January 4 - January 11, 2015

A week of rich and thoughtful articles.

One key goal many of us have as teachers is to help students learn to see nuance, to recognize that either/or is often a false dichotomy.  Several articles this week remind us of this:

The lead feature article acknowledges that disruption is not just a buzzword, and then affirms that the "old" skills that we value are no less valuable in a changed and changing world.  A thoughtful and welcome read.

Similarly, the Brookings article on standardized testing asserts that testing does in fact tell us something, and makes a case that it shouldn't be abolished entirely.  Instead, we ought to decouple testing from accountability. An interesting take, this could apply not only to the broader education landscape, but also, by analogy, to our school, classroom, and professional development environments.

Lastly, on a different note: the second feature on open-mindedness partners well with the cognitive science link on Expectation Theory.  The podcast linked there also seems a promising complement to RadioLab.

These and more... enjoy!

FEATURED ARTICLES

          We Are Disrupted.  (It's True.)  But Humanism Is Not Obsolete.
          New York Times, 1/7/15
          "Soon all the collections in all the libraries and all the archives in the world will be 
          available to everyone with a screen.  Who would not welcome such a vast 
          enfranchisement?  But universal accessibility is not the end of the story; it is the 
          beginning.  The humanistic methods that were practiced before digitization will be 
          even more urgent after digitization, because we will need help in navigating the 
          unprecedented welter.... Patterns that are revealed by searches will not identify 
          their own causes and reasons.  The new order will not relieve us of the old burdens, 
          and the old pleasures, of erudition and interpretation."

          Defining Open-Mindedness: Preparing Ourselves To Be Surprised
          Slate, 1/2/15
          "Researchers have demonstrated that our perception of a speaker depends on 
          whether we've been told ahead of time that he's confident or shy.  Our judgment of 
          a child's academic skill depends on whether we've been led to believe that she's 
          from a rich family or a poor one.  When we serve on a jury, we quickly form an 
          impression about whether the defendant is guilty, and then disproportionately 
          interpret new evidence as supporting that impression.  In other words, we need to 
          actively look for signs that our assumptions are wrong, because we won't do so 
          unprompted.  One such sign, scientists have suggested, is the feeling of surprise."

          In Support Of The Gap Year
          New York Times, 1/4/15
          "Attendance at 'gap fairs' more than doubled in the United States between 2010 
          and 2013, and enrollment in gap-year programs grew 27 percent from 2012 to 2013 
          alone, according to Ethan Knight, executive director of the American Gap 
          Association.  Many college websites, including Harvard's and Yale's, now encourage 
          prospective freshmen to consider a gap year; Middlebury even provides links to 
          specific programs."


ADOLESCENCE

          Selfies On A Stick: The Latest Sign of Digital Narcissism?
          New York Times, 1/4/15

          Teens Overestimate Peers' Bad Behavior.  Consequences Ensue.
          New York Magazine, 1/8/15

          Adolescence In The Age Of Online Pornography
          New York Times, 1/7/15

ASSESSMENT

          In Support Of Standardized Testing.  But Without Accountability.
          Brookings, 1/8/15

CHARACTER

          What Saps Resilience; Where It Comes From (Survey Results)
          Harvard Business Review, 1/5/15

          Carol Dweck on Mindsets, Proper Praise, Parenting, and Teaching
          Scientific American, 1/1/15

COGNITIVE SCIENCE

          Context For Learning Influences Recall
          Harvard Business Review, 1/6/15

          Expectation Theory Works On Rats. How Much On People? [Podcast]
          Oregon Public Radio, 1/8/15

          Learning Styles vs Content Styles
          Wired, 1/5/15

          Collecting The Research On How Writing Helps Thinking
          Atlantic, 10/8/12

CREATIVITY

          To Be More Creative, Break Rules.  (But Be Judicious?)
          99u, 1/6/15

CURRICULUM

          3 Ways To Build Entrepreneurial Mindsets In Students
          KQED, 1/7/15

DIVERSITY/INCLUSION

          Intel Puts $300 Million Into Improving Workplace Diversity
          New York Times, 1/6/15

          How Diverse Teams Lead To Greater Success
          Harvard Business Review, 12/25/14

          Unconscious Bias: How Much Do We Carry Despite Good Intention?
          New York Times, 1/3/15

HUMANITIES

          A Recording Of Virginia Woolf Talking About Words And Language
          BBC/YouTube, 12/2/07

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

          Upstate NY Schol Goes Rogue, Collaborates On Own Curriculum
          Hechinger Report, 1/5/15

PEDAGOGY

          Four Ways To Start A Class, Four Ways to Finish A Class
          Edutopia, 1/5/15

          Problem-Based Learning Has A Four-Day Summit in July
          PBL Math Summit, 12/10/14

READING/WRITING

          Reading Aloud To Children Is Beneficial--At Any Age
          New York Times, 1/8/15

SUSTAINABILITY 

          Bill Gates: How To Turn Sewage Into Drinking Water And Electricity
          Core77, 1/7/15

TECH 

          College Teen Writes About What Social Media Teens Use
          Medium, 1/2/14

VISUAL DESIGN 

          A Peek Into How Infographics Are Made
          Fast Company, 1/6/15