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Monday, March 04

Educational news and research that caught our attention...

Mediterranean diet: The benefits to mother and child during pregnancy

  • A study published in the journal JAMA Network Open that suggests a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy significantly improves the neurodevelopment of children during their first two years of life.
  • The study involved 1,221 pregnancies, where participants were randomly assigned to different groups, including one following the Mediterranean diet.
  • Children born to mothers adhering to the Mediterranean diet scored higher in cognitive and social-emotional domains at the age of two.

Source:Medical News Today

Scholars on classic books they cherish or never read

  • What makes a great book great?
  • Mark Twain said a classic is -- a book which people praise and don't read.
  • Four professors discuss which ones they like, and ones they pass on.

Source:Harvard Gazette

High school shop class is back and it's here to fill the trade skills gap

  • High school shop classes, now known as Career Tech Education (CTE), are making a comeback, focusing on hands-on technical skills.
  • This shift comes as there is growing demand for trade labor, and questions surrounding the value of traditional college degrees.
  • The emphasis on college education has left a gap in skilled workers for industrial trades.

Source:CNBC

Anti-dopamine parenting can curb a kid's craving for screens or sweets

  • Neuroscientists have found that activities like watching cartoons and consuming sugary foods trigger surges of dopamine in the brain, associated with desire and motivation.
  • The author discusses the challenges of stopping such activities and offers tips for anti-dopamine parenting, suggesting four strategies that may be helpful.

Source:NPR Health

Benefits of later school entry for kids spill over to younger siblings

  • A study, based on North Carolina public school data, reveals that students born just after the kindergarten cutoff date tend to perform better.
  • Their success positively influences their younger siblings in middle school.
  • The sibling spillover effect is more pronounced in disadvantaged families, perhaps because wealthy families have the resources to mitigate sibling influence.

Source:Phys.org

Children need quiet environments to help early brain development

  • Excessive noise, especially in urban environments, can negatively impact cognitive development in children.
  • Meaningful sounds are important for young brains and too much irrelevant noise can be detrimental.
  • Silence and certain types of noise, like playing a musical instrument, can benefit children by reducing distractions and promoting neural connections.

Source:NPR

Does less TV time lower your risk for dementia?

  • Uh oh - it's not just bad for kids.
  • A study from 2018, involving approximately 500,000 individuals, found that more television viewing time was associated with worse cognitive function.
  • Another study in 2022, involving 146,651 people, revealed that spending more than four hours daily watching television increased the risk of dementia by 24%, while using the computer interactively for over one hour daily decreased the risk of dementia by 15%.

Source:Harvard Medical School blog

Should educators worry about ChatGPT?

  • Generative AI tools are capable of generating essays and writing computer code, among a host of other capabilities.
  • It has raised concerns about students using it to complete homework, leading to bans in some public schools and adjustments in college assignments.
  • Educators should offer courses and assignments to teach students how to understand and use these tools creatively.

Source:Phys.org

Should educators worry about ChatGPT?

  • Generative AI tools are capable of generating essays and writing computer code, among a host of other capabilities.
  • It has raised concerns about students using it to complete homework, leading to bans in some public schools and adjustments in college assignments.
  • Educators should offer courses and assignments to teach students how to understand and use these tools creatively.

Source:Phys.org

Reading for fun has declined

  • The latest NAEP survey shows a decline in American 9- and 13-year-olds reading for fun, reaching the lowest levels since the mid-1980s.
  • In 2020, 42% of 9-year-olds read almost daily, down from 53% in 2012, while 17% of 13-year-olds did, compared to 27% in 2012.
  • Higher test scores correlate with more frequent reading.

Source:Pew Research Center

Anti-dopamine parenting can curb a kid's craving for screens or sweets

  • Neuroscientists have found that activities like watching cartoons and consuming sugary foods trigger surges of dopamine in the brain, associated with desire and motivation.
  • The author discusses the challenges of stopping such activities and offers tips for anti-dopamine parenting, suggesting four strategies that may be helpful.

Source:NPR Health

High school shop class is back and it's here to fill the trade skills gap

  • High school shop classes, now known as Career Tech Education (CTE), are making a comeback, focusing on hands-on technical skills.
  • This shift comes as there is growing demand for trade labor, and questions surrounding the value of traditional college degrees.
  • The emphasis on college education has left a gap in skilled workers for industrial trades.

Source:CNBC

The 12 Worst Paying College Majors: Career Experts

  • Money isn't everything, but for many it should be a factor when considering college majors.
  • Some majors may not provide transferable skills, could require a graduate degree for specific roles, or might have limited career options.
  • Consider return on investment when choosing a major

Source: Business Insider

Wide gap in SAT/ACT test scores between wealthy, lower-income kids

  • Children from the wealthiest 1% of Americans are 13 times more likely to score 1300 or higher on SAT/ACT tests compared to children from low-income families.
  • Some experts look at this and say the SAT has become a "wealth test."
  • Disparities in education contribute to these gaps, starting from early childhood and continuing through high school.
  • Out-of-school opportunities, often available to wealthier families, exacerbate the inequality.

Source: Harvard Gazette

Schools across the U.S. are trying a 4-day week. Why?

  • 7% of U.S. school districts have adopted a four-day school week, with 30% in Missouri and 67% in Colorado implementing this schedule.
  • Why? It is often a response to the challenge of retaining teachers when districts can't raise taxes to increase salaries. While the shortened week doesn't increase salaries, it serves as an incentive and helps address teacher retention.
  • However, the move may lose its effectiveness as a recruitment tool, as neighboring districts adopt similar schedules.
  • There are also concerns about the impact on students, and the cost to parents for additional childcare.

Source: NPR

Near-sightedness is increasing among kids

  • Too little time outdoors, too much time on screens
  • The World Health Organization warns that by 2030, 40% of the global population will be nearsighted, with the U.S. already experiencing a rise in myopia rates from 25% in 1971 to nearly 42% in 2017.
  • The increase is particularly prominent in children. Experts attribute this rise to children spending too little time outdoors and too much time indoors staring at screens. For young children, such habits cause their eyes to prioritize near vision, leading to elongated eyeballs and myopia development.
  • Early onset myopia can result in severe vision problems later in life.

Source: NPR

The Science of Reading: Phonics plus Reading Comprehension

  • Improving reading comprehension involves recognizing the broader "science of reading," which goes beyond phonics and includes building knowledge.
  • The typical phonics instruction method emphasizes practicing skills on random topics at individual reading levels, disregarding the importance of building knowledge, which could be done at the same time.
  • Cognitive scientists stress the significance of knowledge and vocabulary in comprehension. Effective strategies include teachers reading aloud, engaging students in discussions, and using content-focused curricula for knowledge building.

Source: Forbes


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