Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Posted: January 8, 2013 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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In the main hall of the hands-on science exhibits at the Cape Town Science Center in South Africa, a lifeless, tattered globe stands under naked fluorescent bulbs, all but ignored by children passing through on school tours.

Across a sunblasted courtyard and up a dingy staircase, another globe — a digital globe — stands in a darkened room. This globe is a shining sphere of light. Children stand awe-struck; adults of a certain age may be reminded of images like Apollo 8’s Earthrise photograph, while Tolkien fans of all ages will recall the spherical, swirling “palantír” of Saruman in “The Lord of the Rings” (forged in the days when Middle Earth was still flat).

Until recently, cost and technical limitations have largely confined these modern spheres to institutional settings like science centers. But as technology improves and prices fall, it’s growing more likely that a digital orb will someday arrive in a classroom or boardroom — even a living room — near you.

Posted: December 13, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Clay Shirky argues that technologies get interesting only when they’re widespread enough to become boring. In 2012, in the best way possible, e-readers became incredibly, fantastically boring. Though the year found marginal improvements to e-reader technologies, it also saw a significant reversal in the relationship between humans and the written words we use to help express our humanity: In 2012, we read books, but our books also read us. Teachers used e-readers to catch would-be cheaters among their students. Books on screens promised new frontiers of interactivity between textbooks and teaching. They transformed Shakespeare’s plays from public performances to intimate ones. We went, with our books, back to the future, rediscovering in digital texts what has always made books agents of culture and, generally, awesome: their implicit community, their fundamental sociability, their ability to capture and convene. This year, we began to learn what it will mean to have books and readers that are reciprocal. We began to understand an old insight in a new way: We shape our books, and then our books shape us.

The Year in Tech, 2012: Reading  (via courtenaybird)

Posted: December 2, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Why should art and culture suddenly become very big business like big science? The reasons are tied up with the fact that we are living in an information age. When you live in an information age, culture becomes big business, education becomes big business, and the cultural explosion, or the information explosion becomes itself culture. It knocks down all the walls between culture and business, between education and business. There is no longer any gap between the campus and Wall St. or very big business.

Marshall Mcluhan (via ebookporn)

Posted: November 28, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Between the times of Aristarchus and Huygens, humans answered the question that had so excited me as a boy growing up in Brooklyn: What are stars? The answer is that the stars are mighty suns, light-years away in the vastness of interstellar space.

Carl Sagan – Cosmos (via ikenbot)

Posted: November 27, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Plans to introduce computer science in schools are a fine thing – but it’s never too late for adults to learn to code, says Emma Mulqueeny. Michael Gove’s plan to teach real computer science in schools is a great idea. I know this because I’ve spent the last three years developing an organisation called Young Rewired State, which finds and fosters children who’ve taught themselves how to code by introducing them to open data and a community of their peers. The uptake has been fantastic and we’ve enjoyed plenty of support from business leaders, who are desperate to engage with young, innovative developers, but are all-too-often unable to find any. But who says only children can learn to code? A new survey has found 28 per cent of UK adults wish they had pursued a career in technology – citing reasons such as salary, the intellectual challenge and wider job opportunities – and yet very few are willing to attempt the career change. According to the survey – carried out by Hotels.com – 45 per cent won’t switch careers as they ‘don’t have a degree in IT’, 30 per cent because they ‘would need to retrain’, and 40 per cent because they feel they are ‘too old’ to change jobs. Are these people correct in thinking that moving into computers is an unachievable goal? And with over 110,000 IT vacancies in the UK, and the IT workforce expected to grow by a further 113,000 by 2015, can we afford to wait for our children to plug the gap? (via Why shouldn’t adults learn to code too? – Telegraph)

Smart phones, tablets and video game systems are often seen as distractions to school children in developed countries, which tend to adhere to a strict teacher-student educational model. At Technology Review‘s Emerging Technologies (EmTech) conference here on October 25, a panel of technologists and educators posited that it’s time to embrace students’ use of such technologies and rethink learning in both developed and developing countries. “The issue isn’t education or schools—it’s learning,” panelist Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman emeritus of M.I.T.’s Media Lab and the chairman of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) foundation, said. “The fork in the road is the difference between knowing and understanding. We test people on what they know, but they might not understand a thing.” Not a new argument, but Negroponte’s approach to resolving it has been novel. Although OLPC’s efforts to put low-cost computers in the hands of underprivileged students has met with varying degrees of success, his latest focus is on what he says are the 100 million children worldwide without access to any formal education. While it’s impractical for a single organization to try to build schools for all of these children living in remote areas across the globe, an alternative might be giving these children tools and technology they can use to teach themselves, one another and their parents.

Educating Players: Are Games the Future of Education? | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

A Washington State University researcher has found that engaging elementary school students in science for as little as 10 hours a year can lead to improved test scores in math and language arts. Samantha Gizerian, a clinical assistant professor in WSU’s Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology and Physiology, saw improved test scores among fourth-grade students in South Los Angeles after students from the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science gave 10 one-hour presentations on science. “A lot of students say things like, ‘I didn’t know science was fun,’” says Gizerian, who helped with the classes while on the Drew faculty. “And because they think it’s fun, all of a sudden it’s not work anymore. It’s not homework. It’s not something extra that they have to do.” The fourth-graders in turn took home nonfiction books and showed a greater willingness to practice reading and math, says Gizerian. Test scores bear that out.

A little science goes a long way: Math and language scores improve with 10 hours of instruction

Posted: October 16, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Do you struggle to remember the periodic table of elements, but have no trouble recalling all of the Pokemon? Can’t find that French vocabulary word you crammed on the airplane to Paris, but still remember all the words to “We Didn’t Start the Fire?” The reason we struggle with remembering some things and have trouble forgetting others, some experts say, might not be simply because some things are fun and others are boring. It could be because, paradoxically, we learn better when we’re not concentrating. One 2006 study at the University of California Los Angeles (PDF) showed that “the presence of a demanding secondary task during learning modulates the degree to which subjects solve a problem using either declarative memory or habit learning,” the latter being “associated with automaticity, such that performance does not require effortful attention or working memory.” Distract someone with some other challenge, and you can sneak in learning. (via Know-It-All App Lets You Learn Without Thinking | Game|Life | Wired.com)

Posted: October 15, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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An early childhood surrounded by books and educational toys will leave positive fingerprints on a person’s brain well into their late teens, a two-decade-long research study has shown. Scientists found that the more mental stimulation a child gets around the age of four, the more developed the parts of their brains dedicated to language and cognition will be in the decades ahead. It is known that childhood experience influences brain development but the only evidence scientists have had for this has usually come from extreme cases such as children who had been abused or suffered trauma. Martha Farah, director of the centre for neuroscience and society at the University of Pennsylvania, who led the latest study, wanted to find out how a normal range of experiences in childhood might influence the development of the brain. (via Childhood stimulation key to brain development, study finds | Science | guardian.co.uk)

Posted: October 15, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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The Origin of Quantum Mechanics (feat. Neil Turok) (by minutephysics)

Posted: October 9, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Online versions of college courses are attracting hundreds of thousands of students, millions of dollars in funding, and accolades from university administrators. Is this a fad, or is higher education about to get the overhaul it needs?

The Crisis in Higher Education – Technology Review

Posted: September 13, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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When children learn to play a musical instrument, they strengthen a range of auditory skills. Recent studies suggest that these benefits extend all through life, at least for those who continue to be engaged with music. But a study published last month is the first to show that music lessons in childhood may lead to changes in the brain that persist years after the lessons stop. Researchers at Northwestern University recorded the auditory brainstem responses of college students — that is to say, their electrical brain waves — in response to complex sounds. The group of students who reported musical training in childhood had more robust responses — their brains were better able to pick out essential elements, like pitch, in the complex sounds when they were tested. And this was true even if the lessons had ended years ago. Indeed, scientists are puzzling out the connections between musical training in childhood and language-based learning — for instance, reading. Learning to play an instrument may confer some unexpected benefits, recent studies suggest. (via Brain Waves Stay Tuned to Early Lessons – NYTimes.com)

Posted: September 13, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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We think of school as a place where children learn new skills and knowledge. Young people come to class more or less ready to learn, their aptitude and readiness determined by genetics and environment. They are motivated or apathetic. They are attentive or distractible. They are social or shy, anxious or calm. Teachers accept these differences and try to adjust for them, to teach their charges as best they can. But what if school could also be a place where kids get training in fundamental psychological traits—focus, drive and self-control—that are critical for success in school and later in life? Programs geared toward social and emotional learning are aimed at this lofty goal. Backed by research and designed by psychologists, such curricula are growing in number and popularity.

The Education of Character: Teaching Control with a Cotton Ball | Streams of Consciousness, Scientific American Blog Network

Posted: September 10, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Meet Ms. Siri, Your New Teacher The next generation of artificial intelligence from the lab that built the iPhone’s Siri is powering an educational game.

A London-based startup, Kuato Studios, is expected to come out later this year with a newgameto teach kids computer programming.

This isn’t a lightly “gamified” platform like Khan Academy’s new computer science offerings or Codecademy. Kuato Studios is building an immersive, richly illustrated third-person shooter that will have 11- to 15-year-old players “terraforming a virtual world through coding and science,” created by developers from companies like Konami and Rockstar Games.

(via Meet Ms. Siri, Your New Teacher | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation)

Posted: July 21, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Modern geometry transcends the formulas for the Pythagorean theorem and the area of a circle that you probably learned in high school. The field has branched into a variety of sometimes esoteric subdisciplines. There are now hyperbolic, projective and even tropical geometers, some of whom devise abstract constructions that even the most brilliant mathematicians have a hard time understanding without software visualizations. Labs at the University of Maryland, College Park (U.M.), the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and the University of Texas–Pan American are employing a new educational model for math in which professors mentor postdocs and graduate students, who in turn mentor undergraduates, to create visualizations of geometric structures, facilitate undergraduate research and participate in community outreach. (via Deep Spaces: Geometry Labs Bring Beautiful Math to the Masses [Slide Show]: Scientific American)