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Home/ Diigo In Education/ Contents contributed and discussions participated by Javier E

Contents contributed and discussions participated by Javier E

Javier E

Money Cuts Both Ways in Education - NYTimes.com - 19 views

  • If you doubt that we live in a winner-take-all economy and that education is the trump card, consider the vast amounts the affluent spend to teach their offspring.
  • This power spending on the children of the economic elite is usually — and rightly — cited as further evidence of the dangers of rising income inequality.
  • But it may be that the less lavishly educated children lower down the income distribution aren’t the only losers. Being groomed for the winner-take-all economy starting in nursery school turns out to exact a toll on the children at the top, too.
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  • There is a lively debate among politicians and professors about whether the economy is becoming more polarized and about the importance of education. Dismissing the value of a college education is one of the more popular clever-sounding contrarian ideas of the moment. And there are still a few die-hards who play down the social significance of rising income inequality.
  • When you translate these abstract arguments into the practical choices we make in our personal lives, however, the intellectual disagreements melt away. We are all spending a lot more money to educate our kids, and the richest have stepped up their spending more than everyone else.
  • spending on children grew over the past four decades and that it became more unequal. “Our findings also show that investment grew more unequal over the study period: parents near the top of the income distribution spent more in real dollars near the end of the 2000s than in the early 1970s, and the gap in spending between rich and poor grew.”
  • But it turns out that the children being primed for that race to the top from preschool onward aren’t in such great shape, either.
  • “What we are finding again and again, in upper-middle-class school districts, is the proportion who are struggling are significantly higher than in normative samples,” she said. “Upper-middle-class kids are an at-risk group.”
  • troubled rich kids. “I was looking for a comparison group for the inner-city kids,” Dr. Luthar told me. “And we happened to find that substance use, depression and anxiety, particularly among the girls, were much higher than among inner-city kids.”
  • “I Can, Therefore I Must: Fragility in the Upper Middle Class,” and it describes a world in which the opportunities, and therefore the demands, for upper-middle-class children are infinite.
  • “It is an endless cycle, starting from kindergarten,” Dr. Luthar said. “The difficulty is that you have these enrichment activities. It is almost as if, if you have the opportunity, you must avail yourself of it. The pressure is enormous.”
  • these parents and children are responding rationally to a hyper-competitive world economy.
  • “When we talk to youngsters now, when they set goals for themselves, they want to match up to at least what their parents have achieved, and that is harder to do.”
  • we live in individualistic democracies whose credo is that anyone can be a winner if she tries. But we are also subject to increasingly fierce winner-take-all forces, which means the winners’ circle is ever smaller, and the value of winning is ever higher.
Javier E

'There's Something Very Exciting Going On Here' - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic - 20 views

  • One effort I started in June was to announce a seed grant program to support individual faculty and small teams that wanted to try different ways of teaching their course. So the internal funding helps support students or assistants or web developers or other people to help faculty recraft all or part of their course in order to see if new approaches really help.
  • here isn't an actual fixed fund. We got about 40 applicants. Maybe 20 of those things we funded. Each one was up to $25,000. I think I'd like to continue that on a quarterly basis. And really, we're new at all this. So the scale of this effort will depend on the faculty input and the outcome of how effective we find this to be.

  • We now have the ability for individual faculty or programs on campuses to produce appealing online content with relatively low effort and distribute that wide
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  • we'd like to see a number of things tried so we can have a good discussion that's informed by rational experiment and collected data. Beyond these individual experiments, one class at a time, I think it would be great to have one or two departments really try to integrate an online experience into their core curriculum so we can understand how that works, so we can provide students more options
  • Many of these first round of MOOCs were produced with a webcam by an individual instructor using a tablet PC. That's on the order of a thousand dollars worth of equipment. Maybe. Certainly, it's extremely inexpensive compared with a laptop 5 years ago. So the cost of the technology is lower. There's good software for editing video -- we're in an era where producing video is similar to word processing. And everyone is used to interacting with people online in different ways than were prevalent 10 to 15 years ago. The kind of discussion you can have online is more sophisticated. People understand social conventions for how to contribute constructively to an online discussion. Those factors really contribute to the effectiveness of a MOOC or a smaller scale online course.
  • I think we'll see an evolution of a range of different ways of using technology, and probably some expansion of the set of options that a student has. Instead of going off to college, maybe some students will live in their parents' homes or elsewhere and take a first year or two online. Or they'll spend two years in college and finish two years online as they work. There will be different, in effect, educational programs coming out of this phenomenon that offer credit, certification, job placement, and other things beyond the self learning that MOOCs provide. So I think we really are going to see a transformation in the way teaching and learning are developed and delivered
Javier E

News: Decline of 'Western Civ'? - Inside Higher Ed - 25 views

  • Fifty years ago, 10 of the 50 "top" colleges mandated a Western Civ course, while students at 31 of them could choose a "Western Civilization" course from among a group of courses that would fulfill general education requirements.

    The situation is different today, according to the report. None of those "top 50" colleges and only one of the 75 public universities, the University of South Carolina, mandates one semester of "Western Civ." The association did not count Columbia University and Colgate University as offering the traditional "Western Civ" course, even though those institutions require two-semester courses on Western thought, because those courses include non-Western texts. Sixteen of the "Top 50" list Western Civ among several choices for a general education curriculum, as do 44 of the 75 large public institutions.

  • The "traditional Western Civ course," he said, was especially well suited for the student population of the 1960s. But he said today's student body is radically different and might not be as interested in such courses. He also attributed the change to an increasing specialization among professors, which affects how well they can teach broad survey courses and how much they enjoy doing so.
  • Whereas many colleges in the 1960s had standard core curriculums, more and more universities have moved to a model where students select from a broad range of courses in thematic areas.
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  • "The notion that the cultural traditions of our population reside in Western Civilization is belied by the demographic changes in the American population," Grossman said. He said it is knowledge of world history, a perspective that encompasses Western Civilization, that students are going to need in order to be successful in business, nonprofit, and government jobs.
Javier E

The Decline of Final Exams - NYTimes.com - 51 views

  • Keith O’Brien surveys a national decline in final exams, reflected at Harvard, where fewer than a quarter of the undergraduate courses scheduled the tests in the spring term last year.
  • There’s nothing magical about finals, Bangert-Drowns added. They can be arbitrary and abstract — an inauthentic gauge of what someone knows.
  • many still find value in the final exam. It might be stressful, even terrifying, but it has the singular power to force students to go back over material, think critically about what they have read, review hard-to-grasp-topics once more, and even talk about the subject matter with classmates and instructors — all of which enhance learning.
Javier E

Taking the Information Plunge With Tinderbox | Mac.AppStorm - 146 views

  • Tinderbox “the tool for notes.”
  • The power of Tinderbox comes from its ability to display those notes in a number of different and helpful ways, and its array of mechanisms for manipulating those notes.
  • Tinderbox is a toolbox full of tools that let you play with information. DevonThink Pro is a better tool for research, particularly when linked with Devon Agent, OmniOutliner is a better outliner, Scrivener is a better writing tool, and Omnigraffle does a better job of drawing. All of these tools are great, but while they overlap some, they don’t cover everything Tinderbox does.
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  • For many years, I have walked into large, complex businesses and attempted to identify what was going on and how it could be done better. My job was part Qualitative Research, part Quantitative Research, and part Political Analysis. Qualitative Research has a number of tools for analyzing interviews and playing with the data, teasing meaning out of diverse viewpoints. I used these tools effectively, but I wish I’d had Tinderbox earlier in my career because it would have made this job easier. Tinderbox is a far more useful tool for ‘right-brained’ qualitative analysis than most of the other tools I’ve worked with, but even that sells it short.
  • Very few people I’ve seen truly understand its character as a tool box for manipulating and exploring information.
  • I have been using TB for just over a year and it has become my second top application after Scrivener. (I also use DEVONThink Pro)

    I have planned a trilogy of novels on it, and a detailed timeline for the first novel.
    I’m currently editing the first novel, which is to come out in Feb 2112, and I have set up my Scrivener screen so that the timeline occupies the lower third of my screen (though the Apps can be viewed together in other ways).

  • As for the trilogy, the plan is a work in progress using map view. But the power to manipulate the characters, events and relationships, and run what-ifs, has far exceeded my expectations.
Javier E

Yglesias » Half Of Adults In Detroit Are Functionally Illiterate - 15 views

  • the fact that huge numbers of kids are passing through school systems and not learning basic literacy drives home the fact that districts also need to take checking to see if the kids are learning anything more seriously. That means tests, and since it’s good to be able to compare different schools to one another that means standardized tests. It’s a limited tool, it shouldn’t be the sole criterion on which the effectiveness of anything is measured, but it’s also an important one.
Javier E

A New Measure for Classroom Quality - NYTimes.com - 84 views

  • Test scores are an inadequate proxy for quality because too many factors outside of the teachers’ control can influence student performance from year to year — or even from classroom to classroom during the same year.
  • there’s a far more direct approach: measuring the amount of time a teacher spends delivering relevant instruction — in other words, how much teaching a teacher actually gets done in a school day.
  • Thirty years ago two studies measured the amount of time teachers spent presenting instruction that matched the prescribed curriculum, at a level students could understand based on previous instruction. The studies found that some teachers were able to deliver as much as 14 more weeks a year of relevant instruction than their less efficient peers.
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  • There was no secret to their success: the efficient teachers hewed closely to the curriculum, maintained strict discipline and minimized non-instructional activities, like conducting unessential classroom business when they should have been focused on the curriculum.
  • A focus on relevant instructional time also implies several further reforms: Lengthening the school day, week and year; adopting a near-zero-tolerance policy for disruptive behavior, which classroom cameras would help police; increasing efforts to reduce tardiness and absenteeism; and providing as much supplementary and remedial tutoring (the most effective instructional model known) as possible.
Javier E

The Default Major - Skating Through B-School - NYTimes.com - 41 views

  • Dr. Mason, who teaches economics at the University of North Florida, believes his students are just as intelligent as they’ve always been. But many of them don’t read their textbooks, or do much of anything else that their parents would have called studying. “We used to complain that K-12 schools didn’t hold students to high standards,” he says with a sigh. “And here we are doing the same thing ourselves.”
  • all evidence suggests that student disengagement is at its worst in Dr. Mason’s domain: undergraduate business education.
  • “Business education has come to be defined in the minds of students as a place for developing elite social networks and getting access to corporate recruiters,”
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  • It’s an attitude that Dr. Khurana first saw in M.B.A. programs but has migrated, he says, to the undergraduate level.
  • Second, in management and marketing, no strong consensus has emerged about what students ought to learn or how they ought to learn it.
  • Gains on the C.L.A. closely parallel the amount of time students reported spending on homework. Another explanation is the heavy prevalence of group assignments in business courses: the more time students spent studying in groups, the weaker their gains in the kinds of skills the C.L.A. measures.
  • The pedagogical theory is that managers need to function in groups, so a management education without such experiences would be like medical training without a residency. While some group projects are genuinely challenging, the consensus among students and professors is that they are one of the elements of business that make it easy to skate through college.
  • “We’ve got students who don’t read, and grow up not reading,” he says. “There are too many other things competing for their time. The frequency and quantity of drinking keeps getting higher. We have issues with depression. Getting students alert and motivated — even getting them to class, to be honest with you — it’s a challenge.”
  • This is not senioritis, he says: this is the way all four years have been. In a typical day, “I just play sports, maybe go to the gym. Eat. Probably drink a little bit. Just kind of goof around all day.” He says his grade-point average is 3.3.
  • “It seems like now, every take-home test you get, you can just go and Google. If the question is from a test bank, you can just type the text in, and somebody out there will have it and you can just use that.”
  • “A lot of classes I’ve been exposed to, you just go to class and they do the PowerPoint from the book,” he says. “It just seems kind of pointless to go when (a) you’re probably not going to be paying much attention anyway and (b) it would probably be worth more of your time just to sit with your book and read it.”
  • concrete business skills tend to expire in five years or so as technology and organizations change.
  • History and philosophy, on the other hand, provide the kind of contextual knowledge and reasoning skills that are indispensable for business students.
  • when they hand in papers, they’re marked up twice: once for content by a professor with specialized expertise, and once for writing quality by a business-communication professor.
  • a national survey of 259 business professors who had been teaching for at least 10 years. On average, respondents said they had reduced the math and analytic-thinking requirements in their courses. In exchange, they had increased the number of requirements related to computer skills and group presentations.
  • what about employers? What do they want?

    According to national surveys, they want to hire 22-year-olds who can write coherently, think creatively and analyze quantitative data, and they’re perfectly happy to hire English or biology majors. Most Ivy League universities and elite liberal arts colleges, in fact, don’t even offer undergraduate business majors.

Javier E

Deliberate Practice Spells Success: Why Grittier Competitors Triumph at the National Sp... - 0 views

  • The expert performance framework distinguishes between deliberate practice and less effective practice activities. The current longitudinal study is the first to use this framework to understand how children improve in an academic skill.
  • Deliberate practice, operationally defined as studying and memorizing words while alone, better predicted performance in the National Spelling Bee than being quizzed by others or reading for pleasure. Rated as the most effortful and least enjoyable type of preparation activity, deliberate practice was increasingly favored over being quizzed as spellers accumulated competition experience. Deliberate practice mediated the prediction of final performance by the personality trait of grit, suggesting that perseverance and passion for long-term goals enable spellers to persist with practice activities that are less intrinsically rewarding—but more effective—than other types of preparation.
Javier E

Preschool lessons: New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger... - 0 views

  • Suppose we gave a group of 4-year-olds exactly the same problems and only varied on whether we taught them directly or encouraged them to figure it out for themselves? Would they learn different things and develop different solutions? The two new studies in Cognition are the first to systematically show that they would.
  • Direct instruction really can limit young children's learning. Teaching is a very effective way to get children to learn something specific—this tube squeaks, say, or a squish then a press then a pull causes the music to play. But it also makes children less likely to discover unexpected information and to draw unexpected conclusions.
  • Adults often assume that most learning is the result of teaching and that exploratory, spontaneous learning is unusual. But actually, spontaneous learning is more fundamental. It's this kind of learning, in fact, that allows kids to learn from teachers in the first place.
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  • there is an intrinsic trade-off between that kind of learning and the more wide-ranging learning that is so natural for young children. Knowing this, it's more important than ever to give children's remarkable, spontaneous learning abilities free rein. That means a rich, stable, and safe world, with affectionate and supportive grown-ups, and lots of opportunities for exploration and play. Not school for babies.
Javier E

Roger Martin on integrative thinking - 64 views

  • the traditional preoccupation with what a leader does is misplaced. Instead, he says, we should look at the way leaders think and at the decisions they make.
  • great leaders have an unusual characteristic - "a predisposition to and capacity to hold in their heads two opposing ideas at once."
  • integrative thinking is where you have the capacity to create a better model, superior to both and incorporating aspects of each model, rather than choosing one model at the expense of the other.
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  • greatness will come from creating new models, and seeing yourself as a person who does that. Your job is not to choose from among the existing or presenting models, but rather to create something that's better.
Javier E

College Freshmen Stress Levels High, Survey Finds - NYTimes.com - 13 views

  • In the survey, “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010,” involving more than 200,000 incoming full-time students at four-year colleges, the percentage of students rating themselves as “below average” in emotional health rose. Meanwhile, the percentage of students who said their emotional health was above average fell to 52 percent. It was 64 percent in 1985.
  • “More students are arriving on campus with problems, needing support, and today’s economic factors are putting a lot of extra stress on college students, as they look at their loans and wonder if there will be a career waiting for them on the other side.”
  • “Students know their generation is likely to be less successful than their parents’, so they feel more pressure to succeed than in the past,” said Jason Ebbeling, director of residential education at Southern Oregon University. “These days, students worry that even with a college degree they won’t find a job that pays more than minimum wage, so even at 15 or 16 they’re thinking they’ll need to get into an M.B.A. program or Ph.D. program.”
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  • For many young people, serious stress starts before college. The share of students who said on the survey that they had been frequently overwhelmed by all they had to do during their senior year of high school rose to 29 percent from 27 percent last year.
  • The gender gap on that question was even larger than on emotional health, with 18 percent of the men saying they had been frequently overwhelmed, compared with 39 percent of the women.
Javier E

Barry Sanders, Matt Biondi, and the Tiger Mom - James Fallows - Culture - The Atlantic - 36 views

  • What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it.'"

    An interesting idea, but is it true? Are activities only fun when we get good at them? And, conversely, does that mean that if we're good at something, it must also be fun--at least at some level?
  • research by Mihaily Csikszentmihalyi (of "Flow" fame) regarding what makes an activity fun. "The place where people are most engaged in an activity," McCann says, "and where they're having the most optimal experience, is where the challenge is about equal to your ability." 
  • "People are motivated by different things," explains Dr. David B. Coppel, a clinical and sport psychologist at the University of Washington. "There are some individuals who are process oriented, and some who are outcome-oriented. Individuals who are absorbed in the experience of being active or competing can have a great experience even if they don't win. But for those who derive their success and pleasure from successful outcomes, winning is more important."
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  • The best results, McCann says, have to come from an internally motivated sense of fun and love of what you're doing.
Javier E

Few Students Show Proficiency in Science, Tests Show - NYTimes.com - 18 views

  • Only one or two students out of every 100 displayed the level of science mastery that the department defines as advanced
  • a smaller proportion of American 12th graders demonstrated proficiency in science than in any other subject that the federal government has tested since 2005 — except history
  • Twenty-one percent of the nation’s 12th graders scored at or above the proficient level in science on the 2009 tests, compared with 42 percent who demonstrated proficiency on the most recent economics exam, and 38 percent and 26 percent, respectively, on the most recent nationwide reading and math tests.
Javier E

Test-Taking Cements Knowledge Better Than Studying, Researchers Say - NYTimes.com - 89 views

  • The Purdue study supports findings of a recent spate of research showing learning benefits from testing, including benefits when students get questions wrong. But by comparing testing with other methods, the study goes further.
  • the results “throw down the gauntlet to those progressive educators, myself included.”
  • “Educators who embrace seemingly more active approaches, like concept mapping,” he continued, “are challenged to devise outcome measures that can demonstrate the superiority of such constructivist approaches.”
Javier E

The Elite Personified - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - 24 views

  • life isn't as simple as it once appeared. Career and Marriage are transformed from abstract hopes into concrete decisions. Every one that is made closes off other possibilities. And every so often, we take stock of life, pondering its purpose, what it is that makes us happy, our responsibilities to others, whether meaning can be found in our work, etc.
  • prep schools and top tier colleges traffic in a perverse illusion: that building a perfect resume is the same thing as building a perfect life
  • since every subculture has its pathologies, you're probably not doing things right unless the other people in your world are at least slightly uncomfortable with some way in which you're challenging its assumptions.
Javier E

Question Of The Week: "The Organization Kid" - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - 44 views

  •  
    In answer to the question: "Is there a book or article that changed your life?"
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