Sparking STEM with Mentors

Submitted by Reindorf Kyei on Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:40am.
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A few weeks ago, the York Academy of Sciences and Sister Cities International reported a new partnership called STEMentoring Program. The main goal is to increase the STEM workforce worldwide and solve global challenges. One way to improve instruction is to pair mentors between undergraduate and graduate students. The mentors will be assigned randomly, and will match the careers in which the students are following. The President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences notes that the next generation deserves better role models who will impact their lives. Not only will the students be paired up with mentors but also have the chance to interact with other students in the world. Students, along with their mentors, will be required to complete a project on a specific topic area. What are your thoughts on this program?


Fostering Global Awareness in Classrooms

Submitted by George Nantwi on Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:18am.
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I attended a panel on global education at the Council on Foreign Relations last night. The event was hosted by the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN). iEARN, celebrating its 25th year anniversary, was founded during the dying days of the Cold War on the philosophy that US and Soviet students had more in common than they did apart. The panel focused on how educators across the country can build mutual understanding and global competency between youth through technology enabled classroom technology. The event started with a 30-minute exhibition of projects by US students with their peers in the Middle East and North Africa. The exhibition was part of the Chris Stevens Youth Network (named after ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed during the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya several years ago).


Counting Questions in Vialogues Conversations

Submitted by Ling Zhu on Thu, 08/07/2014 - 6:29pm.
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I have been exploring the R library qdap recently and it has many functions for doing exploratory analysis for dialogues.

Here is something I just found by using the function "question_type" in this library. This function counts the occurrences of different types of questions, such as "where", "why", and "how", in the sentences. I grouped the sentences according to the ratings of the vialogue conversations they belong to. See the plot below for the result. We can make a few interesting conclusions:

  1. Conversations with lowest ratings have fewest questions in them.
  2. Although it seems conversations rated as 5 do not have the most questions, if we divide the counts of questions by the number of conversations rated in each group, group 5 has the highest ratio.
  3. The "how"-type questions are the most frequently asked in the best conversations.

Video I Wish: Basic American Laws You May Not Know About

Submitted by Oumar Soumahoro on Thu, 08/07/2014 - 1:22am.
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When I took Business Law last semester, I was overwhelmed that many students in the class (myself included) were clueless about basic laws. The video below talks about the most common laws. I believe that this video could be very useful for incoming freshmen in business law. It could also be used in advanced level high school business/mock trial classes. Have you ever questioned your knowledge about law? Feel free to watch this video and share your feedback.


Product Evaluation by Use of Brainwaves

Submitted by Khalil Abubakar on Thu, 08/07/2014 - 12:27am.
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Most companies and organizations use surveys and customer interviews to evaluate their products. Researchers from City College of New York have partnered with Georgia Tech to study brainwaves of people on how they react to commercials and marketing products. The study involved sixteen participants who watched mainstream TV shows and several commercials. The results showed that when participants viewed popular commercials and scenes from TV episodes, their brain waves were very similar compared to less popular ones and brain activity was much less. Overall, this means the more the product was liked on social media, the more participants had the same brainwaves compared to less unknown products.


Global Learning

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:53pm.
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I was quite overwhelmed when I saw this data from UNESCO. A lot of initiatives aim to place children in school. However, this data proves that enrolling children into school is not enough. There is more that needs to be done to make sure children are in school and equipped with all the materials they need to succeed. For instance, 57 million children of primary school age are still denied the right to education. Nevertheless, an estimated 250 million children cannot read, write or count well. This is whether they have been to school or not. For instance, in Congo and Tanzania, there are 60 plus children per class. Obviously, this will make learning difficult for the children and teaching difficult for the teachers. There are many alternatives to improve the quality of learning globally. Some examples include increasing global investment in education, providing sufficient, engaging and relevant learning materials. Additionally, to train, equip, value and support teachers. Below is an infographic highlighting some of the numbers and issues aforementioned.


Learn to Teach from MOOCs Videos

Submitted by Yang Yang on Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:40pm.
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Carmel’s blog post on Delivering a Great Presentation inspired me to think about how to become a better teacher/presenter. Thanks to our weekly Development and Research meetings, which covers a wide range of topics from understanding our products, presenting ideas, improving presentations and rehearsing seminars/courses, I am more aware of where a great presentation/teaching comes from.

I roughly summarize the secret recipe in five words: goal, prepare, engage, visual, practice. Why do we talk? What is the knowledge and ideas that we want to deliver? How to engage my audience? Where should I add necessary visuals? Keep working on improving after receiving feedback.
However, there is still one missing puzzle: learning from the best people. I once led labs as a teaching assistant for Data Visualization at GSAS Columbia University, an interdisciplinary course that encourages students to look at data critically and tell stories with data visualizations. Therefore, I am interested in getting better at teaching programming languages in front of a student body with mixed technology and domain backgrounds. We all treat MOOCs as a great resource to learn from knowledgeable teachers. However, I think it also teaches us how to become effective teachers. In terms of leading a programming lab, I find watching Coursera data science specialization courses helpful. Even though the language may not be the same, the approaches, case studies and manners to deliver information are enlightening.


This 15-Year-Old Has Us All Beat

Submitted by Brian Sweeting on Tue, 08/05/2014 - 4:03pm.
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At the end of the Science of Learning conference today, Mariette DiChristina announced the winner of the Science in Action award: Kenneth Shinozuka, a 15 year-old-from NYC who created his own wearable tech device to help his aunt take care of his grandfather with Alzheimer's. This was the perfect example of a student taking responsibility of his own science learning to do awesome things:


US Africa Economic Relations

Submitted by Ahmed Bagigah on Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:51am.
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Despite its recent troubles, the US still has the world’s largest economy. However, it is only Africa’s third largest trade partner after the European Union (EU) and China. This is surprising considering Africa is home to seven of the fastest growing economies in the world. The economic growth in Africa is the leading factor towards the US-Africa summit this week in Washington where African leaders are set to meet up with President Obama to talk about trade and development opportunities. With China recently overtaking the United States in trade with Africa, the United States is keen to improve their relationship with Africa. The focus of the summit will see a shift away from aid and humanitarian support to building economic relationships.

The US interest in Africa shows that the continent is progressing in a positive manner however; African leaders must assure that the continent will benefit a lot from the trade deals. The trade, development and security relationship with the United States should be used to help develop the educational and health systems as well as improving the market sector and improving communication, sanitation and transportation. These are areas that can help improve the lives of millions in Africa and also allow Africa to compete with the rest of the world.


Delivering a Great Presentation

Submitted by Carmel Addae on Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:57pm.
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Chris’ recent D&R on how to make great presentations was very relatable, as I have always struggled with class presentations. The group activities Chris used were also great and he focused on important things related to presenting in front of a crowd or a group of people. Overall, the meeting helped me become more comfortable and confident about presenting in class. I made a brief vialogue on delivering great presentations. What are your thoughts on the video? Does it talk about the important things we should look for when giving presentations?


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