Students everywhere are stirring from their summer stupors to stock up on supplies for the coming year. If your back-to-school must list doesn't include software, listen up. Browse some picks of student-friendly downloads for elementary-aged young'uns to graduate scholars, or get a run-down in the video below.
When I was a high school student, I hated writing term papers. I thought the whole enterprise of collecting information was tedious and boring. I remember visiting the local college library to look for information for a term paper I was writing about Eleanor of Aquitaine. It was a struggle to find the five required references. I remember looking up books in the card catalog, then hunting them down on the shelves, and scouring each one for relevant information that I wrote down on index cards. Some books were missing, some were out of place. It took hours to gather enough information to begin even writing a paper.
Then there was the task of transforming these pieces of information into a coherent narrative, typed on an electric typewriter.
Boy do I feel old. But more to the point, it's ironic that I became a writer in the long run. It turns out that I love to do research, but only when I can get to the information I need as quickly as possible.… Read more
Teachers should be highly qualified
Teaching methods should be wisely chosen
Student progress should be tested
Unfortunately it appears that the Act isn't really achieving all of these goals, and that in pursuit of these goals, other important purposes of the public education system are being neglected.
This isn't the place for a full overview of the Act and its consequences, but I would like to plug an important article that … Read more
Last week the new "Baby Einstein" study came out suggesting that "educational" baby videos are ineffective teaching tools. The most memorable conclusion from one of the researchers: "I would rather babies watch American Idol than these videos."
Over the weekend I was invited to debate BabyFirst TV co-founder Sharon Rechter about the relative merits of these products. BabyFirst TV is a 24-hour cable channel that broadcasts "educational" shows aimed at infants and toddlers. Their programming includes the Brainy Baby video series, some of which were included in the recent study.
Unfortunately, a technical glitch meant I didn't get to participate in the discussion as planned, but preparing for the segment gave me a chance to examine the culture behind these products. Why are these videos so appealing to today's parents? As I thought about it over the weekend, and re-read Susan Gregory Thomas' new book Buy Buy Baby I came to realize that there is a perfect match between the marketing messages coming from companies like BabyFirst TV and Baby Einstein, and the culture and socialization of Gen X parents in particular. … Read more
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the nonprofit that last year earmarked $50 million toward the study of kids and digital media, said Tuesday that it will set aside some of that money for an innovation competition.
The Chicago-based foundation plans to award as much as $2 million for ideas and technologies related to digital media and learning. The contest has two categories: innovation in new digital environments for informal learning, with prizes of $100,000 or $250,000; and networking in education, with awards worth as much as $75,000.
"We do not yet know how … Read more
President Bush on Thursday signed into law the America Competes Act, which authorizes $33.6 billion from federal coffers for government-sponsored research, education and teacher-training programs in the science and tech arena over the next few years.
The move promptly drew an avalanche of accolades from high-tech companies, who cheered the action as a way of helping the United States stay competitive in science, technology and engineering. But it may not be time to pop the corks yet.
After all, it's still up to the respective congressional appropriations committees to go through the formal process of doling out funding, … Read more
Every June, I am as elated as the next student to have a three-month respite from the confines of school. But, come August, you can find me on Amazon.com, frantically buying an inordinate number of books for every class--in many cases, more than two books per class.
Naturally, my curiosity was stirred upon hearing about a new project from CafeScribe, launched by Salt Lake City-based Fourteen40. The program allows users to buy and download electronic textbooks online. That's nothing particularly groundbreaking, though it could save me some neck and back problems if it cut down on the pounds … Read more
A congressional proposal to throw some $33 billion behind new federal research, education and teacher training programs over the next two years is now headed to the president's desk.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday night approved by voice vote an agreement with the House of Representatives on the so-called America Competes Act (short for the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act), which the tech industry has hailed as critical to creating the next generation of U.S. innovators. The vote hadn't originally been expected until at least Friday.
Earlier on … Read more
PALO ALTO, Calif.--Crazy parents, pay attention. You'll probably be forking money over to Jason Ma in the near future.
Ma, CEO and founder of VC firm Congruent Partners, is behind Vanteus, an education center that helps high-achieving students boost their SAT scores. Companies like Kaplan and the Princeton Review concentrate on a wide swath of students, Ma said.
Vanteus' courses and education modules are geared at kids who want to raise their score from 1800 or 2100 closer to the 2400 maximum. (There are now three modules on the SAT, so an 1800 is equivalent to 1200 in … Read more
Over the past several years I have watched in dismay as the budgetary consequences of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) force schools to adopt zero-tolerance policies toward education. I have seen in my own neighborhood a "successful" school reduce its science instruction down to 20 minutes a week for 1st-3rd graders because of fears that a single child's lack of performance on a standardized test might result in a budgetary take-down. Mr. Holland's Opus was a poignant and sadly prescient story of a bureaucracy that had its sites set far too low when it came to … Read more