February 10 - February 24, 2019

Two weeks of excellent articles.  (Our second child was born a just over a week ago, so there was no newsletter last week.  Priorities!)

So, this issue is twice as long... and so many compelling reads.

First, a note about artificial intelligence, which has been orbiting the education conversation recently and will inevitably start becoming a more frequent subject in education journals:

Over the years several excellent examples have emerged that demonstrate how technology can play a supporting or complementary role in complex tasks.  Now, we're starting to see this play out in medicine, where artificial intelligence is successfully, helpfully playing a role in the diagnosis of illnesses and injuries.  Have we figured out whether or where a similar role might work in education, too?  The answer is pretty squarely: no.

Instead: Should students graduate from schooling with an understanding of what A.I. is and, conceptually, how it works?  Almost certainly.  It will -- is -- fundamentally reshaping vast swaths of the global economy.  But must A.I. play a role in teaching itself?  My belief has long been that the ed tech sector is exceptional at imagining wild technologies of the future without having first successfully solved the simpler problems of the past.  We are so far from a functionally useful A.I. tool for educators -- as we are for most categories of tech in education, in fact -- that talking about actually using it as tool just isn't worth teachers' time.  And this is due to the extraordinarily human and social nature of learning.  A time will come, but it is far from now.

However, until then, we should know generally that it's on the horizon, and we should definitely be introducing it to students, conceptually.  Artificial Intelligence, like the Internet 20 years ago, is poised to pervade so much of our lives.

Some other stunners/opportunities this week:
- 16-year-old Greta Thunberg on climate control
- A New York Times editorial contest
- An excellent reading/writing section
- A similarly wonderful cognitive science section
- And the feature pieces, as always.




Plagiarism: Even The Former Editor In Chief Of The New York Times Rolling Stone
"In her new book Merchants of Truth, Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times, had apparently plagiarized from several sources… The irony was thick. Here was a veteran of the industry, a Harvard journalism lecturer no less, getting facts wrong in a book about “the fight for facts” in contemporary news."

"Seven Tenets Of Globally Competent School Leaders” ASCD
"The seven tenets of globally competent school leaders fall under four domains: (1) vision setting, (2) pedagogy and practice, (3) situated action, and (4) systems and structures. These domains reflect general best practices of educational leadership, while recognizing the ways in which one’s local professional context is interconnected to a broader global environment."

Arts Experiences Improve Writing, Discipline, And Compassion  Brookings
"We find that a substantial increase in arts educational experiences has remarkable impacts on students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes. Relative to students assigned to the control group, treatment school students experienced a 3.6 percentage point reduction in disciplinary infractions, an improvement of 13 percent of a standard deviation in standardized writing scores, and an increase of 8 percent of a standard deviation in their compassion for others. In terms of our measure of compassion for others, students who received more arts education experiences are more interested in how other people feel and more likely to want to help people who are treated badly."


“Dear Therapist… The College Process Is Rigged Against My Son”  Atlantic


Teens Are More Concerned About Anxiety/Depression Than Drugs, Bullying  Axios


How Standards In Engineering Have Enabled Vast Progress. Ed, Too?  New York Times


Breakdancing On The Shortlist For Paris Olympics In 2024  BBC

On The Health Benefits Of 30 Minutes Of Walking  New Scientist


On The Importance Of Hope  Enid News
"Hope scores are significant predictors of average daily attainment and GPA," Hellman said. "Hope is a better predictor of first-year college performance than the SAT, ACT or high school GPA."

On Turning Regret Into Improvement  New York Times

A Good Framework Synthesizing Noncognitive Factors In Learning  UChicago


Sleep, Sleep, Sleep. Keep Talking About How Important It Is  Guardian
"Put simply: sleep – a consistent seven- to nine-hour opportunity each night – is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day."

“How The Brain Creates A Timeline Of The Past”  Quanta

Neuroscientist Proposes Essential Considerations For Effective Teaching  EdSurge

Disorientation And Learning: On Getting Lost And Transformation  Atlantic


Small Science Research Teams Are More Innovative Than Large Ones  New York Times
"Smaller groups were more likely to produce novel findings than larger ones. Those novel contributions usually took a year or so to catch on, after which larger research teams did the work of consolidating the ideas and solidifying the evidence."

Path To Market Matters. How Do You Develop Sustainable Innovations?  Ars Technica

On The Neuroscience Of Creative Versus Analytical Thinking  Neuroscience News


Computer Science And The US Constitution: What The College Board Wants You To Know  New York Times

A Review Of Approaches To Media Literacy/Fighting Fake News  Quartz

"Middle School Theater And Music Students Get Better Grades"  Pacific Standard


Is Helicopter Parenting A Sign Of Broader Cultural Inequities?  Quartz


"Today's College Students Aren’t Who You Think They Are”  NPR


History State Standards: An Analysis Of Gender And Racial Representation  Smithsonian

"A New Center For Fiction Is Opening In Brooklyn”  Literary Hub

The Map Of American Empire, As You Likely Haven’t Seen It  Guardian


How Google Translate Demonstrates Wittgenstein’s Theories On Language  Quartz


Hawken School Buys Neighbor School To Build Mastery School  Cleveland

Some Writing And Research On Game-Based Learning  LinkedIn

Role Playing Games In/As School: A Whole New Level  KQED


The Essay I’ve Always Wanted About Moving From Pen To Computer  New Yorker

"Then e-mail arrived and changed everything. First, you would only hook the computer up through your landline phone a couple of times a day, as if there were a special moment to send and receive mail. Then came the permanent connection. Finally, the wireless, and, of course, the Internet. In the space of perhaps ten years, you passed from waiting literally months for a decision on something that you’d written, or simply for a reaction from a friend or an agent, to expecting a reaction immediately. Whereas in the past you checked your in-box once a day, now you checked every five minutes."

New York Times: Student Write-An-Editorial Contest, By April 2  New York Times
"Because editorial writing at newspapers is a collaborative process, you can write your entry as a team or by yourself — though, please, only one submission per student. When you’re done, submit it using the contest form below by Tuesday, April 2, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Be sure to read the rules — also below — before posting. Our judges will then use this rubric for selecting winners to publish on The Learning Network."

On Compounding Knowledge And Choosing What To Read (Via Warren Buffett)  Farnam Street

A Research And Writing Exercise To Help Students Broaden Their Perspective  New York Times

Cognitive Journaling: How Writing Can Support Mental Health  Better Humans

How Science Writing Made Science Popular  Smithsonian


"New Studies: …Big Downside For Schools Bringing In More Police”  Chalkbeat


“Carnegie Mellon CS Academy Creating Free High School Coding Curriculum”  Campus Tech

Jo Boaler On Visual Thinking In Mathematics, Via Counting Fingers  Atlantic

Remembering Opportunity, The Mars Rover That Lasted 15 Years  Nat'l Geographic

"Why Nature Prefers Hexagons”  Nautilus


Greta Thunberg, 16-Year-Old Climate Activist, Stuns Davos [video]  Guardian
"I don't want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act."

Who is Greta Thunberg?  TED


A.I. Can Now Write Dangerously Convincing Prose  Gizmodo
"This week, OpenAI shared a paper covering their latest work on text generation technology but they’re deviating from their standard practice of releasing the full research to the public out of fear that it could be abused by bad actors… One concern they have is that the technology would be used to turbo-charge fake news operations… Other concerns that the researchers listed as potentially abusive included automating phishing emails, impersonating others online, and self-generating harassment. But they also believe that there are plenty of beneficial applications to be discovered."

Another Take On Recent A.I. Developments: The State Of A.I.  3 Quarks Daily
"If we want to produce general intelligence, we have to focus less on teaching machines to do very specialized tasks, and concentrate instead on understanding how the web of the mind comes to be, and how it is instantiated in the physiology of the brain and the body. Ultimately, perception, cognition, and behavior are all memory – a deep, complex, layered memory from which the environment continuously generates patterns. Some of these patterns are perceptions; others are thoughts or ideas; and some are behaviors."

AI Is Diagnosing Illnesses More Accurately Than Doctors (And That’s OK)  New York Times

Humans Lose To AI In Chess And Go, But Win In Debate  Engadget

Another Take On A.I. Writing Convincing Prose.  MIT Technology Review

Should We Rethink Education In The Age Of A.I.?  Brookings


A Case For Playing Video Games With Our Kids  CNN
"Do I see a long future of mother-son video game nights ahead? Not really… I'll keep playing for the practical benefits and the emotional ones, too. Taking part in another's pleasure, no matter how anodyne or indecipherable that pleasure may feel to us, is revelatory. We learn what makes them tick, and we learn what makes them smile. They, in return, feel understood. This is worth at least a weekly video game session -- twice a week, tops."

Video Games: “Apex Legends” Is Growing Faster Than Fortnite  Reuters

3D Printing: Titanium And Other Metals  3D Printing Industry

3D Printing: Cake Molds  New York Times


Notes On Information Density  UX Design


Dress Codes: A Wide Ranging Exploration  Cult of Pedagogy


From Tragedy To Techno: The Strange Journey Of Barber's Adagio For Strings  NPR

“Is Teaching An Art Or A Science?” Here’s One Take.  EdSurge

How One Middle School Is Using Chess To Galvanize And Teach Kids  Chlakbeat

A New Presidential Library, Without A Library  New York Times