Saturday, September 27, 2014

How We Learn by Benedict Carey

I love that author Benedict Carey actively encourages us to play as we read about his research  andreflect on our own learning. As a high school teacher/librarian, I was originally interested in How We Learn because of its subject matter, but I have been recommending it to others due to Carey’s many examples, anecdotes and overall engaging style.  Additional reviews have appeared on NPR (with chapter excerpt here) and Mind/Shift, including a fun online quiz.   

Carey begins with an overview of neuroscience and how the brain works – educators will be familiar with most of this material, but it could be of interest to parents and some students. In chapters with titles like “Spacing Out,” “Being Mixed Up,” and “Learning Without Thinking,” he goes on to explore study routines and practices.  He notes, for example, that “making your memory work a little harder – by self-quizzing, for example or spacing out study time – sharpens the imprint of what you know.”  Throughout, he acknowledges that we all learn differently. Therefore, I think this relatively slim volume would make an effective summer read for rising Seniors, especially those taking Psych/Soc or Lit/Psych.

Chapter 6, “The Upside of Distraction,” seems particularly pertinent to review as we move forward with a 1:1 mobile initiative. There, Carey refers to the importance of motivation, the theme of this month’s Educational Leadership issue from ASCD which contains an interview with author Daniel Pink.
How We Learn also stresses the importance of sleep, a topic which frequently intrigues students. Clearly, Carey’s connections apply to lifelong learning with even the Wall Street Journal recently (9/18/14) noting that “A Full Night's Sleep Can Really Pay Off--In Salary and Investments.” How We Learn will be appreciated by fans of Moonwalking with Einstein and readers of works by scholar/practitioners such as Clayton Christensen, Peg Tyre, and Daniel Kahneman.  As more colleagues read How We Learn I am looking forward to several fascinating discussions about continuing to shift our focus from how we teach TO how we learn and how we facilitate learning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reading news ...

We have been having numerous conversations about reading this year, sharing favorite titles and brainstorming ways to promote reading amongst faculty and students.  Here is a great story shared by Angela which she found on CBS News.

Today's Wall Street Journal also had an intriguing article called "Read Slowly to Benefit Your Brain and Cut Stress." Containing this graphic, the article recounts how just 30 minutes with a book or eBook helps.
 It also links to an interactive reading exercise.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

It’s Complicated by danah boyd

I have wanted to write a review of It’s Complicated by danah boyd since it was published about 6 months ago.  Now I have some added incentive because she will be speaking in Chicago on Sept. 22nd.  Having previously heard boyd speak locally, I would encourage parents and educators to attend. That evening, boyd will be joining former physics teacher Sam Dyson in a panel on “Re-imaging School: opportunity, safety, and privacy in the social lives of networked teens” at the Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater from 6:30 to 8:00pm. Register here for the program sponsored by Golden Apple, National Louis University and the MacArthur Foundation.

Even though it is a fairly scholarly work – based on qualitative research and interviews with 166 teens and with almost 50 pages of notes and bibliography -- It’s Complicated should be explored by both parents and educators.  Boyd describes her objective as follows: “I hope to help the public better understand what young people are doing when they engage with social media.” She is certainly knowledgeable and passionate about the subject.  boyd discusses multiple aspects of online behavior including privacy, addiction, bullying, inequitable access and literacy. She effectively uses numerous examples and quotes from teens to provide context and to support her argument.

For example, boyd quotes Northwestern Professor Eszter Hargittai whose own recent (March, 2014) research concludes: “Findings suggest that simply having grown up with digital media does not result in either universal know-how about the Internet nor universal online engagement suggesting that interventions are important to make sure that people from all backgrounds have the necessary skills to take advantage of all that the Internet has to offer.” As librarians, we are constantly debating this issue as we explore and refine lessons on information literacy.

If you cannot attend Re-imaging School on September 22nd, grab a copy (downloads available) of It’s Complicated and/or listen to boyd discuss the book in the video below:

New Image Library to fellow librarian, Matt, and our AV Multimedia Manager, Tom, for separately forwarding articles which discuss the Internet Archive Book Images.

Here are the titles of the articles from the Chicago Tribune ("U of I alum gives historical photos life on the web" - restricted access) and from the BBC: "Millions of Historical Images Posted to Flickr"

We will be adding the link for Internet Archive Book Images to our Images and Photographs page on Web Reference; check it out for curated and recommended links on a great variety of subjects.