laptop vs. longhand notes, SEL Giving cognition a bad name and more in the News Roundup


The Good News: Social-Emotional Learning Is Hot. the Bad News: Some of It Is Giving Cognition a Bad Name.
(Washington Post – Subscription Required, Free Trial)
By all means, let us take a hard look at our national obsession with tests and scores and grades, and let us think more generously about what kinds of people we want our schools to develop. Part of such reconsideration would include a reclaiming of the full meaning of cognition, a meaning that is robust and vitally intellectual, intimately connected to character and social development, and directed toward the creation of a better world.

New Findings Inform the Laptop versus Longhand Note-Taking Debate
(The Learning Scientists)
While there may be very good reasons to be cautious about laptop use in the classroom – e.g., laptops with internet access may invite multitasking which is detrimental to the learning of the student engaging in multi-tasking, but also has negative effects on students sitting in proximity of the multitasker – their use to take notes, it turns out, is not one of them.

Teaching the Skill of Learning to Learn
(Inside Higher Ed)
Colleges have long dismissed the skill of learning as mere study skills, but there’s growing interest in giving students a richer sense of how to gain knowledge, argues Ulrich Boser.

Want to know what interleaving feels like? Try these quick math problems!
(Retrieval Practice – Weekly Teaching Tips)
Years of cognitive science research have established that interleaving – simply rearranging the order of retrieval opportunities – can increase (and even double) student learning.

Can You Teach Students to Be Happy? Colleges Are Trying.
(Philadelphia Inquirer)
The course is the first large-scale class at Penn to focus on the practice of positive psychology, the scientific study of what goes well in life and how to cultivate more of it. Nearly 200 students are enrolled — double a typical lecture course.

Colleges Expand Their Reach to Address Mental Health Issues
(New York Times – Subscription Required)
When Elizabeth Gong-Guy was named director of U.C.L.A.’s counseling and psychological services in 2005, the university was providing mental health services to less than 10 percent of its students. A decade later, when she moved into a different role, as executive director of U.C.L.A. campus and student resilience, more than 20 percent were under the university’s care.

Should Young Students Bring Assignments Home? Parents Need to Do Their Own Homework.
(Washington Post – Subscription Required, Free Trial)
After looking at more than 100 studies, the scholarly guru on this issue, Duke University psychologist Harris Cooper, concluded in 1989 that “for elementary school students, the effect of homework on achievement is trivial, if it exists at all.”

How Making Time for Mindfulness Helps Students
(KQED – Mind/Shift)
A new study suggests that mindfulness education — lessons on techniques to calm the mind and body — can reduce the negative effects of stress and increase students’ ability to stay engaged, helping them stay on track academically and avoid behavior problems.

Looking at Learning Through an Evolutionary Lens
(3-Star Learning Experiences)
Children need to start to experience failure and over time, will have a greater sense of personal control over their learning and will better sustain their focus and motivation as new, difficult things to learn will move further and further away from primary domains. The older we get, the more we need to acquire secondary knowledge and abilities, so we better learn what it takes early on.

Student Likeability Might Be Link Between Academic Success and Risk of Depression
(Science Daily)
Children struggling in elementary school are less liked by their teachers and peers, opening them up to higher risk of depression

As Genetic Data Expand, Researchers Urge Caution in How Predictors of Education Outcomes Are Used
(Science Daily)
Authors of a new review article warn that as the predictive power of genes tied to learning and educational outcomes increases and access to genetic data expands, researchers, educators, and policymakers must be cautious in how they use such data, interpret related findings, and, in the not-too-distant future, apply genetics-informed student interventions.

What I Teach In My Honors Seminar on B.S.
(Education Next)
Roughly estimating, there are at least 2,000 institutions worldwide that give priority to research and expect their faculty to produce it regularly. And there are at least 50 active researchers in the social sciences at each of those institutions who depend on publishing novel insights about human beings, sometimes annually, in order to obtain and keep their jobs as well as receive promotions. In my back of the envelope calculation, there is demand for “discovering” roughly 100,000 true things about human behavior each year.

Do Smarter Teachers Make Smarter Students?
(Education Next)
Research and common sense tell us good teachers can have a tremendous impact on their students’ learning. But what, exactly, makes some teachers more effective than others?

Brain’s Primitive Sensory Region Also Participates in Sophisticated Learning
(Science Daily)
Neuroscientists have revealed that a simple brain region, known for processing basic sensory information, can also guide complex feats of mental activity. The new study involving mice demonstrated that cells in the somatosensory cortex, the brain area responsible for touch, also play a key role in reward learning. It is the basis for how we connect our work in the office to that paycheck, or that A+ to the studying we did in preparation for the test.

The Impact of Faculty Attitudes About Intelligence
(Inside Higher Ed)
Students have better educational outcomes in courses taught by those who have “growth mind-sets” than those who believe intelligence is fixed. For minority students, achievement gaps are cut in half.

About the Author

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 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.

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