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The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom

Maybe the students in this photo are diligently peer-reviewing each other’s work. I know full well students are not always attentive during my classes, but a study that explores whether laptops help students perform better on pop quizzes makes the interesting assumption that we measure learning by comparing scores on pop quizzes. (Or that students actually take notes, which is another issue altogether.) I teach very few courses where I…

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How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

While I appreciate the efficiency of uniform standards, I am concerned because it becomes even more efficient to teach to the test, which means more students will arrive in my college classes expecting to be told exactly what to do. I want them to take risks which means I have to convince them that I will reward them, not take off points, for making and fixing mistakes — which can…

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Office Hours Are Obsolete

I have nothing against holding office hours. If no students show up, I just use the time to answer emails or check my gradebook and reach out to students who are falling behind. My office is also in a somewhat out-of-the-way place — at least, so students tell me. A colleague ends the first day of classes by leading all her first-year-writing students from the classroom to her office door,…

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What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

When I used a Windows XP Tablet computer a few years ago, I got more interested in handwriting, so that Windows could better recognize my scrawled text. I’m a traditionalist in many ways, but truthfully I’m not all that worked up about the loss of handwriting. (Having said that, I felt like a very bad parent when my daughter received congratulations note that she couldn’t read because it was written…

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Disruptive Decorations: Kids learned better in a sparesly-decorated CMU lab

Kids learned better in a sparse lab setting than they did in a decorated room. Of course, if they were familiar with the room, and the decorations came from their own artwork and class projects, perhaps the items would be reminders rather than distractions, but the study didn’t test that possibility. For the study, 24 kindergarten students were placed in laboratory classrooms for six introductory science lessons on topics they…

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Is College Worth It? Clearly, New Data Say

Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree. That’s up from 89 percent five years earlier, 85 percent a decade earlier and 64 percent in the early 1980s. [...] If there were more college graduates than the economy needed, the pay gap would shrink. The gap’s recent growth is especially notable because it has come after a rise in…

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What Makes Ohio State the Most Unequal Public University in America?

So while university presidents are making huge salaries, Tom Frank explains, students “borrowed and forked over enormous sums in exchange for the privilege of hearing lectures…lectures that were then delivered by people who earned barely enough to stay alive. It is a double disaster of the kind that only we Americans are capable of pulling off.” The schools that followed OSU on the “most unequal” list were, in order, Penn…

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Blogging is NOT Analog Writing in Digital Spaces

Blogging in education is about quality and authentic writing in digital spaces with a global audience, while observing digital citizenship responsibilities and rights, as on documents, reflects, organizes and makes one’s learning and thinking visible and searchable! Blogging is not analog writing in digital spaces. Blogging is not an activity, but a process. The process includes reading, writing, commenting and connecting. It is about reciprocating and an emphasis on quality,…

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Microsoft Research Launches Code Hunt Game to Teach Programming

Another item for the “when I’m finished with my current to-do list” list. Instead of presenting you with a problem and comparing your solution to a set of fixed test cases, Code Hunt presents an empty slate and a set of constantly changing test cases. It thus teaches coding as a side consequence of solving a problem by matching inputs and outputs, Microsoft explains. Let’s be honest, learning certain aspects…