16 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 The Nintendo Effect

Technology can play an important role, but we haven’t had the time or wherewithal to explore it fully. I’m waiting for a breakthrough process, which I think may happen in mathematics. The people at Nintendo figured out billions of dollars ago that you pull kids in, you get them engaged, and that’s the model: engagement of intensive focused effort. The result is rapid incremental development of new skills and capabilities. These kids operate at a speed and accuracy level unheard of outsi...
Folksonomies: education gamification
Folksonomies: education gamification
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Nintendo has tapped into the secret of keeping kids engaged for hours.

06 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 Teach Science Appreciation

When you study art, nobody expects you to become Picasso, but you’re taught how to appreciate Picasso: What goes into making great art? What motivates the artist? Why is it important? We don’t teach science that way. We teach science as if everybody’s going to practice it. Why can’t we teach science so students understand what the scientific method is, who the great scientists were, what motivated them, the important role that science plays in society, and what critical thinking is?
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Ira Flatow observes that we teach science as if everyone is going to practice it, not so everyone can learn to appreciate it.

28 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Deserts Follow Where Man Goes

Very old and wide-spread is the opinion that forests have an important impact on rainfall. ... If forests enhance the amount and frequency of precipitation simply by being there, deforestation as part of agricultural expansion everywhere, must necessarily result in less rainfall and more frequent droughts. This view is most poignantly expressed by the saying: Man walks the earth and desert follows his steps! ... It is not surprising that under such circumstances the issue of a link between fo...
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Eduard Brückner recognizes the importance of forests in maintaining a healthy climate in the late 1800s.

30 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 Breast Feeding Fuels Big Brains

The study looked at the average pregnancy term, breast-feeding length and brain size of 128 species of mammals. They saw that between different species brain size at birth was determined by the length of pregnancy, while the brain growth after birth was determined by breast-feeding duration. [...] The extreme length of pregnancy and breast-feeding in humans (nine months and three years, respectively) is required for the growth and development of our large brains, which can reach 79 cubic in...
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Women should breast-feed for at least six months and up to two years to encourage the growth of the infant's brain as much as possible.

23 JAN 2011 by ideonexus

 How Technology Makes Us Smarter and More Uncertain

When I do long division or even multiplication I don’t try to remember the intermediate numbers. Long ago I learned to write them down. Because of paper and pencil I am “smarter” in arithmetic. In a similar manner I now no longer to try remember facts, or even where I found the facts. I have learned to summon them on the Internet. Because the Internet is my new pencil and paper, I am “smarter” in factuality. But my knowledge is now more fragile. For every accepted piece of knowledg...
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The Internet is a cognitive prosthesis, helping our brains to summon facts, but it also makes us more uncertain about the facts we take for granted, because there are challenges to what we know everywhere online.