November 19 - November 26, 2017

What is the role of content, of knowledge, in a time increasingly focused on skills and character?  What does it mean when a process (design thinking, innovation, etc) becomes the focus of a course? The feature article argues the importance of content, of general knowledge, for reading and academic success. Later, the "Innovation Class" post reveals that process can be knowledge in itself.  It has always been my belief that skills are what we do with knowledge (and character is what we do with skills).  Without application to deep and nuanced knowledge, without subject mastery, our skills are clumsy.  Several articles this week explore this issue, including, indirectly and interestingly, the lovely Nautilus piece on how writing changed human expression.

These and much more this week.  Enjoy!



Why Teaching Content Is Essential (Via The Mechanics Of Reading) NYTimes
"Current education practices show that reading comprehension is misunderstood.  It's treated like a general skill that can be applied with equal success to all texts. Rather, comprehension is intimately intertwined with knowledge. That suggests three significant changes in schooling... Third, the systematic building of knowledge must be a priority in curriculum design."

How To Address Bigotry Without Alienating The Listener University of Toronto
"According to the study, people who feel pressured into changing prejudiced views will actually become more prejudiced. On the other hand, methods that persuade people that giving up prejudice is good for its own sake are more effective... Autonomy-primed subjects read statements like, 'I enjoy relating to people of different groups,' and 'It's fun to meet people from other cultures.' The controlling-primed subjects read things like 'It is socially unacceptable to discriminate based on cultural background,' and 'Prejudiced people are not well liked.'"


How To Help Teens Schedule Their Time In Over-Scheduled Times WSJ


Strava Updated Its Global Heat Map Medium


On The Value (And Risk) Of Overconfidence Medium

It's Thanksgiving: Here Are Some Benefits Of Practicing Gratitude Psych Today

Dostoevsky Found Meaning In Life Through Shared Love Brain Pickings
"I saw the truth. I saw and know that men could be beautiful and and happy, without losing the capacity to live upon the earth."

Valuing Time Over Money Leads To Greater Happiness Behavioral Scientist
"People who report frequent feelings of time scarcity are less happy and more prone to anxiety and depression than people who report feeling time affluent."

How To Manage Two Different Kinds of Being Busy/Stressed Medium
"I've come to realize there are two types of 'busy.' My anxiety continues to mount unless I identify which I am experiencing and act accordingly. 1. Attention is constrained... 2. Time is constrained."


5 Strategies To Demystify The Learning Process For Struggling Students KQED

5 Ways To Overcome Cognitive Biases Medium

Why We Sometimes Prefer Physical Objects Over Digital British Psych. Society

Good Metacognitive Questions For Students: In Class And Tests Edutopia


Reflections On The Tension Between Productivity And Creativity Kottke


On Teaching Music Via The Recorder (Instead Of The Ukulele) WBEZ

Should "How To Have Relationships" Be In The Curriculum? NPR

Reflections On Helping Students Practice Citizenship ASCD

Teacher Creates "Innovation Class": Students Solve Problems Cult of Pedagogy
"A year-long elective offered in an Indiana high school where students design and execute their own passion-driven projects. The course is called Innovation and Open Source Learning... Don tells me about how the course works, how he structures it to build in both accountability and freedom for his students, and how he's changed and improved the program over the past six years. The key points from our conversation are summarized below."


"Should I Use The Adjective 'Diverse'?" - A Flowchart Radical Copy Editor

Latino Film Critics: Pixar's 'Coco' Gets It Right Remezcla


Should Career Preparation Be More A Part Of (Higher) Education? EdSurge


"Building A School Research Culture" The Edu Flaneuse

"Would Public Universities Benefit From A Central Innovation Unit?" Ins. Higher Ed


"John Milton - Our Greatest Word-Maker" Guardian

"Dante's 9 Circles Of Hell... For Linguistic Transgressions" McSweeney's

Reflections On How Daily Blogging (Writing!) Leads To Learning Austin Kleon

Reading Used To Be Done Aloud, Silent Reading Changed Us" Quartz
"For centuries, Europeans who could read did so aloud. The ancient Greeks read their texts aloud. So did the monks of Europe's dark ages. But by the 17th century, reading society in Europe had changed drastically. Text technologies, like moveable type, and the rise of vernacular writing helped usher in the practice we cherish today: taking in words without saying them aloud, letting them build a world in our heads."

On How Writing Changed The Complexity Of Our Expression Nautilus
"This pattern raises the possibility that the invention of writing, a very recent innovation tagged on to the very last millennia of human evolution, can dramatically alter a language's linguistic niche, spurring the development of elaborate sentence structure, and leading to the shedding of other features, on a timescale that cannot be achieved through biological evolution. If that's so, then the languages that many of us have grown up with are very different from the languages that have been spoken throughout the vast majority of human existence."


"A Cappella Science" Turns Despacito Into Evolutionary Biology [video] YouTube


"World Scientists' Warning To Humanity": 25 Years Ago And Today NYTimes
"Twenty-five years ago this month, more than 1,500 prominent scientists, including over half of the living Nobel laureates, issued a manifesto titled "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" in which they admonished, 'A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated... This month a new coalition of scientists, led by researchers at Oregon State University, published a new warning: 'World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice.' It's not as poetic as the first, unfortunately, but it's just as grim."


More Research About The Detrimental Effects Of Laptops In Class NYTimes


5 Tips For Creating Better Visuals (Graphs, Charts, Etc) Towards Data Science

11 Optical Illusions Often Seen In Visual Design Prototypr


Will Companies Pay Students For Apprenticeship Education?" Atlantic

"Professional Scrabble Players Replay Their Greatest Moves" [video] New Yorker