If you're one of those people who's still struggling to master the most basic functions on your cell phone (like send, receive, and check messages), you may not want to continue with this blog post. What it says may depress you. As you sort through your technological shortcomings, it turns out that two young men in suburban Chicago—a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old, to be precise—have developed an application for an iPhone that allows users to solve math problems on the device. It costs 99 cents to download the application, according to this story describing their application, in the Chicago...


Michael L. Kamil, a prominent researcher on reading, will join us today for a live chat on how to improve adolescent literacy. It will take place from 1 p.m to 2 p.m., Eastern time. Find more information here....


A former school textbook editor describes the process that most textbook publishers use to create textbooks as stifling for engaging and original content.


The success of Rosetta Stone, a language-software company, on the New York Stock Exchange indicates that many people in this country want to learn a foreign language.


Two stories in today's newspapers highlight efforts to improve math and science education in major cities, one of which is well under way in Los Angeles, while the other is just getting off the ground in Detroit. A story in the Los Angeles Times describes a pilot program taking place in six schools in the city that aims to boost students' interest in computer science. So far, it seems to be having success reaching minority students, according to the story. Over the last five years, the program helped double the number of African- American students taking Advanced Placement computer science ...


At a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee this morning, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he would like to increase funding for the federal government's Striving Readers program from $35 million to $370 million per year. He said he also wants to extend the program from operating only in middle and high schools to elementary schools. (It's likely that he's referring to the upper elementary school grades that weren't covered under the federal Reading First program. A draft bill is circulating in Congress that could provide a program that could be a replacement for Reading ...


What's the connection between cultivating students' artistic talent and their overall brain development? That topic was explored at a recent seminar sponsored by the Neuro-Education Initiative at Johns Hopkins University's School of Education, as was detailed in this story in the Baltimore Sun. Researchers, as the article explains, are exploring whether training in the arts can change students' brain structures and the way they think. It's fascinating stuff. The article alludes to a number of intriguing research projects, who is examining a correlation between students' training in music and their skill in geometry. It also mentions another study underway at ...


The novelist and critic Walter Kirn was a guest on Stephen Colbert's show last night, discussing his new book, "Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever." Kirn's book, according to the description I've read, is a memoir recounting his transition from rural Minnesota to Princeton, and what he sees as the gamesmanship endemic to getting into the nation's higher education institutions—and succeeding there. He explored some of these points in a 2005 Atlantic Monthly article. One exchange from last night: Colbert: "I'm no fan of Ivy League education, because I think they turn people into elites. But ...


Last week I wrote about Massachusetts' plan to require aspiring elementary school teachers to pass a math-specific portion of the state licensing test, as opposed to simply passing the generic exam. Many of those teachers, it seems, have a major task ahead of them. The state this week released results showing how teachers fared on the math portion of the state's licensing exam, and the scores were very poor. Seventy-three percent of elementary teachers failed the math portion, according to this story in the Boston Globe. State education officials were not especially surprised by the low scores, the story says. ...


The American Institutes for Research has created an online program in an effort to help schools identify students at risk of dropping out of school, before they're already halfway out the door. It's called the "Early Warning System Tool," and it was created by the National High School Center within the AIR. Want to take this vehicle for a test drive? Go to the above link and scroll down to the tool, which you'll see listed as an Excel file. Fill in information giving the risk factors of individual students—which include days of school missed per quarter, low GPA,...


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