Dr. Dermot Breslin of the Sheffield University Management School conducted a study in which 270 students were given the instructions to come up with as many projects as they can with the following objects: a coat hanger, a blank sheet of A4 paper, and a paper cup. The kids were able to come up with twice as many project ideas around lunchtime as they did at the beginning and ending of their day.
Peak mental creativity and socialization happens right before lunchtime. After the kids eat lunch, mental activities take a severe drop for a while as the body takes a break from metal acuity to process the food just eaten. Dr. Dermot has stated that the brains creativity, socialization, and mental acuity starts slowly rising during the morning and peaking around lunchtime, therefore, Dr. Dermot has started adjusting work activities in his classroom to take advantage of the peak performance in the morning hours. The results have increased the performance of the kids.
This, to me, is not really a new practice. Many people I have talked to use their morning hours to pack in as many productive activities as possible. Setting a great morning routine with students is vital to increasing the chance of students understanding their curriculum better and actually expanding their learning experience. To read more about Dr. Dermot’s study, please click here.
A major change might soon be coming for college students in regard to their financial aid. Students that use the FASFA program and are approved for a certain amount of federal grants will likely no longer get a refund in the traditional manner. For those unfamiliar with the standard system here is how it works. Students enroll for classes, federal financial aid is then sent directly to the school to be applied to each individual’s balance due for tuition. If there is a surplus difference between the tuition costs and the grant money then the remainder is returned to the student via a check or direct deposit. Betsy DeVos is aiming to change the refund method with many questioning her intentions.
The proposed change would give financial aid refunds back to students in the form of a pre-paid bank card. Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary, has been working to revamp the student financial aid process to become more streamlined. Concerns from the public are quickly arising citing privacy invasion. Essentially, the government can control where and how students spend their money and see their transactions. The previous head of financial aid, A. Wayne Johnson, said: “We will have controls.” The intention of the proposed change is clear, to allow the government to keep track of where these funds go after distribution, the question is whether or not Big Brother is taking another step toward invading the privacy of its citizens.
Ballou High School, in Washington, D.C is located in one of the poorest districts in the area. Often, kids in those areas struggle to keep up and stay in school. School records show that the kids in the school struggled for years to keep up with learning and graduating on time. However, further investigation discovered that something unimaginable was occurring at the school. Dozens of kids with poor attendance records and academic records were allowed to graduate. This clearly is against the school district policy.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Orders Report
The investigation begin because the D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a report concerning the large number of students that seemed to graduate even though they missed school multiple months. They discovered that many of the schools in the area were not following district policy. In fact, they overlooked violations. The most disturbing news that surfaced was that the schools had their own policy of simply passing and graduating students to get them out of the educational system.
Highest Ranking Educational Officer Placed On Leave
All this disturbing news concerning the Washington D.C. educational system was released around the time that chief of D.C.’s secondary schools, Jane Spence, was released from her post. In addition, the school district has also released several high ranking school officials at the Ballou High School. Investigators suggest that a strong lack of communication and a policy to report violations led to the downfall of the school system in the Washington D.C. area. Now, a giant shadow is cast over all the graduates in the school system, which is very distressing.
Rising costs of higher education, student aid, and the government’s role in providing federal grants and loans for collegiate student tuition and books has come to the forefront of discussion with announcements of intended changes from the Federal Student Aid Department. The department announced a debit card pilot program, using federal debit cards as financial aid payment for loans and grants. The pilot program will include 100,000 students at four United States colleges. The department intends not only to distribute funds on debit cards, but also to restrict what students may purchase with debit cards.
Financial aid funds previously distributed to students paid student college tuition, and any excess funds were distributed to the student. Traditionally, student aid could be used for varied expenses, including rent and daycare for some. Students previously were not restricted on what items and services they could purchase. Previously, student allotments were distributed directly to colleges. The prepaid debit cards allow the education department to distribute money directly to students.
The pilot program is being introduced by Federal Student Aid Chief, A. Wayne Johnson. He cites enhanced customer service, assisting students in understanding their debt, and what they are spending their money on as reasons for the program. The program is part of a drive to streamline the department by Education Director Betsy Devos, and is a move away from financial aid’s more traditional role of distributing funds to colleges. FSA is also launching a mobile app, wherein students can monitor their spending, get spending notifications and account balances.
While cost savings, and student spending responsibility seems to be the aim of the debit cards, consumer advocacy groups are expressing concern about student privacy. They are concerned if private student information will be marketed to outside companies. They also cite facts that the FSA has solicited private companies to handle the prepaid debit cards. Such groups are concerned the financial aid department is now acting as a bank, which oversteps its duties. Regardless, the pilot program, and financial aid debit cards are expected to be distributed later this year. The FSA app, still in development, will also be launched later this year for student access.
We are living in the 21st Century. However, there are still a large number of people that are not computer savvy. Often, this is true of older adults or those that simply do not have access to a computer or Internet access in their home. Today, it is vital to understand the way that computers operate because we live in a tech driven world. Alaska Airlines recently partnered with Code.org to provide free educational videos on how computers and the Internet work. Bill Gates stars in the series of educational videos along with other industry leaders.
In-flight Computer Education
The on-board education takes the place of the usual movies that are watched by passengers. Bill Gates and the other industry leaders believe that it is important for everyone to understand computers. We are a digital driven society. Today, the individual’s world revolves around their smartphone, computers, laptops, wearable tech, self driving cars, and more. Those that do not understand computers are going to feel left out.
Video Series Availability
The videos are going to be made available to the airlines. However, it is also important to note that the videos are also going to be introduced to middle school and high school curriculum. The short videos provide an easy way for adults and school age children to learn about computer hardware, software, circuits and more. The Alaskan Airlines In-flight Entertainment representative is really on board with the entire idea concerning providing videos on computer education because the videos are very entertaining and also quite educational.
Technology is a growing part of the modern day world. Most view technology as a way to advance society and the world. However, technology is actually playing a part in holding high school kids back by posing educational problems. Recently, several adults posed as students at a high school for an A&E Documentary series. They discovered some very disturbing things about technology and the educational system in the schools. They discovered that cell phone use is out of control in schools and interferes with learning.
The undercover adults at the Kansas high school quickly discovered that kids in the high school were addicted to their smartphones. In fact, most teachers had to struggle to get the kids attention and teach in the classrooms. In addition, they learned that bullying is alive and well in schools. However, cellphone use has taken bullying to a brand new level. Now, kids are actually using their cell-phones and social media to bully other kids. Today, kids are bombarded with messages from social media sites and the bullying builds to a new high. Often, the kids feel like everyone is looking at them and the weight of the world rest on their shoulders. It’s very overwhelming for kids.
Clearly, it is time for parents and teachers to take note of the disturbing effect that cellphones, social media, and the online world has on their kids. It’s time to connect with the kids on social media and discuss their issues and concerns. This is the only way to gain control of learning, kids, and the classroom.
Most teachers would agree that their wages do not keep up with the economic times. Teachers are sadly underpaid for all their efforts and hard work to guide the young minds of today that will be our leaders tomorrow. However, it appears that those in administrative jobs like the superintendent of schools in Louisiana are grossly overpaid. The Louisiana teacher showed her concern at a Vermilion Parish School Board meeting and was escorted out of the meeting in handcuffs. The teacher objected to the treatment she received, and demands an apology.
Learn To Speak Up
The Arts teacher insisted that her real goal was to just speak up about the issue instead of simply sitting on the sidelines and remaining silent. Certainly, this is a good lesson for youngsters to learn early on in life. She found it very ironic that the only way to get other people to care about the issue was to see a woman forcibly removed from the room in handcuffs.
What’s Your Turning Point
Often, people just sit back and keep their mouth shut about the issue, even-though they do not agree. Their silence is a quiet approval. In order to break the silence, we need to get over the conflict issue. There is always going to be some type of conflict or disagreements that should be discussed. Reaching a turning point forces the issue. Deyshia Hargrave’s turning point was when the superintendent of schools was going to get a $38,000 pay raise and a car.
A new study that was conducted by the scientists of the Milner Centre for Evolution located in the United Kingdom, has shown that school children that rejected evolution, greatly shown signs of not understanding science as a whole. Approximately 1,200 school children from 70 secondary schools in the U.K. were used for research in these studies. The students had ages that ranged from 14 to 16 and they were tested on their knowledge and understanding of evolution and whether they accepted evolution.
Those that did not accept evolution for the most part, shared the same results of not having prior comprehension of evolution as well as genetics. This was probably linked to their poor understanding of science in general as opposed to whether it conflicted with their belief system. An American study conducted long ago revealed that most U.S. students that highly rejected evolution, were found to be very intelligent and could thoroughly comprehend the subject while molding it to match their chosen beliefs.
The Milner Centre for Evolution is a recent addition to the University of Bath, U.K. The new facility provides their highbrow expertise surrounding the complexities of evolution research and theories. It was named after Dr. Johnathan Milner, a University of Bath alumnus, after he had donated a gift of five million British pounds towards the production of the building. The research facility also conducts research pertaining to biology, education and health.
A teacher at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and School near Milwaukee, Wisconson has sparked controversy over a homework assignment that was given to a fourth grade social studies class. According to Buzzfeed News, Graduate student Tamika Brown-Berry tweeted her outrage about the assignment which asked students to find and explain 3 ‘good’ reasons for slavery and 3 bad reasons for slavery.
Many of the students expressed displeasure for the assignment, including one student that said that he did not answer the question because he did not believe there were any good reasons for slavery. According to the school, which issued an apology, the question was poorly worded and was not intended to encourage students to argue that slavery was acceptable.
Tramika Brown-Berry said she was able to receive a satisfactory response to the school in the form of apologies to both the students and their parents, removing the assignment from the curriculum, informing parents of sensitive topics discussed in the classroom, and sensitivity training.
While the school is not unique for making headlines because of assignments about slavery and other touchy subjects that are at best culturally insensitive and at worst outright racist, it is clear that this school has done a great job of handling the problem. Slavery is a difficult subject to broach with young children, and while it is important for children to be able to understand how and why this dark era occurred, it is also important to handle it in a way that will not make anyone feel less than or othered.
The world is a complex place. And people who want to impact the state of things need an education which can stand up to that complexity. But one big problem is that many brilliant children aren’t even aware of the path they should take to do so. There’s so many choices out there that many kids end up feeling lost. Worse, many of these children have potential to make great strides in the world which might end up underutalized.
The Bright Program seeks to change all this. It matches up PhD students with children in disadvantaged areas. The University students have a chance to share their experiences with children who might have never even considered higher education. The program began as an outreach effort to low income children in the UK. But the rousing success has led to a recent expansion into South Africa.
Of course there’s many different considerations in this sort of expansion. Every disadvantaged area is in that state for different reasons. And people within it face different challenges to overcome those conditions. For example, the program has taken special note of the fact that basic IT access isn’t available to many students in South Africa.
This is one of the larger causes of lowered expectations within a child’s life. They’re often unaware of just how far they might be able to go. And likewise they might not be aware of the help that’s available to them.
However, despite the differences the program showcases how similar people are. One of the biggest goals of the program comes from inspiring confidence. It’s not just about showing children how far they can rise. It’s also about showing them just how special they are in the here and now.