Scientists report that sixth-graders who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television or other screen did substantially better at reading emotions than sixth-graders from the same school who, as usual, spent hours each day looking at their smartphones and other screens.
Teacher evaluation is a hotly contested topic, with vigorous debate happening around issues of testing, measurement, and what is considered ‘important’ in terms of student learning, not to mention the potential high stakes decisions that may be made as a result of these assessments. At its best, this discussion has reinvigorated a national dialogue around teaching practice and research; at its worst it has polarized and entrenched stakeholder groups into rigid camps. How is it we can avoid the calcification of opinion and continue a constructive dialogue around this important and complex issue?
One way, as we suggest here, is to continue to discuss alternatives around teacher evaluation, and to be thoughtful about the role of social interactions in student outcomes, particularly as it relates to the current conversation around valued added models. It is in this spirit that we ask: Is there a ‘social side’ to a teacher’s ability to add value to their students’ growth and, if so, what are the implications for current teacher evaluation models?
Ancient peoples sent their dead to the grave with their prized possessions — precious stones, gilded weapons and terracotta armies. But unlike these treasures, our digital property won’t get buried with us. Our archived Facebook messages, old email chains and even Tinder exchanges will hover untouched in the online cloud when we die.
The deeper problem is that citizens participate in public life precisely because they believe the issues at stake relate to their values and ideals, especially when political parties and other identity-based groups get involved – an outcome that is inevitable on high-profile issues. Those groups can help to mobilize the public and represent their interests, but they also help to produce the factual divisions that are one of the most toxic byproducts of our polarized era. Unfortunately, knowing what scientists think is ultimately no substitute for actually believing it.
The more I read people’s reactions to this study, the more that I’ve started to think that the outrage has nothing to do with the study at all. There is a growing amount of negative sentiment towards Facebook and other companies that collect and use data about people. In short, there’s anger at the practice of big data.
The Decorah eagle cam — set up at a bald eagle nest in Iowa in 2007, and generally credited, like a kind of avian “Sopranos,” with giving birth to this entirely new genre of slow-paced, binge-watched prestige drama — gets about a hundred million views a year.
Caring connects kids to their school, their teachers, their learning, their families, their communities, to one another and to themselves. Therefore, creating and maintaining a culture of caring in our schools and communities is paramount to effecting real change.
With parents flooding their camera phones with hundreds of photos — from loose teeth to hissy fits to each step in the potty training process — how might the ubiquity of photos change childhood memories?
Maryanne Garry, a psychology professor at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, is trying to figure that out. For years, she’s studied the effects of photography on our childhood memories.
"I think that the problem is that people are giving away being in the moment," she says.
Those parents at the park taking all those photos are actually paying less attention to the moment, she says, because they’re focused on the act of taking the photo.
If you don’t have a culture that’s a collaborative one, that’s relationship-based, that’s selfless, that’s constantly taking an inquiry stance, then a lot of the social media stuff isn’t going to fit the vision.
Most public schools are traditionally run by principals and administrators, who defer to policies dictated by the state. But a group of 60 schools across the country is subverting the top-down system, putting teachers in full control of running their schools.
It’s called the Teacher Powered Schools initiative, led by Education Evolving, and the goal is to seed a movement that will inspire other teachers in schools across the country to realize their potential as leaders. To that end, Education Evolving released a study [PDF] in partnership with Center for Teaching Quality, which indicates that 91 percent of Americans believe teachers should have greater influence over decisions that affect student learning. What’s more, 81 percent of Americans indicate they trust teachers to make “schools run better.”