Kids In Vietnam Are Crazy Good At Programming - '11th graders in Vietnam are so good at programming that they could easily pass an interview at Google' (via)
Sugata Mitra's 2013 TED Prize talk argues that learning should be viewed as self-organizing and that our educational system is a relic of the victorians. His first TED talk has slightly more detail, while his blog has considerably more.
instaGrok is a website that presents information in a mindmap-style visual interface, which allows users to learn about topics by exploring the connections between concepts and facts.
via Reuters A joint venture sponsored in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a vast student database including personal information on students grades K through 12 will be shared with corporations selling "personalized" educational software. Information can include social security numbers, presence of learning disabliities, or anything else school officials choose to share with any companies involved in this venture.
[Teach for America's] goals derive, in theory, from laudable—if misguided—impulses. But each, in practice, has demonstrated to be deeply problematic. TFA ... underwrites, intentionally or not, the conservative assumptions of the education reform movement: that teacher’s unions serve as barriers to quality education; that testing is the best way to assess quality education; that educating poor children is best done by institutionalizing them; that meritocracy is an end-in-itself; that social class is an unimportant variable in education reform; that education policy is best made by evading politics proper; and that faith in public school teachers is misplaced.Teach for America's hidden curriculum: neo-liberalism, union-busting, and the teacher as cultural tourist. [Via.]
Henry Reich of Minute Physics shares his favorite science blogs, video channels, and other resources on the web. (Minute Physics previously) [more inside]
John And Hank Green (previously), amusing youtube teachers of world history and biology have finished the first cycle of their educational series Crash Course (previously) and have wrapped up mini lessons on Literature and Ecology. Now they've just started two brand new series on U.S History and Chemistry (to come). Outtakes.
In the Fall of 2011, The Floating University assembled a video course entitled Great Big Ideas. Each of its dozen lectures is the product of a challenge given to an eminent authority and expert teacher to take "everything a non-professional needs to know about your subject in less than 60 minutes" and to bake the result into "a multi-media presentation, produced with the highest quality video and graphics." The lectures cover topics as varied as psychology, demography, physics, political philosophy, and more. During its initial offering at Harvard, Yale, and Bard during the Fall 2011 term, GBI quickly became the most popular course at all three universities.
A MOOC on planning and running MOOCs run by a leading MOOC company has spectacularly collapsed [more inside]
Educational Attainment and Underemployment "The number of college graduates is expected to grow by 19 million, while the number of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree is expected to grow by fewer than 7 million. We are expected to create nearly three new college graduates for every new job requiring such an education. Currently, more than 20 million college graduates are underemployed—working in jobs requiring less education than they have, but that number will likely soar to nearly 30 million in the coming decade as a consequence of the number of graduates growing by 12 million more than the number of jobs."
The Learners Bill of Rights, a set of “Principles for Learning in the Digital Age,” is the outcome of a twelve-person meeting held in Palo Alto last week to explore the voice of the educated in online learning discussions:
As we begin to experiment with how novel technologies might change learning and teaching, powerful forces threaten to neuter or constrain technology, propping up outdated educational practices rather than unfolding transformative ones.[more inside]
All too often, during such wrenching transitions, the voice of the learner gets muffled.
For that reason, we feel compelled to articulate the opportunities for students in this brave electronic world, to assert their needs and--we dare say--rights.
We also recognize some broader hopes and aspirations for the best online learning. We include those principles as an integral addendum to the Bill of Rights below.
Lack of resources, benign discouragement from well meaning adults, active exclusion by powerful gatekeepers: a classroom scientist discusses things that kill opportunity for inner city youth. [more inside]
"Most American high schools are almost sadistically unhealthy places to send adolescents." Does the "worst of adult America looks like high school because it’s populated by people who went to high school in America?" [more inside]
Teachers at two Seattle high schools have decided to boycott a district-required standardized test. [more inside]
Alex Kajitani, aka the Rappin' Mathematician is determined to increase students' understanding of math concepts by "rapping" about them. [more inside]
"Finland long ago decided to professionalize its teaching force to the point where teaching is now viewed on a par with other highly respected, learned professions like medicine and law. Today, only the best and brightest can and do become teachers: Just one in every 10 applicants are accepted to teacher preparation programs, which culminate in both an undergraduate degree and subject-specific Master's degree." Joel Klein argues that the US should follow Finland's lead and create, essentially, a bar exam for teachers, which would serve to professionalize them in the eyes of society and raise their societal value.
In seventh grade, after school let out, Humaira Mohammed Bachal opened her home in Thatta (Pakistan) to 10-12 friends who weren't allowed to go to school, and taught them what she was learning. By the time she was 16 and ready to take her 9th grade exams, (over her father's objections,) she and four other girls were teaching more than 100 students. Now, her sister Tahira, (age 18,) is principal of the school Humaira founded: with 22 teachers serving more than 1,000 kids in a Karachi slum (yt). All in a country where if you are a young girl in a rural area, you are unlikely ever to see the inside of a classroom, and advocating education for young girls can be life-threatening. [more inside]
"If you account for my access to academic journal subscriptions, my salary is really like half a million dollars."
This past Thursday, Forbes Magazine published a pair of articles: The Most Stressful Jobs of 2013 and The Least Stressful Jobs of 2013, the latter of which began with the sentence: "University professors have a lot less stress than most of us." 300+ outraged comments (and thousands of sarcastic #RealForbesProfessor tweets,) later they've added a retraction, and linked to a blog post that takes A Real Look at Being a Professor in the US. [more inside]
Income based repayment is touted as a solution to rapidly rising college costs in the US. But there is a hefty tax bill looming for people who take advantage of this program.
Last night was the grand opening of the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, the only museum of its kind in North America. The video is narrated by MoMath's chief of content, mathematical sculptor George Hart (better known in some circles as Vi Hart's dad.) The sculpture of the space of three-note chords in the video is based on the work of Dmitri Tymoczko, and the lovely curved hammock of strings a visitor is sitting in at the end is a ruled quadric surface. Many more videos at the Museum of Mathematics YouTube channel. Coverage from the New Scientist. (Previously on MetaFilter.)
The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts. [more inside]
I am a brilliant English teacher. So, I quit. An English teacher with experience in public schools and charter schools details her layoff at the former and her disillusionment at the latter in a first-hand account of the state of education in the States.
The dividing line between being deaf and hard-of-hearing is naturally somewhat fuzzy to most people: the paper "Personal and Social Identity of Hard of Hearing People" by Mark Ross argues that the distinction should be made on the basis of whether the person in question "developed their linguistic skills primarily through the auditory channel, and if they are capable of comprehending verbal messages through listening alone." Yet, this definition brings up new questions: while the role of Deaf culture is well understood as a factor in the development of a social identity in those growing up deaf, is there a similar phenomenon of "hard-of-hearing culture"? And how do those growing up hard-of-hearing develop a social identity? [more inside]
Last year, The Cooper Union For The Advancement Of Science And Art publicly admitted it was in dire financial straits and raised the idea of charging tuition for the first time in 110 years. The students responded in an appropriate manner. But now as the specter of tuition becomes closer to reality the students took a more drastic option: Since Monday, eleven undergraduate students have expertly barricaded themselves inside the top floor of the New York college. They talk about what they want. They even get pizza. [more inside]
"Why should I load up on debt just to binge drink for four years when I could just create an app that nets me all the money I’ll ever need?" Young entrepreneurs are ditching college in droves, seen by some as a bad investment while dropping out is a "badge of honor" in Silicon Valley, whose lionized heroes include Zuckerburg, Jobs, and Gates - all college dropouts themselves.
The Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) has rejected a policy proposal that called for the protection of gay students and staff from bullying and discrimination. The policy was proposed by the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB), which adopted a similar policy in 2011. [more inside]
Juilliard Releases Banned Repertoire List. "The vocal repertoire ban extends to the entire Bel Canto literature, all 24 Italian Songs and Arias, half of Schubert’s vocal output, and any Mozart aria containing a trill."
Korean high school. What's life like for a Korean student? In one of the most competitive societies in the world, how does one find their place? What does it take to achieve your aspirations and goals? [more inside]
In the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it. And if some of the hostages having trouble coming up with the ransom conclude that our current system is a completely terrible idea, then learning will come unbundled from the pursuit of a degree just as as songs came unbundled from CDs.Napster, Udacity, and the Academy - about how online education startups are changing the notion and practice of higher education - by Clay Shirky (previously)
Dear Mr. President: “You're the President of the United States: a country with 5000 nuclear weapons, birthplace of the world's computing and telecommunications industry, home of the first atomic clock and creator of the global positioning system. But chances are, if you just took regular American high school physics, you don't know one iota about the science behind these things (no offense). That's because high school physics students across most of America are not required to learn about pretty much any physical phenomena discovered or explained more recently than 1865.” From Henry Reich of Minute Physics. (Can't watch video? Click the "interactive transcript" button under the video to read it instead.) Minute Physics previously, previouslier. [more inside]
What's Wrong With Online Reading, a slide presentation by Randy Connolly, argues that the relatively recent and increasingly popular approach to reading and learning - on computers, tablets and smartphones instead of traditional print - influences what and how we read, research and think, with disturbing consequences.
What do chemists do in a "work day"? What kind of schooling do they have? How does chemistry inform their work? Do chemists have any funny stories to tell? [more inside]
Flash cards are an effective study aid because they are founded on the principles of rote and memorization. With Flashcard Exchange | Study Stack and Flashcard Machine, you can use web-based flashcard makers to create, share, export and print flashcards to assist your studying.
British Education Secretary Michael Gove was a dick to his French teacher 30 years ago, so he apologized. The Guardian goes a step further and asks a bunch of writers if they'd like to apologize to their former teachers. To wit: "I was, in fact, incredibly high. So was Pete. Now I can't even remember what happens in The House of Seven Gables, but I learned a lesson that day, just the same. Sorry again, Tim Dowling"
On the 40th anniversary of the release of "Free To Be... You and Me," a three-part piece in Slate examines the genesis and impact of this influential album and its accompanying TV special.
"Milgram and Bishop are opposed to reforms of mathematics teaching and support the continuation of a model in which students learn mathematics without engaging in realistic problems or discussing mathematical methods. They are, of course, entitled to this opinion, and there has been an ongoing, spirited academic debate about mathematics learning for a number of years. But Milgram and Bishop have gone beyond the bounds of reasoned discourse in a campaign to systematically suppress empirical evidence that contradicts their stance. Academic disagreement is an inevitable consequence of academic freedom, and I welcome it. However, responsible disagreement and academic bullying are not the same thing. Milgram and Bishop have engaged in a range of tactics to discredit me and damage my work which I have now decided to make public." Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics education at Stanford, accuses two mathematicians, one her colleague of Stanford, of unethical attempts to discredit her research, which supports "active engagement" with mathematics (aka "reform math") over the more traditional "practicing procedures" approach. [more inside]
Blackboard Sketching by Frederick Whitney, Director of Art, State Normal School, Salem, MA, 1908. [more inside]
Schools in Missouri, Maryland, and other states are using fingerprint scans and RFID chips to track students as a means to speed up service in the cafeteria and to track student whereabouts in and around school. [more inside]
Are you the type of person who, when flipping through a book or scanning a website, immediately searches for the diagrams or charts because you'd rather absorb the information visually than have to read a bunch of text? If so, then you are probably a visual learner and you may find Useful Charts helpful. The goal is to present useful information in the form of study charts so that students, teachers or simply those interested in increasing their general knowledge can absorb the information quickly and visually.
Blast from the past: scans of posters from schools in India. That's all.
Bret Victor: We often think of a programming environment or language in terms of its features -- this one "has code folding", that one "has type inference". This is like thinking about a book in terms of its words -- this book has a "fortuitous", that one has a "munificent". What matters is not individual words, but how the words together convey a message. Likewise, a well-designed programing system is not simply a bag of features. A good system is designed to encourage particular ways of thinking, with all features carefully and cohesively designed around that purpose.
... a new EPUB export feature has been enabled on English Wikipedia. You can use it to collate your personal collection of Wikipedia articles and generate free ebooks. These can be read on a broad range of devices, like mobile phones, tablets and e-ink based e-book readers. ... Collections can be exported in a variety of formats like PDF, EPUB, or OpenOffice.
Quiet at the back: classrooms around the world – in pictures From the Russian pupils in Prada to the Nigerian children who sit four to a desk, photographer Julian Germain takes us on a journey around the world's classrooms
McGill could lose $90 million from PQ decision to scrap tuition increases. The administration is not amused.