supposed to know the research), and in public schools where students do their internships. The research we’re doing at the University of North Georgia on learning styles has two purposes – it allows us to collect data on the effects of learning styles and contrast it to a stronger model, dual coding, but it also lets us demonstrate, in real time, to students who will one day be teachers how what they’ve long believed to be true simply does not work when put to the test."...
"Up to 400,000 dyslexic children may be hampered in learning
to read by the Government’s insistence on the use of synthetic phonics to teach them, says a report to be published today.
A poll of more than 500 literacy teachers reveals that more than half (52 per cent) believe that the Government’s approach is either “ineffective” or “not very effective” in helping dyslexic pupils.
They believe that children with other disabilities and the most able pupils could also be held back. The poll, carried out by ReadingWise UK – designers of online literacy materials – casts doubt on the Government’s favoured strategy for improving reading.
“Literacy support needs to be tailored to the learning pace, experience and needs of the individual child – delivered by teachers with the appropriate specialist training to identify those who might struggle,” said Dr Tilly Mortimore, senior lecturer at Bath Spa University’s School of Education
"Neither children who are fluent readers, nor those at risk of Special Learning Difficulties/dyslexia or other reading disabilities are likely to find a ‘one size fits all’ intensive synthetic phonics programme helpful. Furthermore, the Government’s punitive testing regime risks undermining both teachers and learners."...
"Tom Wartenberg and Julie Akeret began working together in 2010 on Picture Book Philosophy, a short film introducing Professor Wartenberg’s work with second graders using children’s picture books to spark philosophical discussions. Tom Wartenberg and Julie Akeret began developing What’s the Big Idea? because of a shared belief in the crucial role of education in our lives.
In his book Big Ideas for Little Kids, Wartenberg says,
“In his famous dialogue The Republic, Plato boldly asserted that there would be no justice in the world until philosophers became kings. Just as Plato’s social vision depended upon having rulers who possessed the truth, so our own democratic society requires a citizenry of independent, critical thinkers that only a philosophical education can produce.”
This program is for students and teachers everywhere."...
"The U.S. education system isn't adequately preparing students to use technology for problem-solving, according to a newly released analysis, which recommends what public schools and businesses can do to address that problem.
Change the Equation, a Washington-based organization promoting science, technology, engineering, and math, or "STEM" studies, looked at how American millennials—the first "digital natives" because they were born after the Internet—fared in an international study of adult skills in 19 countries.
To do so, the organization conducted an original analysis of data from the 2012 Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the key cognitive and workplace skills needed to participate in society.
"Yes, [millennials] can take selfies," said Linda Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation, in a presentation announcing the organization's findings this week. "Yes, they can use social media."
What they are not so capable of doing is solving high-level problems with technology, she said. In fact, 58 percent of millennials struggle to use digital tools and networks to solve relatively simple problems that involve skills like sorting, searching for, and emailing information from a spreadsheet, the study found."...
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