"As schools everywhere strive to improve the academic performance of their students, many have cut physical education and recess periods to leave more time for sedentary classroom instruction. A sensible new report from the Institute of Medicine, a unit of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how shortsighted this trend can be. It found that exercise can significantly improve children’s cognitive abilities and their academic performance, as well as their health. Students who exercise have lower body fat, greater muscular strength, and better cardiovascular and mental health. While admitting that the studies are limited, a panel of experts assembled by the institute says that “a growing body of evidence” suggests children who are more active are better able to focus their attention, are quicker to perform simple tasks, and have better working memories and problem solving skills than less-active children. They also perform better on standardized academic tests. Academic performance is influenced by factors like parental involvement and socioeconomic status, but the panel reported that active children tended to have stronger performance, especially in reading and mathematics. It believes that the benefits of exercise during the school day outweigh the benefits from increasing class time."
"Flipping through pictures of attendees at a recent conference, I was struck by a horrible observation that resonated in my own heart--we're all overweight. Aside from a few lean greyhounds and fitness buffs with bulging biceps, trim triceps, it's frightening to see so many of us so weighty. It's no surprise since we find ourselves sitting for much of technology use...it's hard to walk and talk, much less walk and manage an iPad or mobile device. We like to sit still. We are tasked with creating, working hard to make things happen. It's a pressure that can be stressful because it's essential to our future:"
"If you and I have had a conversation about math education in the last month, it's likely I've taken you by the collar, stared straight at you, and said, "Can I tell you about the math lesson that has me most excited right now?" There was probably some spittle involved. Evan Weinberg posted "(Students) Thinking Like Computer Scientists" a month ago and the lesson idea haunted me since. It realizes the promise of digital, networked math curricula as well as anything else I can point to. If math textbooks have a digital future, you're looking at a piece of it in Evan's post."
"As I mentioned earlier, the best device a school can roll out is a teacher who can adapt to new and emerging technologies, does not always require formal training for learning and staying current, and is not tethered to a product (PowerPoint) in order to teach. Education technology will continue to progress and part of this evolution will be for students and teachers to stay current with both curriculum and digital literacy. Even in the absence of technology, a great teacher will continually seek out ways to engage his or her students in great lessons, simulations or challenges.
"The headlines from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 school finance data release focused on per-pupil spending, which dropped for the first time in nearly 40 years. But this school finance report is full of other interesting data as well. Some highlights: 1. While school spending overall was down, from $522 billion in 2011 compared to $523 billion in 2010, there was one category that saw a spending increase: employee benefits. Even as districts were spending less on wages (by 1.2 percent), health insurance and retirement costs rose by 0.4 percent. That's not very much, clearly, but still an increase as other spending was going down. This is a trend Chad Aldeman explains well over at the Quick & the Ed.
"By definition, a screencast is a recording of your computer screen accompanied by audio narration.In the past, screencasting tools used to cost a fortune and only tech savvy people were able to use them but thanks to web 2.0 technologies, there are now dozens of easy to use and simple platforms to record your screencast. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has already featured several of these tools in previous posts. Today, however, I am going to share with you some of the best iPad apps to create screencasts and tutorials. Check them out below and let us know what you think of them. Enjoy
"My own take is that freedom—for educators to do their work and for parents to choose an environment that's right for their children—is necessary, but not sufficient, for the creation of excellent schools. That it's 'necessary' is obvious by looking at what happens in highly controlled, regimented systems in the United States or around the world. These systems can bring a certain degree of quality control to the task and make sure that outright failures (educational, fiscal, or otherwise) don't happen. But it's hard to find an "excellent" school in a command-and-control system. That's because of a simple fact of human psychology: We hate being told what to do. But removing all strings isn't sufficient to get you excellence, either. You can't just empower anyone—you have to empower a team of people who actually know what they are doing. And these people, collectively, must have the capacity to run a great school. They need to have a coherent pedagogical vision, know how to build a curriculum, know how to create a positive school culture, know how to build and follow a sensible budget, know how to put reasonable 'internal controls' in place, know how to recruit a great staff, and on and on. These people, it turns out, are scarcer than I had realized at age 22."
"Multiple-choice tests had their origin in World War I, when Dr. Robert Yerkes2, President of the American Psychological Association (APA), convinced the Army to commission them to test the intelligence of recruits.3,4 The Army's goal was to improve the efficiency of evaluating men by moving away from time-consuming written and oral examinations. Yerkes' motives were to make psychiatry a more scientific field and move it away from its affiliation with philosophy. A total of 1.7 million recruits were tested, giving the multiple-choice test an air of legitimacy, but in the end, the Army found no value in the results. Yerkes omitted that part of the story when he sold this idea to educational testing outfits. The validity of the test was not questioned. The rest is an unfortunate history.
"In an effort to curb Western influence, China's leaders have reportedly banned the discussion of seven subjects in university classrooms, including press freedom, universal values, and the historical mistakes of the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese professors and political analysts said a recent directive from Beijing to universities indicated an awareness among the country's leaders that the government is losing its ideological grip over students and younger faculty members. While many faculty members said they had not been briefed by university administrators about the taboos, and in some cases had never heard of them, several professors said university leaders had instructed them at the beginning of May to avoid the subjects in class. According to academics who have been told about the list, the other taboo topics are judicial independence, economic neoliberalism, the wealth accumulated by top government officials, and civil society."
"It's both a fun time of year in high school and a time to reflect. I've had kind of an interesting juxtaposition of a couple of items. We have a couple of students that I know at my school who are graduating and think they want to become teachers (we have a great Teacher Cadet program where they get an opportunity to learn about teaching/learning as well as a mini-student-teaching opportunity). In many ways I think this is great - we must be doing something right if we have bright, amazing students thinking they want to become educators. But the second item gives me pause, so I thought I'd take just a few minutes to share some numbers that I've come across recently."
"Miriam Hughey-Guy will never be a household name, but she is a star among principals."
"Dora Sue Black, the lead teacher for reading at Barcroft, said Hughey-Guy 'encourages staff involvement in decisions and implementation. She provides support when teachers come with ideas to support and challenge the students.'
'She is a whirling dervish that doesn’t stop,' said Arlington County School Superintendent Patrick K. Murphy. 'She always has an opinion, has strong beliefs and is always action-oriented.'
Sixty-one percent of Barcroft’s 481 students are from low-income families. Fifty-two percent are Hispanic, 23 percent white, 10 percent black and 9 percent Asian. The school has an 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. extended-learning program. It offers Spanish as a foreign language to all students.
Hughey-Guy said she plans to spend more time with her husband while spreading the word of how to build a great school. She loved talking to kids. She encouraged teachers to be leaders. She shared and analyzed new student data immediately. She had her staff plan for each student. She had frequent meetings with parents."
"Young writers show an appetite for risk in college application essays about money, class and the economy, submitted at a columnist’s invitation."
"What these four writers have in common is an appetite for risk. Not only did they talk openly about issues that are emotionally complex and often outright taboo, but they took brave and counterintuitive positions on class, national identity and the application process itself. For anyone looking to inspire their own children or grandchildren who are seeking to go to college in the fall of 2014, these four essays would be a good place to start."
"Now that you have understood the basics of Digital Citizenship and have read the digital footprint guide, you night be in need of a handy graphic to share with your students to wrap it up all. Well, I have one for you. The graphic below features some wonderful tips and pieces of advice on how to develop good manners online. Look at it as a code of online ethics to recommend not only to your students but to your kids as well. You can also print it and hang it on your classroom wall to constantly remind students of what is expected from them while using the world wide web. Enjoy
"Cloud computing and mobile technology are two of the top technologies to watch in education, according to this year's K-12 Horizon Report, an annual publication from the New Media Consortium that highlights developing trends in ed tech. And this year, the report suggests, they could go mainstream. NMC released the findings in advance of the report's official publication, slated for June, in a webinar hosted in part by CEO Larry Johnson. For the report, more than forty education experts from around the globe weighed in on dozens of the biggest technology-related trends and topics on a dedicated wiki space, and chose the six most important to showcase: - Cloud computing and mobile technology (one year to adoption); - Open content and learning analytics (two to three years to adoption); and - 3D printing and virtual and remote science labs (four to five years to adoption)."
"Blended learning is quite simply one of the most overused terms to describe the current state of education's relationship with technology. However, it fits. So how does your average everyday teacher get started with blending up your learning? Isn’t there some sort of visual aid you could look at to quickly grasp the key points and perhaps see 10 (or so) ways to actually use blended learning in the classroom?"
"The National Center on Education Statistics this morning releases its annual education data digest, the Condition of Education 2013. It finds a steady increase in the concentration of poverty in American schools. One in five public schools in 2011 had 75 percent or more of their students qualify for free- or reduced-price meals, up from only one in eight schools a decade ago. And in the wake of the economic downturn, Americans who don't attain higher education are the most likely to be unemployed: Among adults ages 25-34 who started but did not complete a high school degree, 30 percent were unemployed, making them only slightly better off than those with just a high school diploma, a group with a 32 percent unemployment rate. However, high school dropouts still lag far behind, with unemployment among this group at 44 percent."
"Twitter may have started off as a fun social media site for keeping up with friends and sharing updates about daily life, but it’s become much more than that for many users over the past few years as the site has evolved and grown. These days, Twitter is a powerhouse for marketing, communication, business, and even education, letting people from around the world work together, share ideas, and gain exposure. It has become a staple at many online colleges and campuses as well, leaving many academics wondering just how and if they should be using Twitter both in the classroom and in their professional lives. So we’ve revised our our original 2009 list to get you started or up to date. Whether you’re an academic or just interested in building your Twitter profile, keep reading to learn some tips and tricks that can help you take the first steps towards using Twitter for coursework, research, building a professional network, and beyond."
"A UK-backed project in Western Equatoria state seeks to ensure domestic and social factors don't deny girls an education." "Bridget Nagomoro used to get up at five in the morning to fetch water from the stream, cook breakfast for the family, then walk the five miles to school. In the evening, she would eat at 10pm having cooked dinner, done the household chores and completed her homework. It's a familiar routine for girls in South Sudan, but Nagomoro was a trailblazer. She was the first girl from Ibba county – a community of 90,000 people – in landlocked Western Equatoria state to finish primary school. Being the only girl at her school was hard. "Some of the boys used to threaten me because I got better results than them," said Nagomoro last week during a visit to Britain. Now a local government commissioner in Ibba county, she wants to make it easier for girls to get an education by setting up a boarding school for girls aged 10 and above – the point at which most drop out because of the competing pressures from family, household chores, childcare and early pregnancy."
"Yahoo just unveiled a completely redesigned website for Flickr, and it looks great. What makes it even better is that each user now gets 1 TB of free storage and 3 minutes of 1080p video. The new look is very image-centric, as it should be. Profiles are collages of photos in a scrollable list with a Facebook-like cover photo. You can check it out now at Flickr.com. A message from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on the company’s Tumblr blog (funny how Yahoo bought Tumblr today too): 'Photos tell the stories — stories we’re inspired to relive, share with our friends, or capture simply to express ourselves. Collecting these moments is a part of our everyday. Since 2005, Flickr has become synonymous with inspiring imagery. Today, we’re thrilled to take Flickr even further with a beautiful, completely re-imagined experience that puts photos front and center. When it comes to photography, technology and its limits shouldn’t hinder the experience. So we’re also giving our Flickr users one terabyte of space — for free. That’s enough for a lifetime of photos — more than 500,000 original, full-resolution, pixel-perfect, brilliant photos. Flickr users will never have to worry about running out of space.'"
"Most folks are familiar with the most common Google tools. Search, Hangouts, Docs, Mail, Drive all are used by countless folks around the world. In fact this blog is written with Google Blogger. I use Google and live there most days. But did you know there are some under used features outside of the typical ones that have great value? Here is just a handful of some of the Google Tools to check out for your classroom."
"In addition to that wealth of advice, here are links to other useful resources: Finishing the School Year Strong and Teaching Secrets: The Last Day of School are two pieces I've previously written for Education Week Teacher. Ideas for English-Language Learners | Celebrating the End of the School Year is a post I recently co-authored for The New York Times Learning Network. Middleweb has pulled together a very nice collection of related posts and articles. And, finally, you might want to explore The Best Ideas On How To Finish The School Year Strong.
"Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish -- and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.
Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence."
Katie and I can't cover the entire education app industry by ourselves. Luckily, there are dozens of other sites specifically devoted to education app reviews for teachers and students." Click the title above to go to the article for the list of 46 sites.
"Clinical psychologist Meg Jay has a bold message for twentysomethings: Contrary to popular belief, your 20s are not a throwaway decade." What the "facts of life" lead you to say to someone in their 20's.... "Thirty is not the new twenty so claim you adulthood. Get some identity capital. Use your weak ties. Pick your family."