AVID has huge benefits for high school students

New UCLA-led research finds that a college preparatory program for youth experiencing educational inequities that operates in about 13 percent of U.S public high schools has a positive effect on students’ social networks, psycho-social outcomes, and health behaviors. 

The findings, published Dec. 16 in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics, suggest that the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program, aimed at increasing educational opportunities for under-represented and economically disadvantaged students, also significantly reduces substance use.

“Academic tracking” is a common practice in high schools through which lower-performing students are clustered with others of similar academic achievement. Although intended to tailor academic rigor to students’ level of preparation, the study findings suggest that this practice may be counterproductive by reinforcing risky behaviors that students pick up from their peers.…Read More

Creating educational opportunity with equity and fairness

We open this story of opportunity in America where many would begin — with our children, and what opportunity looks like for them today.

Some are born to privilege, with parents who have both the time and resources to invest in their development, living in neighborhoods with strong and cohesive social networks, attending good schools, and benefiting from substantial public investments that support them as they grow. Others are born to struggling families that face daily challenges to provide for them, living in communities with a lack of safe housing options and few job prospects for residents — communities with inadequate schools, many shattered by poverty and violence.

These different starting points place children on distinctly different trajectories of growth, leading to an accelerated accumulation of advantage or disadvantage and, ultimately, to vastly different adult outcomes.…Read More

14 trailblazing educators you should follow on Twitter

Social media plays a large role in today’s society, and most educators aren’t scared to jump in and leverage Twitter, Facebook and other social networks to increase their professional learning networks.

In fact, regular Twitter chats that focus on professional development, resources for students, special educations, and myriad other educational topics can do wonders for teacher morale.

But as great as Twitter is, it also can be overwhelming. Who should you follow? How often should you tweet? Which chats should you participate in, and how frequently?…Read More

5 social networks for students to get academic help

With the growing use of social networking sites like Facebook and twitter, the methodology of education for students is finding new and improved ways, reports Edudemic. Students are getting more prone to the commodities these platforms offer. Therefore this advancement in social networking platforms is providing students with much better options to engage with their contemporaries, enhance their skills and access a wide variety of academic tools and resources which will most definitely add up to their convenience…

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Schools, tech companies tailor social sites for students

Colleges and universities across the United States are going beyond simply creating web sites and pages on Facebook for students to “friend” or “fan”; they’re also working with technology companies to build their own social networks and integrate them into campus life to boost admissions and retain students, Reuters reports. One new app from San Francisco-based Inigral Inc. allows colleges to create social networks within Facebook, while a mobile technology from Foursquare gives students the ability to walk into an event, check their phone, and find other students. Like many apps from technology start-ups, these student-oriented ones currently are free for users, but the owners see the potential to make big profits in the future as capabilities increase and usage grows. “We want to be able to find prospective students where they are, and it is clear to us that Facebook is the dominant source,” said Columbia College Chicago’s executive director of admissions, Murphy Monroe, whose college recently adopted the new app from Inigral, called “Schools on Facebook.” “We want to meet them there in a secure way, and in a way that feels authentic to our school’s culture, and the [new] product gave us an unusual way to do that.” The app allows colleges to form private communities that give students school-specific profiles and keeps them separate from personal accounts. When students sign up, they give Facebook permission to add the app, and school information is then waiting for them upon their first login…

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Political fundraising tool taps social networks

The Associated Press reports that candidates in some top political races are raising big sums of money using software that taps donors’ social networks, an endeavor that lets the donors track their friends’ donations with the zeal a fantasy baseball team owner uses to monitor player statistics. Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker in Massachusetts and two GOP Senate candidates, Marco Rubio in Florida and Rob Portman in Ohio, are among those using a software-based fundraising tool called BlueSwarm to successfully tap their social networks for campaign cash. The Democratic Governors Association also plans to use it. The software democratizes the fundraising process by letting average citizens not just donate, but raise money themselves from their Outlook contacts or their Facebook friends…

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Google expands its social search test

Google’s Social Search service, which includes public content from users’ social networks in search results, is getting promoted to Google.com from the company’s Labs site, meaning it is no longer considered an early prototype, PC World reports. In the coming days, Google will let English-language users of its search engine see relevant links to items their social-networking contacts have posted publicly on the web. Social Search results also will appear in the Google Images engine, the company said in a Jan. 27 blog post. To use Social Search, users have to be signed in to their Google account. Google also recommends that people create a Google Profile, which they can populate with addresses to their blogs, social networks, photo-sharing accounts, and so on. Google can then harvest the contacts and connections in those sites, as well as in Google services such as Gmail and Google Reader, and index publicly available, relevant content for these users’ Social Search query results. Besides the Social Search effort, Google also is indexing public posts from social networks and returning links to them in its search results, even for users who aren’t signed in to their Google account…

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