Sunrise over Inyo, CA
CultureFeaturedHigher EducationSecondary Education

Our Cultural Obsession with College is Misguided and Dangerous

[Content note: youth suicide, mental illness]     One chilly morning in my Junior year of high school, a boy who sat a few desks behind me in my AP Calculus class came into school early, parked his car in the student lot, set up a video camera, recorded himself …

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Higher Education

Those who can teach, those who can’t teach in college

That’s of course an entirely unfair overgeneralisation, but I guess I have your attention now, right? I recently took part in a scientific conference on the latest research in Spanish (more about the content in a different post) and what struck me was the bad quality of some of presentations …

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EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: College Teachers always the Bridesmaid

I have seen this series of e-cards posted to the right around the interwebs for a while, and it has always stuck in the back of my head for a number of reasons.  The first is I like how it evens out.  There is this weird notion in some people’s …

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EducationHigher EducationPedagogyPop QuizScience

Pop Quiz: The Horror of Math

The bulk of the classes I teach are general science courses that are not math heavy. Even though these courses do not rely on math like a Physics class would there is still a small math component to each course. I am really not sure how to do science without …

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FeminismHigher Education

No More Rape? Easy! Women Don’t Drink

Okay, I almost ran into the person in front of me on the way to work yesterday while listening to the Diane Rehm Show on NPR.  The show topic was The Role of Fraternities and Sororities Today (click link for transcript and show) and I tuned in after it had …

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EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Minimum Technology

If I do not have a mediated classroom with at least a computer in it that is capable of projecting information and pictures on a screen my astronomy lectures are broken. I need the ability to show pictures. I have colleagues who still use slide projectors to show examples of …

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EducationHigher EducationPedagogyScienceSecondary Education

Introduction to Astronomy Survey

Warning: This post is Northern Hemisphere-centric! Also, keep in mind I did not do an exhaustive statistical analysis of this survey so take it as you wish. Every semester at the beginning of my Introduction to Astronomy course I give a variation of the survey from The Collaboration for Astronomy Education …

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Drawing of a PC plugged into a globe
EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Multi-Taskers or Multi-Ignorers

I allow laptops in my classroom.  I do a lot of slides so I figure if they want to annotate them they can either print them out or bring a tablet/laptop to class to do so. I know that those with laptops are sitting there half paying attention and half …

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Critical ThinkingEducationPedagogyPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Learner Centered In Large Classes

Normally, I teach a smaller sized class of anywhere from 27 -35 students. This summer I managed to get a larger lecture class on the order of 80 -100 students. No biggie right? I just have more papers to grade and more copies of homework and exams to get. Well …

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EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Graded Homework.. Why Bother?

Last week (for me) was the most wonderful time of the year, the end of a semester. As most instructors can understand, it is also one of the busiest times of the year with the influx of paper grading. So as I was grading the piles upon piles of papers, …

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