EssentialstheDiagonal is a personal blog by Mike Gerra, skeptic, technologist, psychologist, artist, humanist, collector of grand, eclectic ideas.theDiagonal blog connects the dots across multiple disciplines for inquisitive, objective and critical thinkers, exploring the vertices of big science, disruptive innovation, global sustainability, illuminating literature and leftfield art. It is on this diagonal that creativity thrives, big ideas take flight and reason triumphs.
Tag Archives: education
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
“Someone has to stand up to experts!”. This is what Don McLeroy would have you believe about scientists. We all espouse senseless rants once in a while, so we should give McLeroy the benefit of the doubt – perhaps he had slept poorly the night before this impassioned, irrational plea. On the other hand, when you learn that McLeroy’s statement came as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) in 2010, then you may wish to think again, especially if you have children in the school system of the Lone Star State....read more
Friday, July 13, 2012
One would believe that the most affluent and open country on the planet would have one of the best, if not the best, education systems. Yet, the United States of America distinguishes itself by being thoroughly mediocre in a ranking of developed nations in science, mathematics and reading. How can we makes amends for our children?
Take the 2009 PISA test, which assessed the knowledge of students from 65 countries and economies—34 of which are members of the development organization the OECD, including the United States—in math, science, and reading. Of the OECD countries, the United States came in 17th place in science literacy; of all countries and economies surveyed, it came in 23rd place. The U.S. score of 502 practically matched the OECD average of 501. That puts us firmly in the middle. Where we don’t want to be....read more
Sunday, June 17, 2012
A sad story chronicling the rise in amphetamine use in the quest for good school grades. More frightening now is the increase in addiction of ever younger kids, and not for dubious goal of excelling at school. Many kids are just taking the drug to get high.
From the Telegraph:
The New York Times has finally woken up to America’s biggest unacknowledged drug problem: the massive overprescription of the amphetamine drug Adderall for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Kids have been selling each other this powerful – and extremely moreish – mood enhancer for years, as ADHD diagnoses and prescriptions for the drug have shot up.
Now, children are snorting the stuff, breaking open the capsules and ingesting it using the time-honoured tool of a rolled-up bank note....read more
Sunday, April 15, 2012
From the Wall Street Journal:
Most of our high schools and colleges are not preparing students to become innovators. To succeed in the 21st-century economy, students must learn to analyze and solve problems, collaborate, persevere, take calculated risks and learn from failure. To find out how to encourage these skills, I interviewed scores of innovators and their parents, teachers and employers. What I learned is that young Americans learn how to innovate most often despite their schooling—not because of it....read more
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Nikhil Goyal is an observant 16-year-old Junior at a New York high-school. He ponders the state of the U.S. educational system, which he finds sadly wanting. Sir Ken Robinson has a young standard-bearer. Adults take note:
From the Huffington Post:
The United States education system really sucks. We continue to toil in a 19th century factory-based model of education, stressing conformity and standardization. This is all true even though globalization has transformed the world we live in, flipping the status quo of the labor market upside down. The education system has miserably failed in creating students that have the dexterity to think creatively and critically, work collaboratively, and communicate their thoughts....read more
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Our current educational process in one sentence: assume student is empty vessel; provide student with content; reward student for remembering and regurgitating content; repeat.
Yet, we have known for a while, and an increasing body of research corroborates our belief, that this method of teaching and learning is not very effective, or stimulating for that matter. It’s simply an efficient mechanism for the mass production of an adequate resource for the job market. Of course, for most it then takes many more decades following high school or college to unlearn the rote trivia and re-learn what is really important.
Mind Hacks reviews some recent studies that highlight better approaches to studying.
From Mind Hacks:
Decades old research into how memory works should have revolutionised University teaching. It didn’t....read more
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
It is undeniable that there is ever increasing societal pressure on children to perform compete, achieve and succeed, and to do so at ever younger ages. However, while average college test admission scores have improved it’s also arguable that admission standards have dropped. So, the picture painted by James Atlas in the article below is far from clear. Nonetheless, it’s disturbing that our children get less and less time to dream, play, explore and get dirty.
From the New York Times:
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Test grades once measured student performance. Nowadays test grades are used to measure teacher and parent, educational institution and even national performance. Gary Cutting over at the Stone forum has some instructive commentary.
From the New York Times:
So what exactly do test scores tell us?
Poor test scores are the initial premises in most current arguments for educational reform. At the end of last year, reading scores that showed American 15-year-olds in the middle of an international pack, led by Asian countries, prompted calls from researchers and educators for immediate action. This year two sociologists, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, showed that 45 percent of students, after two years of college, have made no significant gains on a test of critical thinking. Last week’s report of falling SAT scores is the latest example....read more