Two Telling Infographs on American Education

At Citelighter, we focus on making research and writing more efficient for anyone interested in learning. And the most basic and crucial component of learning, of course, is reading.

Linked here is a startling recent infographic on the state of reading in our schools among elementary school students—it shows just how important it is to academic and life success. Below is one element of it:

A more elaborate set of infographics was released recently by the United States Census Bureau, highlighting the strong link between school enrollment, attendance, and college success. Definitely worth checking out below:

 

Surprises About Learning

Students learn material in dramatically different ways, a point highlighted recently in an interesting Edudemic article, “30 Surprising (And Controversial) Ways Students Learn.”

One striking examples is video games, which have earned the ire of many parents, politicians, and pundits for their often violent content. But as the article notes, citing a psychology study, games can offer a host of psychological benefits, acting as “a safe alternative for the release of pent-up emotion” , a new medium for children to socialize, and a virtual playground that allows room for experimentation and adventure.

Another assertion around learning that bucks conventional expectations is that “practical” lab work in science may not help students. A review of how labs are often constructed illustrates that many of them “are designed so that students follow a ‘recipe’ or list of directions that don’t exercise critical thinking skills.”

What unorthodox methods of learning have you witnessed or tried out in the classroom, and what conventional methods have you encountered that seem ineffective?

Learning Outside of Technology

Although we’re fully immersed in the technological space, sometimes it’s useful to step away from the screen and take a look at some insightful in-person teaching methodologies, both for their inherent value and for their potential application in a technology-oriented way.

Two really valuable pieces addressing teaching methods appeared in Edutopia recently, one on student collaboration and the other on believing in students.

Though the posts pertain to two sharply different topics, what’s noteworthy is what they share in common: a core belief that students learn best when they are held accountable in a context that encourages learning and taking on challenges, not meeting static criteria or random metrics.

Since it’s so easy to fall into a metric-heavy mindset on the technology side of education,  it’s important to ask what kind of measures we can cultivate through technology that focus on rewarding the act of learning, not merely making learning more efficient or economical.