Students and Robots, in Harmony and more in this week’s news roundup!

Students and Robots, in Harmony
(Inside Higher Ed)

At Michigan State, some online students embody robots to populate face-to-face classrooms, helping bridge the distance gap with their on-campus counterparts.

Preventing Post-Tenure Malaise
(The Chronicle of Higher Education)
To outsiders, faculty life can look fairly cushy. Follow the rules and engage in shrewd academic politics during a six-year probationary period and you secure tenure and lifetime employment. Quite a shiny brass ring, to be sure. However, the tenure pursuit — for those lucky enough to get a tenure-track job and then earn tenure — is not for the faint of heart.

Top News
(Society for the Teaching of Psychology)

STP’s January newsletter is now available! Includes letters from past and current STP presidents, a reflection on NITOP, and a suggestion about resolutions.

4 Proven Strategies for Teaching Empathy
(Edutopia)

Help your students understand the perspectives of other people with these tried-and-tested methods.

Building Note-Taking Skills in the Millennial Student: Scaffolding Frameworks of Knowledge in College Curricula
(Society for the Teaching of Psychology)

Teaching in the age of millennial students is a challenge that should be embraced by all faculty, but what does this entail?

Are Our Teaching Methods Hindering Our Learners?
(Effortful Educator)

As I begin a new semester, part of the unwritten curriculum that I attempt to instill in my students is learning strategies.  So often, my Advanced Placement students graduate, attend college, and are quickly met with their inability to properly study.

Doing Psych: Survey Project
(Teaching High School Psychology)

There are lots of calls for “doing psych” but not necessarily the ability due to ethical, time, resources, and financial constraints.

APA Releases New Journal Article Reporting Standards
(American Psychological Association)

Aimed at increasing transparency, standards guide quantitative and qualitative research reporting.

An Insider’s Take on Assessment: It May Be Worse Than You Thought
(The Chronicle on Higher Education)

No doubt many of you will spend part of the month of January looking over assessment material from the fall semester. Equipped with some pre- and post-tests, a couple of artifacts, a rubric, a curriculum map, and, perhaps, a little bourbon, you will study your data carefully, make a few quick inferences and then identify a minor problem that you can address by making equally minor changes to your course or program.

Successful promotion of giftedness as early as elementary school age
(Science Daily)
Experts have argued that the specific needs of gifted children are often neglected, resulting in a shriveling of their abilities and potential. Consequently, they call for the implementation of programs that specifically aim to promote gifted children.

Can we develop a ‘love of learning’?
(The Learning Spy)
All of this is to say that it seems plausible that our intelligence is, in some ways (obviously not in all) similar to our physical health. Just as we have to keep working to maintain our health, the same appears to be true for our intelligence.

Here’s Betsy DeVos’ Plan if There’s a Government Shutdown
(Education Week – subscription required; three free articles)
In a memo to department staff, DeVos said that more than 90 percent of total staff would be furloughed during the first week of any shutdown.

A ‘touching sight’: How babies’ brains process touch builds foundations for learning
(Science Daily)
A new study provides one of the first looks inside the infant’s brain to show where the sense of touch is processed — not just when a baby feels a touch to the hand or foot, but when the baby sees an adult’s hand or foot being touched, as well. Researchers say these connections help lay the groundwork for the developmental and cognitive skills of imitation and empathy.

Students Thrive When They See Purpose in Their Learning
(Education Week – subscription required; three free articles)
Three Arkansas middle school students committed to an unusual class project last year: creating an artificial limb for a duck that was hobbling around on one foot. Their efforts—and hard-won success—illustrate a link between a sense of purpose and meaning in classroom work and student engagement.

Students more engaged and attentive following outdoor lesson in nature
(Science Daily)
A study has found that children are significantly more attentive and engaged with their schoolwork following an outdoor lesson in nature. Teachers could teach uninterrupted for almost twice as long during a subsequent indoor lesson. Outdoor lessons may be an inexpensive and convenient way to improve student engagement.

Does giving teachers more feedback improve performance?
(Flypaper)
How to evaluate teachers is a perennial question that is especially relevant now that ESSA has loosened requirements on state teacher evaluation systems. A recent U.S. Department of Education study examines whether increasing the frequency and detail of written and oral feedback offered to teachers and principals improves teaching practice and student achievement.

Digital Toolkit for Staff to Help Support Students’ Mental Health
(Inside Higher Ed)
A resource for supporting students who may be experiencing mental health challenges

To Be in Person, or Not to Be?
(Inside Higher Ed)
That’s the question disciplinary associations and academics are facing on conference interviews, which many departments are replacing with video.

Unprepared and Confused
(Inside Higher Ed)
A new study says students don’t feel confident they can find a job or succeed when they land one.

Setting School Culture With Social And Emotional Learning Routines
(KQED – MindShift)
There’s still debate around which social and emotional skills are the most important to teach — such as empathy, executive functioning or persistence — and some educators feel unprepared to take on a role that seems more like parenting.

Why Are Some People More Creative Than Others?
(Scientific American)
Neuroscientists have started to identify thinking processes and brain regions involved with creativity.

What are mini brains?
(TED Education – video; closed caption available)
See how brain organoids are helping neuroscientists examine previously unseen parts of the brain.

Colleges Are Key Players in Cities’ Bids to Host Amazon’s 2nd Headquarters
(The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Since Amazon narrowed its list of potential locations for a second headquarters on Thursday from over 200 qualifying regions to just 20 finalists, colleges in those lucky cities have become more hopeful that they might reap the benefits if the huge company comes to town.

About the Author

Amanda Macchi, MPH
Amanda comes to the APA as a recent graduate of the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. During her time at GW, Amanda studied global health, focusing on the challenges facing mental health in low-and middle-income countries. She received her undergraduate degree in marketing from Emerson College in Boston, Mass. In her free time Amanda loves pyrography, furniture making and spending time with her dog, Becky.
Hunter Clary
Hunter is a communications professional who came of age in the digital revolution, and has witnessed big changes in how we communicate. In his eclectic 20 year career he’s seen vast changes across multiple industries from advertising, B2C, professional services, publishing, and now non-profit. During his time at APA Hunter has watched the growth of in the organization’s web presence; a shift from print to digital media; and the pickup of social channels like the PsychLearningCurve. A tech geek at heart, Hunter is naturally drawn to all things shiny and new especially when it comes to communicating – particularly social media and apps. Hunter seeks to understand the world around him -- add in a penchant for creative design and a reporter’s curiosity and you’ve got Hunter. Through this blog he hopes to help translate quality psychological science into practical uses for educators, students, and parents.