Social Networking Encourages Good Writing

Another Stanford study, this one cited in Wired magazine, finds that because so much socializing today is accomplished online through text, contemporary students write more than any generation before them. Beyond quantity, what makes them good writers is their awareness of writing for an audience. Most become quite adept at modifying their writing to best suit their purpose and their readers. I guess as long as you try not to multitask, or multitext…

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Social Media at School

Online learning can be better than in-class learning

Multitaskers Accomplish Less

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Online learning can be better than in-class learning

A meta-analysis of quantitative comparison studies from ED.gov concludes that learners in on-line courses can demonstrate greater learning gains than students in classrooms. The difference was fairly small but meaningful. Needless to say, as someone who has developed several online courses, I found this encouraging. One reason for the effectiveness of online learning may be that it better facilitates student-centered, independent and collaborative work, rather than being a teacher-centered system. It should be noted that very few of the studies included for meta-analysis were done in K-12 settings. I can’t help but think this could be a very cost-effective and engaging way to help schools offer more diverse and more accelerated courses. I would especially like to see it as part of my community’s after-school programming. I am most interested right now in helping students who are still learning English to be able to access math instruction in their home language.

Changing School Lunches Goes Mainstream

This New York Times article attributes the changing status from fringe to mainstream of those pushing for fresh nutritious school lunches to attention from President and First Lady Obama. Certainly seems like a crucial part of public health!

During the Shape Up Somerville initiative, my daughter got interested in the quality of school lunches offered and now sits on the city’s school lunch advisory board. Her involvement started because she was curious as to why researchers were coming into classrooms and offering kids new foods to try but then those foods were not appearing in the lunches. She learned about piloting; maybe the researchers learned about explaining more to kids.

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Hot Tips for a Cold Lunch

Mr. Rogers Retrospective

PBS Kids has a new web region richly populated with videos, songs and images from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Begun in the 1960’s Fred Rogers’ show had a way of speaking about topics important to children. In addition to media drawn directly from the show, there are games, recipes, electronic greeting cards and more. It seems like a compelling website for both thinking children and their potentiallly nostalgic parents.