Brains on Fiction

From: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-neuroscience-of-your-brain-on-fiction.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1411021006-kbtJl7ChBD7uTGe4wXRH0w&

“What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive. Words like “lavender,” “cinnamon” and “soap,” for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains, but also those devoted to dealing with smells.

“Researchers have discovered that words describing motion also stimulate regions of the brain distinct from language-processing areas.”

The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.”

“The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.”

“Scientists call this capacity of the brain to construct a map of other people’s intentions “theory of mind.” Narratives offer a unique opportunity to engage this capacity, as we identify with characters’ longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers.”

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The Feeling of Learning

From:  http://anniemurphypaul.com/2014/09/the-feeling-of-learning/#

“Human tutors—teachers who work closely with students, one on one—are unrivaled in their ability to promote deep and lasting learning. Education researchers have known this for more than 30 years, but until recently they haven’t paid much attention to one important reason why tutoring is so effective: the management of emotion. Studies show that tutors spend about half their time dealing with pupils’ feelings about what and how they’re learning.”

…….

“Notwithstanding the cognitive benefits of positive emotion, researchers in affective computing also find that deep learning must always involve a fair amount of negative emotion, concentrated in the phase in which students are struggling mightily to grasp new ways of thinking. In fact, students show the lowest levels of enjoyment during learning under the conditions in which they learn the most, and the feeling of confusion turns out to be the best predictor of learning.

Patterns of negative and positive feelings tend to follow a predictable progression, in which students feel worst when they’re in the throes of “cognitive disequilibrium,” or a state of unresolved confusion, and then start to feel better as the material becomes more comprehensible. For learners who experience repeated failures to make headway, however, confusion transitions into frustration, which in turn results in disengagement and boredom (and ultimately, minimal learning).”

(Slate) Ed Tech is Making the Achievement Gap Even Bigger

” Some studies of the introduction of technology have found an overall negative effect on academic achievement—and in these cases, poor students’ performance suffers more than that of their richer peers. In an article to be published next month in the journal Economic Inquiry, for example, Duke University economist Jacob Vigdor and co-authors Helen Ladd and Erika Martinez report their analysis of what happened when high-speed Internet service was rolled out across North Carolina: Math and reading test scores of the state’s public school students went down in each region as broadband was introduced, and this negative impact was greatest among economically disadvantaged students. Dousing the hope that spreading technology will engender growing equality, the authors write: “Reliable evidence points to the conclusion that broadening student access to home computers or home Internet service would widen, not narrow, achievement gaps.”ome studies of the introduction of technology have found an overall negative effect on academic achievement—and in these cases, poor students’ performance suffers more than that of their richer peers.

 

In an article to be published next month in the journal Economic Inquiry, for example, Duke University economist Jacob Vigdor and co-authors Helen Ladd and Erika Martinez report their analysis of what happened when high-speed Internet service was rolled out across North Carolina: Math and reading test scores of the state’s public school students went down in each region as broadband was introduced, and this negative impact was greatest among economically disadvantaged students. Dousing the hope that spreading technology will engender growing equality, the authors write: ‘Reliable evidence points to the conclusion that broadening student access to home computers or home Internet service would widen, not narrow, achievement gaps.’

 

Why would improved access to the Internet harm the academic performance of poor students in particular? Vigdor and his colleagues speculate that “this may occur because student computer use is more effectively monitored and channeled toward productive ends in more affluent homes.” This is, in fact, exactly the dynamic Susan Neuman and Donna Celano saw playing out in the libraries they monitored. At the Chestnut Hill library, they found, young visitors to the computer area were almost always accompanied by a parent or grandparent. Adults positioned themselves close to the children and close to the screen, offering a stream of questions and suggestions. Kids were steered away from games and toward educational programs emphasizing letters, numbers, and shapes. When the children became confused or frustrated, the grown-ups guided them to a solution.”

 

From: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/06/neuman_celano_library_study_educational_technology_worsens_achievement_gaps.2.html

Why Angular.js? : An Overview

Benefits:

  • organizes JS code
  • responsive dynamic websites
  • compatible with jQuery
  • easy to test

What is it?

  • A client-side JS Framework for adding interactivity to HTML

What are it’s components?

  • Directive : A marker on an HTML tag that tells Angular to run or reference some JS code
  • Modules: where we write pieces of the Angular app, define dependencies for our app, makes code more maintainable, testable, readable
  • Expressions: allow insertion of dynamic values to HTML

Understanding School Funding

QUESTION: I understand that school funding comes from federal, state and property taxes. But why anyone would think relying so heavily on property taxes is a good idea? How was this system established in the first place? What are reasons for and against it? What has been done to overhaul or at least modify it? 

TO DO: Read the following and summarize / communicate in a more creative way:  

The CSS clearfix class

This CSS clear fix uses :before and :after pseudo-elements of the container to perform the clear:

/* Assuming this HTML structure:

	<div class="clear">
		<div class="floated"></div>
		<div class="floated"></div>
		<div class="floated"></div>
	</div>
*/

.clear:before,
.clear:after {
    content: " ";
    display: table;
}

.clear:after {
    clear: both;
}

This CSS reliably clears floating child elements so that the next set of elements has a clear plane to begin from. 

Adapted from: http://davidwalsh.name/css-clear-fix