October 14 - October 21, 2018

An extraordinary week of useful news.  Among them:

A collection of four articles by Audrey Watters and Larry Cuban about the history of education, particularly in relation to the narratives we hear in the news and popular media today. This critical mass of posts was enough to launch a new category: History of Education.  They provide useful insight into how to navigate current trends and hype.

A rich section on pedagogy, including, to my ongoing surprise and delight, another article about Dungeons & Dragons.  For those of us from the 80s who remember when D&D was shunned as a diabolical and corrupting influence on kids, its remarkable to see researchers promoting it as a tool for "multidisciplinary and multimodal" learning. (It is.) Someone rolled a successful saving throw, I guess.

A compelling case for boosting mathematics in the history of ideas.

A pair of meaningful posts about preschool.

And a trio of posts in the "Other" section about the variety of forms of independent schools around the world, including long term enrollment trends.

Also, the feature Atlantic article examines a current push by some students to abolish in-class presentations.  We shouldn't be too surprised by this, though we may be dismayed by what it portends. When surveys report that students are more comfortable texting each other than talking to each other face-to-face, and when we are seeing precipitous declines in empathy (which grows in face-to-face experience), the tendency for more students to find presentations uncomfortable seems inevitable.  Pedagogy and skill-development must not be deterred.  These are critical experiences.  Still, is there room for flexibility when there are diagnosable situations?  Perhaps.  Over a decade and a half, I can recall one or two students for whom presentation or declamation in class seemed to border on the traumatic.  We'll see how this unfolds.

It's a long but excellent issue this week.

Browse, find what you like, and enjoy!



"Teens Are Protesting In-Class Presentations." Not Everyone Agrees.  Atlantic
"We need to stop preaching to get rid of public speaking and we need to start preaching for better mental health support and more accessibility alternatives for students who are unable to complete presentations/classwork/etc. due to health reasons."

Mathematics Is Overlooked In Intellectual Histories  Aeon
"Taking mathematical ideas seriously might lead to discovering that technical ideas are as important as political or religious ones. Taking mathematics seriously might also, counter to stereotypes, lead thinking away from current preoccupations with culture and power, and back to questions of aesthetics and beauty.  Aesthetics and beauty are ever-present concerns in art and in mathematics, though seemingly small matters to historians and humanists today, preoccupied as they are with power."


Headphones Are Everywhere. What To Do About It?  New Yorker


High Schools Partner With University To Study Concussions  Stanford


We Need To Rethink Willpower. It May Be An Outmoded Concept.  Nautilus

"Willpower may simply be a pre-scientific idea -- one that was born from social attitudes and philosophical speculation rather than research, and enshrined before rigorous experimental evaluation of it became possible. The term has persisted into modern psychology because it has a strong intuitive hold on our imagination: Seeing willpower as a muscle-like force does seem to match up with some limited examples, such as resisting cravings, and the analogy is reinforced by social expectations stretching back to Victorian moralizing. But these ideas also have a pernicious effect, distracting us from more accurate ways of understanding human psychology and even detracting from our efforts toward meaningful self-control."

On the Value Of Idleness: A Summary Of Three Books  Public Books
"Lightman ends with concrete, practical prescriptions: 10-minute silences during schools days, 'introspective' college courses that give students more time to reflect, electronics-free rooms at work, unplugged hours at home."

Is "Find Your Passion" A Fixed Mindset For Careers?  Scientific American

Nine Practices For Fostering Empathy  ASCD

An Excellent Conversation With Angela Duckworth About Character  ASCD


The Six College Experiences That Shape Whether Students Thrive As Adults  Quartz

"Taking a course with a professor who makes learning exciting. Working with professors who care about students professionally. Finding a mentor who encourages students to follow personal goals. Working on a project across several semesters. Participating in an internship that applies classroom learning. Being active in extracurricular activities."

Head Of Tech Company: Tech Companies Need More Humanities   Guardian
"STEM is a necessity, and educating more people in STEM topics is clearly critical... [But] if we have STEM education without the humanities, or without ethics, or without understanding human behaviour, then we are intentionally building the next generation of technologists who have not even the framework or the education or vocabulary to think about the relationship of STEM to society or humans or life."


"Female Profs Experience More Work Demands And Special Favor Requests"  Inside Higher Ed


"Five Elements Of A Good Preschool"  Hechinger Report

Online Preschools?  Hechinger Report


Google Provides Computing Courses To Ten Colleges  Inside Higher Ed


"The Factory Model" Is A Myth. The Real Problem Is Inequality.   Vice
"High school is broken in America. Its building and classes are old and stodgy. As an institution, it's unchanging, built to crank out factory workers and thus unsuited for our modern, high-tech era... It's a popular narrative reflecting the very real fears held by so many young people today when it comes to economic instability, inequality, and their future prospects in the labor market. The thing of it is, it's just not true."

Have Schools Actually Standardized?  A Concise History  Larry Cuban

Has Teaching Actually Standardized? A Concise History  Larry Cuban

"Whatever Happened To Service Learning?"  Larry Cuban


"Why Doesn't Ancient Fiction Talk About Feelings?"  Nautilus

"These examples illustrate Western literature's gradual progression from narratives that relate actions and events to stories that portray minds in all their meandering, many-layered, self-contradictory complexities.  I'd often wondered, when reading older texts: Weren't people back then interested in what characters thought and felt?"


On Silence As A Pedagogical Tool  Edutopia

"Silence offers a structure that encourages internal discipline, and as a result, greater capacity for free thinking. It is an essential element of pedagogical practice that supports ideas of continual growth, possibility, and fundamental care of students."

An Overview Of The Basics Of Good Pedagogy  Art History Teaching Resources
"We tried to brainstorm what pedagogical foundation new teachers would need before entering the classroom and what was feasible to provide these individuals in a one-day workshop. We knew that one cannot teach someone how to teach in a day; but we realized there are basic principles that every new teacher should understand before entering the classroom."

Dungeons & Dragons Continues To Make (Good) Headlines In Schools  KQED
"Dungeons & Dragons is an innately multidisciplinary and multimodal experience, which is why scholars and educators like Wells tend to describe its learning benefits in terms of lists and inventories. Its implementation as an instructional tool, then, is not only fun, but also becomes a sort of curricular node with the capacity to engage students in a wide array of skill and subjects."

"How To Design A Competency-Based Assessment"  Global Online Academy

Audrey Watters On B. F. Skinner And Button Pushing  Hack Education

On Developing A Culture Of Thinking By Making Thinking Visible  KQED


KQED Is Looking For Teachers To Write About Media Literacy  KQED

"How To Bring Innovation To Campus Without Cheapening Education"  EdSurge


Pop-Up Books Were Science Books Before They Were Kids Books  Atlantic
"Since antiquity, teachers had held that scientific subjects were best learned through pictures and working models. Beginners needed to see, touch, and manipulate the objects of study.  Teachers of astronomy and mathematics, for example, had long employed three-dimensional models and instruments in their classrooms."


MAD Magazine Makes A Gashlycrumb Tinies About School Shootings  New York Times
"'T is for TINA who's texting her mom,' says one panel showing a girl kneeling under her desk. 'V is for VINCENT who's sheltered in place,' reads another. The strip ends with a drawing of a girl passing the graves of her classmates on the way to the school's entrance: 'Z is for ZOE who won't be the last.'"


MIT Plans A "College For Artificial Intelligence"  New York Times

A Competition To Bring Ethics Into Undergraduate Computer Science  EdSurge


"The Crisis Of Intimacy In The Age Of Digital Connectivity"  LA Review of Books
"The basic contradiction is as simple as it is desperate: the sharing of private experience has never been more widespread while empathy, the ability to recognize the meaning of another's private experience, has never been more rare."

Writers Begin Experimenting With AI-Assisted Writing  New York Times

SNHU Expands To Community-Based Youth In Cities Around The US  SNHU

On The World Of Kids YouTube  Atlantic

Four Questions To Replace The SAMR Model Of Edtech Usage  EdSurge

Empathy & VR: "VR Can Help Make People More Compassionate"  Stanford


Long Term Enrollment Trends In Private Schools  Education Next

On The Proliferation Of Low-Cost Private Schools In Poor Countries  Bright

Tuition-Free, Entrepreneurship-Focused Boarding School For Underserved Kids  Spokesman