"Exit polls showed that a final vestige of the former government was swept out, but rebel regions didn't vote." • "KIEV, Ukraine — Under the cloud of a bitter war in their nation’s east, Ukrainians on Sunday elected the most pro-European parliament in their country’s 23-year-old history, firmly backing an effort to steer their nation away from Russia’s orbit. • The work of the new legislature will be critical to Ukraine’s prospects for overcoming its towering challenges. The election was a final step to empower President Petro Poroshenko, who was elected in May after protests toppled Ukraine’s previous leader and unleashed the worst conflict between Russia and the West since the Cold War. • The new parliament, whose ranks will include a host of new faces, will have to help Ukraine resolve difficulties that would faze even the most experienced statesman. The country’s economy is ravaged by war. A cutoff of Russian natural gas threatens to create a heating crisis as early as January. And Russian-backed rebels firmly control key portions of the country’s industrial heartland in the east."
"Among the surprises: Princeton University ranks first in the United States but 13th in the world." • "U.S. News & World Report put Princeton atop its list of the nation’s best universities last month. On Tuesday, the magazine declared Harvard best in the world — one of nine U.S. and three British universities listed ahead of the Ivy League school in New Jersey. • How can one U.S. university lead the national rankings as another one leads the world? • The answer is that U.S. News is introducing a new way to rank global universities, through analysis of the schools’ research prowess. Critics are likely to call the new global ranking as faulty as its domestic cousin. Both use subjective formulas. Both rely on data, such as reputational surveys, that prompt major debate within academia."
"A mother of five children in Bath, Me., admitted on the New York Times’s Motherlode blog earlier this year that she and her husband had no college savings. Their son, a high school junior, was about to leave for a college tour with some leftover Easter eggs for food, a tent and his one good pair of pants. • The essay, by Meadow Rue Merrill, struck a nerve. Many commenters blamed her and her husband for spending money on after-school enrichment instead of saving for college. With an income in the mid-five figures, however, there was never going to be much excess. • I wondered what the Merrills would say to their children about the lack of funds, and I wrote my own post with some suggestions. But there is a different tactical question that faces this family and many others like it now: What should they actually do once senior year arrives and there are no college savings?"
"'The meals were the bright beacons in those cold and stormy days. The glow of warmth and comfort produced by the food and drink made optimists of us all.'" • So wrote Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton of his 1914-1917 Endurance Expedition, a disaster-riddled attempt to make the first land-crossing of the continent. During a horrendous journey in which his ship sank after being crushed by ice, forcing him and his 28 men to camp for months in the snow, food provided one of the few sources of respite from the bleak surroundings. See Shackleton's ode to salty, waterlogged crackers: • "'A few boxes of army biscuits soaked with sea-water were distributed at one meal. They were in such a state that they would not have been looked at a second time under ordinary circumstances, but to us on a floating lump of ice, over three hundred miles from land, and that quite hypothetical, and with the unplumbed sea beneath us, they were luxuries indeed.'"
"Maps, says Great Maps author and historian Jerry Brotton, are more than a geographic object, a tool to get us from point A to B. From the ancient Greeks to Google Earth, all human cultures have had an innate urge to map. • But historically, maps were inherently shaped by the people who create them — and used to accomplish geopolitical ends. Brotton's Great Maps, a visual overview of the history and politics of geography, teases out this goal. In Brotton's mind, you can examine the history of how the world viewed itself by looking at our maps. • 'Every time I hear someone say 'Middle East,' it's hugely offensive because it's a Western concept,' Brotton told Mic. Technically, any world map is a distortion because mapping the shape of the globe is mathematically impossible."
"Google Classroom is a new tool in Google Apps for Education that helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and easily communicate with their classes. Google Classroom was officially launched last summer and since then several new interesting features have been added to it. Check out this guide to learn more about the 6 things you can do with Google Classroom in your class."
All times are EDT. Direct links to presentations will be added as the presentations are published each day at 8:00 AM EDT. Presentations links will also be published to Twitter, Facebook and our conference video podcast channel in iTunesU.
In an energy-hungry world, nuclear fission and fusion are often mentioned as alternatives to fossil fuels. But which one is better? In this episode, Scientific American's Michael Moyer melts down the facts to get at the core of the issue.
It's closer than you think. By containing the power of the sun in a small magnetic bottle, we are on the fast track to developing nuclear fusion reactors to serve the world’s ever-growing energy needs.
Proficiency standards used by states to measure student progress vary widely – with the gap between states with the highest and lowest standards amounting to as much as three to four grade levels, finds a new study by the American Institutes for...
"Tunisia is experiencing the growing pains of democracy." • "It’s a new day (again) in Tunisia. On Sunday Tunisians headed to the polls to vote in the second, countrywide elections since former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali left power in 2011. • The first elections were filled with excitement; the world watched intensely, and citizens – many unpracticed but euphoric – waited patiently for hours to cast their ballots. They were the first assembly elections in the Arab world after the popular overthrow of a longstanding dictator – ever. No one was sure who would come out on top (although the moderate Islamist Ennahda party was heavily favored), and it was unclear what the future would hold. But it was a moment to remember."
"Released online a few days ahead of print, the newest edition of Time magazine will fill newsstands and mailboxes on November 3. This issue features a cover of a gavel about to smash an apple, with the headline "Rotten Apples." A sub-heading previews the story inside: 'It's nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher. Some tech millionaires may have found a way to change that.' • Within days of its online release (only the cover was public, while the story was behind a paywall), teachers, union leaders, and other education advocates had taken to social media to protest Time's cover and story. A petition started by the American Federation of Teachers, the country's largest teachers union, garnered over 50,000 signatures in one day. President of the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen-Garcia, wrote a public letter to the editor, co-signed by thousands of NEA members, in which she stated, "If Ms. Edwards had asked a teacher, she would've learned that due process policies like tenure are still needed and have nothing to do with rotten apples!" The hashtag #TIMEfail was trending several hours after being taken up by the Badass Teachers Association, and a boycott of Time and its subsidiaries had also taken flight. • So why are teachers so frustrated with Time's portrayal of teachers and corporate reformers? Because, to quote the brilliant Cindi Lauper, this is not just one incident, it is "time after time." Time after time, teachers are faced with defending their profession to those who seek to destroy it -- either directly, as in the case of reformers who wish to corporatize and privatize public education, or indirectly, as when the national media perpetuates myths and stereotypes that "school failure" is due to teacher tenure and a lack of effective teacher evaluations. The trope of the "bad teacher" continues to dominate the media and effectively obscures the systemic realities that teachers and students struggle with every day."
"School districts from New Hampshire to Oregon are revolting against the coming Common Core tests. • Even as political leaders in both red and blue states continue to back away from the standards — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is the latest example — the hottest battles have shifted to the local level, where education officials are staging public revolts against state and federal mandates to administer Common Core exams. • Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett this week announced she did not want students in the nation’s third-largest district to take the federally funded PARCC exam, which will debut next spring in 11 states, including Illinois."
"Over this past school year my wife and I have slowly been watching a change in the way her Middle School students communicate with her. It has me thinking that we no longer get to decide the communication tool for a conversation. • It started back in September when my wife received an e-mail from Facebook via a student. My wife is not friends with any students on Facebook but that didn’t and hasn’t stopped them from sending her messages about school. The first time it happened we laughed and my wife was a bit freaked out. But over the course of the year it’s been happenings more and more. Kids, who are always on Facebook, and using it like e-mail decided it was OK to contact their school counselor that way…and is it?"
"A study published this week brilliantly debunks myths about the brain that pervade the education system" "If you want to make a neuroscientist’s head explode, all you need to do is confidently and triumphantly tell them that humans only use 10% of their brains. Or that right-brained people are more creative than left-brained people. Or that jiggling your head around gets more blood to the brain so you can think more efficiently. These are myths about the brain that have now been around for so long, it’s a wonder they haven’t had a congratulatory message from the Queen. • Unfortunately, because they’ve been around for so long, neuromyths have taken hold in a broad range of aspects of everyday life. Nowhere is this more problematic than in the education system. A new article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience this week has cast a critical eye on the issue, and reveals some worrying statistics about the extent to which brain baloney have infiltrated the beliefs of teachers around the world."
This month is a particularly exciting time to be or become a “connected educator!” Monday officially kicked off the FREE 2014 K-12 Online Conference, and I’m honored this year to serve as the pre-conference keynote speaker. If you have not already, please set aside 40 minutes and check out the keynote video which you’ll find on k12onlineconference.org as well as on YouTube. The 12 contributor videos included in the keynote area also available on this YouTube playlist, and I’m adding conference participant videos shared in response to the keynote video challenge. For more details about how I created the keynote video entirely on my iPhone, see my August post, “Create an iOS iMovie Video Collage with YouTube Contributions.”
"Lockheed Martin aims to develop compact reactor prototype in five years, production unit in 10 Fusion Frontier • Hidden away in the secret depths of the Skunk Works, a Lockheed Martin research team has been working quietly on a nuclear energy concept they believe has the potential to meet, if not eventually decrease, the world’s insatiable demand for power. • Dubbed the compact fusion reactor (CFR), the device is conceptually safer, cleaner and more powerful than much larger, current nuclear systems that rely on fission, the process of splitting atoms to release energy. Crucially, by being 'compact,' Lockheed believes its scalable concept will also be small and practical enough for applications ranging from interplanetary spacecraft and commercial ships to city power stations. It may even revive the concept of large, nuclear-powered aircraft that virtually never require refueling—ideas of which were largely abandoned more than 50 years ago because of the dangers and complexities involved with nuclear fission reactors."