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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

In ‘Flipped’ Classrooms, a Method for Mastery | Fixes - New York Times

In traditional schooling, time is a constant and understanding is a variable. A fifth-grade class will spend a set number of days on prime factorization and then move on to study greatest common factors — whether or not every student is ready, argues Tina Rosenberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author. She co-authors the “Fixes” column in The New York Times.

Photo: Via GyanFinder - Flickr

But there is another way to look at schooling — through the lens of a method called “mastery learning,” in which the student’s understanding of a subject is a constant and time is a variable; when each fifth grader masters prime factorization, for instance, he moves on to greatest common factors, each at his own pace. 
Mastery learning is not a new idea. It was briefly popular in the 1920s, and was revived by Benjamin Bloom in his paper “Learning for Mastery” in 1968. It has shown dramatic success — compilations of studies can be found here and here...

Thousands of teachers are experimenting with flipping their classrooms in elementary schools, law schools and everything in between. Jon Bergmann, a former chemistry teacher who used flipped learning and now teaches others about it, lists 15,000 members in the Flipped Learning Network.

But a handful of innovative teachers are venturing further, using the flipped classroom to employ mastery learning — “flipped mastery,” as Bergmann and his fellow chemistry teacher Aaron Sams call it in their book, “Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day.” Since the flipped classroom eliminates the whole-class lecture, they’ve realized, it has also eliminated the reason for students to work at a uniform pace.

Tim Kelly, who teaches math at a high school in Baumholder, Germany, which serves children of United States military families, heard about the idea when he sat next to Sams on a bus trip when they both won the Presidential Award for Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Read more... 

Source: New York Times

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Flipped classroom struggles to catch on in Europe | Times Higher Education (THE)

Photo: Ellie Bothwell
Ellie Bothwell, reporter covering university rankings, fundraising and all areas of internationalisation, including students, research and institutional partnerships, and branch campuses. Ellie also reports on higher education in North America writes, Half of continental institutions are developing online learning programmes, survey says.

Photo: iStock

Fewer than one in seven European universities are strong advocates of the flipped classroom as a model for enhancing student learning, while only half of institutions are developing more forms of online learning, according to a recent report from the European University Association (EUA).
A survey of 303 universities across 43 higher education systems in Europe found that teaching in small groups was the most popular of five teaching approaches surveyed, with 91 per cent of respondents stating that they found it useful “fully” or “to some extent”. Problem-based learning was found useful by 87 per cent of participants.

But the flipped classroom model, which advocates claim is a more effective teaching strategy than the traditional lecture, was the least popular method in the survey, which also asked about peer learning and community projects. Just 15 per cent of respondents said that they found the model “fully useful”, while a further 39 per cent said it was useful to some extent.

One fifth of universities said that they did not have any information on this approach. However, there are significant country differences: the flipped classroom model has been implemented fully or to some extent by all responding universities in Switzerland and the UK.

Thérèse Zhang, deputy director for higher education policy at the EUA and co-author of the report, Trends 2018: Learning and Teaching in the European Higher Education Area, said that the research shows that the flipped classroom model “is still perceived as relatively new in European higher education”...

James Conroy, vice-principal for internationalisation at the University of Glasgow, said that the research shows that “the enhanced efficacy of ‘new’, technology-driven learning is rather difficult to prove”. He added that varied forms of pedagogy “continue to be used and useful for a good reason – they all perform differently if [they are used as] complementary functions in the complex ecology of higher education”.

Source: Times Higher Education (THE

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Artificial Intelligence First Predicted in Ancient Greece. Or Was It India? | Ancient Origins

Ashley Cowie, Scottish historian, author and documentary filmmaker says, When we think of ancient Greece we generally imagine ruthless highly-trained warriors or cloth clad philosophers pondering the schematics and perimeters of geometry, geography, architecture and the like. 

Was artificial intelligence predicted by the Greeks?
Photo: pict rider via Fotolia
But a new book (see bottom - forthcoming November 2018) is about to present them as “skilled forecasters, accurately predicting the rise of artificial intelligence, killer androids and driverless cars.”

More than 2,500 years ago, Greek mythologists, according to American historian Dr Adrienne Mayor of Stanford University, “envisioned many of the technology trends we grapple with today including Killer androids, driverless technology, GPS and AI-powered helper robots.” According to an article about Mayor’s finding in Greek Reporter , in her forthcoming book, Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology , the creations of Hephaestus (the god of metalworking and an invention in Homer’s Iliad) were “predictions of the rise of humanoid robots.”

Mythological Artificial Intelligence of Greece 
Dr Mayor, who is described on the Stanford University website as “an independent folklorist/historian of science investigating natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and oral traditions,” claims Hephaestus crafted “mechanical maids from gold that were designed to anticipate their master’s requests and act on them without instruction, much like modern machine learning software. “AI-powered helper robots and killer androids,” says Dr Mayor, “appear in tales about Jason and the Argonauts , Medea, Daedalus and Prometheus” and also the 'bronze killer-robot' Talos who guarded the island of Crete. 

The legendary Pandora , who Dr Mayor describes as a 'wicked AI fembot’ like the ‘replicant’ in the blockbuster movie Blade Runner, had been programmed to ‘release eternal suffering upon humanity’ and “Though the Greeks did not know how technology would work, they could foreshadow its rise in society,” explains Mayor. An article about her findings on News said she is “urging leading tech bosses to closely analyze the stories and characters of Greek mythology as we close in on a future dominated by automated technologies.”  
Read more... 

Additional resources 
Gods and Robots
Myths, Machines, and Ancient
Dreams of Technology

Source: Ancient Origins

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Book review: 'Cloud' reveals what shapes three women | Books -

Do you ever feel like you're floating along in life? And reflecting on those life events that could have changed your trajectory?

"A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl" by Jean Thompson (Simon & Schuster, 336 pages, in stores Tuesday)
Maybe somewhat wondering what if you had chosen differently, but knowing that the past doesn't change, and decisions are already made. This book is about those feelings, making the best of some unhappiness — and the end-of-life reflections for three generations of women in a family.

The book begins as the first woman, Evelyn, is under hospice care, and the book takes us through memories that define her adult life. During the war (World War II), she was able to work as a college history instructor, though after the troops returned, her teaching load was reduced as “full-time” professors returned. We see her memories of meeting her husband, their awkward courtship and why she decides to accept his proposal.

Her daughter, Laura, tends her childhood home and her mother's bedside during this time, while managing her own tough household and stern husband. While wondering why things are "just so" at her mother's house, and reflecting on her childhood, Laura's thoughts also wander to the harder parts of parenting her own children. In the year that follows Evelyn's death, Laura's life also takes a turn down a difficult road. She comes to terms with this change much quicker than her husband and children. And we see how her decisions as a young adult affected her later in life, as well.

Laura's daughter Grace, a vegan, part-time yoga instructor, thinks her mom does too much for her brother and father. Grace keeps telling her to take a vacation, to leave the boys to fend for themselves.


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23 Inspiring Books Everyone Who Wants to Succeed Should Read | Grow - Inc.

Photo: Christina DesMarais
Christina DesMarais, contributor says, Reading is a powerful daily habit which can mean the difference between success and mediocrity.

Photo: Getty Images
Reading is a powerful daily habit which can mean the difference between success and mediocrity. It's a discipline which helps winning individuals push harder, farther and faster than the people around them. Not only does reading bring enlightenment through exposure to the opinions, learnings and stories of others, it's also exercise for the mind. If you read daily--or want to--here are two dozen ideas on which titles to get your hands on next.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Photo: Getty Images
This Is What a Great Book Does to Your Brain by Jessica Stillman, freelance writer based in Cyprus. 
"The neuroscience of deep reading will make you want to curl up with a great book."

Source: Inc.

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Growing up in a house full of books is major boost to literacy and numeracy, study finds | PacificStandard and School of Sociology

A new study by the ANU School of Sociology has found that people who grew up in book-filled homes have higher reading, math, and technological skills.

The paper was co-authored by Joanna Sikora, along with colleagues from the University of Nevada.

The researchers analysed data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Competencies. Its surveys, taken between 2011 and 2015, featured adults (ages 25 to 65) in 31 nations, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Singapore, and Turkey.

All participants were asked how many books there were in their home when they were 16 years old. (One meter of shelving, they were told, holds about 40 books.) They chose from a series of options ranging from "10 or less" to "more than 500."...

Numeracy tests measured the "ability to use mathematical concepts in everyday life," while IT-related tests "assessed the ability to use digital technology to communicate with others, as well as to gather, analyze, and synthesize information."...

The original paper was published as 'Scholarly culture: How books in adolescence enhance adult literacy, numeracy and technology skills in 31 societies', Social Science Research, 2018.
Read more... 

Source: PacificStandard and School of Sociology

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8 New Books We Recommend This Week | Book Review - New York Times

Follow on Twitter as @GregoryCowles
Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times by Gregory Cowles, Senior Editor, Books.

Character matters, in literature as much as life. This week’s recommended titles delve deep into the stories of complicated individuals, whether through biography (Gandhi, Lorraine Hansberry) or memoir (Sally Field, Marwan Hisham) or fiction (the heroine of John Wray’s novel, derived from a real-life figure, is an American fighting for the Taliban). 

For readers who prefer a wide-angle lens, we offer a manifesto about female rage, a simmering thriller from Tana French about the ways that privilege protects and blinds its recipients, and a celebration of libraries that opens with the harrowing tale of a fire tearing through the stacks. It will make you feel even more protective of your books than you do already. 

Source: New York Time 

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Liz Phair’s 10 Favorite Books | Books - Vulture

J.D. Salinger, Toni Morrison, and more.
Photo: Getty Images

Bookseller One Grand Books has asked celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. 

Anointed as “Rock’s voice of third-wave feminism,” by The Guardian, American singer and songwriter Liz Phair was adopted and raised outside of Chicago. Her 1993 debut, Exile in Guyville, an 18-song double album of jangling indie-rock, is widely considered a seminal record of the era,...

Below is musician Liz Phair’s list.

Source: Vulture

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Smartphones are endangering Iceland’s love of books | Quartz

Photo: Alison Griswold
Every holiday season, publishers in Iceland prepare for jólabókaflóðið, the traditional Christmas book flood, inform Alison Griswold, reporter at Quartz.
A book shop window in Reykjavik.

The jólabókaflóðið, in which Icelandic publishers release most of their new books in the months before Christmas, traces back to 1944, when Iceland gained independence from Denmark. Paper was one of the few goods not rationed on the island, making books a popular gift.

But that tradition is struggling to hang on in the increasingly digitized world. Icelanders aren’t buying nearly as many books as they used to.

From 2010 to 2017, book sales in Iceland dropped 43%. In August, Iceland Monitor reported that book sales had fallen another 5% from the same period in 2017.

“The alarming profile we published a year ago has gotten quite a bit worse,” Egill Örn Jóhannsson, CEO of publishing company Forlagið, told a local news outlet, according to Iceland Monitor...

Last year, Iceland’s minister of education, science, and culture appointed a committee to study the state of book publishing in the country.

Source: Quartz

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University researchers push for better research methods | Editor's Picks - Minnesota Daily

New workshops this semester are an effort to make social science studies more replicable, inform Theresa Mueller - Minnesota Daily.

Faculty members and graduate students at the University of Minnesota have formed a workshop to hold discussions about reproducibility in research studies

The discussions come during a national movement to replicate research in social science fields, such as psychology. The movement has shown that many previous studies are not reliable.  After discussions last spring regarding ways the University can address these research practices, the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science designed workshops for faculty and students to discuss ways to develop replicable research methods. 

“Any scientific discipline will depend upon reproducible findings, that’s how you build a science,” said Matt McGue, a professor in the Department of Psychology.

The Reproducibility Working Group meets biweekly this semester to discuss the issue of reproducibility in psychological research and focus on topics such as measurement. 

Alan Love, director of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, said the purpose of holding these conversations across campus is for researchers across all disciplines to be actively thinking about the sort of complex issues within their own methods...

Faculty members and graduate students from the philosophy, psychology and statistics departments have been attending the workshops. McGue said all members offer a unique perspective to the discussion of reproducibility as there are intersections across all three areas. 
Read more... 

Source: Minnesota Daily

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