Using VR to radically improve learning outcomes

“When will I ever use this?”

Math students have been asking educators this very question for decades. And yet, it has long been reported by Brookings (Loveless, 2008) and others like the Algebra Project (Moses, 2001) that Algebra I is the gatekeeper to higher level math classes, higher education success, and careers in the technical fields. It is a commonly-held belief that algebraic concepts are directly related to critical thinking skills. So, what is the disconnect?

We have hovered our proverbial mouse over the 21st century now for two decades. Yet, our education system and structure had shown little to no trace of modernization. Bells rang, people moved. An agrarian calendar is used to let our students “off” for the summer to help with…wait, for what? …Read More

New partnership to promote the 16 Habits of Mind

ASCD, in partnership with Wonder Media, presents a series of animations based on the renowned 16 Habits of Mind developed by Dr. Art Costa and Bena Kallick of the Global Institute for Habits of Mind. This groundbreaking collaboration offers a unique tool that empowers students in kindergarten through 2nd grade with creative and critical thinking skills for success in school and life.

The Habits of Mind Animations offer educators a revolutionary new tool in alignment with college- and career- ready standards to help students learn how to persist, how to manage their impulsivity, how to listen with understanding and empathy, how to strive for accuracy, and 12 other essential life skills.

Research shows that young children form strong emotional relationships with animated characters, and using these characters to model behaviors helps break down barriers to students’ understanding of difficult-to-teach concepts.…Read More

Kick off your Hour of Code with Minecraft’s help

Just in time for Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code, Microsoft Corp. and Code.org have unveiled the Minecraft Hour of Code Designer, a coding tutorial for students and educators.

The Hour of Code is an annual global campaign held during Computer Science Education Week, which this year runs Dec. 5–11.

The new web-based tutorial, available for free at http://code.org/minecraft, helps novice coders to create and share their own simple “Minecraft” game, and is designed to empower anyone to begin learning the problem-solving and critical thinking skills required in today’s tech-fueled world.…Read More

A society with poor critical thinking skills: The case for ‘argument’ in education

The Huffington Post reports that researchers have shown that most students today are weak in critical thinking skills. They do poorly on simple logical reasoning tests. Only a fraction of graduating high school seniors (6 percent of 12th graders) can make informed, critical judgments about written text. This problem applies to both reading and writing. Only 15 percent of 12th graders demonstrate the proficiency to write well-organized essays that consisted of clear arguments. Critical thinking and argument skills — the abilities to both generate and critique arguments — are crucial elements in decision-making. When applied to academic settings, argumentation may promote the long-term understanding and retention of course content…

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