Students can’t resist multitasking, and it’s impairing their memory

Living rooms, dens, kitchens, even bedrooms: Investigators followed students into the spaces where homework gets done. Pens poised over their “study observation forms,” the observers watched intently as the students—in middle school, high school, and college, 263 in all—opened their books and turned on their computers, Slate.com reports. For a quarter of an hour, the investigators from the lab of Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University–Dominguez Hills, marked down once a minute what the students were doing as they studied. A checklist on the form included: reading a book, writing on paper, typing on the computer—and also using email, looking at Facebook, engaging in instant messaging, texting, talking on the phone, watching television, listening to music, surfing the web…

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Weebly lets you easily create websites for class projects and more

Weebly for Education is a free online service that is perfect for creating classroom websites, student blogs or e-portfolios, and websites for assigned projects. Its drag-and-drop website editor is simple to use for students of all ages. Weebly allows students to express themselves creatively using a variety of multimedia features, all within a protected environment that teachers can control.

Videos, pictures, maps, and text can be added to a site simply by dragging and dropping them—no HTML or technical skills are required. And with Weebly, you can password-protect all your students’ websites with one click. You have full control over which websites are public, which are private, and which can be edited by the student.

Weebly supports an unlimited number of blogs within a website, with comment moderation features that allow an open, moderated, or closed conversation. It’s free to create and publish a website with Weebly, although the service offers optional Pro account features for $39.95 per year, and it offers add-on packs of student accounts (10 accounts for $10) if your needs exceed the 40 accounts that are included.

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How to train students’ brains for the Common Core

The Common Core State Standards ask students to perform with higher levels of cognition and application, and brain training and specific teaching methods can help students succeed with these new standards, experts say.

According to Margaret Glick, a neuroscience expert and educational consultant at the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), the Common Core State Standards and the accompanying assessments will cognitively require more than past standards.

“They will require a deep understanding of content, complex performances, real-world application, habits of mind to persevere, higher levels of cognition and cognitive flexibility,” Glick said during “The Common Core State Standards and the Brain,” a webinar sponsored by the Learning Enhancement Corporation.

(Next page: 4 neuroscience teaching methods)

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Stories of struggle and creativity as sequestration cuts hit home

The New York Times reports that facing the task of cutting 142 children from the Head Start program in Colorado Springs this fall, the teachers and administrators came up with a creative response: Have the children decorate empty chairs, then sell them for $500 apiece to stave off the worst of the across-the-board federal cuts heading their way. So far, in a month, their “Fill a Seat” fund-raiser has filled just two slots in the program. But in neighboring Wyoming, the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks were able to tap the deep pockets and political influence of affluent donors and the support of neighboring communities to maintain full park operations through the peak tourist season this summer…

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Will Bitcoin change how kids learn to count?

While some argue that a truly ubiquitous, digital currency is many years from becoming a reality, behaviorally, we’re already well down money’s evolutionary path: credit cards, direct deposits, e-transfers, micro-donations, mobile payments, Wired.com reports. And now there’s decentralized “cryptocurrency.” Bitcoin has been generating buzz — some would say hype — for a while; in the last few months alone there’s been talk about Bitcoin ATMs, bubbles, ecosystems, miners, and more…

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Top quality education for everyone! But what’s ‘top quality’?

When 160,000 students registered for an online version of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence course, many thought that the dream of bringing top quality education to everyone was within reach, Forbes.com reports. But do we really know what a top quality education looks like? This year, the number of unemployed people with college degrees surpassed the number of unemployed people with only high school degrees. That’s incredibly alarming. It means that even if we bring higher education to more people, they may not be able to find jobs and get a return on their educational investment…

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Up to $6K in prizes for active kids

The national contest, a new addition to NFL PLAY 60, challenges kids ages 6-13 to develop new ways to stay active and healthy. NFL PLAY 60 and By Kids For Kids Co (BKFK), a leader in youth innovation competitions, teamed up to create this contest. The Grand Prize winner will receive $5,000 and an NFL Prize Pack, and the NFL will work with the winning child to bring their idea to life. The two runner-ups will each receive $500 and an NFL Prize Pack.

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Study: Sesame Street boosts early childhood learning

Abby Cadabby blows bubbles in “Bubblefest” as part of Sesame Street’s 42nd season. Photo credit: Richard Termine/Sesame Workshop.

Watching international versions of Sesame Street has a positive impact on early childhood learning practices and learning outcomes among children in other countries, according to a forthcoming meta-analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Lead researchers Dr. Marie-Louise Mares and Dr. Zhongdang Pan examined 24 studies of more than 10,000 children in 15 countries and found that watching Sesame Street helped children achieve a variety of learning outcomes, such as increased health and safety knowledge.

The study pulls from various studies that mention the academic and economic advantages and learning outcomes associated with early childhood learning programs.

(Next page: What does Sesame Street help children learn?)

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