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Monday, June 17

Educational news and research that caught our attention...

Independent play fosters resilient, self-reliant young people

  • Independent play develops problem-solving skills and resilience.
  • Societal shifts and educational pressure have led to less independent play.
  • Need to balance with adult supervision and structured routines.

Source:Harvard Graduate School of Education

More TV? Less speech development time

  • Increased screen time for toddlers correlates with reduced parent-child conversation.
  • At age 3, each additional minute of screen time was associated with 6.6 fewer adult words, 4.9 fewer child vocalizations, and 1.1 fewer turns in conversation.
  • Watching together might partially mitigate the negative impact.

Source:New York Times

Earbuds and headphones may damage hearing

  • Unsafe listening practices are common.
  • Sound levels exceeding 80 decibels (75 for children) pose risks, but regulations are lax; many people listen at 105 decibels, comparable to loud venues.
  • Permanent hearing loss may not show up until years later.

Source:BMJ Global Health

Why everyone else seems more popular on social media

  • Beware the inspection paradox.
  • Someone with many friends appears in more people's friends lists, making those people feel less popoular in comparison.
  • You are more likely to have more popular friends, because they are more popular.

Source:Scientific American

Handwriting might be better for learning

  • Compared to typing, handwriting activates broader brain connectivity, reinforcing memory and conceptual recognition.
  • Engaging the motor system through handwriting boosts learning, especially in children, fostering better letter recognition and cognitive skills.

Source:Scientific American

AI-driven tutoring might speed distance learning

  • Generative AI, exemplified by IU's Syntea, enhances learning efficiency, with potential to save almost 10 months in a three-year bachelor's program.
  • Research involving around 1,000 IU students indicates a 27% reduction in course completion time.

Source:International University of Applied Sciences - preprint

Health impacts of vaping

  • The 2023 American Heart Association Scientific Statement outlines significant short-term and potential long-term heart and lung health risks.
  • Animal models suggest increased risk of COPD and lung cancer.
  • Overall, vaping is deemed harmful, with similar physiological effects to early cigarette smoking..

Source:Circulation

Why college athletes succeed in business

  • A study tracking over 400,000 athletes found that they tend to secure higher-level jobs and better pay after graduation compared to non-athlete peers.
  • Athletes earned approximately 3.4% more during their careers and are more likely to land in C-suite roles.
  • The study suggests that intercollegiate varsity sports foster valuable soft skills like teamwork and leadership, contributing to the career success of athletes.

Source:Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

Strict parental monitoring of social media isn't always better

  • Restrictive parental monitoring of adolescents' digital media use, including rules and limits on time or content, is associated with problematic internet use.
  • In contrast, active monitoring, which involves promoting critical thinking by discussing central themes, and deference monitoring, where parents intentionally avoid restrictions to showcase trust, were not linked to problematic internet use.
  • The findings highlight the effectiveness of varied monitoring strategies and emphasize the importance of promoting critical thinking in adolescents.

Source:Journal of Child and Family Studies

Students are missing more school, and school nurses may be able to help

  • Absenteeism is a problem affecting nearly 15 million students in the U.S. during the 2021-22 school year.
  • School nurses play a vital role in identifying students at risk for chronic school absenteeism.
  • Often the first to be aware of students' challenges, they can intervene and provide support before absenteeism becomes chronic.

Source:Journal of School Nursing

Young people from poorer families make fewer friends

  • Students from poorer households have fewer friends than students from higher income households.
  • Even within low-income groups, parental income influences friendship patterns, possibly related to social status attributes like clothing and leisure activities.
  • Schools should consider socioeconomic factors when planning activities to foster friendships and ensure equal opportunities for children from diverse backgrounds.

Source:Science Direct

Flee the screen!

  • The pandemic exacerbated a surge in myopia among children, with increased screen time a leading suspect.
  • Near work, such as reading, has long been linked to myopia.
  • Simply spending time outdoors can prevent myopia from developing.

Source:Harvard Public Health

Why do some kids learn to talk earlier than others?

  • Chatty parents, chatty kids.
  • Global study found age, clinical factors, and the amount of speech children receive are primary predictors of language development
  • Factors like gender, multilingualism, and socioeconomics showed no significant effects.

Source:Harvard Gazette

Does homework still have value? An education expert weighs in

  • Homework is essential for student development; interactive assignments foster creativity, discussions, and motivation.
  • Lack of formal training on homework design leads many teachers to repeat patterns, leading to student burn-out.
  • A no-homework practice for young students does not guarantee that all students will spend their free time in productive play.

Source:Johns Hopkins

Targeting kids generates billions in ad revenue for social media

  • Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter (X), and YouTube earned nearly $11 billion in ad revenue from U.S. users under 18 in 2022.
  • YouTube had the most users (49.7 million), with ad revenue from those aged 12 and under at $959.1 million. Instagram led in revenue from users aged 13-17 ($4 billion).
  • These platforms have a financial incentive to delay addressing concerns about the impact on children

Source:PLOS ONE

5-minute daily play ritual that can get your kids to listen better

  • A child-led play strategy to strengthen parent-child bonds, boost attention spans and improve social skills.
  • The "PRIDE" acronym (Praise, Reflect, Imitate, Describe, Enthusiasm) guides parents during 5-minute sessions.
  • Recommended for ages 2-7, each caregiver should integrate sessions into the daily routine.

Source:NPR

Why college athletes succeed in business

  • A study tracking over 400,000 athletes found that they tend to secure higher-level jobs and better pay after graduation compared to 4:00 PM 2/3/2024non-athlete peers.
  • Athletes earned approximately 3.4% more during their careers and are more likely to land in C-suite roles.
  • The study suggests that intercollegiate varsity sports foster valuable soft skills like teamwork and leadership, contributing to the career success of athletes.

Source:Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

Strict parental monitoring of social media isn't always better

  • Restrictive parental monitoring of adolescents' digital media use, including rules and limits on time or content, is associated with problematic internet use.
  • In contrast, active monitoring, which involves promoting critical thinking by discussing central themes, and deference monitoring, where parents intentionally avoid restrictions to showcase trust, were not linked to problematic internet use.
  • The findings highlight the effectiveness of varied monitoring strategies and emphasize the importance of promoting critical thinking in adolescents.

Source:Journal of Child and Family Studies

Students are missing more school, and school nurses may be able to help

  • Absenteeism is a problem affecting nearly 15 million students in the U.S. during the 2021-22 school year.
  • School nurses play a vital role in identifying students at risk for chronic school absenteeism.
  • Often the first to be aware of students' challenges, they can intervene and provide support before absenteeism becomes chronic.

Source:Journal of School Nursing

Young people from poorer families make fewer friends

  • Students from poorer households have fewer friends than students from higher income households.
  • Even within low-income groups, parental income influences friendship patterns, possibly related to social status attributes like clothing and leisure activities.
  • Schools should consider socioeconomic factors when planning activities to foster friendships and ensure equal opportunities for children from diverse backgrounds.

Source:Science Direct

Flee the screen!

  • The pandemic exacerbated a surge in myopia among children, with increased screen time a leading suspect.
  • Near work, such as reading, has long been linked to myopia.
  • Simply spending time outdoors can prevent myopia from developing.

Source:Harvard Public Health

Why do some kids learn to talk earlier than others?

  • Chatty parents, chatty kids.
  • Global study found age, clinical factors, and the amount of speech children receive are primary predictors of language development
  • Factors like gender, multilingualism, and socioeconomics showed no significant effects.

Source:Harvard Gazette

Does homework still have value? An education expert weighs in

  • Homework is essential for student development; interactive assignments foster creativity, discussions, and motivation.
  • Lack of formal training on homework design leads many teachers to repeat patterns, leading to student burn-out.
  • A no-homework practice for young students does not guarantee that all students will spend their free time in productive play.

Source:Johns Hopkins

Misguided war on the SAT?

  • Selective colleges abandoned standardized tests during Covid, adopting a test-optional policy for diversity reasons.
  • Critics argue against this shift, citing multiple studies that show test scores predict college success better than high school grades.
  • Despite evidence, colleges hesitate to reinstate test requirements due to political and progressive backlash, raising concerns about admissions fairness.

Source:New York Times

Targeting kids generates billions in ad revenue for social media

  • Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter (X), and YouTube earned nearly $11 billion in ad revenue from U.S. users under 18 in 2022.
  • YouTube had the most users (49.7 million), with ad revenue from those aged 12 and under at $959.1 million. Instagram led in revenue from users aged 13-17 ($4 billion).
  • These platforms have a financial incentive to delay addressing concerns about the impact on children

Source:PLOS ONE

5-minute daily play ritual that can get your kids to listen better

  • A child-led play strategy to strengthen parent-child bonds, boost attention spans and improve social skills.
  • The "PRIDE" acronym (Praise, Reflect, Imitate, Describe, Enthusiasm) guides parents during 5-minute sessions.
  • Recommended for ages 2-7, each caregiver should integrate sessions into the daily routine.

Source:NPR

Who Runs the Best U.S. Schools? It May Be the Defense Department

  • The Defense Department's school system, with about 50 U.S. schools and over 100 international schools for military families, outperforms most public schools.
  • On the National Assessment of Educational Progress, it excels in math and reading, particularly for Black and Hispanic students.
  • The success is attributed to well-funded, integrated, and centrally governed schools, offering housing, healthcare, and stable employment for military families.

Source: New York Times

How achievement pressure is crushing kids and what to do about it

  • Pressure to succeed comes from various sources, including parents, teachers, and schools, and is deeply rooted in macro-economic forces shaping parents' fears and anxieties.
  • Achievement becomes toxic when individuals tie their entire sense of self and value to their accomplishments, leading to anxiety, depression, and other negative effects on well-being.
  • A key to healthy achievement lies in helping children feel deeply valued for who they are, separate from external achievements.

Source:Harvard Gazette

Dartmouth and Yale backtrack on Test Optional Admissions

  • Dartmouth and Yale have decided to reinstate standardized testing requirements for undergraduate admissions.
  • Research indicates that test-optional policies may hurt applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Officials cite standardized tests as valuable predictors of academic success.

Source:EducationWeek

Misguided war on the SAT?

  • Selective colleges abandoned standardized tests during Covid, adopting a test-optional policy for diversity reasons.
  • Critics argue against this shift, citing multiple studies that show test scores predict college success better than high school grades.
  • Despite evidence, colleges hesitate to reinstate test requirements due to political and progressive backlash, raising concerns about admissions fairness.

Source:New York Times

Impact of screen time on children's communication and problem solving development

  • A study involving more than 7,000 mother-child pairs looked at the association between screen time exposure at age one and developmental delays in children at ages two and four.
  • The study identified a dose-response relationship, linking greater screen time at age one with developmental delays in communication and problem-solving.
  • Children with over 4 hours of daily screen time had higher risks of delays in multiple domains.

Source:Journal of the American Medical Association - Network

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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