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Hal Harris's picture

The Thermodynamic Sinks of this World by Roald Hoffman

Mon, 06/24/2013 - 16:29 -- Hal Harris

Nobelist Roald Hoffman usually chooses an intriguing topic for his regular contributions to the Sigma Xi bimonthly, American Scientist. For the current issue, he has chosen to examine the question, "What would be the result of mixing a collection of the elements we find on earth and its nearby environment and heating them up enough to encourage them to react?" This "Gedankenexperiment"

Arrietta Clauss's picture

Using MOOCs to Create a Flipped Classroom

Fri, 05/31/2013 - 10:57 -- Arrietta Clauss

Universities, community colleges, and high schools can use MOOCs to create an environment to enhance student learning.  Last fall a professor at San Jose State used recorded MOOC lectures in an introductory electrical engineering course to create a flipped classroom.  Students passed at a much higher rate than usual—91%, compared with 59% and 55% in two other, more traditional sections of the s

Hal Harris's picture

Climate Change Denial in the Classroom

Sat, 05/04/2013 - 23:40 -- Hal Harris

Universities should be and are expected to be sources of truthful and unbiased information about controversial subjects, especially in the sciences.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  Instructors at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada used "academic freedom" to present an egregiously biased and unscientific course that misrepresented the facts of climate change.

Hal Harris's picture

Public Defender: Diane Ravitch Takes on a Movement

Tue, 11/20/2012 - 15:02 -- Hal Harris

The respected education reformer Diane Ravitch, previously one of the major architects and proponents of No Child Left Behind, has not only taken a new tack, but reversed course. With her 2011 book, she became a leading voice critical of the Obama-Duncan version, Race to the Top. This essay by David Denby describes her evolution.

Arrietta Clauss's picture

Bring the Educational System into This Century

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 09:29 -- Arrietta Clauss

Tammy Erickson states that our current approach to education was designed for a different age. It was modeled on the needs of industrialization, resulting in separate subjects, standardized curricula, conformity, and batch processing. The model worked well for 100 years because it satisfied the needs of employers. However, the needs of employers have change and the gap between the output of our educational system and the job demands of the current century is big.

Traditional schools operate in ways that are foreign to the world in which students live. The students inhabit a technology-based world of multimedia, addictive games, and mobile access. They are living in the most stimulating period in the history of the earth. But then schools require them to put that all away and ask them to focus on one, often-not-that-engaging speaker. It is not surprising that students get distracted and are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

A change the educational system is desperately needed.

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