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How professors use their time: faculty time allocation

Interesting social science approach to how university faculty spend their time. [O]n a recent trip abroad when an immigration officer asked how I could afford to be away from work for a month. I said simply that we were on winter break and the officer jokingly lamented about going into the wrong profession. I didn’t mention to him that I had busted my tail over the week (and weekend) before…

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Communities of Play: The Social Construction of Identity in Persistent Online Game Worlds

I played the open-source version of Uru with my daughter for a few weeks when she was about six or seven. I enjoyed the opening tutorial game, but after that found little to do and found the learning curve was too steep to keep my daughter interested. She was happy running around and endlessly re-dressing up her avatar, but I soon switched to DDO Online, something that I, my son,…

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Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say

  The brain was not designed for reading. There are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision. But spurred by the emergence of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Phoenician alphabet, Chinese paper and, finally, the Gutenberg press, the brain has adapted to read. Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways — one page led to the next page, and so on. Sure, there might be…

Indie video gaming creativity a bit like making literature

“It’s not a game I made for other people,” he says. “I made it for myself.” That might be the creative creed for a new generation of independent video games and game makers that has sprung up in the past five years or so. Unlike the makers of mainstream blockbuster games — slick packages produced by creative teams numbering in the hundreds — indie game makers working alone or within…

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What Can You Do With a Humanities Ph.D., Anyway?

Victoria Blodgett, director of Graduate Career Services at Yale University, told me, “People who take their Ph.D.s into other realms are not necessarily being hired for their content expertise, but for their process skills: the ability to do excellent research, to write, to make cogent arguments.” These skills, it turns out, are in high demand. | So why are humanities Ph.D.s outside academia so invisible? One reason is that within…

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The Little Girl from the 1981 LEGO Ad is All Grown Up, and She’s Got Something to Say

Great article featuring the little girl from the 1981 Lego ad. What’s the problem with girl LEGOs? Why is everyone against pink? ask many parents. I’ll let Rachel Giordano answer that question: “Because gender segmenting toys interferes with a child’s own creative expression. I know that how I played as a girl shaped who I am today. It contributed to me becoming a physician and inspired me to want to…

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English teaching: Johnson: Talking past each other

When I got to college, I had already learned complex grammar fairly well thanks to 3 years of High School Latin. At the University of Toronto during grad school, I took a history of the English language course, which helped tremendously when I later took a medieval drama course. It was very clear during that language course that a good portion of my classmates were hearing much of the grammar…

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Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework

Greater parental involvement in school (serving on committees, checking the kids’ homework) does not correlate with greater academic achievement. I wonder how these findings would relate to homeschooling. The theory was that more active and invested mothers and fathers could help close the test-score gap between middle-class and poor students. Yet until the new study, nobody had used the available data to test the assumption that close relationships between parents…