Childhood Obesity

Submitted by Sarpong Adjei on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 10:35pm.
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One of the most enduring health issues in America remains obesity, especially among young people. As a result, there have been countless studies and researches over the years about the total number of young Americans affected by obesity. Seventeen percent of Americans, aged 2-19, are affected by obesity, a 5% increase from the 1970s. However, as this NY Times article highlights, some of these studies have been questioned, especially in terms of methodology, though both paint a grim picture of youth obesity in America. The current focus is whether youth obesity is declining.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina and a team of federal researchers, is widely believed to be the most accurate picture of youth obesity in America. The researchers looked at data of young people aged 2 to 5 over a 14-year span to draw appropriate conclusions about childhood obesity. They concluded that obesity remained flat during the time span.


STEM Enrollment Boom!!!

Submitted by Reindorf Kyei on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 10:41pm.
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A new study has discovered that it’s more likely for current undergraduates to study a field in Science or Technology than other subject areas. The research, led by two professors at University of Pennsylvania and UCLA, highlights the differences in STEM and liberal arts courses. For instance, the research found that there had been a decline in freshmen enrollment in STEM fields during the 1997-2005 academic years at UCLA. The situation changed when the school discovered there was a seven percent increase in STEM graduates between 2007 and 2011. The widely speculated STEM gender gap was not detected during this time.

The research found that while there seems to be a boom in STEM majors, the same cannot be true of other “professional fields” such as business and education. It seems that all the talk about lack of skilled workers for the plethora of STEM jobs available are forcing some undergrads to consider STEM majors since they will likely gain employment upon graduation. The interest in STEM therefore seems to be tied more to careers and employment opportunities than a desire to learn.


Women Make Good Youth Coaches

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 8:30pm.
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Young athletes need guidance and that is why there is a need to have good coaches to lead them. However, most youth coaches tend to be males, even among female teams. The number of women coaches in youth sports is 20%, which is a pretty shocking statistic. This article sheds more light on the claim that women make equally good coaches as men. According to this article, the few women who have taken up coaching youth teams (either boys or girls teams), have been very successful. The piece argues that the caring nature of women makes it easier for them to form a more personal relationship with their players and helps them resolve issues. Women coaches also make good role models for young female athletes.

As a college athlete, I believe gender doesn't matter in terms of the coach. The personality of the coach matters more than the coaches' gender. I haven't had a female coach yet but from some of my friends who have had female coaches tend to play the role of mothers on and off the field.


How Can We Provide Jobs for Conflict-Affected States

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 2:37pm.
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Building opportunities for youth in fragile and conflict-affected states – places where armed fighting has just ended or conflicts continue to simmer – has its own challenges. Many young men and women who have been pressed into fighting never had a chance to develop productive skills that can help them in times of peace. They return home to regions that have been devastated by years of conflict, with fragile economies, broken education systems and few opportunities for work.

All around the globe and throughout history, many countries have suffered from wars. The war revolutionized the country or resulted in a setback. Generally, when two nations engage in conflict, both countries are responsible for the reconstruction of their respective nation, which is a fair game. However, what happens when there is a conflict within a nation, when two ethnic groups or tribes fight against one another? A conflict within a nation destroys everything. For instance, the economy, educational system, foreign affairs, and so many great things that defines the existence of that country. I believe that the impact that internal strife is massive than that of conflict between two countries. Recent examples of civil wars include the genocide in Rwanda, Liberia, Syria and the Balkans, among others.


Marshmellow Challenge: A Design Workshop

Submitted by Carmen James on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 1:14pm.
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There are so many ways to build collaboration in order to design better solutions to problems.

Collaboration, in fact, often is the hardest part. This is a great workshop that can be easily replicated (though not easy to do). The workshop teaches teams to work more effectively together.

The basic structure is teams of 4 have to build a tower with a marshmallows at top. They are given a limited selection of supplies.

The findings? The workshop has been replicated across the nation from Fortune 500 CEOs to children. The group that is the best at the workshop is Kindergartners. The worst, recent business school grads.

Learn more here.


Words that are Literally Problematic

Submitted by Brian Sweeting on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:09pm.
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Because you're never too young to be an English curmudgeon:

Reblogged from HuffPo (I know, I know) and originally from The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead

Disinterested used to mean uninterested.
The meaning of disinterested is “free of bias and self-interest.” It is essential that a judge be disinterested, for example. Disinterested does NOT, repeat NOT, mean “lack of interest” or “uninterested.” I put this so emphatically because we’re not talking just about proper usage. Disinterest used in its correct sense is on its last legs—I’ve been appalled to see it misused in articles in the Washington Post and other major publications. English does not have another word that conveys the meaning of disinterested as economically. If we lose the distinctive meaning of the word, we have measurably degraded our ability to express ourselves in English.


Video Games Can Impact Students

Submitted by Youssef Ballo on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:36am.
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Some parents think video games are not helpful because of the effect it has on their children. However, the use of video games for education can have unique and positive effects. It’s utilized as teaching tools that can change lives and teach excellent skills. Video games teach critical thinking, problem solving skills, and perseverance. The National STEM Video Game Challenge is an annual event for middle and high school students to submit their own video game designs and compete with other children their age in a national contest. Designing video games help children learn coding, strategy, and digital creation.

The The Mind Research Institutes ST video game is an educational math game that teaches students to conceptualize math in brand new ways. This allows children to have visual representation of math problems in motion and helps them figure out solutions. Children may be born into the care of screens, but if they use it the right way, those screens can create major improvement in areas such as reading, science, math, and other subjects.


Life in Silicon Valley

Submitted by Hui Soo Chae on Thu, 04/10/2014 - 8:50pm.
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Curious about life in Silicon Valley?

Check out episode 1 of Silicon Valley on YouTube (embedding not allowed :( )

The show is not without controversy.

As an aside, Sharath reports the show is completely accurate.*

*I am kidding. I just want to see if Sharath is keeping his promise to keep up on the EdLab blog.


Sports Boost Academics

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Wed, 04/09/2014 - 10:59pm.
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There are many research projects conducted to determine whether sports help individuals become better students. According to this article, the first major research of this sort found that 67 of the 100 most challenging academic high schools in the U.S. do not have football teams. This was done to analyze whether sports teams (e.g. football) are bad for students. Another study was conducted and the results of which included a proposal for schools to removes sports and replace them with other academic programs. The most interesting research found that high schools that spent more time and energy on sports tended to produce very good results in terms of academics as well.

I think academics and sports should be merged. Most people tend to make claims that schools that devote too much time to sports tend to perform poorly in academics. This could not be far from the truth. Sports, for the most part, involve calculations and other exercises that require critical thinking and analysis. Undoubtedly, an athlete who is able to apply the skills of critical thinking into academic work will most likely be successful. High Schools should be encouraged to have more sports programs because that will help develop academics as well.


Tertiary Education in Bangladesh

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:03pm.
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The Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP) is a project that intends to improve learning and research in the tertiary sector of Bangladesh. The project's primary goal is to enhance the quality of tertiary education. The challenges faced by the tertiary education sector are enormous to the extent that there has been a weak connectivity of research collaboration between academic communities at home and international peers. Research as we all know is about finding interesting information to share with not just people in your surroundings but with those around the globe, which helps to create some networking relationship. In Bangladesh, funding is also another challenge faced by the tertiary education sector. 2.1% of the country's GDP is poured into education, but just 0.12% is allocated to tertiary education. This inadequate share is the reason for creating the HEQEP, to generate money for investing in research, computers, and the improvement of teaching, learning, and research.

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