Education

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Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away

Apr 17, 2016

As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there's a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

Think about our planet for a second. Earth has an elliptical — oval-shaped — orbit. That means we're closer to the sun for one part of the year and farther away another part of the year.

Does that fact explain why it's hotter in the summer and colder in the winter?

Lots of kids think it does. Lots of adults think so too. And they're wrong.*

Philip Sadler is both a professor of astronomy and the director of the science education department at Harvard University, and he is obsessed with wrong answers like these.

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Bloodletting to keep the "humors" in balance was a leading medical treatment from ancient Greece to the late 19th century. That's hard to believe now, in the age of robot-assisted surgery, but "doctors" trusted lancets and leeches for centuries.

To Nobel laureate Carl Wieman, the college lecture is the educational equivalent of bloodletting, one long overdue for revision.

"How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean, by providence impoverished, in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?"

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Part of NPR's Your Money And Your Life series

"How many of you guys have $1,200 in your pocket right now?"

Victor Robertson's voice echoes through the auditorium at Ballou High School in Washington, D.C., where 700 students are taking their seats.

Robertson is from the city's Summer Youth Employment Program, which connects 13,500 young adults with summer jobs at places like CVS and the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Copyright 2016 KCUR-FM. To see more, visit KCUR-FM.

Imagine you're back in school, bored to death, with limited academic options. Because you're learning English, everybody assumes you're not ready for more challenging work. What they don't realize is that you're gifted.

Researchers say this happens to lots of gifted children who arrive at school speaking little or no English. These students go unnoticed, until someone taps into their remarkable talent and potential. Vanessa Minero Leon was lucky. She was one of those students who got noticed.

Merriam-Webster defines jargon as "the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity, group, profession, or field of study."

Of the 3 million students identified as gifted in the U.S., English Language Learners are by far the most underrepresented. And nobody knows that better than 17-year-old Alejandra Galindo.

"It's just kind of hard to not see people who look like me in my classes," she says. "I'm a minority in the gifted world."

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Last month, I found myself sitting across from my dad in a nice restaurant in Georgetown, when he popped the question.

"Have you ever thought about law school?" he asked. He's really curious about my plans for when I finish college. "I think you'd make a great lawyer. And then you'd be able to make some money."

Philadelphia's new mayor wants to do something few American cities have done: pass a tax on soda and other sugary drinks.

So far, Berkeley, Calif., has been the only U.S. city to approve such a tax. That measure was aimed at reducing soda consumption (and the negative health effects that go along with drinking too much of it).

High schools around the country are increasingly turning to external, for-profit providers for "online credit recovery." These courses, taken on a computer, offer students who have failed a course a second chance to earn credits they need for graduation, whether after school, in the summer or during the school year.

Graduate students at private universities are asking regulators to consider these questions: Are we employees, or not? Can we join a union?

The National Labor Relations Board recently decided to review its previous position, reigniting debate within the ivory tower.

For Paul Katz, who's three years into a history Ph.D. program at Columbia University, the 15 to 20 hours a week he spends teaching university undergraduates should mean he's an employee. He teaches in addition to conducting his own research.

"Discuss, monitor, and educate."

That's Kortney Peagram's advice to parents and teachers who want to help special needs teens lead an online life. She wrote up some of her experiences as a psychologist working to reduce cyberbullying in Chicago for our friends at NPR's All Tech Considered.

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Savannah-Chatham schools let out for the summer in about six weeks. But district officials are already looking ahead to next school year. That’s when, for the first time in more than a decade, the district will run school buses instead of a private company. We looked at what that will mean for families - and bus drivers.

 

 

It must have seemed a straightforward way to honor a U.S. Supreme Court justice who was famous for, among other things, prizing straightforwardness. But then people began to titter about the unintended acronym of the Antonin Scalia School of Law — and now George Mason University has tweaked the name.

When Andrea Diaz was applying to colleges, she got good news and bad news. The good news was that American University, a private four-year university in Washington, D.C., wanted her. The bad news was that it required her to come to campus early to take two summer developmental-level courses in math and English.

"I was traumatized by it," Diaz says, "because I felt that they didn't see in me the potential to do well in college."

When we think of colleges, we imagine sprawling campuses, big-time sports programs, hefty endowments, and massive libraries stuffed with thousands of books.

But the earliest universities were a little less grand.

They were formed before Gutenberg invented the printing press, and before paper was universally available. Books were copied out by hand onto expensive manuscripts made from animal skins.

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Princeton University's board of trustees has decided that it will not remove Woodrow Wilson's name from its School of Public and International Affairs and from a residential college, despite student protests over the former president's segregationist views.

It all started with a simple request. In 2006, Cathryn Couch was working as a chef, making home-delivery meals for clients. One day, a friend called and asked: Did Couch have any cooking jobs for her teenage daughter? She didn't, but the friend persisted. So Couch eventually came up with a project: making meals and delivering them to a local homeless center.

As a bullying counselor, I spend many of my days helping students and teachers handle confrontational behavior — or, as the kids say, drama. But this was a peculiar situation.

It started, as bullying often does, in a school hallway. E says she overhead A talking about her. (Editor's note: Only the girls' first initials are being used to protect their identities, given the sensitivity of the subject.)

It's one of the most basic things in education: seeing the board. Research has shown, over and over again, that if you can't see, you're going to have an awfully hard time in school. And yet too often this simple issue gets overlooked.

New Mexico offers stunning ski slopes, high desert vistas and cultural sites, all sights you'll see in the state's tourism campaign called "New Mexico True."

The CIA "inadvertently left" explosive material on a school bus after a training exercise with local law enforcement in Loudoun County, Va., the agency and the country sheriff's office say.

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