Recently found … 11/24/2013

  • tags: strategies thinking

    • In his study of people who find satisfaction with their lives, Harvard psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (3) defines as autotelic those who are happiest when they are absorbed in complex activities. By focusing on tasks and outcomes that stretch their skills, these young people are more likely to grow into contented adults. The most significant factor for autotelic development is what Csikszentmihalyi terms attentional capacity. Consequently, if his research into self-motivated learning is correct, then the classroom should become an incubator for growing students’ attentional capacity. Instruction should be organized in intriguing yet challenging ways to foster attention. 

       Teachers can utilize three strategies to cultivate improved focus: sequencing instruction, recovery from mistakes, and setting goals.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Girls & Science

At first I cheered when I saw this advertisement for Goldie Blox:

but then I thought a little harder about it and realized it’s a cute ad, with some cute girls … who had little to do with actually constructing that Rube Goldberg-esque contraption featured in the ad.

While I’m pleased that there’s a line of toys out there geared towards girls that aren’t into pink princess-y nonsense, the cynical side of me sees a rather blatant opportunity to capitalize on families concerned about their daughters’ opportunities to pursue careers in math and science. Because, it’s not about the toys. After all, my science education truly began when I designed parachutes to launch Barbie dolls off the roof of my best friend’s house. And my daughter never needed specially designed toys to create her own Rube Goldberg contraption:

This is just one teensy example. There are some incredible examples of girls doing science (just visit 11-year-old Sylvia of Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Mini Maker Show or Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao, teenagers who have identified a bacteria that breaks down plastics). The point being, there are plenty of girls out there doing some amazing things … and they don’t need specially designed toys to help them do those amazing things. And they don’t need advertising professionals to pose them as engineer princesses. We just need to get out of their way.

And let them make a mess of the basement every once in a while.

Recently found … 11/19/2013

  • tags: teaching Teacher evaluation teacher observation framework for teaching

    • Popular frameworks for judging teachers’ on-the-job performance are too complex and also too content-agonostic, contends teacher-training group TNTP in a new white paper.


      Without fixes, those conducting the observations are likely to be overwhelmed and unable to focus on the most important aspects of teaching. As a result, evaluation results will continue to be inflated and teachers won’t receive effective professional development, the paper says.

    • First, the frameworks should be based more heavily on ensuring that the content taught is aligned with grade-level standards. That way, a teacher can’t get an “effective” rating for teaching 5th graders an engaging lesson using content designed for 3rd graders.
    • Second, the frameworks themselves should be slimmed to highlight the most important features so that observers can concentrate on those and develop a richer sense of each teacher’s abilities

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 11/15/2013

  • tags: teaching teachers

    • I used to be a molecular biologist. I spent my days culturing viruses. Sometimes, my experiments would fail miserably, and I’d swear to myself in frustration. Acquaintances would ask how my work was going. I’d explain how I was having a difficult time cloning this one gene. I couldn’t seem to figure out the exact recipe to use for my cloning cocktail.


      Acquaintances would sigh sympathetically. And they’d say, “I know you’ll figure it out. I have faith in you.”


      And then, they’d tilt their heads in a show of respect for my skills….


      Today, I’m a high school teacher. I spend my days culturing teenagers. Sometimes, my students get disruptive, and I swear to myself in frustration. Acquaintances ask me how my work is going. I explain how I’m having a difficult time with a certain kid. I can’t seem to get him to pay attention in class.


      Acquaintances smirk knowingly. And they say, “well, have you tried making it fun for the kids? That’s how you get through to them, you know?”


      And then, they explain to me how I should do my job….

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 11/11/2013

  • tags: tools

    • Make super simple, free and visual conference calls. Choose an easy-to-remember personal link (i.e., for your calls, instead of fumbling for a traditional phone number and PIN. 


        Click the link to start or join a call from your phone, a web or mobile browser, VOIP or SMS. Once you’re on the call, know who’s joined, know who’s talking, share files, view social profiles, and comment, mute and add/remove participants. 


        There’s nothing to download and no elevator music. 


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 11/03/2013

  • Available online!

    tags: statistics research

    • Statistics Done Wrong is a guide to the most popular statistical errors and slip-ups committed by scientists every day, in the lab and in peer-reviewed journals. Many of the errors are prevalent in vast swathes of the published literature, casting doubt on the findings of thousands of papers. Statistics Done Wrong assumes no prior knowledge of statistics, so you can read it before your first statistics course or after thirty years of scientific practice.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 11/02/2013

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.