July 20 - July 27, 2014

This week features two articles on self-directed learning by students--one at the high school level and one at the college level.  The high school piece ("What Happens When...") focuses on "The Independent Project" a student-conceived, student-led semester first formally put together at Monument Mountain Regional High School.  The article in KQED is thoughtful and thorough, but I also recommend clicking through some of the links in the article when you've finished reading.  The 15-minute documentary about the project and the White Paper offer thorough overviews, and the White Paper describes how much the project is spreading: "over eighty schools in twenty states, plus schools from five other countries on four continents, have contacted the students of the Independent Project."  Do check it out.

Also, the third feature article on the teaching of math in the United States offers an interesting recent history of math teaching as well as a look at the Japanese practice of lesson study, something we would all likely choose to do if we could build it into our schedules.

Enjoy the other articles this week, as well!


          What Happens When Students Design Their Own Semester, Entirely.
          KQED, 7/14/14
          "The school chose to continue the program, which runs for one semester each year
          and involves nine to twelve students who receive credit and a pass/fail. 'It was really
          risky, because we didn't know how colleges would interpret this on a transcript,' 
          Powell says. 'But so far we've had only an overwhelmingly positive response,' 
          including from highly selective colleges, such as Oxford and Williams, that have 
          accepted graduates."

          Lehigh Creates a No-Credit, No-Curriculum, No-Grade Program
          New York Times, 7/18/14
          "A summer program with no course credit, no set curriculum to cover, no competing 
          class schedule and no penalty for failure frees students to experiment, said Alan 
          Snyder, a vice president and associate provost at Lehigh.  Eventually, the university 
          plans to offer the program year-round, with many more students involved."

          On Teaching Math in the US (and How Teachers Get Better)
          New York Times, 7/23/14
          "After a geometry lesson, someone might note the inherent challenge for children in 
          seeing angles as not just corners of a triangle but as quantities -- a more difficult 
          stretch than making the same mental step for area.  By the end, the teachers had 
          learned not just how to teach the material from that day but also about math and the 
          shape of students' thoughts and how to mold them."


          How to Practice Mindfulness or Meditation at Work
          Creativity Post, 7/23/14


          When Is Note-Taking By Hand Better than Laptops? (And Vice-Versa)
          Scientific American, 6/13/14

          Testing Helps People Remember Things
          New York Times, 7/18/14

          When Exercise and Sun Are Better Than Puzzles and Games
          Quartz, 8/16/13


          How Pixar Builds a Creative Culture
          99u, 7/24/14

          To Be Creative: Make Junk, Lots of It, Regularly
          Entrepreneur, 5/14/14


          Teach Coding, Or Product Management (i.e. Executive Function)?
          Fast Company, 7/14/14

          TeachersPayTeachers Proves Teachers Are Going Online for Lessons
          EdSurge, 7/23/14


          New Republic Publishes Rant Against the Ivies
          New Republic, 7/21/14

          New Republic Publishes Rebuttal to Rant Against Ivies
          New Republic, 7/24/14

          A New Film About Racial Inequity in America
          Huffington Post, 7/1/14

          Obama Talks About "Acting White" in Town Hall Meeting
          Washington Post, 7/22/14


          How 3M Found Balance Between Efficiency and Innovation
          Businessweek, 6/10/07


          Some Deliberate Thinking About How Questions Prompt Learning
          Edutopia, 7/25/14

          School Uses Video Games for Literature, Social Studies, Physics...
          KQED, 7/21/14


          Science Says It's Best to Fall in Love with Deep Readers. (Yes!)
          Elite Daily, 7/9/14


          Are We On the Cusp of a 6th Mass Extinction Event?
          Stanford, 7/24/14

          After One Year of 3D Printers in Stores, UPS Expands Offerings
          Fast Company, 7/24/14

          Infographics Display Every Moon Trip, Ever
          Fast Company, 7/18/14


          Online School for Girls Continues to Grow
          Los Angeles Times, 7/20/14


          Three Ways to Reduce Multitasking
          99u, 7/21/14


          Where Do Autodidacts Come From?
          Brilliant Blog, 7/23/14

          12 Great New Yorker Articles on Education
          Vox, 7/21/14

          "Like" and "Um" Indicate Conscientiousness.  (Surprise!)
          New Yorker, 7/20/14

          US Libraries Start Including Maker Spaces
          New Scientist, 7/17/14