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So, a friend of mine introduced me to Prismatic, essentially a personalized newsfeed, and I have been finding A TON of share-worthy articles, blogs, pictures, etc. I usually share links on Facebook, but I often end up feeling like I’m spamming the feed. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a daily link round-up on this blog (although I’m not sure what will get people to read the stuff I post more–spamming Facebook so people can see everything individually and click on what they’re interested in, or just linking to a post every day, which they might not be interested in at all regardless of personally relevant content). I also appreciate that I can come back in and edit in new links if something that I really want to share shows up in my Prismatic feed.

Okay! Here we go! First up is a blog post by Claire Potter (also posted on my FB) on whether or not teaching handwriting in the age of the keyboard is worthwhile, and why it’s becoming a lost art. I found her theory that “secondary school students are not expected to have any tolerance for learning that isn’t tricked out with bells and whistles to keep them fascinated at all times” to really sum up why I feel the current tech fetishism in education is extremely detrimental all around. When I was doing field observations in a local K-8 charter school last semester, I had the chance to read some essays written by 7th graders. Content and structure aside, the handwriting of some students was literally on the same level as that of my future stepson’s. He is eight. I really don’t think that should be acceptable. Just because we live (for now) in a “digital world” doesn’t mean we need to abandon all analog skills, including being able to write legibly.

The Wall Street Journal’s opinion page (bear with me here) recently ran this article, essentially arguing that public schools should fire a ton of teachers (apparently so they can go work in private schools?). I felt that this reply from The Atlantic got at the real truth of Coulson’s argument, namely, that it “isn’t really about shrinking the ranks of educators, then. It’s about union busting. It’s about cutting smaller paychecks for the people who educate our children. So America’s teachers should take comfort. Nobody’s really after your jobs. Just your money.”

This article, The Myth of Learning Styles, is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in education, from both the instructor and the student point of views. I’m fairly certain you’ve all heard the idea that people have different “learning styles,” (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and that knowing your learning styles will help you be a better student and all that jazz. Furthermore, knowing the learning styles of your students can help you tailor instruction to their needs. The article “debunks” the idea of learning styles, pointing out that divorcing a preferred method from content is…well, just goofy. If a student thinks s/he is an auditory learner, would they benefit from hearing a list of countries instead of looking at a globe or atlas to learn geography? Ultimately, matching delivery method with the content and the abilities of your students will lead to better outcomes.

I enjoyed this short post about metacognition (thinking about thinking) and how it can help students. Particularly, I loved the fact that, unlike a lot of articles/blogs/whatever I’ve been seeing, this post talks about improving learning WITHOUT A SINGLE MENTION OF TECHNOLOGY. Hooray!

Okay, maybe some non-education related links would be good too?

Just found this tongue-in-cheek blog called “Is This Feminist?” I think they’re making fun of in-fighting in the movement and a basic misinterpretation of the ideals of feminism? Namely, that it isn’t about being a man-hating bra-burner, and portraying it as such is patently ridiculous. If I’m wrong and they’re serious, then…I am not sure what to say. Speaking of feminism, have been addicted to Who Needs Feminism?, even though reading it usually makes me depressed and angry. I would like to submit a picture to the site, but there’s really so much more to write than I could fit on a piece of paper or small dry-erase board…

This blog post from a librarian talks about a magazine refusing to publish a review of a certain YA novel because there’s drug content. She compares that to the tons and tons and tons of published reviews of YA and adult books (speaking as a former YA, yes, we read those too) that feature unhealthy relationships, and why this misplaced censorship is problematic. I do find her “OMG drugs are bad!!!” thing a little much, but she still makes some excellent points.

This article about the benefits (and potential costs) of telecommuting felt a bit…fluffy? Then again, it is Slate. I think a benefit that they should have mentioned (although in our profit-driven society, no one would have cared probably) is that if people aren’t commuting, they’re also in a position to use less resources. Less cars on the road is better for everyone. I also wish their conclusion had been a bit more forceful. YES, flex-time is important. People being able to deal with their away-from-work responsibilities is important. Parents not having to decide between their career and their family is important. When will this be the majority opinion instead of a casual”oh, that might be a good idea”?

Finally, a pretty good rebuttal to the “rape jokes are TOTALLY funny!” thing happening on the internet right now. I’d stay out of the comments section on this one, sadly.

Hope that wasn’t too long! Let me know what you think (including “That was too long and all of your links were lame, please stop.”), because writing this was actually fairly time-consuming, and I only want to share if I think other people will give a rat’s ass.