Tag Archives: education

little girl in bed

Bedtime Math Stories

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So here is the set up. Too many parents have a phobia when they talk about math with their kids. They get visibly anxious and uncomfortable. They describe their interest in and ability with math negatively. “Math is hard.” “I am not good at math.” This leads their kids to think about math the same way. Plus, it reduces the child’s willingness to ask their parents for help with homework. They don’t share their interest in math with their parents over the dinner table. In the long run, it reduces our societal capabilities in math by slowing it down right from the start.

Even children who used the app with their parents as little as once a week saw gains in math achievement by the end of the school year. The app’s effect was especially strong for children whose parents tend to be anxious or uncomfortable with math.

students raising their hands

Curiosity Redux

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Defining curiosity is the first challenge because so many experts from the fields of education, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience define it differently. The simplest, and the one that I personally prefer, is the one used by Celeste Kidd and Benjamin Hayden at the U of Rochester “a drive state for information.” This is independent of any tangible reward. The information is the desired reward.

Philosopher Thomas Hobbes called it “the lust of the mind.” Former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt said it was “the most useful gift.” And, yes, we all know what killed the cat. But ask a group of scientists to define curiosity and you’ll get a rousing debate, and a lot of unanswered questions about its biology. No more, argue two University of Rochester researchers in a review of curiosity science published November 4 in Neuron. They propose that it’s time for researchers to organize and focus on curiosity’s function, evolution, mechanism, and development.

student sleeping

The Four Day School Week

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Many companies have experimented with their work schedules in an attempt to decrease costs, increase performance, or both. One common example is the four day/ten hour per day workweek. The workweek is still 40 hours, but compressed by a day. By moving to four days, the company can either close down the office for three days and save on maintenance and upkeep or they can rejigger shifts to have 4/day 3/day rotations that are easier to pair up than 5 day/ 2 day rotations would be. What about doing this in K-12 education?

How would you react if you were told that your local public school planned to change the schedule from the traditional Monday-through-Friday model to a schedule that contained four longer school days? Would you worry about long days for young children, their academic accomplishments and, of course, childcare?

Math Problem

Equal versus Equivalence

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I love this concept. On your immediate first impression, do you think of “equal” and “equivalent” being the same thing? Think again. Understanding the difference between equivalency and equality could be a really valuable concept for students to understand as soon as they are old enough to comprehend it. It would help their learning process in school (and in the real world) considerably.

Equal is defined as, “being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value.” Whereas equivalent is defined as, “equal in value, amount, function, or meaning.” In the above problem 5 x 3 is equal to 5 + 5 + 5, but they’re not necessarily equivalent. Equivalence relates to meaning, so it depends on the meaning of multiplication.

Young boy reading

AMP on Testing

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I am not sure if any of you are fans of the work of Annie Murphy Paul – I have been following her blog and some other publications for several years now. Her area of expertise is training and learning, both for children in K-12 and for adults in higher education, workplace training, and general consumer education such as wellness and nutrition.

Today, I want to focus on a new course she is offering on how testing should be integrated into education so that it facilitates learning. You can tell from her past work as well as the contents of this course that she is not talking about the typical standardized testing that is torturing (my term, not hers) our K-12 education today. There is a remarkable overlap with her recommendations and the latest in human factors research on education and training.

Lego Blocks

Creativity

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Greg Satell has some good ideas for how to use edugames to enhance creativity in kids at school. He cites several examples of how games prime divergent thinking and creative thinking modes. This agrees with a lot of the research we have talked about here before on priming and a growth mindset.

What seemed like child’s play to most academics was actually the best way to imagine possibilities and see how their ideas reflected diverse—and often confusing—empirical clues. Today, a growing contingent of academics believes that games can have the same effect on how children learn and a company called Kidaptive is determined to prove them right. – See more at: http://www.creativitypost.com/education/why_games_might_be_the_next_big_thing_in_education#sthash.sXhMAlHK.dpuf

classroom

Standing Desks at School

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The passion with which many people responded to each of the articles on sitting and standing workstations was both surprising and gratifying. I didn’t realize it was such a hot button topic, but it is gratifying to know how many people are reading the articles we publish here. Analytics aside, it is sometimes hard to know for sure. I think the consensus of informed response was that a middle path is needed. The more variety, change, and adjustability in the user’s posture, the better the…

fruit bar and lunch tray

Smarter Lunchrooms

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I am a member of the Smarter Lunchroom Movement. The organization does research and promotes best practices in the design of K-12 school lunchrooms using behavioral science, persuasive design techniques, ergonomics, social psychology, and other sciences and design methods. Simple things like putting healthier foods within easier reach and at the front of the line (when students’ trays are empty and their budgets are full) and the reverse for the junk food.

a man viewing an ebook

EID Hall of Fame – A New Take on eBook Reading

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There have been several articles posted on the EID site over the past year that have aroused significant discussion. Here is one of the articles that received the most discussion, reposted for your reading pleasure. Were you one of our loyal readers who shared, reposted, and debated it? Did that experience provide tangible professional value for you, or just hours of fun? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

We have had many conversations over the past years about how the move to digital books is impacting our reading. Some claims are backed up by rigorous research and some are just pure speculation or even fear mongering. Of course, whenever there are strong claims on both sides of an argument, the truth is usually a nuanced middle path and eBooks are no different. The reality is that the effectiveness of eBooks is context specific and results will depend on what the objectives of the book are (for example entertainment versus education) and how they are implemented (UI and UX).

Students debating

Balancing perspectives in civics education

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I just listened to this podcast from the New Books in Public Policy podcast, which was an interview of Diana Hess about her new book The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education. There is a lot to the interview and I recommend a listen (as well as subscribing to the podcast on iTunes if you have an interest in Public Policy issues). But I just want to highlight one point today.

She describes a high school in a very progressive district where a large majority of the student population (and their families) have strongly liberal political views. The teacher was perhaps even more liberal than the students. He was teaching about abortion rights and he realized that all of his students were pro-choice and he was intensely so. To be a good teacher, he made it a point to find an outside speaker who could come in and give the pro-life side of the debate.