Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reaching the Goal

The report "Reaching the Goal: The Applicability and Importance of the Common Core State Standards to College and Career Readiness" shows strong support among college faculty for the Common Core State Standards, which clearly will prepare students well for success in higher education.  I could not agree more.  The sooner we act to adopt these standards the better, especially when recent ACT data suggest that fewer than 1/4 of all students taking the test are prepared for success in college!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer College for Teachers: Links of Interest

The following links are among those we will discuss during the technology portion of our program for the Summer College for Teachers, August 2.

The Rutgers Writing Program

Teaching Expos 101 from Expos the Movie on Vimeo.

Common Core State Standards

For those wanting to learn more about the new Common Core, the following links may help:

Decision-Making and Critical Thinking Webliography
The following list is an experiment in curating internet readings for high school and college teachers.  We think that this may be a valuable way of making viable readings available for high school teachers of English so that they do not have to invest all of their Common Core "conversion" money in materials but can put it where it will really make a difference: in teacher training.  We are hoping to make a large number of webliographies available to teachers, along with collaborative tools for sharing assignments and other materials.
  • Dan Ariely, "Painful Lessons" -- PDF download (January 30, 2008) This essay on the author's experience of being terribly burned became the introduction to his later book, Predictably Irrational.
  • Sharon Begley, "I Can't Think!" (Newsweek, February 27, 2011)
  • Nicholas Carr, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" (The Atlantic, July / August 2008) Controversial when published, Carr's article presented his initial thoughts, later expanded in The Shallows, on the way Google has encouraged a generation of skimmers and not deep thinker.  See James Bowman's "Is Stupid Making Us Google?" for an interesting response.
  • John Dewey, How We Think (widely available, including at the Internet ArchiveA seminal work on thought and decision-making and how these should be the content of the school curriculum.
  • David Dobbs, The Science of Success (The Atlantic,  December 2009) "Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail—but with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful, and happy people."
  • Nitika Garg and Jennifer Lerner, "Sadness and Consumption"
  • Adam Gopnik, "The Information: How the Internet Gets Inside Us" (The New Yorker, February 14, 2011)
  • Seunghee Han and Jennifer Lerner, "Decision Making"
  • Jonah Lehrer, "Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up." (Wired, December 21, 2009)
  • Jonah Lehrer, "Don't: The Future of Self-Control."  (The New Yorker, May 18, 2009) This article revived interest in the now famous "marshmallow test" and what it has taught us about the importance of self-control.
  • Maria Popova, "The Science of Choice: 5 Perspectives"
  • Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Extract from Nudge (The Independent, March 22, 2009)


  • Blogs for Learning
    An excellent site maintained by Michigan State University devoted to using blogs in education.
  • Inwords/Outwords by Anannya Dasgupta and students
    An example of using a blog to have students communicate with each other and share drafts.  The teacher gave every participant equal access to the blog to post.  You could also post questions and use the blog comments feature as a bulletin board for threaded discussion.  But enabling students to post to the blog had some interesting fringe benefits, such as their ability to share links to online material.
  • College! by Michael Goeller
    In my research writing class last year, I had all students set up a project blog to track their progress throughout the semester and to give me many chances to intervene along the way.  I set up a blog myself that linked to all of their blogs.
  • Sakai at Rutgers
    The home page of our open source course software.

Google Docs

One of the best ways to encourage revision and online collaboration is through Google Docs, which is part of the Google suite of tools.
Google Docs

Other Links
Jane E. Miller
Science teachers will find Dr. Miller's links under "Writing about Numbers" of value.