The Fiscal Summit

Submitted by George Nantwi on Tue, 05/15/2012 - 11:54pm.
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After dinner on our first night in DC, Manav, Demetri and I decided to catch the Devils and Rangers game before calling it a night. A rainy morning couldn’t dampen our mood for the Fiscal Summit. After checking in and enjoying the continental breakfast, we proceeded to the Mellon Auditorium for the opening remarks by Peter G. Peterson. This was followed by an interview with Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner by the Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel. Next up a video screening of several politicians addressing the many fiscal issues facing our nation. Michael A. Peterson, President of the Peterson Foundation delivered the keynote speech of the summit, “A Better Economy, and A Brighter Future: America’s Case for Action.”

Former NBC Nightly News host Tom Brokaw and former President Bill Clinton were next up on stage to discuss “Bridging Divides and Building Consensus.” President Clinton stayed after the discussion to talk to members of the crowd and signed a copy of the UFR curriculum for us. He was the only panelist throughout the day to do so. After a brief break, the first panel discussion, Finding the Political Will to Act, was moderated by Politico’s John F. Harris and included Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Kathleen Hall Jamieson (Director, Annenberg Public Policy Center) and Patricia Murphy (Political Correspondent, The Daily Beast/Newsweek).


Teachers College Games Festival

Submitted by George Nantwi on Mon, 04/23/2012 - 9:12am.
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The Games Research Lab / Communication, Computing and Technology in Education Program and Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology is co-sponsoring the TC Games Festival this Wednesday, April 25, from 4-8pm on the 1st Floor of Everett Lounge. Below are more details:

TC Games Festival
Date: Wednesday, April 25
Location: 525 W 120 St., 1st Floor, Everett Lounge
Time: 4-8 pm

Facebook link:!/events/409912769019606/

Stop by to play educational and real-world impact games designed by Columbia students and faculty Educational/Real-World Impact Games Festival: Featuring Scholar's Quest and over a dozen educational game projects.

Theme: Can YOU make a difference with games?

Opportunities to interact and get involved with game-based research projects. Enjoy free food and win prizes like a Kindle!

Please join us for the Teachers College Games Festival! Explore a variety of game designs and research projects about language learning, physical chemistry, nutrition, math, climate change, ethics and more. Games include digital, non-digital, mobile and real-world action games. Special guests include Bernard Yee, Bungie Game Developer and Adjunct Professor of Game Production and Design. Sponsored by the Games Research Lab / Communication, Computing and


No Pulitzer for Editorial Journalism

Submitted by George Nantwi on Thu, 04/19/2012 - 12:10am.
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In Kate’s recent blog post about this year’s Pulitzer Prize, Fred noted in one of his comments that the committee didn’t award winners in fiction this year and gave some reasons for the exclusion. In this piece for the Future Journalism Project, former EdLabber Jihii Jolly notes the other category that didn’t receive a winner this year: editorial writing. She gives a detailed explanation of the Pulitzer prize selecting process and how a plethora of online mediums might or has potentially changed the way folks on the Pulitzer committee see editorial journalism.


Copyright and Ownership

Submitted by George Nantwi on Fri, 04/13/2012 - 12:31pm.
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As the PocketKnowledge team is working on revamping the tool (user interaction, promotion, subscription, etc), one of the questions we’ve been dealing with is the notion of copyright and ownership. Under what instances can the use of copyrighted material be considered “fair use”? Who is the primary owner of material that took multiple people to create?

This article from the NY Times highlights an impending legal battle between musicians and record companies about a copyright law that will take effect early next year. In 1976, Congress passed a law that all creators of works of art (yes this includes musicians), starting January 1, 1978, will have to wait 35 years to reclaim full ownership of their work from recording companies. The 35-year-old window is up on January 1, 2013 and artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Van Halen are all primed to reclaim full ownership of their recordings from 1978. Every artist who released an album after 1978 is entitled to the provision so long as they file a claim to regain ownership two years before the 35 years is up on that album.


Library Patron Traffic

Submitted by George Nantwi on Sun, 04/01/2012 - 12:27am.
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After months of installing, moving (and moving) the traffic counters for the library patron report, we finally got them working and collecting proper data. We have the counters on eight different locations in the library: Main Entrance, Everett Cafe, 2nd Floor, 3rd Floor, 2nd Floor Stacks, 3rd Floor Stacks, 4th Floor Stacks and 5th Floor Stacks.

Below are the sets of data we are currently reporting in the reports. As we continue to think about how we can use data to inform much of the work we do here at the EdLab, what are some data you think will be useful or interesting to include in the patron traffic report.

-Proportions of Total Traffic through the Sections of the Library

-Total Patronage of all Sections of the Library for any give time

-Average Daily Patronage of All Sections of the Library for each Month

-Total Weekly Patronage

-Total Weekly Patronage of the Main Sections of the Library


Urban Population Boom

Submitted by George Nantwi on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 7:13am.
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This visual map by UNICEF shows the world’s urban population from 1950-2050, where it is expected that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Now this surge in the urban population will obviously come with its share of problems and concerns but it may also have enormous potential for creativity and innovation. As this article notes, “the more people there are in an area, and the more densely they’re networked, the more startups get created and the more patents get filed.” Coincidentally, India and China, the two countries which will have the largest urban populations in 2050 will also have the world's top two economies in 2050.

How can this global urban population surge affect how we imagine LAUNCH PAD, other EdLab products and education moving forward?


Making College Preparation Mandatory

Submitted by George Nantwi on Sun, 03/25/2012 - 11:29pm.
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Washington’s D.C’s public schools will soon become the first school district in the nation to require all college eligible students to apply to college or some kind of postsecondary school. Additionally, they are one of several states requiring all 11th graders to take the ACT, SAT or some sort of mandatory college entrance exam. The requirements are part of a broader set of laws and regulations, Raising the Expectations for Education Outcomes Omnibus Act of 2012, passed by lawmakers.

Although the bill contains provisions such as ensuring all students entering kindergarten can read and write, giving $10K to teachers to relocate to poor and struggling schools as well as closely monitoring the progress of at risk students as early as elementary school throughout high school, the mandatory college application and test taking has ignited the most debate. Chief among the criticisms of the regulation is how students, especially those from poor families, will afford the exams and ultimately college. The issue of financing is not relative to students as D.C’s schools don’t even have enough funds to see out all aspects of the measure.


Teacher Recruiting and Retention

Submitted by George Nantwi on Thu, 03/22/2012 - 11:37pm.
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Fred’s recent post on Teach for America notes how most of their graduates tend to spend a year or two in the program and then go off to pursue other non-education related endeavors. This piece by the National Education Association (NEA) states that in the coming decades, the US will need to hire more new teachers as well as find new ways to retain ones already in the system. According to the article, four factors that will affect teaching recruiting is:

(1) a shrinking teacher force

(2) a growing student population

(3) a lack of diversity among teachers to match the diversity of their students

(4) a need for teachers in specific types of schools, geographic locations and subject areas

In addition to these, what are some other factors that can or will affect teacher recruiting and/or retention in the coming years?


Why are Analytics jobs hot? And how do you get one?

Submitted by George Nantwi on Thu, 03/08/2012 - 11:04am.
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As the EdLab continues to think about ways in which we can use data to inform the work and decisions we make, an upcoming event at Pace University offers a chance to hear from professionals who’ve worked with leading companies on how they got into the business analytics field and how they use data to inform the projects those companies eventually take on. Kaiser Fung, college relations chair of the INFORMS Metro NY Chapter, who are hosting the event, is a previous EdLab seminar guest who presented on statistical ideas not usually taught in statistics class. The details for the event are below and the flyer is also attached.

Anyone interested in attending? What are you interested in learning from the panelists?

Come listen, ask questions, and enjoy FREE FOOD.

Theme: "Why are Analytics jobs hot? And how do you get one?"

Date/Time: March 22, 2012 (Thursday), 6-8 pm


Company Cultures To Die For

Submitted by George Nantwi on Mon, 03/05/2012 - 11:12pm.
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This article highlights the seven companies with the best cultures to die for. Here is the rundown:

1. Google--Indoor and outdoor fitness areas, including bowling lanes, dance studios, a basketball court, a soccer field, tennis courts, a roller hockey rink, a putting green and more, free food for employees in 25 cafeterias, free Android smartphones, given as a holiday gift to employees, 18 weeks maternity leave and 12 weeks paternity leave for new parents.

2. Facebook--100% employee healthcare coverage and 50% dependent coverage, up to four months of paid parental leave, plus $4,000 baby cash for new parents, 21 days of paid vacation, unlimited sick days and 11 paid holidays annually and free on-site laundry and dry cleaning.

3. Zappos--100% healthcare coverage and 85% coverage for dependents and partners, 40% employee discount on, free breakfast, lunch, snacks and more onsite wellness, pet insurance, monthly team outings, concierge services and even nap rooms.

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