Buzzword Wasteland, Cognitive Load and more in the News Roundup


Teaching and Learning: Lost in a Buzzword Wasteland
(Inside Higher Ed)

Educational buzzwords often encompass ill-defined categories of practices and mean different things to different people. Take “active learning,” a term that has been in circulation at least 25 years. It seems to include all instructional practices except lecturing and is used interchangeably with other equally ambiguous terms such as “hands-on learning.” Having a theory of how people learn would allow teachers to plan pedagogy more effectively and examine all factors relevant to learning, argue Stephen L. Chew and William J. Cerbin.

Do Employers Overestimate the Value of a College Degree?
(The Atlantic)

Worker-training programs could bring companies good workers at low costs.

Teachers often ask youngsters to learn in ways that exceed even adult-sized attention spans
(Hechinger Report)

Elementary school students were frequently “off task” in study of more than 50 classrooms.

Reading on electronic devices may interfere with science reading comprehension
(Science Daily)
People who often read on electronic devices may have a difficult time understanding scientific concepts, according to researchers. They suggest that this finding, among others in the study, could also offer insights on how reading a scientific text differs from casual reading.

Teachers Would Lose Loan Forgiveness Programs in Higher Education Bill
(Education Week – Subscription Required)

We wrote about the GOP’s new legislation to reauthorize the nation’s higher education law last week. But there’s one issue we should highlight that specifically impacts teachers.

20 great podcasts for educators (and how to get them)
(Ditch That Textbook)
Podcasts are my lifeblood for generating new ideas, processing the ideas I already have and entertainment. They’re like radio shows on virtually any topic under the sun. Actually, they’re better than radio shows because you don’t have to tune in at a specific time. You download them and listen to them on your phone/tablet/device or you listen to them online. In education, there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of podcasts.

Cognitive Load Theory and Applications in the Classroom
(Noba Blog)

What is Cognitive Load Theory?

Who Changes Majors? (Not Who You Think)
(Inside Higher Ed)

Graduates with math degrees fare well on the job market, but a greater share of students leave the major than any other, new federal data show. Are those students making a bad choice?

Reading aloud might boost students’ memories
(The Learning Spy)
The speculation is that the effort of saying something out loud appears to make information more cognitively ‘sticky’, creating stronger schematic connections in long-term memory. This advantages appears to be strongest when we say things out loud ourselves, but also holds true when listening to someone else read aloud.

What A Tax Overhaul Could Mean For Students And Schools
The House and Senate are working to reconcile their versions of a tax plan, but one thing is certain: Big changes are ahead for the nation’s schools and colleges. A breakdown of the tax bill provisions from K-12 to higher education.

Preschool program helps boost skills necessary for academic achievement
(Science Daily)
Children growing up in poverty face many challenges, but a preschool program that aims to improve social and emotional skills may help increase their focus and improve learning in the classroom, according to researchers.

Multicultural awareness boosts teaching competency, but is an uneven resource among future teachers
(Science Daily)
Student teachers with more multicultural awareness foster more positive classroom environments for their students, finds a new study.

Teacher Professional Development: Many Choices, Few Quality Checks
(Education Week)
Ask teachers what they actually do to renew their licenses every five years, and you are likely to get an elaborate description of their decision process, not a simple answer.

Brain researchers gain greater understanding of how we generate internal experiences
(Science Daily)
Our mental life is rich with an enormous number of internal experiences. We can vividly recall an episode from childhood as well as what we did just five minutes ago. We can imagine and plan in detail our next vacation. How does the brain achieve this magic? In a new study researchers showed that internal experiences, such as recalling personal memories, are associated with the simultaneous activity of different cognitive systems.

What’s Behind the Record Rises in U.S. Graduation Rates?
(Education Week)
Experts and policymakers offer differing thoughts on the reasons behind the recent rises in high school graduation rates, which are affecting students from nearly every racial and income group and those with disabilities.

How Schools Can Help Students Manage and Mitigate Anxiety
(KQED – MindShift)
According a range of mental health experts, school counselors should focus on giving students the tools they need to overcome their anxiety, while fostering a school culture that embraces a sense of balance and self-regulatory skills.

Bad News for the Highly Intelligent
(Scientific American)
Superior IQs associated with mental and physical disorders, research suggests.

House Republicans May Be Backing Away From Taxing Grad-Student Tuition Waivers
(The Chronicle of Higher Education)
“A tax on graduate tuition waivers would be unfair, would undermine our competitive position, and would inhibit the economic growth that tax reform promises,” the lawmakers wrote.

Weekly Digest #88: Psychological Misconceptions in Movies and TV shows
(The Learning Scientists)
Movies and TV shows are a very rich source of these misconceptions, and thus provide a very useful set of materials for training students to detect these misconceptions. Below we provide 5 scenes that can be used for an error-detection exercise, with explanations of the concept that each scene gets wrong.

Neuroscientists Just Launched An Atlas Of The Developing Human Brain
Today, things are looking a little less mysterious. A team of researchers led by neuroscientists at UC San Francisco has spent the last five years compiling the first entries in what they hope will become an extensive atlas of gene expression in the developing human brain.

About the Author

Amanda Macchi, MPH
Amanda comes to 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 and collecting/learning about mid-century modern furniture.
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.