Mind Shift

Does Algebra Do More Harm Than Good? Community Colleges Rethink Requirements

Algebra is one of the biggest hurdles to getting a high school or college degree — particularly for students of color and first-generation undergrads.
It is also the single most failed course in community colleges across the country. So if you’re not a STEM major (science, technology, engineering, math), why even study algebra?

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Are Grades Diverting Focus From Real Learning?

Grades sometimes feel like a necessary evil. They are a shorthand measure of how a student is performing in school, but too often the pressure to earn good grades becomes the sole focus for students and parents.

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‘Dirt Is Good’: Why Kids Need Exposure To Germs

As a new parent, Jack Gilbert got a lot of different advice on how to properly look after his child: when to give him antibiotics or how often he should sterilize his pacifier, for example.
After the birth of his second child, Gilbert, a scientist who studies microbial ecosystems at the University of Chicago, decided to find out what’s actually known about the risks involved when modern-day children come in contact with germs.

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Moms Of Teens Can Benefit From Social Support, Just Like New Moms

Raising children is a task that requires extensive “on-the-job” training, which is why many women rely on new moms groups for parenting support and guidance. Often, however, as the kids get older, the mothers’ friendships fall by the wayside.
Now, new research indicates that social support isn’t just valuable for mothers of young children, it’s beneficial for moms of teens, too.

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MIT’s Scratch Program Is Evolving For Greater, More Mobile Creativity

Mitch Resnick has been working on how to give students new avenues of creative expression for over a decade. His Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab develops Scratch, one of the most popular coding programs for kids, which is based on the seminal work of Seymour Papert, who died in 2016.

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4 Tools to Boost Communication Skills in the STEM Classroom

Healthy communication is vital to thriving workplace communities, and it’s essential for effective collaborative classrooms as well. Knowing when and how to express yourself, recognizing nonverbal cues, and being able to discern what’s important when someone speaks can be key factors in building interpersonal relationships. By practicing communication skills, students will get better at asking for help and expressing what they need, and over time they will develop the skills and confidence to tell you more clearly what they’ve learned in class.

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How Small School Districts Are Making Personalized Learning A Reality

WILDER, Idaho — Eight years ago, the principal of Idaho’s Wilder Elementary School, Jeff Dillon, made a tough decision: He pulled his children out of the district high school to send them to private school. “I took a beating for that,” Dillon admitted, but added it was the right choice because the school was doing a poor job meeting the needs of students.

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Why It’s Imperative Educators Resist The Lure Of The Single Story

The education world is full of assumptions, many of which aren’t helpful to improving the quality of teaching and learning that happens in schools. The narratives from outside the industry can be harmful, but perhaps less obvious are the single stories of students and teachers told within the industry.

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Study: Holding Kids Back A Grade Doesn’t Necessarily Hold Them Back

Our education system has this funny quirk of grouping kids by birth date — rather than, say, intellectual ability or achievement or interest.
But developmental pathways are as individual as kids themselves.
And so there’s a perpetual back-and-forth about whether to put certain kids in school a grade behind or ahead of their actual age.

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7 Questions Principals Should Ask When Hiring Future-Ready Teachers

Every year thousands of educators gather for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference eager to learn about the newest features in favorite apps and to glean ideas from one another about how to effectively teach in new ways. The conference seems to grow every year and there is palpable excitement from educators who finally get to commune with their “tribe” — techy teachers from around the globe.

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