Letting Go of Free Will

Letting Go of Free Will

The most popular conception of free will—a notion that lies mostly unexamined until it becomes necessary to defend it—is that there is something inside our minds (a “ghost in the machine“) that, as Steven Pinker says, “reads the TV screen of the senses and pushes buttons and pulls levers of behavior.” While it goes mostly without saying (I hope) that this kind o... »

Sex ed live, NY teacher evals, race and discipline, science ed, banned books 2014, and more: Required Readings, 04.20.15

Sex ed live, NY teacher evals, race and discipline, science ed, banned books 2014, and more: Required Readings, 04.20.15

In pop culture, today is 420, sort of a Cannabis Christmas. However, educators are more likely to associate the date with the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. One of the biggest education stories of the past week involved a mother (and renowned sex researcher) who observed a lecture given as part of her teenage son’s sex education course and live tweeted the experience. Foc... »

Why the Opt-Out Movement is Growing in New York

Why the Opt-Out Movement is Growing in New York

Last week, tens of thousands of children sat out the New York State Common Core English Language arts exams as their parents’ frustrations pushed them to finally boycott the test. In some districts, over 50% of students sat out the test with over 175,000 children opting out in grades 3-8.  And that percent is expected to increase this week as schools gear up to administer the Math exams. Why is th... »

Opting Out of Homework

Opting Out of Homework

One of the required readings in early March involved an article on “Opting Out of Homework.” While writing a comment to respond to it, I realized I had enough to say for a proper blog post. When I was a child, I opted out of homework. Of course, opting out of homework also meant opting out of passing grades. And by “opting out” I mostly meant “not turning my homework in.” Sometimes I did it and lo... »

#147notjustanumber, What If and open access, Jedi temples on Turkish campuses, and more: Required Readings, 04.12.15

#147notjustanumber, What If and open access, Jedi temples on Turkish campuses, and more: Required Readings, 04.12.15

A social media campaign seeks to draw attention to each individual victim of a terrorist attack last week at a Kenyan university, sharing photos and the details of students’ lives. The utility of open access to scholarly materials as exemplified by xkcd creator Randall Munroe’s What If blog (recently published as a book) raises lots of meaty issues about information literacy in the dig... »

A statue of Columbus in Barcelona, pointing west towards America

¿Hablas español? ¿Sí? ¿Cuál?

As you may remember, I recently went to the German “Hispanistentag”, the biannual congress of Germany’s and Austria’s researchers on Spanish language and literature. The section I was in was about the different varieties of Spanish and what to do with them in school.   Spanish is spoken by around 400 million people worldwide of whom only about 10% live in Spain and the colonialist... »

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