Sports and Education Work Well Together

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Wed, 10/29/2014 - 8:03pm.
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Sports if sometimes depicted as a form of distraction for students. However, research shows that sports have help students in broadening their knowledge and exposes them to several learning techniques. This article argues that student athletes tend to perform better in school and in life. Research found that schools that offer a lot of successful sports programs tend to produce higher test scores and graduation rates as well as lower drop out rates.

Though sports seem a part of student life (especially at the secondary and collegiate level) in the US, it is almost nonexistent in some countries. Countries such as South Korea and Finland do not have athletics in their schools. This may one of the reasons why these countries have some of the best education systems in the world. Even though this might be true, this article explains that some low-achieving countries also lack sports programs. In this case, it is very evident that, the academic excellence of South Korea as a country cannot be solely attributed to their schools not having sports programs.


Be Bop 'Til You Drop, EdLab!

Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Tue, 10/28/2014 - 9:36am.
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Does listening to music at work make you more or less productive? As much as I prefer to toil to the glorious sounds of absolute silence, recent research has inspired me to plug in and hit play.

Mindlab International, on behalf of MusicWorks, challenged 26 participants to complete a series of action-oriented tasks over the course of 5 days. While doing so, they listened to one of 4 genres of music (or nothing at all).

The results were surprising. For one, people who listened to nothing were found to make more mistakes! I would've thought the quiet would allow for more accuracy. Little did I know I've been making a mess of things for years.

More highlights from the study:

Classical music helps you solve mathematical problems with accuracy. (You listening, Xiang?)

Pop music helps you improve your speed on those data entry tasks. It's also good for spell-checking accuracy!

Ambient music is best for people who are solving equations.

Dance music was the genre linked to the highest overall accuracy and speed across a variety of tasks (solving equations, spell-checking, mathing). It's especially good for those of you who are proofreading.

So next time you hear sweet dance beats leaking out of BSweet's earphones, go ahead and marvel at his productivity. Better yet, ask him what he's listening to!

What music puts you into a flow state? Do you go lyric-less or do you just need some Beyonce to get it done?


People "prefer renting over buying" says Amazon CFO

Submitted by Dana Haugh on Mon, 10/27/2014 - 1:31pm.
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Amazon experienced the lowest year-over-year growth in North American last quarter and Amazon's CFO Tom Szkutak says textbook rentals are largely to blame.

Textbook rentals have exploded in part because Amazon makes it so easy. Instead of a would-be renter and lender having to track each other down one-on-one, the owner of a used text book can simply put it up on Amazon. (It’s a model textbook publishers hate, because they only make money on new book sales, which is one reason textbook prices are going through the roof).

Similarly, Amazon has made streaming media so easy that the practical incentive to buy diminishes. Renting or buying digital video from Amazon, for example, never has to involve a download. You never really have to “have” it. It simply streams from Amazon’s cloud to apps, browsers, and over-the-top internet TV boxes. The setup would seem to work to Amazon’s favor because you’re still paying Amazon money—but not as much, perhaps, as you’d pay to own.


Empowering Young Girls

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Sun, 10/26/2014 - 11:30pm.
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Imagine yourself at the age 13 and coming home from school to hear that your father has found you a much older husband. Ideally, you'll remind your father of your rights and most likely call off the wedding. However, in some countries, girls have no say. Essentially, what the family decides is final. This is Laila's predicament. Laila is a thirteen-year-old girl from Yemen whose father gave her into marriage. As a result, Laila had to quit school and become a housewife, and eventually became a mother.

There are many girls around the world who have fallen victim to early child marriage like Laila. Child marriage destroys children's lives, and it's mostly exercised in developing countries. Empowering women and girls can be very an effective way of combating this and other forms of discrimination or inequality. We need to promote girls' empowerment. We can do this by implementing comprehensive and interactive interventions in schools and community settings. This will be vital in improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Education is also very important in achieving this goal. However, there are many girls around the world being shunned or denied access to education. Girls need to be educated to achieve independence and demonstrate their skills.


Student Athletes at UNC Take Fake Classes

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Sun, 10/26/2014 - 9:13pm.
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Most college coaches and school authorities work tirelessly to motivate student athletes to blend academics and athletic responsibilities. The academic help for student athletes include but are not limited to providing study rooms for the team and offering tutors.

However, this article sheds more light on a recent investigation that reveals athletes at University of North Carolina (UNC) taking fake classes. This investigation reveals that a large population of the football team was enrolled in classes that do not exist. Furthermore, these same students receive A's and B's for homework they never did, classes they never attended and exams they never took. Initially, the NCAA stated that the scandal had nothing to do with the sports program. The NCAA authorities found this scandal very serious and they have begun looking into the matter.


Asimov on Distributed Creativity

Submitted by Mason Hooten on Sun, 10/26/2014 - 6:24pm.
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In his latest article for the MIT Tech Review, Isaac Asimov has done us the favor of documenting the intent of our design sessions, although there are a few idiosyncrasies in his chronicle:

1) Sinecure: a job or position in which someone is paid to do little or no work. I was pleased to learn this word.

2) The ideation session is to synthesize knowledge participants already have, capitalizing on the internal connection engine present in each participant. This is interesting since it emphasizes the inside-the-box-ness of contributions from each individual. Instead of collective information unto collective creativity, this is redistributed information with distributed creativity.

That this article explicitly assumes creativity is a solo process, it may bear considering who ultimately owns the output of a design session. Would some address of that ownership change the nature of the sessions? Perhaps the moderator saying to the group "each of you will leave here with new connections to make," or the alternate type (common to our 4F redesign) "we will consider the pitches the group makes and be the arbiters of their value." These cases of course are not exclusive, except that the latter assigns RAA for a selected problem, usually the nominal goal of the meeting.


Yosemite, the Wild West

Submitted by Mason Hooten on Fri, 10/24/2014 - 4:01pm.
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Sensitive to the Victorian mores of the EdLab community, I thought I should point out that the walls have ears in the new version of OS X.

A group of concerned netizens has put together a site called Fix MacOSX, detailing some spooky practices taken up by Tim and his posse.

Interestingly, I found this out from a nice history of FLOSS darling Ubuntu recently published on ArsTechnica. That article describes (on page 2) Ubuntu's scandalous incorporation of similar peaking techniques in a version a few years back.

The devs at Fix MacOSX offer attribution to a few major news sources for corroboration. They also offer some instruction on how to restore yourself from the surveillance. If you don't think that's a waste of time.


What do you care about today?

Submitted by Dana Haugh on Fri, 10/24/2014 - 1:25pm.
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"Sense Mother is at the head of a family of small connected sensors that blend into your daily life to make it serene, healthy and pleasurable."

A day in the life of Sensemother from on Vimeo.


Overseas Higher Education

Submitted by Khalil Abubakar on Fri, 10/24/2014 - 1:13am.
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This article notes that Romania is one of the cheapest countries to have an education at a high-class level. I think people in the US hesitate attend foreign universities because they think the quality of education is not as good. Additionally, employers and other institutions might not highly rate overseas degrees. In European countries like Romania, scholars come from other parts of the world, including the US, for an education. The cost for students coming from the countries in the European Union (EU) is $1140 a year and for foreign countries, it cost $342 a month or $3,078 a year.

Romania has a very low cost of living. Only $253 a month is needed to buy all necessities and three-quarters of students who graduate in their field from universities find a job. It can cost you $8.87 to take unlimited rides for a month and average food cost is $3.80. Foreign foods like pizza, salads and Arabic cuisines are served. One negative is that only 20% of part time jobs can accommodate a student’s schedule but there are a lot of jobs that students can try to fit in your schedule.


Will Net Neutrality Ruin Innovation?

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Thu, 10/23/2014 - 3:36pm.
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In the near future. internet service providers may be able to strike deals with company's willing to pay to stream their content at faster speeds. Yep. Net neutrality may really be a dream of the past. (For more read this Bloomberg Businessweek article) However, not everyone is opposed to an end to net neutral. As this MIT Tech Review piece points-out,

As Raychaudhuri sees it, the Internet has been able to progress because net neutrality has been treated as one of many objectives that can be balanced against one another. If net neutrality becomes completely inviolable, it’s a different story. Inventors’ hands are tied. Other types of progress become harder.

What are your thoughts? Should a truly "neutral" internet be a priority?

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