Posts Tagged: ‘education’


In a New York Times Room for Debate segment on cursive in the classroom, University of Southern California education professor Morgan Polikoff argued that since few adults regularly employ it and that most workplace communication is conducted via keyboard, teaching penmanship only gobbles up valuable classroom minutes. Speaking to NPR, a New Jersey school principal said bluntly, “It’s just that with all the state mandates, we don’t have time.” Most kids are board with abandoning cursive as well, not surprisingly; in reporting on public schools’ collective move away from cursive, The Wall Street Journal cited a Scholastic survey, which found that 79 percent of middle schoolers polled dislike the fancy handwriting.

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So the nice folks at the E4 Elementary Education Conference in Minneapolis let Robert and I do our song and dance in front of them, and the tune we chose to waltz to was, “We Are All Scientists” — this idea that science isn’t a shirt we put on, it’s the shirt we’re born into.

Along with last week’s episode, How to Think Like a Child, today’s episode builds on this theme, exploring the idea that we’re natural Euclidean navigators of our universe, blueprinting our surroundings like engineers and using our powers of abstraction to tell a story about all that we observe and can understand.

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My wife and I love a good museum. They factor into every trip we plan and we visit our local favorites several times a year. But last week marks the first time we made it up to Cartersville, GA (just north of HowStuffWork’s home base in Atlanta) for the Tellus Science Museum.

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When electronic readers and tablets began to become popular, I sighed a wistful sigh. I thought about how useful a thin, light device that could store thousands of books would have been back in my college years. Back in my day, we had to carry massive libraries of books, sometimes relying on wheelbarrows or wagons to get from one building to another. Why, The Complete Works of Shakespeare alone was enough to help a puny Liberal Arts major put on some serious muscle mass. By the time I got to class, I was exhausted. If only I could have stored all those textbooks on a single device!

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If “Stuff You Missed in History Class” could only include “stuff schools don’t teach,” California would’ve just made our jobs a little tougher. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill ensuring that, come January 2012, there will be at least one aspect of the past students in the Golden State will definitely not miss: gay history.

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Education is one of society’s most important long-term investments. Like so many other important issues, schooling can be an incredibly controversial topic. Pretty much everyone agrees that some sort of education is vital, but after that the consensus breaks down: What should we be teaching children, exactly? And how should we teach them? In the presentation […]

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Can you take all the parts of a PC, fit them onto a board that is the size of a stick of gum and then charge $25 for it? Seeing is believing: The first line of the video is so simple, but also mind-blowing: This little device is the prototype version of a Raspberry Pi […]

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In 1978, a teacher (and musician) named John Hunter invented a game for his students at Richmond Community High School. Odds are that you’re familiar with educational games, and you probably remember a few from your own classroom experiences. However, the World Peace Game is a little different — the students in this game aren’t […]

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Imagine that you start helping your cousins improve their math skills. Scheduling the tutoring sessions gets a bit tedious, though, so you decide to video them instead. The cousins really like the videos. Fast forward a few years and suddenly you’ve created an online academy. Seriously — your own academy. More after the jump.

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I have four kids, and they spend a fair amount of their school time on math – learning how to add, subtract, multiply and divide, how to do fractions, etc. By the time you get into middle school you are learning algebra and geometry. Now along comes a math guy (Conrad Wolfram) who says this […]

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