December 2 - December 9, 2018

Several bursts of topics this week, including teaching current events, tradition versus change in pedagogy, the role of the arts, and more.

The featured New York Times student essay challenge is a terrific opportunity for humanities teachers (or all teachers) to make connections between current events and their classes.  Where do current math topics reveal insight into something in the news? How does the novel students are currently reading inform understanding of a present issue?  The Times offers prompts for teachers, as well as a link to essays from last year to provide models for students.

MIT Media Lab has made robots that are controlled by the internal electrical systems of plants.  With the robot, the plant guides itself toward light.  See the video for a hint of this unusual new world.  This is aptly filed under STEM...




NYT Invites Student Essays Connecting Their Studies To The World Today  New York Times
"So you're studying the Civil War -- or Shakespeare, or evolution, or "The Bluest Eye." Why? What does it have to do with your life and the lives of those around you? Why should you remember it once you've turned in that paper or taken that test?"

Both Technology And Traditional Teaching Have Value: It's The Pedagogy That Matters  Bright
"A belief in the power of technology is becoming akin to an article of faith among education devision makers and commentators -- along with preferences found in progressive pedagogy, like student-driven learning over teacher-driven curriculum, cross-cutting skills over traditional subjects, Google over memorization. But what if introducing more technology, and turning away from traditional ways of teaching, is actually making education... worse?  ... When applied correctly to a specific set of problems, technology has proven to be a useful tool that can have positive impact. But it must be accompanied by an honest discussion about what pedagogy actually works."



Against Aptitude And Intelligence Tests, A History/Memoir  Aeon


10-30 Minutes: The Amount Of Exercise Necessary To Improve Mood  The Cut


On Beethoven's Creative Process  Brain Pickings


Parsing The Research On Arts Education  ASCD
"We ask arts education to do something we seldom ask of other forms of education: justify itself in light of its effects on other fields. How often do we, for example, ask athletic directors to prove that playing baseball leads to better math skills or improves verbal skills? ...Maybe instead of looking for research to prove or disprove the transfer of skills from the arts to something purportedly more important (or utilitarian), we should ask a different question altogether: What unique benefits does studying the arts provide students? Asking this question paints a different picture (pardon the pun) of arts education."

Coder Discourages Learning To Code, Encourages Problem Solving  Slate


Five Habits For Long Life, From That Really Long Harvard Study  Inc.


Look At History To Assess Effectiveness Of Tech Innovations ("Reforms")  Larry Cuban
"In viewing technological innovations as a sub-set of curricular, instructional, and organizational reforms... teachers, principals, and parents can identify patterns and figure out possible consequences for the adoption of the innovation.  They can track the journey as it goes from policy to classroom practice, and expect certain outcomes while being open to unanticipated ones as well."

KnowledgeWorks Releases 5th "Future Of Learning" Report  KnowledgeWorks

"Experts Predicting The Future Of Education Would Have Gotten An F"  Quartz


Teaching Suggestions For Making Connections Betw. World And Studies  New York Times
"You can use the activities below whether or not your students are participating in the challenge. On their own, they can be an interesting way to end a unit or a semester. But you can also do them, individually or in sequence, to help students generate ideas for the challenge."

Connect Past And Present: Questions, Themes, Events, Artifacts, People  New York Times
"We suggest different methods teachers can use to easily facilitate these connections. Each method is illustrated with two examples, one from global history and another from United States history, and each ends with a classroom challenge. The goal is to help this kind of thinking become a habit of mind for your students."

On Bringing Music Further Into The Study Of History (More Than Just Hamilton)  History Tech


Innovation Can Also Mean Looking To The Past, Not The Future  New York Times
"Perhaps the best examples of rearward innovation are edible. The culinary story of the past several decades is dominated not by the scientific improvements we were promised, but by a return to food and drink's more delicious past. Traditional cooking, craft beer, heirloom vegetables and grass-fed beef have brought food forward by turning back."

"How To Run A Meeting" - Advice On Being Productive  Inside Higher Ed

"Why Teams Should Record Individual Expectations"  MIT Sloan Mgmt Review

5 Characteristics Of An Effective School Team  Edutopia


On Asking Good Questions For Writing Prompts (And Discussions)  4QM Teaching

What A Deep Commitment To Competency Based Schooling Looks Like  GOA

Reciprocal Teaching, A Four Person Reading Strategy  ASCD


"For Safer Schools We Need More Hugs, Not More Guns"  Hechinger Report

"The CDC outlines four main pillars of school connectedness: adult support, positive peer groups, a welcoming school environment, and student commitment to education. Schools that choose to focus on these pillars reap the rewards."


Cyborg Plants: Yes, MIT Made A Robot Controlled By A Plant  MIT
"Elowan is an attempt to demonstrate what augmentation of nature could mean. Elowan's robotic base is a new symbiotic association with a plant. The agency of movement rests with the plant based on its own bio-electromechanical signals, the language interfaced here with the artificial world. These in turn trigger physiological variations such as elongation growth, respiration, and moisture absorption... Such symbiotic interplay with the artificial could be extended further with exogenous extensions that provide nutrition, growth frameworks, and new defense mechanisms."

Machine Learning, AI, Deep Learning, What? A Flowchart Explains  MIT Technology Review

A Deep Dive, Accessibly Written, Into The Heart Of Google's Code  New Yorker

Mars Lander "InSight" Gets To Work, Slowly And Carefully  Digg


Self Driving Taxis Now Exist: Here's What It's Like  Fast Company


An Excellent Profile Of Edward Gorey And His Eccentric Minimalism  New Yorker
"If you create something, you're killing a lot of other things. And the way I write, since I do leave out most of the connections, and very little is pinned down, I feel that I am doing a minimum of damage to other possibilities that might arise in a reader's mind."

Nat'l Geographic's Best Pictures From 2018: A Wondrous World  National Geographic