By Katrina Schwartz: "Free, unstructured playtime gives kids a chance to discover their interests and tap into their creativity. It’s a crucial element for building resilience in children, an attribute they’ll need in order to become happy, productive adults. That’s Kenneth Ginsburg’s thesis and the core of his book Building Resilience in Children and Teens.
Ginsburg, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who also works with homeless children, has spent a lot of time trying to help young people build tools they’ll need to succeed — even when trauma has marred early lives.
But the word “success” can be loaded, often carrying different connotations. To Ginsburg, a successful child is one who finds something he loves to do, is generous, empathetic and compassionate, committed to repairing the world, shows grit and the ability to collaborate, creativity and can take constructive criticism. These are what will serve young people as they move into the world on their own.
“Play is integral to being able to build resilience.” “So many of the things that we care about are completely learned through the creative process,” Ginsberg said at an event hosted by the Bay Area Discovery Museum. When kids are allowed free time to play, they learn how to work in groups, negotiate, share, self-advocate, and make decisions."...
"The unleveling impact of technology also has to do with a phenomenon known as the “Matthew Effect”: the tendency for early advantages to multiply over time. Sociologist Robert Merton coined the term in 1968, making reference to a line in the gospel of Matthew (“for whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath”).
In a paperpublished in 1986, psychologist Keith Stanovich applied the Matthew Effect to reading. He showed that children who get off to a strong early start with reading acquire more vocabulary words and more background knowledge, which in turn makes reading easier and more enjoyable, leading them to read still more: a virtuous cycle of achievement. Children who struggle early on with reading fail to acquire vocabulary and knowledge, find reading even more difficult as a result, and consequently do it less: a dispiriting downward spiral.
Now researchers are beginning to document a digital Matthew Effect, in which the already advantaged gain more from technology than do the less fortunate. As with books and reading, the most-knowledgeable, most-experienced, and most-supported students are those in the best position to use computers to leap further ahead. For example: In the Technology Immersion Pilot, a $20 million project carried out in Texas public schools beginning in 2003, laptops were randomly assigned to middle school students. The benefit of owning one of these computers, researchers later determined, was significantly greater for those students whose test scores were high to begin with.
Some studies of the introduction of technology have found an overall negative effect on academic achievement—and in these cases, poor students’ performance suffers more than that of their richer peers. In an article to be published next month in the journal Economic Inquiry, for example, Duke University economist Jacob Vigdor and co-authors Helen Ladd and Erika Martinez report their analysis of what happened when high-speed Internet service was rolled out across North Carolina: Math and reading test scores of the state’s public school students went down in each region as broadband was introduced, and this negative impact was greatest among economically disadvantaged students. Dousing the hope that spreading technology will engender growing equality, the authors write: “Reliable evidence points to the conclusion that broadening student access to home computers or home Internet service would widen, not narrow, achievement gaps.”...
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"Too Small to Fail aims to help parents and businesses take meaningful actions to improve the health and well-being of children ages zero to five, so that more of America’s children are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.
We are working to promote new research on the science of children’s brain development, early learning and early health, and we will help parents, businesses and communities identify specific actions, consistent with the new research, that they can take to improve the lives of young children. As we do this work and secure commitments to action, we will use social media, other technology-driven tools and innovative approaches to inform and empower parents and business leaders to track their progress and measure their success.
Our next generation truly is Too Small to Fail—every child deserves the best possible chance at success. Early childhood experiences have a deep impact on the rest of a child’s life, and America’s future economic prosperity will ultimately be determined by the success of today’s children. Too Small to Fail is about parents, caregivers, other concerned individuals, and the private sector coming together to take small, research-based actions with big impacts. We hope you will join us in helping prepare America’s children to succeed in the 21st century."...
..."Children can experience many of the same symptoms related to computer use as adults. Extensive viewing of the computer screen can lead to eye discomfort, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches.
However, some unique aspects of how children use computers may make them more susceptible than adults to the development of these problems. The potential impact of computer use on children's vision involves the following factors:
Children often have a limited degree of self-awareness. Many children keep performing an enjoyable task with great concentration until near exhaustion (e.g., playing video games for hours with little, if any, breaks). Prolonged activity without a significant break can cause eye focusing (accommodative) problems and eye irritation.
Accommodative problems may occur as a result of the eyes' focusing system "locking in" to a particular target and viewing distance. In some cases, this may cause the eyes to be unable to smoothly and easily focus on a particular object, even long after the original work is completed.
Children are very adaptable. Although there are many positive aspects to their adaptability, children frequently ignore problems that would be addressed by adults. A child who is viewing a computer screen with a large amount of glare often will not think about changing the computer arrangement or the surroundings to achieve more comfortable viewing. This can result in excessive eye strain. Discomfort can also result from dryness due to infrequent blinking. Also, children often accept blurred vision caused by nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism because they think everyone sees the way they do. Uncorrected farsightedness can cause eye strain, even when clear vision can be maintained."...
June 14th by Doug Levin - "Four months ago, President Obama unveiled the first in over $2 billion in commitments from leading technology companies to support the aims of the ConnectED initiative and advance student learning through technology. To highlight these commitments, the White House recently unveiled the ConnectED Hub to provide further details on these commitments.
In this blog post, SETDA summarizes key information from the ConnectED Hub for schools and districts on the eligibility requirements for these private-sector commitments, how to apply, and select information on terms and conditions that may be important to those seeking to take advantage of these offers of support. Information on company contributions comes directly from the White House ConnectED Hub and the websites of participating companies. While we believe it is accurate, interested schools and districts should verify key information before applying.
For those interested in learning more about the work of these companies and even in interacting with company representatives themselves, SETDA is pleased to offer the first of its kind opportunity to participate in a series of events to highlight these commitments. The first of these events will be held on June 28, 2014 at 4pm ET – in conjunction with the 2014 SETDA Emerging Technologies Forum and adjacent to the 2014 ISTE Conference and Expo in Atlanta, GA.
Dust off those Bic ballpoints and college-ruled notebooks — research shows that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on a laptop for remembering conceptual information over the long term. The findings are published in Psychological Science.
"Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors’ perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders.
This discovery opens up the possibility that environmental and/or genetic factors may hinder or suppress a specific brain activity that the researchers have identified as helping us prevent distraction.
The Journal of Neuroscience has just published a paper about the discovery by John McDonald, an associate professor of psychology and his doctoral student John Gaspar, who made the discovery during his master’s thesis research.
This is the first study to reveal our brains rely on an active suppression mechanism to avoid being distracted by salient irrelevant information when we want to focus on a particular item or task.
McDonald, a Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, and other scientists first discovered the existence of the specific neural index of suppression in his lab in 2009. But, until now, little was known about how it helps us ignore visual distractions."...
"Student feedback can sometimes host a treasure trove of new insights not only about their own comprehension but also about our teaching. Giving students the opportunity to share their own response on the learning taking place in the classroom is highly beneficial to them particularly in the way they position themselves vis a vis the content being taught. They also feel empowered because they know their voice does matter and therefore become more engaged and involved in the learning/teaching process."...
Professor Yuko Munakata of the University of Colorado is a proponent of developing “executive function” in children. A professor of psychology and neuroscience, Munakata created a study to start the ball rolling toward an understanding of whether...
What would it take to weave social and emotional learning (SEL) into the daily fabric of our nation’s high schools? This new WKCD collection includes five case studies of a diverse collection of American high schools where SEL is core, research and commentary, student voices, and educator resources.
This is an excellent resource to hear students' experiences about social and emotional support in their schools. Highly recommend exploring this site and the related videos as great examples of how we can bridge research to practice in support of youth development.
..."In a large study published last year in The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers reported that while most young people with A.D.H.D. benefit from medications in the first year, these effects generally wane by the third year, if not sooner.
“There are no long-term, lasting benefits from taking A.D.H.D. medications,” said James M. Swanson, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, and an author of the study. “But mindfulness seems to be training the same areas of the brain that have reduced activity in A.D.H.D.”
“That’s why mindfulness might be so important,” he added. “It seems to get at the causes.” Depending on which scientist is speaking, cognitive control may be defined as the delay of gratification, impulse management, emotional self-regulation or self-control, the suppression of irrelevant thoughts, and paying attention or learning readiness.
This singular mental ability, researchers have found, predicts success both in school and in work life. Cognitive control increases from about 4 to 12 years old, then plateaus, said Betty J. Casey, director of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Teenagers find it difficult to suppress their impulses, as any parent knows.
But impulsivity peaks around age 16, Dr. Casey noted, and in their 20s most people achieve adult levels of cognitive control. Among healthy adults, it begins to wane noticeably in the 70s or 80s, often manifesting as an inability to remember names or words, because of distractions that the mind once would have suppressed.
Bolstering this mental ability, specialists are now suggesting, might be particularly helpful in treating A.D.H.D. and A.D.D."...
"BIE’s highest priority is to help teachers prepare students for successful lives. We do this by showing teachers how to use Project Based Learning in all grade levels and subject areas. As a mission-driven nonprofit organization, BIE creates, gathers, and shares high-quality PBL instructional practices and products and provides highly effective services to teachers, schools, and districts.
For teachers, BIE offers professional development on how to design, assess, and manage projects that engage and motivate students. For schools, BIE helps bring coherence to PBL practices across grade levels and subject areas, and supports the creation of school-wide processes and structures to support PBL. For districts, BIE offers unrivaled service and expertise in creating and sustaining district-wide PBL initiatives. The exponential increase in demand for its services and products speak to BIE’s ability to help educators around the world provide a better education for all students."...
...“One of the great heroes in American psychology, William James, dedicated a whole chapter on attention in his classic tome from 1890 called The Principles of Psychology. In this chapter he said the faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention over and over again is the very root of judgment, character, and will. Then a little later he goes on to say an education, which should improve this faculty, would be the education par excellence.
We clearly understand that many contemplative practices can be thought of as training methods for educating attention. A number of other scientists have now marshaled very compelling evidence to indicate that we can learn to focus our attention better. We can be more skillful at not being hijacked by distractions. We may notice them, but there's a big difference between noticing that something may be occurring, being aware of it, and being hijacked by it, being pulled away from one's central focus.There is now quite a bit of evidence to indicate that the circuits in the brain that play a role in regulating our attention, and very rigorous behavioral measures of attention, change in response to mindfulness meditation practice.
One of the central indices of that change is our capacity to not be hijacked by distracting events in our environment, particularly distracting emotional signals, which often pull us away from our task at hand."...
"A vital and productive society with a prosperous and sustainable future is built on a foundation of healthy child development. Health in the earliest years—beginning with the future mother’s well-being before she becomes pregnant—lays the groundwork for a lifetime of vitality. When developing biological systems are strengthened by positive early experiences, children are more likely to thrive and grow up to be healthy adults. Sound health also provides a foundation for the construction of sturdy brain architecture and the achievement of a broad range of skills and learning capacities. This publication was co-authored by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs."...
For main webpage of Harvard's Center on the Developing Child with downloadable reports, videos, and resources, click on title above or here:
by Daniel Goleman: "If everything worked out perfectly in your life, what would you be doing in ten years? That query invites us to consider what really matters to us, and how that might guide our lives. Pursuing this simple exercise encourages openness to new possibilities.
“Talking about your positive goals activates brain centers that open you up to new possibilities. But if you change the conversation to what you should do to fix yourself, it closes you down,” says Richard Boyatzis, a psychologist at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve.
His research has explored these contrasting effects in coaching. Boyatzis and colleagues scanned the brains of college students being interviewed. For some, the interview focused on positives: what they’d love to be doing in ten years, and what they hoped to gain from their college years. The brain scans revealed that during the positively focused interviews there was greater activity in the brain’s reward circuitry and areas for good feeling and happy memories. Think of this as a neural signature of the openness we feel when we are inspired by a vision."...
"In the opening pages of his moving book Last Child in the Woods, journalist Richard Louv quotes a prescient fourth-grader who told him, “I like to play indoors better, ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.”
Since the book came out in 2005, describing the numbers of kids consistently choosing video games and television over building forts and riding bikes, recent research suggests kids are being exposed to less nature. A comprehensive report of outdoor activity released this year by the Outdoor Foundation says that only 38 percent of participants ages 6-12, and 26 percent of kids ages 13-17 reported doing things outside like running, hiking, and biking. “Although participation rates were stable for younger participants from 2011 to 2012,” the report states, “the rates are still significantly lower than they were in 2006.”
Louv has since become famous for coining the term Nature-Deficit Disorder — not as a medical diagnosis, but as shorthand for what’s happening to kids who stay, for the most part, inside, away from nature, for the majority of their young lives. He uses strong research to support his claims that rising rates of obesity, depression and anxiety, and ADHD symptoms could well be linked to kids’ disconnection from trees, fields and streams."...
"Emotional intelligence is comprised of the skills necessary to understand and manage emotions effectively. Does higher emotional IQ mean improved job performance? About a third of all hiring managers in the U.S. tend to think so! The importance of Emotional Intelligence infographic dives deeper into what emotional intelligence entails as well as why it’s important in the workplace."
"Tackk allows anyone, to create anything, and share it anywhere. There is no software to download, no login required, nothing to join + no special design or development skills needed. In fact, those who have used Tackk, literally call it "ridiculously simple." And we agree."...
OPEN LETTER TO ANDREAS SCHLEICHER, OECD, PARIS "Dear Dr. Schleicher:
We write to you in your capacity as OECD’s director of the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA). Now in its 13th year, PISA is known around the world as an instrument to rank OECD and non-OECD countries (60+ at last count) according to a measure of academic achievement of 15 year old students in mathematics, science, and reading. Administered every three years, PISA results are anxiously awaited by governments, education ministers, and the editorial boards of newspapers, and are cited authoritatively in countless policy reports. They have begun to deeply influence educational practices in many countries. As a result of PISA, countries are overhauling their education systems in the hopes of improving their rankings. Lack of progress on PISA has led to declarations of crisis and “PISA shock” in many countries, followed by calls for resignations, and far-reaching reforms according to PISA precepts.
We are frankly concerned about the negative consequences of the PISA rankings. These are some of our concerns:"...