January 20 - January 27, 2019

Two excellent featured posts and many other insightful highlights.

David Foster Wallace offered astute observations about the role of irony in the media of the recent past, and video essayist Will Schoder turned these observations into a compelling reflection on earnestness and sincerity in today's media, especially in sitcoms.  The reflections remain timely, and to me they offer insight into the changing ways I see kids expressing emotion.

Gallup's data on how student confidence in the workplace correlates with certain college experiences offer what feel to me to be some useful guideposts and suggestions for what matters in the building blocks of an effective school.  Some are curricular, some are relational, some are affective.  They're worthy programmatic considerations.

Elsewhere this week, the ASCD piece on boredom (in Pedagogy) resonates.  As do Mary Oliver's reflections on creativity.




Against Irony: An Excellent Video Essay On Sincerity And Optimism  Will Schoder
"Postmodern thought, with its deconstruction of everything and its emphasis on individual interpretation, leads us down a road of narcissism, cynicism, and detachment. To fix it… to feel less lonely, it’s perhaps this non-ideological pursuit of getting along, of striving to have strong communal integrity, of valuing others for their human dignity, unabashedly enjoying the things we find to be awesome. And as David Foster Wallace would say: making it okay to be unavoidably sentimental and naive and goo-prone and generally pathetic.  That might help us find a greater sense of meaning and optimism in our lives."

"Six College Experiences Linked To Student Confidence In Jobs"  Gallup
"The study also illuminates the importance of six collegiate experiences, including how supportive relationships and relevant, engaging learning experiences are linked to long-term outcomes such as higher workplace engagement and wellbeing for college alumni nationwide. The proportion of currently enrolled students who strongly agree that they are confident they will graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the job market rises steadily with the number of these experiences they have had."


Social Network Analysis Suggests Social Networks Inflect Academic Success  PNAS
"We closely followed the emergence of multiple social networks within a cohort of 226 undergraduate university students. They were strangers to each other on their first day at university, but developed densely knit social networks through time. We show that functional studying relationships tended to evolve from informal friendship relations. In a critical examination period after one year, these networks proved to be crucial: Socially isolated students had significantly lower examination grades and were more likely to drop out of university."


An Interesting Analogy To Refresh How We Think About Assessment  Medium
"Just as feeding more people more efficiently has led us into a feedback loop in which we constantly erode our own global supply of fish, educating more children more efficiently has yielded a shell game of metrics that have allowed us to falsely claim success (or failure), when in fact all we have been doing is eroding a different, more precious supply."


Six Traits That Lead To Success (...If, That Is, Success = Wealth) Business Insider


How Our Biases Work On Us, Even After Correction  New Yorker

Cognitive Diversity Wanes As We Become Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich & Democratic  Aeon

"For tens of thousands of years, as we fanned out across the globe, we adapted to radically different niches, and created new types of societies; in the process, we developed new practices, frameworks, technologies and conceptual systems. But then, some time in the past few centuries, we reached an inflection point. A peculiar cognitive toolkit that had been consolidated in the industrialising West began to gain global traction. Other tools were abandoned. Diversity started to ebb."


Spending Time With People Unlike Yourself Increases Creativity  NPR
"There's something about deeply understanding and learning about another culture that's transformative."

Mary Oliver, On Creativity  Brain Pickings
"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time."


Artificial Intelligence In The K-12 Curriculum?  EdSurge


Should Kindergarten Be More Academic?  Chalkbeat


An Exercise For Students: Should All Students Go To College?  New York Times

What's A College Like?  Look On YouTube.  Chronicle of Higher Ed


Strict Vs. Nurturing: In Schools As In Parenting -- A History  Larry Cuban


MLA Reports Closure Of 651 Foreign Language Programs In 3 Years  Chron. of Higher Ed.


A Free edX Course On Competency Based Learning: Opportunities And Costs  KQED

5 Tips For Creating (Constructive) Boredom In Class  ASCD

"To be clear, the goal is not to create inherently boring classrooms with boring teachers delivering boring lectures. Permanent or extended boredom in school can lead to lower engagement and lower motivation, which can lead to lower student achievement levels and higher truancy rates (Saeed & Zyngier, 2012). Instead, the goal is to help students use boredom strategically to increase their creative thinking. The key difference between strategic boredom and permanent boredom has to do with duration, purpose, and agency."


Poetry Sales Are Soaring... Led By... Young People!  Guardian
"A passion for politics, particularly among teenagers and young millennials, is fueling a dramatic growth in the popularity of poetry, with sales of poetry books hitting an all-time high in 2018."

Renaissance Learning Releases 2019 K-12 Reading Report  Renaissance Learning

Reading From Paper Vs. Screens: Small Benefit To Paper For Expository Prose  Research Gate

"If You Want To Be A Writer, You Have To Be A Reader"  Austin Kleon


Cal Newport On How Steve Jobs Intended For Us To Use Smartphones  New York Times
"Once you’ve stripped away the digital chatter clamoring for your attention, your smartphone will return to something closer to the role originally conceived by Mr. Jobs. It will become a well-designed object that comes out occasionally throughout your day to support — not subvert — your efforts to live well."

An Argument Against Digital Detoxes: It's Not What, It's How  Quartz

Students Write Model Laws For Data Privacy. Here's What They Said:  Medium

Paper Vs. Digital, Or Paper *And* Digital? (Via Maps)  CityLab


A Deep Dive Into Small Talk  Quartz

Ursula Le Guin On The Ideal Daily Routine  Austin Kleon