Combating Poverty in Haiti

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Mon, 03/30/2015 - 1:09am.
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Haiti has made improvements to decrease extreme poverty. However, there is still a lot to be done. Haiti is one of the poorest countries on earth. Extreme poverty in the country is so severe to the extent that one in two Haitians lives on less than $2.41 a day. The 2010 earthquake further compounded Haiti’s problems.

This means that a lot of student needs are not being met. There are no opportunities for students to learn and fulfill their aspirations. They are the future of Haiti, and providing education for them could be the beginning steps of something great. In order for that to happen, the country has to first combat poverty. Part of the solution to this goal is highlighted in this article. The first step is to invest in people. In order to this, they must boost income, opportunities, and protect the poor and vulnerable.


Vagrant — Dependency Management as a Service

Submitted by Santosh Kumar on Sat, 03/28/2015 - 12:11pm.
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I’ve been using Vagrant for a while now and it’s been my go-to tool for everything related to setting up my development environment. It’s just amazing how it manages to stay out of the way and help me be productive. That’s a testament to the thought that has been put into it.

Dependency Management as a Service
If there’s one thing, Vagrant really brings to the table, it’s this notion of dependency management as a service. You focus on writing your app (Rails/Phoenix/Django/what-have-you) and Vagrant takes care of bringing in everything else. And by everything, I mean everything. The OS, all of the system level packages, all of your app-specific dependencies, etc.

You get a fully isolated virtual machine that is pre-configured with all of the stuff your app needs, specified in the Vagrantfile..


Posture, Learning & Baby Robots

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Fri, 03/27/2015 - 2:54pm.
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(Image source)

Apparently "epigenetic" infant robots are a thing. And a thing that allows researchers to study infant behavior without the hassle of diaper changes or feedings. Specifically, in the case of this learning study focused on how infants map words to objects (summarized in this gizmag article), "The creation of a robot model for infant learning has far-reaching implications for how the brains of young people work." And researchers discovered that posture at time of knowledge acquisition and manipulation of objects, does in-fact impact learning.

My Questions:
I wonder what this research will mean for early learning programs and their design? Will body posture be given primacy to other modes to facilitate learning?


How Can We Learn from a Reading Tutor that Listens? by Jack Mostow, Carnegie Mellon University

Submitted by Hui Soo Chae on Fri, 03/27/2015 - 11:45am.
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Details for the talk are below. I will blog it for folks who are interested.

Learning Analytics Seminar Series
Jack Mostow, Carnegie Mellon University
Horace Mann Hall 144
April 2, 10am

Title: How Can We Learn from a Reading Tutor that Listens?

Abstract: Project LISTEN’s Reading Tutor listens to children read
aloud, and helps them learn to read. It displays text on a computer
screen, uses automatic speech recognition to help analyze a child’s
oral reading, and responds with spoken and graphical assistance
modeled after expert reading teachers but adapted to the limitations
and affordances of the technology. The Reading Tutor logs its
interactions in detail to a database that we mine in order to assess
students’ performance, model their learning, and harvest
within-subject experiments embedded in the Reading Tutor to compare
alternative tutorial actions. This talk will illustrate a few of the
Reading Tutor’s tutorial interactions, student models, and


Online Behavior

Submitted by George Nantwi on Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:31am.
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I am sure we all engage in some sort of banter and fun on our various social media platforms (at least I do). However, when do banter and a little bit of fun cross the line into “mean”? This article tries to answer the question about why people are so mean to others online?


Graduation Rates at Community Colleges

Submitted by Sarpong Adjei on Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:28am.
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There has been a lot of focus on community colleges lately. For instance, President Obama recently announced plans to make community college free for eligible students. This is light of recent discourse about the purpose of community college due to low completion rates.

This NY Times pieces highlights a promising initiative by CUNY, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) to improve graduating rates at community colleges. One of the major features of the ASAP program is that students enrolled have to attend community college full time (often difficult for most students). In return, ASAP offers students with a host of services such as free Metrocard for transportation, free textbooks and financial aid. One feature of the program that is proving highly effective is student-counselor meetings. The average CUNY advisor has a caseload of 600-1,500 students, while ASAP counselors deal with about 60-80 students.


Obesity In Children

Submitted by Frank Obeng on Thu, 03/26/2015 - 3:57pm.
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One of the most talked about health issues affecting children is obesity. Researchers are using videos to stop obesity in children. Children nowadays stay glued to their television sets instead of going outside to engage in physical activities. This according to researchers say causes over 12.7 million children and adolescents to become obese. The researchers created a video about nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits to encourage children to engage in physical activity while watching the video.

This video can be used as an alternative for outdoor physical activities when the weather is bad. Cartoons such as Dora the explorer tells children to imitate what they see such as jumping, counting and singing. This can be shown to children during after school programs to help them burn calories and exercise their brain. These videos will go a long way in helping children stay active and fit.


Millennials Prefer Print

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Thu, 03/26/2015 - 2:25pm.
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(Image source)

While the eBook flag has been flying at publishing houses big and small for a number of years now, young readers may not be fully sold. As the authors of a Washington Post report on the new book, "Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World," point-out in this this BoingBoing article:

The preference for print over digital can be found at independent bookstores such as the Curious Iguana in downtown Frederick, Md., where owner Marlene England said millennials regularly tell her they prefer print because it’s “easier to follow stories.” Pew studies show the highest print readership rates are among those ages 18 to 29, and the same age group is still using public libraries in large numbers.


Designing Your Life

Submitted by Christopher Gu on Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:54am.
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A great read from Fast Company about "Designing Your Life," one of the most popular undergraduate courses at Stanford University.


NJ Introduces Student-Police Interaction Bill

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Wed, 03/25/2015 - 8:27pm.
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In a previous blog post, I summarized how majority of students have come in contact with law enforcement officers in some fashion. Most students unfortunately are not able to deal with cops when they are stopped. Some schools in New York have introduced courses to teach students how to deal with cops in order to prevent the situation from escalating. Several cases about confrontations between students and cops have been reported in the news recently. These cases reemphasize the need to teach students more about the role of law enforcement and how to deal with them.

In order to help educate students learn more about law enforcement, a bill has been introduced in New Jersey. The bill requires school districts to teach students, as part of their social studies curriculum, about the role and responsibilities of law enforcement officials as well as an individual's responsibility to comply with the law. I believe this is a great initiative that is geared towards making students understand the role of law enforcement.

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