Daily News Roundup, November 29, 2011

Perspectives: News You Can Use
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Some of the News Fit to Print

WILLPOWER: IT’S IN YOUR HEAD
Greg Walton and Carol Dweck write in The New York Times: When people believe that willpower is fixed and limited, their willpower is easily depleted. But when people believe that willpower is self-renewing — that when you work hard, you’re energized to work more; that when you’ve resisted one temptation, you can better resist the next one — then people successfully exert more willpower. It turns out that willpower is in your head.

ABOUT K-12

TEACHING PRACTICE
A practice-based approach to teacher education has been a theme of a cross-sector “community of practice” that NewSchools Venture Fund has convened semi-annually since 2009.  Called “Learning to Teach,” this group includes schools of education, entrepreneurial teacher preparation programs, districts, researchers, policymakers, and funders. At their most recent meeting earlier this month, organizations shared approaches to a set of core teaching practices, such as leading small-group instruction, introducing new material, and building relationships with students and families. NewSchools believes the adoption of a practice-based curriculum by teacher training programs could improve the skills of teachers entering the profession and result in better outcomes for children.  However, like all those advocating for practical training, in law as in teaching, they note that they take seriously the limitations and potential pitfalls of this approach. This is from the NewSchools blog.

NEW CALCULATION: MATH IN PRESCHOOL
CHICAGO—Scores of preschool and kindergarten teachers across the city are embedding math concepts into daily classroom activities, in a promising new program that gives students a foundation for more complex math and logical-thinking skills in later grades. The Early Mathematics Education Project at Erikson Institute, a nonprofit graduate school in child development, has already trained about 300 Chicago preschool and kindergarten teachers at 150 schools, funded by grants from local foundations and Chicago Public Schools. The article is in the Wall Street Journal.

ABOUT HIGHER ED

BETTER DATA, BETTER GRADUATION RATES
Colleges may be able to improve their graduation rates by gaining a better understanding of the students they enroll, according to a report being released today. The report, from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, brings together data from the "freshman survey"  by UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program and graduation numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse and aims to help colleges determine if they have actually improved retention rates or if they have simply attracted better students. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

WHAT IS PUBLISHING?
While traditional publishers are interested in the bottom line, libraries-as-publishers are focused on the problem of access. Faculty, on the other hand, are concerned with how their publications will lead to promotion, tenure, and the advancement of knowledge. During a recent forum THATCamp Publishing highlighted how the evaporation of funding for scholarly publishing and the rise of the Internet as a low-cost, easy-access means of dissemination are radically changing the nature of this industry, and the inter-relationships of these three stakeholders. Adeline Koh, an assistant professor of literature at Richard Stockton College, New Jersey, blogs about the forum for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

MIT MAKES HIGH SCHOOL MATH AND SCIENCE LESSONS AVAILABLE ONLINE

MIT BLOSSOMS (Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math Studies) just launched a new website. BLOSSOMS is an international, collaborative open education project that provides a series of freely available interactive lessons for high school math and science classes presented in a widely accessible video format. Former Carnegie Senior Scholar Toru Iiyoshi is involved with this project. BLOSSOMS video modules supplement the standard curriculum with virtual lessons led by educators from around the world, combined with in-class activities led by local teachers.
 

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