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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Is Google Search Making Us Dumber?

Is Google Search Making Us Dumber?

Google’s search engine algorithms are getting smarter. Great, right? What if the trade-off is that we’re getting dumber? Ian Leslie has an article up on Salon.com that asks this question and whether or not Google search is harmless. Is it beneficial to find immediate answers by Google search on our smartphone/tablet/computer? Not if we’re getting too lazy to ask the right questions.

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Is Graduating in 4 Years a Fantasy?

Is a 4-Year Degree Impossible?

Numbers show on-time graduation is a pipe dream for most college students

They’re called “4-year universities” for a reason, right? Then why are more and more students finding it takes them five, six, sometimes seven years to earn their bachelor’s degree? Worse, many students aren’t even making it to graduation day.

From the start, students are set on a path to earn their degree in at least five years from the advice of their counselors. Since many financial aid and grant programs only cover the cost of 12 credit hours per semester, it seems like good advice – until you realize students need to be taking a minimum of 15 credits per semester in order to graduate inside of four years. Add in a change of major, a loss of credits from a community college transfer, a scarcity of available classes, a choice to gain a minor or double major, and a graduation date in less than six years becomes a pipe dream.

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Will Colleges One Day Be Massive, Online, and Free?

Black Mortarboard and computer keyboardWhoever you are, whatever your SAT score and high school report card looks like, you could take a course at Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, or Johns Hopkins right this minute. These elite schools, among many others, have begun to offer open, online, not-for-credit courses to anyone who wants to take them. These are casually referred to as MOOCs, massive open online courses.

You might assume that these classes consist only of video lectures, a collection of slides with a professor’s voiceover, the equivalent of watching some informative YouTube videos. In fact, the courses are as complete as any you’d take in college. There are assigned readings to accompany every class, a syllabus, homework, and essays. Many of them even have some form of grading.

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Turning the Classroom into a Multiplayer Game

Gamfication

Avatars, guilds, quests, XP — sounds like the newest installment of World of Warcraft, but for a growing number of classrooms it’s just another day at school.

Lee Sheldon, a video-game designer and Game Design teacher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, came up with the idea of “gaming” his lesson plans after becoming bored with the traditional teaching format of: lecture, quiz, grade, repeat. Sheldon knew if he was boring himself, his college students were probably even worse off. That’s when it clicked: he needed to “gamify” the classroom.

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Does Your LinkedIn Profile Look As Good As Your College Application?

linkedin-logo

You know LinkedIn. It’s that social network you meticulously maintain but never look at, unless you’re applying for an internship or get an email because someone endorsed you. It’s the most useful and least fun way to spend your time on social media.

In a new, potentially trend-setting redesign, Cornell University’s graduate school of business management allows applicants to fill in most application information automatically. All the applicant needs to do is connect to his or her LinkedIn profile.

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High School Cancels Summer Reading Over ‘Controversial’ YA Book

lilbrother_doctorowUntil recently, a Florida high school had a summer reading program that had everyone in the school, regardless of grade level, reading the same book. However, the school’s administration canned the program over the content of this year’s book, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.

The reasoning is a bit odd. The school, or at least, the librarians and English teachers responsible for actually reading the book and writing discussion materials for the students, vetted it and found nothing inappropriate about it. The plug was pulled at the last minute by the school’s principal, who’s reasoning seems to be primarily based on online reviews. Those reviews mentioned that the book had a “positive view of questioning authority” and “lauding hacker culture.” The principal also said that he had received parent complaints about profanity, though the author insists the only profanity is one indirect reference.

(Even if the book was foul-mouthed, let’s all just admit that shielding 14- to 18-year-olds from naughty words is a losing battle. Personally, those were my peak cursing years.)

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The 8 Best Motivational TED Talks for College Students

The following was written by JT Ripton, a writer who has contributed to Teach.com, Apartments.com, CollegeRecruiter.com, and other sites. He can be reached on Twitter at @JTRipton.

The college years are full of tough assignments, hectic schedules, and challenging social situations. It’s easy to shrink back and become overwhelmed in that environment, but that can lead to regret later. Inspiring TED talks are always a good go-to for anyone who needs a bit of thought-provoking insight. The following eight talks are particularly helpful to college students.

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