Yesterday's UK Telegraph printed an open letter from numerous academics, professionals, and artists concerned about the health of youth. The piece, signed by hundreds, is called: Modern life leads to more depression among children:
Sir - As professionals and academics from a range of backgrounds, we are deeply concerned at the escalating incidence of childhood depression and children's behavioural and developmental conditions. We believe this is largely due to a lack of understanding, on the part of both politicians and the general public, of the realities and subtleties of child development.
Since children's brains are still developing, they cannot adjust-- as full-grown adults can -- to the effects of ever more rapid technological and cultural change. They still need what developing human beings have always needed, including real food (as opposed to processed "junk"), real play (as opposed to sedentary, screen-based entertainment), first-hand experience of the world they live in and regular interaction with the real-life significant adults in their lives.
I'd sign this. I have a friend with a 3rd grader who has 90 minutes of homework a night. I know kids who have never been to a state park (let alone a national park)--their knowledge of nature is from television.
I am a white heterosexual female. I support the rights of all kinds of people to live openly, in freedom, fully supported by society--the civil protections of marriage ought to be extended to same-sex couples. Heterosexual couples have the option of choosing marriage (with its legal and financial advantages) or choosing cohabitation. Homosexual couples don't have the choice. National Coming Out Day is October 11.
has created the first online public art project encouraging Americans
to Talk About It. The project celebrates gay, lesbian, bisexual,
transgender and straight Americans who support living openly and talk
about the things that make us all different — and, just as importantly,
the ways that we are all the same.
find out more here or find instructions on how to post your photograph here.
Then Chad laid down the gantlet threw down the gauntlet:
Somebody ought to get a bunch of bloggers together, and
give them the writing SAT under timed conditions, and see what they
come up with.
I think you can figure out where this is headed. Chad and I have set
up a test for you to use to find out if you can do any better than a
bunch of highschoolers.
We're especially interested in
finding out if bloggers, because of their regular practice in
short-form writing, might be able to perform well on the test. On the
blogger's side, they're used to cranking out pointless rants on a
moment's notice. But highschoolers are well-practiced at responding to
their teachers' inane writing prompts. Bloggers get to choose their
topics, so blogging may not transfer well to the SAT's writing prompt.
Who can perform better on the SAT test? There's only one way to find
The survey required participants to enter at least their name before
moving on to answer the essay question. The most popular name was
"asdf," but no one claiming the name asdf actually wrote an essay.
Clearly plenty of participants only "participated" in order to see the
question (you'll see it soon enough -- I'll give it below the fold).
So, of our 500, how many wrote essays? Just 155. Of those, 20 opted out
after completing their response. Of those remaining, just 109 finished
in under 21 minutes.
We are nearly finished grading the 109 entries for the Blogger SAT Challenge.
Chad Orzel has designed a way for our readers to view and rate the
essays themselves, but it's not quite ready yet. We're going to take
the weekend to make everything perfect (well, nearly perfect), and then
we'll unveil the rating system and the official, professionally graded
Building concept inventories can be a daunting task, since it rests on research into student misconceptions.
The standard approach to capturing student misconceptions involves extensive interviews that probe what they really think.
Ed's Tools enables you to capture misconceptions in a more efficient manner.
Students are asked open-ended essay type questions.
Their answers can then be coded with respect to which concepts are present (up to 25 different concepts for each question/coder combination) using the java-based Ed's Tools webware.
Captured concepts/misconcepts can then be easily retrieved, while retaining the students' natural language.
We are currently using Ed's Tools to generate the Biology Concept Inventory, and have begun work with Professor Mary Nelson and colleagues (UC Boulder), to generate a Math and Calculus Concept Inventory (MCCI). We are also working with Isidoros Doxas (CU Boulder), Mark Moldwin (UCLA), and Wendell Horton (U Texas) to generate a Space Physcis Concept Inventory (SPCI).
If you are interested in using Ed's Tools in your project, let us know.
The coolest Gumstix-powered project Gordon showed me was
The Pegasus High Altitude Balloon project is a UK based amateur student
run project that involves launching payloads to "Near Space" (between
an altitude of 60,000ft (20km) and 325,000ft (99km). This is achieved
through the use of helium weather balloons which are designed to burst
at a certain height and then the payload returns to earth via parachute.
But you might find Huosheng Hu's robotic fish cool, or the flying gridstorm
The "I saw your nanny being good" posts are outnumbered 10 to 1 by the "your nanny is mean/careless/doesn't meet my standards" posts.
Liz Henry as usual nails the problem:
The tattletale-on-random-park-nanny emails often have racist overtones.
They make quite a lot of assumptions. It is not just the fact that (at
least around here) the tattletales are always white women, reporting on
Hispanic babysitters who have white children in their care. It is that
what the white park moms see to tattle on, is filtered by their own
racism. And classism. They assume who is a nanny and who isn't. They
don't give a presumed babysitter any slack to be a human being. They
think that their way to raise a child is the only way. Frequently the
complaints are of perceived neglect... from people who think that they
must hover over little Connor and Brianna every second, micromanaging
how they scoop up some sand from the sand pit, in the name of educating
them or something.
Parents of kids with disabilities often are in confrontational postures with their kids' schools. The following two stories, one from a parent and one from a SpEd teacher, offer two vignettes of frustration.