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You Still Need Your Brain


“Most adults recall memorizing the names of rivers or the Pythagorean theorem in school and wondering, “When am I ever gonna use this stuff?” Kids today have a high-profile spokesman. Jonathan Rochelle, the director of Google’s education apps group, said last year at an industry conference that he “cannot answer” why his children should learn the quadratic equation. He wonders why they cannot “ask Google.” If Mr. Rochelle cannot answer his children, I can.”(more)

How U.S. teens compare with their global peers in financial literacy

CBS News – Aimee Picchi

“With an increasingly complex universe of financial products and services, how are America’s high-school students prepared to manage their money as they enter adulthood? Not all that well, according to a new assessment of financial literacy from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test measures the financial knowledge and skills needed to make the jump from high school to college and on into the workforce. The results raise several red flags given that one in five American teens fail to meet the level to be considered financially literate. By comparison, only about one in 10 Chinese and Russian students fail to meet that benchmark. American teens haven’t improved their scores since 2012. On top of that, teens who continue on to college often must make complex decisions about student loans that can impact their lives for decades. The results should be a wake-up call to the American education system, said Andreas Schleicher, education director of the OECD.”(more)

Multiple risk factors can predict internet addiction in adolescents

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“As technology continues to rapidly evolve, the development of internet addiction among adolescents has become as serious public health concern – especially in Asian countries such as China. But, can researchers actually predict the children who are at risk? Stella Xian Li, who earned her Ph.D. from UAlbany’s Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology this semester, is part of a collaborative study which links individual and environmental risk factors with internet addiction in adolescents. Findings were released this month in Computers in Human Behavior.”(more)

NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning Breaking Down Biases Through STEM Education

Forbes – Roger Groves

“I will be the first to tell you I have unconscious biases. I don’t feel too guilty. We all have them. But until recently, I didn’t realize one of them involves hockey. I would not admit that my vision of hockey players did not include women or people of color or migrant workers…Well, my wake up call is from a partnership between the National Hockey League and EverFi, an educational technology company. The NHL has allocated funds for a program called Future Goals. It takes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) into elementary and middle schools across the country.”(more)

Free The Principal!

NPR – Eric Westervelt

“But too often principals and their deputies have to deal with hundreds of things that have little to do directly with teaching and learning: student discipline, school maintenance, the cafeteria, safety, transportation, paperwork — and lots more. The District of Columbia Public Schools is taking a national lead in trying to change that by adding directors of operations and logistics. The idea is to liberate principals to focus more on teaching evaluation, planning and assessment and far less on milk, leaky faucets or security. Rayamajhi oversees a daunting list of daily needs, from maintenance and security to procurement and HR. Part logistician, part disciplinarian as well as coach and security guard, he roams the hallways and lunch rooms, multi-tasking and talking to everyone, including the nearly 50 employees he manages.”(more)

Class of 2017: Get a jump on adulthood with these 7 tips

USA Today – Teddy Nykiel

“College prepares students to be everything from accountants and teachers to government workers and health care technicians, but not all students learn basic money management skills. Here’s advice for this year’s graduates on how to succeed financially.”(more)

Play is essential, but it takes work for children to succeed in the real world

The Guardian – Tom Bennett

“Advocates of this approach – learning through play – have been around since the 19th century and you can see it clearly in the methods of schools such as Montessori and Steiner. It’s had a huge influence on early years education, for obvious reasons, but it’s often used in much later settings as a justification for things such as Minecraft lessons. In this hypothesis, much of what traditional schooling embodies is what is wrong with education itself. Play is self-directed; work is given to you. Play is enjoyable; work is often not. Play is spontaneous; work is planned and goal-oriented. Away with the tyranny of the expert teacher, the formal curriculum, the school rules! Learning through play will free the slaves of the classroom! But here’s the rub: it won’t. Play, it seems, is a very powerful vehicle for what we might call “folk” learning – the basic components of understanding reality. But it’s not so great once you want to do anything beyond that. Take catching a ball. In its first few comedic years, a child will learn to have a good idea of how far a ball can be thrown by hand and so on. Now underpinning all of that is Newtonian physics, ballistics and mathematics.”(more)

Too loud to learn: Do schools ignore the impact of noise pollution on kids?

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – Maureen Downey

“Research has long shown that when noise levels in schools go up, learning goes down. Noise distracts and disrupts, making it harder to listen, focus, work, concentrate and yes, learn. As sound expert Julian Treasure makes clear in his TED Talk Why Architects Need to Use Their Ears, most buildings are designed for our eyes and not for our ears. The result is buildings that significantly impair and interfere with the very thing we are trying to do in them ­– whether it be work in an office, healing in a hospital or learning in a school. More sensitive to noise than adults, children in loud classrooms lag behind those in less noisy ones in terms of speech perception, expressive word learning, and learning how to read. Children experiencing learning, behavioral, socio-emotional or linguistic challenges are particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of noise. Not surprisingly, noise is negatively associated with achievement on standardized tests. Students are not the only victims of noise, as teachers in loud classrooms are more likely to suffer from vocal strain associated with trying to talk over the noise.”(more)

Betheny Gross — The Key to Effective Personalized Learning: Rigorous Content, Standards, and Experiences

The 74 Million – Betheny Gross

“My colleague and I recently visited a middle school science classroom. Students, outfitted with safety glasses, were organized into groups of three to four. The room was lively but not disorderly as each group worked on its own experiment. As we walked the perimeter of the room, we saw many of the hallmarks of a personalized learning classroom: Small groups worked independently; each worked on an activity that they had chosen; the teacher engaged with small groups of students. But when I asked a group of students about their project, I learned that their task was to mimic the rising and setting of the sun using a light bulb and a tray of sand. They were asked to compare the temperature of the tray of sand with the light bulb turned on or off and consider the implications for the surface temperature of the earth. These students knew exactly how this experiment would pan out before they even started.”(more)

As Pollen Counts Rise, Test Scores Fall

The New York Times – Austin Frakt

“This is the time of year my kids and I have seasonal allergic rhinitis, better known as hay fever. I’d always thought it was merely a nuisance, but it turns out it also degrades cognitive performance, at least a little. Hay fever affects at least 10 percent of the population, and a higher percentage of children. The most obvious signs of allergic response include sneezing, itching and a runny nose. These can disrupt sleep, leading to fatigue, and the allergy can cause neurocognitive deficits we may not notice in ourselves or in our children. Medications used to treat the allergy can also induce sleepiness in some people. In the United States, school-age children collectively lose about two million school days because of pollen allergies. Even when they attend school, allergy-suffering students may perform a bit worse than their nonallergic counterparts.”(more)