Testing Wars

Submitted by Sarpong Adjei on Sun, 04/19/2015 - 11:59pm.
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Let the testing wars begin (or continue). With New York City students set to take standardized exams in the coming weeks, the battle over testing is rearing its head again in the news, and online forums. The tests are part of the requirements of the Common Core standards. New York state has set a tougher set of standardized exams for its students in conjunction with the Common Core. This has essentially made New York the battleground for the testing wars.

However, some parents are not happy with the exams and want their students to opt out of the students. However, opting out is proving more difficult due to a variety of reasons. The exams are part of the admissions process for middle and high school enrollment, especially for gifted and special public schools. Both sides of the divide, especially parents and teacher groups, are pressing through with their fight to opt-out of the impending tests.


The Ideal Teacher

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Sun, 04/19/2015 - 11:14pm.
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In order for teachers to ensure effective teaching and learning, they need to take student thoughts into consideration. The video below shows students discussing what characteristics of a teacher have a positive effect on their learning. The response from these students gives an insight on their thoughts on an ideal teacher and why a great teacher makes a significant difference in their lives.



Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Sun, 04/19/2015 - 8:55pm.
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A report from the Horace Mann League, a public education advocacy group, states that test scores shouldn’t be the only factor when comparing education systems across the world. Test scores do not define the educational success of a country. Researchers believe these are other factors (student outcomes, school system outcomes, social stress, support for families, support for schools and economic inequity) that must also be taken into consideration. These factors can help determine the educational success of countries.

To perform the experiment, the researchers selected nine countries with similar school system: the United States, Canada, U. K., France, Germany, China, Italy, Japan, and Finland. Through the study, they observed that the United States had high levels of economic inequality, low levels of support for families and higher levels of stress. The level of stress is due to violent deaths, death from drug abuse and teen pregnancy. Violence can lead to stress that has a negative impact on children’s brain development. Consequently, they recommended that the United States must find a way to combat violence because the stress affect students and can cause serious long-term health challenges.


The Charter School Advantage

Submitted by Ahmed Bagigah on Fri, 04/17/2015 - 12:58am.
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A recent study on urban charter schools that focused on New York City draws both positive and negative conclusions. Charter schools continue to outperform traditional public school in urban communities. This has increased the number of students applying to charter schools. However in New York City, the major issue is charter schools leave thousands of seats unfilled each year despite the high demands and long list of applicants. The decision not to fill up vacant seats highlights some of the major differences between traditional public schools and charter schools. This is one of the reasons why charter schools continue to outperform traditional schools.

In a traditional public school, every student must be enrolled so long as they meet certain requirements. Public schools also have students with issues that affect their learning: poverty, homelessness, and crime-ridden neighborhoods, among others. Charter schools have entry points such as kindergarten, 5th or 6th grade and 9th grade. This system puts all students on the same learning curve and ensures each student is pushed to meet a certain standard before the next entry point. This allows new applicants to register.


Multi-Media: The Musical

Submitted by Jackie Heltz on Thu, 04/16/2015 - 2:38pm.
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Well, technically, the title of the musical is Doctor Zhivago, a reinterpretation of Boris Pasternak's 1957 novel and 1965 film adaptation of the same name.
Opening its doors to NYC preview audiences April 21st, the Broadway production follows the struggles, transformations, and love triangles of doctor-poet, Yuri Zhivago during the years leading up to WWI and through the Russian Civil War that took place from 1917-1922 but with a very 21st century twist: a multi-media set design more intoxicating than the vodka consumed by the characters throughout 90% of the play.

The use of screens and projections in theater productions if oftentimes labeled "lazy" and, in my experience, disjointed. I remember seeing a local production of Godspell that attempted to use some ridiculous Matrix-inspired digital screen overlay in the opening act determined to launch us into the future of musical theater--instead it came off nearly as out of place and laughable as the live bat that had found its way inside and was terrorizing the balcony row (it was Vermont...these things happen).


Here is Why You Should Care About Design

Submitted by Panisuan Chasinga on Thu, 04/16/2015 - 10:48am.
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Human brains are built to be deceived, and that's perhaps why art means something to us. It deceives and challenge perceptions. Here are some Gestalt examples for why you all should care about design when dealing with humans.

1. You cannot tell dots from lines.
Our brains are force to look at the bigger picture first at all costs.

2. You need closures, and you're dying to build one.
Give you just the minimal necessary, and you will complete it. (but please don't complete it for you, it's boring)

3. You want to go on and on...
Like the sight of a never-ending railway, or the route 66? You were born to be lured into continuity of all kinds, physically or conceptually. (Heaven, hell, afterlives, anyone?) Nothing, even color, can distract us from the Path.

4. You like what's closer
It all boils down to the whole, but you're so good at isolating outliers and just make sense of what we can (yes, in every sense of the words).


Short Attention Span

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Wed, 04/15/2015 - 9:59pm.
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There are several issues that educators have to deal with in order to create a conducive environment for teaching and learning. Chief among them is the short attention span of students. The video below illustrates a short attention span. What are some ways teachers can deal with short attention span?


#TinyBookTuesday The Tiniest Bible for Children!

Submitted by Alexandra Lederman on Tue, 04/14/2015 - 5:24pm.
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Happy #TinyBookTuesday! Here is the tiniest of tiny books! A Bible written for children. This tiny book was sold by Lumsden & Son and was published circa 1779.


Raspberry Pi Up and Running

Submitted by Panisuan Chasinga on Tue, 04/14/2015 - 4:35pm.
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A really, really quick way to get started on your new Pi in 5 minutes.

If you have just bought a new Raspberry Pi, and you are so excited you canceled plans with your friends just to go home and hook it up. Here is my write up on a very quick cut-to-the-chase path to get started on your Pi without the technical details to kill your appetite.

My new Raspberry Pi 2 model B, a $35 Quadcore computer the size of a credit card is six times faster than the previous v1. It has sold more than 4M units and I had to wait for a month on back order.

Unlike an Arduino, which is a microcontroller, a Raspberry Pi is a full-fledge Linux computer with GPIOs (General I/O Pins) to easier connect to the physical world unlike a normal computer. If connected to a keyboard, mouse and a monitor it can work like a desktop PC, albeit a little lame to treat it just that.


It's Monday Morning!

Submitted by Gonzalo Obelleiro on Mon, 04/13/2015 - 11:12am.
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GIFs to start the week right.
Thank you to the artist, FLORIAN DE LOOIJ

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