Translate into a different language

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mathnasium offers a new way to get kids to understand math

Towhid Islam came into his new career by chance. He was looking for a place to get his daughter some help with math when during an internet search up popped Mathnasium.

The business, which offers instruction in math for schoolchildren, helped his child, then a third –grader, from struggling to comprehend the subject into a straight-A sixth-grader. That impressed him so much he wanted to open his own Mathnasium.

Mathnasium of Dexter is owned and operated by Towhid Islam who is seen here with tutors Wendy Russell of Dexter and Karen Uhlenbrauck of Grass Lake. The business opened in mid-November in the Dexter Crossing shopping center.
Photo: Heritage Newspapers 

Islam had been in the IT field for many years, but the industry was turning south in the region and he began to look for other opportunities. From seeing the success he had with Mathnasium, he looked into joining the company.

He achieved that goal last month when the Ann Arbor man opened his business at 7061 Dexter-Ann Arbor Road in the Dexter Crossing Shopping Center. The business is now looking to help area children from grades 4 through 12 with their math issues.

Mathnasium is the outgrowth of California resident Larry Martinek’s work with his own son and helping him understand math better. Martinek, himself a high school math teacher began taking notes on what approaches worked with his son.

Those notes became a training manual for parents and eventually Mathnasium. Martinek partnered with two other businessmen and began to franchise the stores. The company has more than 500 stores worldwide, but mostly in the United States.

Islam described Mathnasium as a gymnasium for the mind. The centers, as the store is called, hires tutors who work with children using systems Martinek developed.

The system shows students how to use different approaches to solve math problems. There are tests and games that help the kids succeed at math and learning. As the children complete the various levels, they earn rewards for their efforts.

“They play math games,” Islam said. “They do warm-up and wind down activities.”

Islam’s daughter was hesitant at first, but soon turned around due the fun she had at the Ann Arbor location.

Students are assessed to see where the problem is and then a program is developed to correct the situation. Most of the problems students have are they did not comprehend math lessons given when they were younger.

Read more... 

Additional resources

Photo: Mathnasium: Math Tutoring & Learning Centers









Mathnasium: Math Tutoring & Learning Centers
Mathnasium (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Source: Heritage Newspapers


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Peterborough entrepreneurs launch Unlock Math online tutoring service

Follow on Twitter as @KawarthaSarah

"First 100 Peterborough residents to sign up for tutoring service to recieve first month for free." reports Sarah Frank.

A new online service based out of Peterborough is aiming to take anxiety out of the equation for students who need help with math. 

Alesia and Matthew Blackwood.
Photo: Kawartha Media Group

As a former teacher, Alesia Blackwood knows math is a tricky subject for many students to handle. Factor in the pressures that can distract students in a classroom setting and the time constraints teachers face, and it's no wonder some people end up with gaps in their math skills when they're older, Mrs. Blackwood says. That's why she and her husband Matthew Blackwood have spent the last two years building Unlock Math, which officially launched on Wednesday (Dec. 18).

To help kick-off their new business, the Blackwood's are offering Peterborough residents a chance to try out the tutoring program for free. They're giving the first 100 people one free month, as well as a coupon code for 30 per cent off in the following months. 

Currently, the service is offering a pre-algebra program, with algebra I and algebra II courses in the works to launch in August or September of next year. 

Mrs. Blackwood says she loves teaching algebra, but that's not why it's the starting point for the services, which is based mostly around a Grade 7 curriculum. Algebra is a stream most students struggle with. 

"So many students have trouble," she says. "And I was finding I spent most of my time re-teaching what students should have already known." 


Unlock Math uses fun videos to teach the lessons before giving students a chance to practice the material and eventually complete quizzes and tests. The problems are always presented one at a time, which Mr. Blackwood says helps students to focus without becoming overwhelmed.

The program doesn't use multiple-choice math problems.

"That just leads to students guessing," Mr. Blackwood says.

In addition to providing feedback to students, the program provides a detailed assessment that breaks down students' strengths and weaknesses. 


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Affordable Colleges Online Ranks Southern Miss in its Top 20

Photo: David Tisdale
"Affordable Colleges Foundation (ACF), a resource for online learning and college affordability information, has included The University of Southern Mississippi in the top 20 of its new ranking of 2015's Best Online Colleges." according to David Tisdale, senior writer with the Office of University Communications.

The University of Southern Mississippi

Southern Miss is ranked 18th on the list, which cited schools that offer students affordable, high-quality programs combined with the flexibility of distance learning.

"When it comes to online learning, these schools are the best of the best," said Dan Schuessler, founder and CEO of ACF. "They appeal to prospective students and working professionals because they provide the same academic excellence in their online programs as their campus courses.”

According to ACF, the number of schools offering fully online degree programs has nearly doubled over the last decade, and online enrollments continue to make up an increasing proportion—nearly 50 percent—of all enrollments in higher education.

"As the demand for distance learning continues to rise, we're seeing more and more institutions incorporate online learning into their curricula,” said Schuessler. "We want to recognize these schools for their drive for innovation in higher education and their success in expanding their high-quality programs to the online learning environment."

Southern Miss currently leads the state as the top online learning provider based on the number of students enrolled in its online classes and degree programs, which is expected to increase with the launch of Mississippi's first fully online Undergraduate General Business degree. Students from more than 40 states and countries around the globe are enrolled online at the University, which is rated among Best Value Schools' Top 30 Best Online Colleges for 2014 (http://www.bestvalueschools.com/best-online-colleges-2014/).

“We're honored to be recognized by ACS in this ranking as we enjoy steady growth in the number of students choosing our online programs,” said Sheri Rawls, director of the Southern Miss Learning Enhancement Center. “Online learning is ideal for those with busy work schedules, family obligations, the place-bound or those who live far from our campuses. It's another way to get a quality degree from an accredited institution and improve their career prospects.”

Highlights of the university's online enrollment growth include:
  • Approximately 17 percent growth from fall 2013 to fall 2014 in student credit hours generated from online enrollment
  • The summer 2014 semester consisted of 32 percent of total student credit hours generated from online enrollment.
  • The University's e-learning initiative began in spring 2009. Since then the growth of online learning has increased by 120 percent in student credit hours. The initiative was focused on developing additional fully online degree programs and courses to improve student satisfaction, raise retention and graduation rates, and increase enrollment at Southern Miss.
Read more...

Source: The University of Southern Mississippi - News


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Affordable Colleges Online Ranks Southern Miss in its Top 20

Photo: David Tisdale
"Affordable Colleges Foundation (ACF), a resource for online learning and college affordability information, has included The University of Southern Mississippi in the top 20 of its new ranking of 2015's Best Online Colleges." according to David Tisdale, senior writer with the Office of University Communications.

The University of Southern Mississippi

Southern Miss is ranked 18th on the list, which cited schools that offer students affordable, high-quality programs combined with the flexibility of distance learning.

"When it comes to online learning, these schools are the best of the best," said Dan Schuessler, founder and CEO of ACF. "They appeal to prospective students and working professionals because they provide the same academic excellence in their online programs as their campus courses.”

According to ACF, the number of schools offering fully online degree programs has nearly doubled over the last decade, and online enrollments continue to make up an increasing proportion—nearly 50 percent—of all enrollments in higher education.

"As the demand for distance learning continues to rise, we're seeing more and more institutions incorporate online learning into their curricula,” said Schuessler. "We want to recognize these schools for their drive for innovation in higher education and their success in expanding their high-quality programs to the online learning environment."

Southern Miss currently leads the state as the top online learning provider based on the number of students enrolled in its online classes and degree programs, which is expected to increase with the launch of Mississippi's first fully online Undergraduate General Business degree. Students from more than 40 states and countries around the globe are enrolled online at the University, which is rated among Best Value Schools' Top 30 Best Online Colleges for 2014 (http://www.bestvalueschools.com/best-online-colleges-2014/).

“We're honored to be recognized by ACS in this ranking as we enjoy steady growth in the number of students choosing our online programs,” said Sheri Rawls, director of the Southern Miss Learning Enhancement Center. “Online learning is ideal for those with busy work schedules, family obligations, the place-bound or those who live far from our campuses. It's another way to get a quality degree from an accredited institution and improve their career prospects.”

Highlights of the university's online enrollment growth include:
  • Approximately 17 percent growth from fall 2013 to fall 2014 in student credit hours generated from online enrollment
  • The summer 2014 semester consisted of 32 percent of total student credit hours generated from online enrollment.
  • The University's e-learning initiative began in spring 2009. Since then the growth of online learning has increased by 120 percent in student credit hours. The initiative was focused on developing additional fully online degree programs and courses to improve student satisfaction, raise retention and graduation rates, and increase enrollment at Southern Miss.
Read more...

Source: The University of Southern Mississippi - News


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Developing Personal Learning by Stephen Downes

Take a closer look at this Keynote presentation delivered by Stephen Downes to the 6th IEEE International Conference on Technology for Education, Amrita University, Kerala, India, online via A-View below.

Stephen Downes writes, "In this online presentation I discuss the evolution of personal learning technology and then itemize in more detail the elements of the NRC Learning and Performance Support Systems program, including the personal learning record, personal cloud, resource repository network, competency detection and recognition, and personal learning assistant."

Developing Personal Learning 



 
Additional resources

The 6th IEEE International Conference on Technology for Education

Source: Stephen Downes and Stephen Downes Channel (YouTube)



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Book series addresses tough-to-teach mathematics

"A top-selling 16-book series that addresses mathematics and statistics topics that are challenging to teach yet crucial to student development will release the final book in the series this month." reports Samantha Schwartz.
 

Photo: Rose Mary Zbiek

Each book in the series “Essential Understanding,” edited by Rose Mary Zbiek, professor of education, and published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, draws on research and links the findings directly with classroom practice. They address an area of mathematics that is critical to students’ continued academic progress but challenging for students to learn well.

Zbiek says this series will help teachers in a number of ways.

Essential Understanding

“The books help teachers enrich their understanding of mathematics and statistics content regardless of whether they are 30-year classroom veterans or prospective teachers waiting to student-teach, and regardless of whether they have little preparation or have advanced degrees in the two areas,” Zbiek sad.

The series is intended for individual teachers, professional learning communities and pre-service and graduate courses. They are designed to be engaging and readable within a teacher’s challenging daily schedules.

The series connects mathematics and statistics content directly to school math curricula, assessment strategies and student learning tactics. Authors use the mathematics and statistics that students are expected to learn to identify the mathematics and statistics that teachers need to know.

“Knowing more mathematics isn’t enough,” Zbiek said. “Teachers and instructors at all levels need to know the mathematics and statistics they teach and where that content fits both in the bigger picture of their school curriculum and in the broader mathematical sciences.
Read more...

Source: Penn State News


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

An open letter to America from a public school teacher

Follow on Twitter as @MauNotMao
Michael Mau, writer and teaches at Bluegrass Writers Studio in central Kentucky writes 

Photo: Quartz

Dear America,

I’m sorry. You entrusted me with your children, and I have failed them. Please know that I had the best of intentions. I didn’t want to leave a child behind. I wanted to help them win this race to the top.

You asked me to test them, and I tested them. I gave them choices: A, B, C, D, and sometimes even E. I didn’t just test them though; I spent hours showing them how to test, and I prepared them for that by quizzing them. My quizzes and tests were rigorous, too, just like you asked.

I have to be honest with you, though: my heart wasn’t in it at first. I had this ridiculous idea that art and music and drama and activity breaks would help my students grow. Maybe it was all those years of allowing my students to be creative. To think, I once had my English class produce a full-length play with original music and student-designed sets. I wasted weeks and weeks on that frivolous project. Sure, my students enjoyed it then, and okay, many of them still e-mail me and tell me that was the highlight of their high school experience, but I know now that if I had only had them sit in rows and practice for the ACT, if I had only given them short passages and had them tell me which of the five choices best described the author’s tone, they’d be so much more fulfilled in their lives.
After all, what did they really learn? How to access their imaginations? Developing original thoughts? Teamwork? I may as well have taught them how to file for unemployment.

Last year, our school district did away with our arts education classes. I was stunned along with the other misguided “professionals” with whom I taught. That was before I came to the stark realization that painting and sculpting and drawing might be nice hobbies to have, but they’re certainly not going to help adolescents as they compete for the jobs of the future. Do we really want a bunch of flaky artist-types distracting us? The art teacher is a barista at Starbucks now, which at least allows her to use valuable skills and restore middle-class security. And she makes a great latte.

Some people want to blame parents for the failure of American students to achieve. If parents would only spend more time engaged in enrichment activities with their kids like reading to them or taking them to museums or on nature hikes. Parents are busy though; I don’t think I really took time to consider how busy they are. We must also remember that it’s not a parent’s job to teach their children. That’s why they pay us.
Read more...

Source: Quartz


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

10 Questions About Getting Kids Started Playing Music

"There’s no argument about how good playing music is for kids. Playing an instrument, any instrument, is good for their brains, good for their bodies, good for having fun, good for discipline, good for individual achievement, and good for teamwork. But when is the right time to put an instrument in a child’s hands, and how do you know which instrument to give them? " according to , Baristanet.

Photo: “The Estey” orchestra club, via Wikimedia Commons.

Parents have a lot of questions about getting their kids started playing music, so we picked 10 of them and got answers from some local experts.
1. At what age is my child ready to start learning to play an instrument?
Matt Sandoski, the executive director at the School of Rock in Montclair, says that 5 is the earliest age to go in for formal musical training, generally with piano or voice lessons. “By age 7, pretty much any instrument is an option,” he says, but notes that “there are always exceptions to these rules; each parent has to assess their child’s ability to focus and their interest in learning an instrument. There is nothing worse for a child’s musical development than being forced into lessons before they are ready.”
Read more...

Source: Baristanet


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Analysis, criticisms and solutions: OEB 2014 keynote highlights

The plenary sessions from ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2014 gave us a glimpse into the future, questioned how we are changing learning to meet new demands, and gave a frank assessment of the education sector as it stands today.
Providing varied and upfront insights; see what industry experts had to say in our roundup of memorable keynote quotes. 

Photo: OEB Newsportal

Chaired by Special Advisor to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Dr Aida Opoku-Mensah, the opening plenary brought three experts from diverse fields to the stage. Under the overall theme of “changing learning”, the speakers addressed topics ranging from co-learning, ‘peerogogy’, big data and learning sciences, as well as taking a look into an uncertain future through the eyes of a futurologist.

Dr Opoku-Mensah highlighted the role that ICT-enhanced learning will play in the expansion of access to education globally, calling on the audience to look for transformative “options, opportunities and potential” in their industry, and noted that the worldwide e-learning market will grow to $51.5 billion by 2016, with an annual growth rate of 7.9%.
Read more...

Source: OEB Newsportal


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thomas Edison State College seeks university status for 2015

Follow on Twitter as @JennaPizzi

"The Thomas Edison State College board of trustees has authorized the college to take the necessary steps to gain university status." summarizes Jenna Pizzi | Times of Trenton.

The Thomas Edison State College board of trustees has authorized the college to take the necessary steps to gain university status. A sign outside the construction area of the college's new Nursing Education Center next door to the administrative offices of Thomas Edison State College at Kuser Mansion on West State Street
Photo: NJ.com


The resolution approved by the board Dec. 12 requests approval from the state Secretary of Higher Education to change its name to Thomas Edison State University in 2015.

“So much has changed both in higher education and here at Thomas Edison State College since our school was established more than 40 years ago," TESC President George Pruitt said.

Pruitt said TESC has been considering making a formal application for several years. The institution, which offers college degrees for adults, already offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, which are required to obtain the designation. 

"We fit that bill now and that is why we thought we should have a name that reflected that," Pruitt said.

The college serves more than 21,000 students from all 50 states and internationally, through online and distance learning and on their Trenton campus, according to information provided by TESC. The institution also offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in more than 100 areas of study, including 10 master's degree programs and 12 graduate certificates. TESC has built a large nursing program, which will be housed in a new building that is being constructed on its campus in downtown Trenton.
Read more...

Source: NJ.com


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Research Shows Web-Based Tutoring Means Better Math Scores

"Online tutorials can make math easier and more fun." continues North American Precis Syndicate

Photo: North American Precis Syndicate

Ideally, all students would have access to one-on-one tutoring when they need it. In most cases, this ideal is neither feasible nor affordable, but advanced technology can give students a one-on-one experience through software- and Web-based learning tools.

“Technology has transformed the way students learn, especially when it comes to math. The emphasis has shifted from solving abstract problems to actively engaging in math through activities that increase understanding of concepts and apply math to the real world,” explained Dr. Steve Ritter. Software like Carnegie Learning’s Cognitive Tutor provides real-time feedback on how successful students are at solving problems targeted at particular mathematics topics and will not let students proceed to the next topic until they fully grasp each concept. Dr. Ritter notes that such “software programs recognize sticking points for students, the same as a personal tutor would, and provide problems and guidance until the student shows that he or she has mastered the skills being taught.” This process provides students with benefits similar to those achieved in one-on-one experiences, which are known to drive improved learning outcomes.

The success of this approach to learning was demonstrated in a major experimental study conducted by the RAND Corporation. The two-year study was conducted with over 18,000 students across seven states, explained Dr. Ritter, who is the chief product architect for Carnegie Learning, Inc., a publisher of research-based mathematics software and textbooks for middle and high school students. Comparing students taught using Carnegie Learning’s blended curriculum for Algebra I, which includes a combination of consumable textbooks and software, with those taught by traditional methods using only the textbooks that were already in use, students using the blended curriculum significantly outperformed students using traditional textbooks, nearly doubling the growth in knowledge of the textbook group.
Read more... 

Additional resources

Carnegie Learning
 








Source: North American Precis Syndicate


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Higher ed graduates to competency-based degrees

"All-online bachelors programs at UofL, WKU help students and businesses by making marketable skills transparent" reports Debra Gibson Isaacs, correspondent for The Lane Report. 

Beginning next year, the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University launch the commonwealth’s first “competency-based,” fully online public postsecondary degree programs. UofL will offer a bachelor of science degree in healthcare management leadership and WKU a bachelor of science in advanced manufacturing.

Photo: The Lane Report

The degrees are considered a next step in online learning. Dropping conventional semester or intersession time boundaries, students earn class credit hours when they prove they’ve acquired designated skills rather than passing or failing time-limited instruction sessions.Traditional online courses and programs – those offered online by a professor teaching a group of students simultaneously – have proven successful. Since the first such courses were offered to state students in 1997, the sector has grown 10 percent a year. Sixty-five percent of commonwealth students graduating with four-year degrees in 2010-2011 (the latest figures available) had taken at least one online course, according to Allen Lind, vice president for innovation and eLearning for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

Competency-based programs take the two most popular features of online learning – accessibility and flexibility – and extend them further. The ability to earn an entire degree, not just a few course hours, takes online learning yet another step.

The term competency-based is an important distinction. Under the traditional postsecondary approach, even online classes occur during a fixed time period, and students must learn as much as they can during that interval, typically 16 weeks (a semester). In competency-based programs, time is no longer relevant. There still are certain tasks students must learn, but they can take as long as needed to absorb them.

The new method requires change at every level.

“The U.S. Department of Education is spending a lot of time to adapt its rules and policies to make competency-based learning doable and fundable at the federal level,” Lind says.

Among those sure it is time well spent is Jeffrey Sun, J.D., Ph.D., professor of higher education at UofL.

“I believe this to be the new format of delivering courses in the future,” Sun said. “This is a real movement in higher education. It is not the way we normally deliver education. It is a new access point.”
Read more...

Source: The Lane Report


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

What MOOCs Teach Us

Photo: Daphne Koller
"Online education offers one effective way to close the skills gap." according to  Daphne Koller, cofounder and president of Coursera.

Three years ago, several of us at Stanford launched the first massive open online courses, or MOOCs. We wanted to make the teaching of the world’s great universities accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. The company we founded, Coursera, recently passed a milestone: 10 million enrolled learners. That makes it a good time to reflect on what we’ve learned.


One early prediction about MOOCs was that they would undermine or even replace the traditional college education—an idea we at Coursera never endorsed (see “What Are MOOCs Good For?”).

And it hasn’t happened—only 15 percent of our current learners are college age. The other 85 percent fall largely into two categories. The first are adults looking to expand their horizons. The second—nearly half of our learners—are working adults looking to build critical job skills for a better career. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. The world around us is changing rapidly, and many of the skills you need today—data science, mobile apps, digital marketing—didn’t even exist a decade ago.

How do we create an educational experience suited to this very different population? First, we can share our knowledge about learner interests with our university partners, who can experiment with new courses, new subject areas, and hands-on projects that align with problem-­solving in real-world settings.
Read more...

Source: MIT Technology Review (blog)


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Hal Leonard PlayAlong has wealth of interactive sheet music

Follow on Twitter as @gtinari
George Tinari writes, "Hal Leonard PlayAlong is an interactive sheet music app that provides powerful tools for learning, playing and recording a wide variety of music."

Everything from Adele to Frank Sinatra to the Frozen soundtrack is available in the integrated Sheet Music Direct store. Plus, once you have your music ready, the app is ready to guide you along the music as you play and offer a multitude of customization options to help you perfect your sound. The app is free for iPad with in-app purchases.

Photo: tuaw.com

First things first, if you have a Sheet Music Direct account, I recommend logging in or perhaps creating an account to stay organized and in sync. Otherwise, tap "Sign in as a guest" to jump into getting started. The app includes 15 demo songs and all together it's a pretty good selection to start, from oldies but goodies like "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen to "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban and of course, "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri. Each demo comes with a handy audio preview as well.

Tap the song you want to learn to open the sheet music. The demos only include the first page of the song. The Record button is up at the top, but to the right there are a number of customization options to play around with. The first icon is for recording with sliders for the backing track and microphone, plus four others - reverb, delay time, delay length and delay amount - if you insert headphones.

Under Audio Settings, you have further sliders for the backing track, click track, speed and options for the count-in. There's also a slider for the pre-recorded instrument, which is cleverly dynamic for each song. For "A Thousand Years" it's the violin.

Song Settings has some basic options like note size on the display and transposition. Finally, the last two icons are for creating annotations anywhere on the page or going full screen with the sheet music and eliminating the toolbars.
Read more...

Source: tuaw.com


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

How to teach all students to think critically

Photo: Peter Ellerton
"All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills." reports Peter Ellerton, The University of Queensland.

Something to ponder – how to teach critical thinking.  
Brittany Randolph/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

The new course would be an elective next year and mandatory in 2016 with the university’s deputy vice-chancellor for education and students Shirley Alexander saying the aim is to give students some maths “critical thinking” skills.

This is a worthwhile goal, but what about critical thinking in general?

Most tertiary institutions have listed among their graduate attributes the ability to think critically. This seems a desirable outcome, but what exactly does it mean to think critically and how do you get students to do it?

The problem is that critical thinking is the Cheshire Cat of educational curricula – it is hinted at in all disciplines but appears fully formed in none. As soon as you push to see it in focus, it slips away.

If you ask curriculum designers exactly how critical thinking skills are developed, the answers are often vague and unhelpful for those wanting to teach it.

This is partly because of a lack of clarity about the term itself and because there are some who believe that critical thinking cannot be taught in isolation, that it can only be developed in a discipline context – after all, you have think critically about something.

So what should any mandatory first year course in critical thinking look like? There is no single answer to that, but let me suggest a structure with four key areas:
  1. argumentation
  2. logic
  3. psychology
  4. the nature of science.
I will then explain that these four areas are bound together by a common language of thinking and a set of critical thinking values.
Read more... 

Related link 
Peter lectures at the University of Queensland in critical thinking.

Source: The Conversation AU


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

ASU statistician tapped to help strengthen forensic science

Photo: Connie Borror
"Connie Borror, a professor of statistics in Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, has been selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to serve on a group whose goal is to strengthen the field of forensic science through the identification and development of standards and guidelines." according to ASU News.
 
New College is the core college on ASU’s West campus.

Borror teaches statistics courses for New College’s School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, which offers bachelor's degrees in both statistics and forensics. She was appointed to the NIST-administered Organization of Scientific Area Committees and will serve on the Subcommittee on Toxicology.

This subcommittee will focus on standards and guidelines related to examination of body fluids or tissues for the presence and quantity of substances such as drugs or poisons in ante- or post-mortem casework. Evidence examples include those substances and metabolites following ingestion, and might include physiological specimens such as blood, urine, hair, teeth, bone, spinal fluid, and organ and muscle tissue.

“A 2009 report by a committee of the National Research Council pointed out the need for improved standards for forensic science and improved analysis of forensic data,” said Roger Berger, director of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences. “Statisticians like Dr. Borror can provide valuable assistance in both of these areas. I am sure Connie’s input will be invaluable to this toxicology group.”

Only 402 individuals were selected as members of NIST’s forensic science standards committees, and I’m so proud that Dr. Borror is one of those experts,” said Kimberly Kobojek, faculty director of New College’s forensics degree program. “Her expertise in statistics will be invaluable to the toxicology subcommittee. It is of great value to ASU and the forensics program to have such a representative on the ground-floor of the work that NIST is doing with the forensic sciences. Dr. Borror’s appointment further attests to the national recognition that ASU’s New College and the forensics program are receiving.”

Borror was chosen as one of fewer than 25 statisticians among the members in all of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees subcommittees, which include forensic science practitioners and administrators, researchers, professional association representatives and industry representatives. Statisticians have a vital role to play in elevating forensic standards, she said.
Read more... 

Related link
Dr. Connie M. Borror 

Source: Arizona State University


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Local view: US adults need math competence

Photo: William Krossner
According to William Krossner, Retired university professor with 50 years of experience in teaching and/or working in the field of statistics. "Quickly — if you see a newspaper ad saying, “Buy one, get one 50 percent off,” what is the single-item percent discount from the list price?"

Doing stuff like this is the second step up on the ladder of mathematics ability. It is math competence, the ability to use whatever math you need, correctly, both in daily life and in your job. Obviously, different jobs need vastly different amounts.

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most of us have gone from kindergarten through grade 12, at least. In each grade we were taught some math, starting with counting. Then we learned how to add and subtract, then how to memorize multiplication tables, then how to do long division, and so on through quadratic equations and solving 90-degree triangle problems with sines and cosines. There’s one seemingly endless trek of techniques to learn — with drills, homework problems and quizzes — and the answers are either right or wrong.

It’s no wonder studies consistently show American adults fear and hate math more than any other school subject, by a factor of two to one. There are various names for this condition of dislike: “math phobia,” “math anxiety” and “innumeracy,” among them.

Yet the U.S., with its technologically advanced society, desperately needs more people to go into what are called STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This is so true that most states, at the urging of the federal government, have set up mandatory standards (“common core”) and yearly tests to see how well their public-school students are doing. In Minnesota, these are called the MCAs, or Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments.

The latest equivalent international scores place U.S. students in 35th place from the top, down a few rungs from results three years ago.

For how well Duluth students are doing, I looked at an Aug. 26 story in the News Tribune, which included a table of MCA scores for both 2013 and 2014 for schools in Independent School District 709, our Duluth district. At the high school level, which is closest to adulthood, 56 percent of students at East were “proficient” in math in grade 11. Despite that figure, which may seem low, I do not think it is because East students are stupid, that their math teachers are lazy or unmotivated, or that their parents are indifferent to how their children perform in school. It is due to a variety of other causes that should be researched.
Read more...

Source: Duluth News Tribune  


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Building strong foundations for children’s futures

Photo: Pam Payne
"Foundations of any building need careful planning, developing, and creating. Safe and strong foundations ensure the stability and integrity of any building for a lifetime. These planning skills are also essential for building safe and strong academic foundations in children." summarizes Pam Payne, Teacher at Gibbs Pre-Kindergarten Center in Huntsville.

At Gibbs Pre-K, foundational training begins with the social and emotional skills that all children need to be successful in school and life. When children can control their impulses and behaviors, they are better prepared for listening and learning.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to know and manage one’s feelings and emotions. Social Intelligence is the ability to manage oneself in group settings. Both intelligences are interdependent. Children learn about themselves by watching and interacting with others. Our ability to relate to others comes from the application of what we have learned from those early interactions to a broader world which usually includes children’s first experiences at school.

Because the social and emotional needs of children are foundational to academic successes, appropriate curriculum and classroom activities are essential for achieving these goals. Gibbs Pre-K uses an excellent social emotional curriculum, Conscious Discipline. Conscious Discipline uses the School Family model. It builds on the success of the family model for children who already have a balanced family life, and provides a sense of safety and belonging for children who lack the experience of successful relationships at home.

Read more...

Source: Huntsville Item


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

'Education opportunities should exist whatever your age'

Photo: Amy King
"Access to adult education is limited in this country; people need to shout about the opportunities it can bring to mature learners," says Amy King.

"Access to adult education is one of the key issues affecting our country"
Photo: Telegraph.co.uk

I have dreamed of becoming a scientist ever since I was child, and though I’m now well on my way to achieving that dream, it certainly hasn’t been easy. I have experienced nearly every avenue of education possible and have found that learning as an adult has been the most successful route in my pursuit of a science career. 

I have had a turbulent education. I suffer from a chronic health condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and have undergone many intensive and painful surgeries. As a result, I spent three years out of conventional education, being home-schooled.

I was rarely supported by my schools at that time and was told I wouldn’t amount to anything due to ill health. I was discouraged to pursue a career in science, being told “pure science wasn’t for girls”. 

Nevertheless, I worked exceptionally hard and despite being predicted low GCSE results, I achieved three As and seven Bs.

Studying A-levels at school wasn’t any better – even one of my tutors said I would never pass my exams and should give up. This was one of the lowest points in my education as I didn’t realise there was any other viable educational route.

However, after much contemplation and research, I left conventional schooling and continued my studies as an adult. I enrolled on an A-level maths course at a local adult education college; where I achieved an A grade. I then went on to study A-level biology, chemistry and physics at Bromley College, where I was one of the oldest students in my class. 

I passed my exams with AAB grades and was accepted as a mature student at University of Greenwich to pursue a science career. I’m now studying for a Master's in chemistry.

Adult learning is incredibly important to me and has completely changed my life; from being a young girl who no one thought would achieve anything, I became something I wanted to be: a scientist. Adult education also gave me an outlet to focus on something other than my health and helped me cope with the pressures of the illness.

Access to adult education is one of the key issues affecting our country. With continuing loss of funding for 18-24+ education, it’s becoming more difficult for young disabled people, like me, to access education when they’re older and able to study. 
Read more... 

Additional resources

http://www.alw.org.uk/awards/2015
 

 











Source: Telegraph.co.uk


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!