Math teachers feel they’re poorly prepared

One thing that most of us remember best about school is our teachers. Thus, when solutions are proposed for reforming American schools in response to critical reports or disappointing test results, teachers are always among the first to be singled out, Scientific American reports. Proposals often turn first to improving the teaching force by focusing on higher quality. For example, in the NCLB [No Child Left Behind] era, considerable emphasis has been placed on a highly qualified teaching force. Districts must certify what percentage of their teachers is highly qualified. However, the states and school districts define what they consider highly qualified, resulting in a great deal of ambiguity. What does it mean to be a highly qualified teacher? The definition of a high-quality mathematics teacher has never been standardized. Therefore, although improving the quality of teachers and teaching is a common cry when we seek to improve schools, there is little agreement and scant empirical evidence that indicates what characteristics define a high-quality mathematics teacher…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Could this be a way to speed up learning?

One of the most difficult tasks to teach Air Force pilots who guide unmanned attack drones is how to pick out targets in complex radar images. Pilot training is currently one of the biggest bottlenecks in deploying these new, deadly weapons. So Air Force researchers were delighted recently to learn that they could cut training time in half by delivering a mild electrical current (two milliamperes of direct current for 30 minutes) to pilot’s brains during training sessions on video simulators, Scientific American reports. The current is delivered through EEG (electroencephalographic) electrodes placed on the scalp. Biomedical engineer Andy McKinley and colleagues at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, reported their finding on this so-called transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) here at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting on November 13…

Click here for the full story

…Read More