May 13, 2014
What Can You Do With a Degree in Watching TV?

As a 10-year-old in northern Idaho, Anne Helen Petersen was fascinated by celebrity culture. She’d tear through gossip magazines, giving ratings to different issues. Fast-forward 20 years, and she’s turned her obsession into a career reporting on media, writing about everything from the role of the paparazzi to Jennifer Lawrence’s “cool girl” image to the women in True Detective.  Her forthcoming book, Scandals of a Classic Hollywood, was borne out of a series of essays for The Hairpin.
Petersen also teaches film and media studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington—her courses cover subjects from celebrity gossip to Mad Men to Hollywood stardom. She spoke with me about her approach to teaching media studies and why she’s leaving academia to write features for Buzzfeed. 
Read more. [Image: National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons]

What Can You Do With a Degree in Watching TV?

As a 10-year-old in northern Idaho, Anne Helen Petersen was fascinated by celebrity culture. She’d tear through gossip magazines, giving ratings to different issues. Fast-forward 20 years, and she’s turned her obsession into a career reporting on media, writing about everything from the role of the paparazzi to Jennifer Lawrence’s “cool girl” image to the women in True Detective.  Her forthcoming book, Scandals of a Classic Hollywood, was borne out of a series of essays for The Hairpin.

Petersen also teaches film and media studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington—her courses cover subjects from celebrity gossip to Mad Men to Hollywood stardom. She spoke with me about her approach to teaching media studies and why she’s leaving academia to write features for Buzzfeed.

Read more. [Image: National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons]

May 12, 2014
Science and Math Don’t Have to Be Practical to Be Worthwhile

Even hard scientists and engineers sometimes care more about understanding than real-world applications.
Read more. [Image: Black Hills State University/AP Photo]

Science and Math Don’t Have to Be Practical to Be Worthwhile

Even hard scientists and engineers sometimes care more about understanding than real-world applications.

Read more. [Image: Black Hills State University/AP Photo]

May 2, 2014
School Districts Still Face Fights—and Confusion—on Integration

For decades, federal desegregation orders were a potent force against Jim Crow laws in the South, helping to make the region’s educational systems the most integrated in the country.
Federal judges, often facing death threats and violence, issued hundreds of court orders that set out specific plans and timetables to ensure the elimination of racial segregation. Federal agencies then aggressively used the authority of the courts to monitor hostile school systems, wielding the power of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to deny federal dollars to districts that refused to desegregate.
The pace of the change wrought by the federal courts was breathtaking. In 1963, about 1 percent of black children in the South attended school with white children. By the early 1970s, the South had been remade—fully 90 percent of black children attended desegregated schools. Court orders proved most successful in the South, but were also used in an attempt to combat de facto segregation in schools across the country, from New York to Michigan to Arizona.
Today, this once-powerful force is in considerable disarray.
Read more. [Image: Department of Justice/Wikimedia Commons]

School Districts Still Face Fights—and Confusion—on Integration

For decades, federal desegregation orders were a potent force against Jim Crow laws in the South, helping to make the region’s educational systems the most integrated in the country.

Federal judges, often facing death threats and violence, issued hundreds of court orders that set out specific plans and timetables to ensure the elimination of racial segregation. Federal agencies then aggressively used the authority of the courts to monitor hostile school systems, wielding the power of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to deny federal dollars to districts that refused to desegregate.

The pace of the change wrought by the federal courts was breathtaking. In 1963, about 1 percent of black children in the South attended school with white children. By the early 1970s, the South had been remade—fully 90 percent of black children attended desegregated schools. Court orders proved most successful in the South, but were also used in an attempt to combat de facto segregation in schools across the country, from New York to Michigan to Arizona.

Today, this once-powerful force is in considerable disarray.

Read more. [Image: Department of Justice/Wikimedia Commons]

May 1, 2014
To Remember A Lecture Better, Take Notes By Hand

Psych 101 was about to start, and Pam Mueller had forgotten her laptop at home. This meant more than lost Facebook time. A psychology grad student at Princeton, Mueller was one of the class teaching assistants. It was important she have good notes on the lecture. Normally she used her laptop to take notes, but, without it, she’d have to rely on a more traditional approach. 
So she put pen to paper—and found something surprising. 
Class just seemed better. “I felt like I had gotten so much more out of the lecture that day,” she said. So she shared the story with Daniel Oppenheimer, the professor teaching the class.
“‘I had a similar experience in a faculty meeting the other day,’” Mueller remembers him saying. “And we both sort of had that intuition that there might be something different about writing stuff down.”
It turns out there is.
Read more. [Image: Renato Ganoza]

To Remember A Lecture Better, Take Notes By Hand

Psych 101 was about to start, and Pam Mueller had forgotten her laptop at home. This meant more than lost Facebook time. A psychology grad student at Princeton, Mueller was one of the class teaching assistants. It was important she have good notes on the lecture. Normally she used her laptop to take notes, but, without it, she’d have to rely on a more traditional approach. 

So she put pen to paper—and found something surprising. 

Class just seemed better. “I felt like I had gotten so much more out of the lecture that day,” she said. So she shared the story with Daniel Oppenheimer, the professor teaching the class.

“‘I had a similar experience in a faculty meeting the other day,’” Mueller remembers him saying. “And we both sort of had that intuition that there might be something different about writing stuff down.”

It turns out there is.

Read more. [Image: Renato Ganoza]

May 1, 2014
Study: Firstborn Children Dream Bigger, Achieve More

3:25pm
  
Filed under: Children Education Firstborn 
May 1, 2014
High School History Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

It’s not news that for over 100 years, history has been taught as little more than a callous exercise in regurgitation and rote memorization, with teachers rewarding how much information students can cram into their already stuffed heads. But as we go farther into the 21st century, with changes almost too numerous to fathom, I find it mindboggling that any teacher would still treat history class as boring preparation for a quiz show. This is no way to make learning about the past relevant and engaging. It really never was.
Read more. [Image: Luther College Archive/Flickr]

High School History Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

It’s not news that for over 100 years, history has been taught as little more than a callous exercise in regurgitation and rote memorization, with teachers rewarding how much information students can cram into their already stuffed heads. But as we go farther into the 21st century, with changes almost too numerous to fathom, I find it mindboggling that any teacher would still treat history class as boring preparation for a quiz show. This is no way to make learning about the past relevant and engaging. It really never was.

Read more. [Image: Luther College Archive/Flickr]

May 1, 2014
Teaching Kids About Sexual Assault

At increasingly young ages, programs aim to teach children about healthy relationships and create places where parents, teachers, and children feel they can speak up about abuse. The message cannot obscure the fact that adults, not children, are responsible for keeping children safe.
Read more. [Image: Woodleywonderworks/Flickr]

Teaching Kids About Sexual Assault

At increasingly young ages, programs aim to teach children about healthy relationships and create places where parents, teachers, and children feel they can speak up about abuse. The message cannot obscure the fact that adults, not children, are responsible for keeping children safe.

Read more. [Image: Woodleywonderworks/Flickr]

April 30, 2014
When English Proficiency Isn’t Enough

COMPTON, Calif. — A large color photograph of an iceberg on display in teacher Angel Chavarin’s fourth-grade classroom at Laurel Street Elementary may not be the typical prop for a language arts lesson. But Chavarin is hoping visuals like this will help his students better understand the concept of inferences, which are, in effect, “the tip of the iceberg.”
Inferences are not an easy concept for young children to grasp, and it may be particularly difficult for the students of Laurel Street, where more than 60 percent of students are English learners.
But it’s a skill Chavarin knows his students need to master as California, along with 44 other states, transitions to the new Common Core State Standards. Created in 2010, the Common Core aims to prepare American students for college and careers by emphasizing critical thinking and problem solving. While the Common Core does not dictate a specific curriculum or reading list, it encourages language-arts teachers to expose students to challenging literature and nonfiction texts as well as sophisticated vocabulary. When writing and speaking in class, students are expected to present arguments and provide analysis backed by evidence, not opinion. Reading comprehension should include more than proof of recall; students need to demonstrate their ability to grasp big ideas as well as the nuanced inferences embedded in the text.
But some educators, including those enthusiastic about the Common Core, have publicly worried about the repercussions of raising the bar for groups of students who are already lagging behind, like those still learning English. They fear that the achievement gap between native speakers and English learners will widen, particularly in schools where teachers have little training and few resources. “Schools here have been working hard to address this issue for some time,” said Ben Sanders of the California Office to Reform Education. The Common Core “adds extra complexity. We’re worried that people will get overwhelmed.”
Read more. [Image: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo]

When English Proficiency Isn’t Enough

COMPTON, Calif. — A large color photograph of an iceberg on display in teacher Angel Chavarin’s fourth-grade classroom at Laurel Street Elementary may not be the typical prop for a language arts lesson. But Chavarin is hoping visuals like this will help his students better understand the concept of inferences, which are, in effect, “the tip of the iceberg.”

Inferences are not an easy concept for young children to grasp, and it may be particularly difficult for the students of Laurel Street, where more than 60 percent of students are English learners.

But it’s a skill Chavarin knows his students need to master as California, along with 44 other states, transitions to the new Common Core State Standards. Created in 2010, the Common Core aims to prepare American students for college and careers by emphasizing critical thinking and problem solving. While the Common Core does not dictate a specific curriculum or reading list, it encourages language-arts teachers to expose students to challenging literature and nonfiction texts as well as sophisticated vocabulary. When writing and speaking in class, students are expected to present arguments and provide analysis backed by evidence, not opinion. Reading comprehension should include more than proof of recall; students need to demonstrate their ability to grasp big ideas as well as the nuanced inferences embedded in the text.

But some educators, including those enthusiastic about the Common Core, have publicly worried about the repercussions of raising the bar for groups of students who are already lagging behind, like those still learning English. They fear that the achievement gap between native speakers and English learners will widen, particularly in schools where teachers have little training and few resources. “Schools here have been working hard to address this issue for some time,” said Ben Sanders of the California Office to Reform Education. The Common Core “adds extra complexity. We’re worried that people will get overwhelmed.”

Read more. [Image: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo]

April 29, 2014
The Adjunct Revolt: How Poor Professors Are Fighting Back

Can a budding labor movement improve the lives of non-tenured faculty—and, in the process, fix higher education?
Read more. [Image: Jamie Long]

The Adjunct Revolt: How Poor Professors Are Fighting Back

Can a budding labor movement improve the lives of non-tenured faculty—and, in the process, fix higher education?

Read more. [Image: Jamie Long]

April 28, 2014
Beyond ‘Screen Time’: What Minecraft Teaches Kids

All video games are not created equal.
I wouldn’t recommend we encourage youth to play just any game. I doubt transferable skills are learned by repeatedly flapping a bird into a drainage tube. The best educational interventions are those that meet youth where they are and use the energy associated with that space to encourage learning.
So where are the youth? Minecraft.
Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the United States with over 100 million registered users. It’s not as flashy as typical video games—the graphics are lo-fi and 8-bit. At first glance, the game play seems incredibly simple: In creative mode, the goal is to build structures in an open 3D environment. 
Read more. [Image: Mike Prosser/flickr]

Beyond ‘Screen Time’: What Minecraft Teaches Kids

All video games are not created equal.

I wouldn’t recommend we encourage youth to play just any game. I doubt transferable skills are learned by repeatedly flapping a bird into a drainage tube. The best educational interventions are those that meet youth where they are and use the energy associated with that space to encourage learning.

So where are the youth? Minecraft.

Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the United States with over 100 million registered users. It’s not as flashy as typical video games—the graphics are lo-fi and 8-bit. At first glance, the game play seems incredibly simple: In creative mode, the goal is to build structures in an open 3D environment.

Read more. [Image: Mike Prosser/flickr]

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