Will the reading wars never end?
According to a preponderance of scientific evidence, phonics instruction — early and systematic — is critical to teaching most children to read. This beachhead, secured after decades of resistance from proponents of the whole-language approach to reading, should signal an end to the reading wars. But the path from settled science to practice in schools…Read More
Understanding and Interpreting Data
Two California physicians recently used data they collected in their private urgent-care facilities to extrapolate COVID-19 illness and mortality rates for the state. A number of news outlets reported these new “findings” as fact, simply because they didn’t understand the data or how to interpret them. This is problematic for a number of reasons,…Read More
At-Home Distance Learning: Preserving Core Tenets and Best Practices
At-home distance schooling and a rethinking of how learning takes place are key outcomes of the global pandemic. What is learning? How does it happen? From a Piagetian perspective, learning is the assimilation and accommodation of new information into an existing framework. From a neurobiological perspective, learning shows up as changes in the structure…Read More
Teaching Science Remotely During COVID-19
COVID-19 has completely changed the way most people work. Under the constraints of social distancing, which include bans on groups of more than 10 people, shelter-in-place requirements, and self-quarantines, many places of business are having employees work remotely. Some of these businesses are already seeing the benefits of a remote workforce, including increased productivity…Read More
NGSS, COVID-19, and the Trolley Problem
For the past few weeks, politicians and the media around the world have been arguing over whether or not the civil liberties of the many should be infringed upon to save the lives of the few, which people should be saved when supplies are limited, and at what cost. The Guardian, The Harvard Crimson, The…Read More
The Science of the Australian Wildfires
Although wildfires in Australia have been burning for six months, there are still another three months before the fire season is over. And so far, this fire season has been particularly bad. By some estimates the fires have consumed an area of almost 100,000 square km; to put this in perspective, this is an area…Read More
From STEM to STEAM to STREAM: Should We Be Adding More Subjects to STEM?
STEM In the late ’90s and early 2000s, multiple studies showed that students in the United States were falling behind in the sciences and math, while students in other countries excelled. A 2006 study by PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment) ranked U.S. student performance in math and science 21st out of the 30…Read More
Personalized Learning, Critical Thinking, and Formative Assessment: What to Do?
The Trends of Personalized Learning and Critical Thinking Two key curriculum trends are affecting educational publishing: the movement toward personalized learning and the need for critical thinking lessons. Personalized learning is influencing how curriculum is being developed and also how students’ work and learning is being assessed. Since 2012, 15 states have incorporated personalized learning into…Read More
Competency-Based Learning at the State and District Level
When it comes to competency-based learning, New Hampshire is a trailblazer. In the words of one New Hampshire educator, “All students need to have certain skills and certain dispositions to be ready for whatever the future holds for them.” Along these lines, the state began launching competency-based learning pilots in 1998; by 2013, it had…Read More
Assessing Competency-Based Education
The 21st century is an exciting and challenging time for students. In order to succeed, young people need to be adept at problem solving, collaboration, and inquiry. Many schools are turning to competency-based learning to help students make the most of their education and prepare them for success in college, career, and life. As the…Read More