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Video games are being developed to serve a whole host of educational issues - thinking skills, individualized delivery of content, engaging students, etc.. The National STEM Video GamesGames Challenge is one effort to promote this.
In tandem with the Digital Promise rollout, our organizations—the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and E-Line Media—announced the second year of the National STEM Video Game Challenge. This video-game-design competition is intended to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, learning among America's young people by tapping into students' natural passion for playing and making video games.
Technorati Tags: Digital Promise, E-Line Media, engineering, individual instruction, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, math, National STEM Video Games Challenge, science, technology, thinking skills, video games
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"60 Minutes" report on "Hrabowski: An educator focused on math, science" broadcast on November 13th is an inspirational look at a school that emphasizes math and science and eschews a big football program - refreshing, given the terrible Penn State sex abuse scandal.
American students have made progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) but are still woefully behind their international peers. It is the right direction, but the velocity is still at a snail's pace.
Just a little more than one-third of the students were proficient or higher in reading. In math, 40 percent of the fourth-graders and 35 percent of the eighth-graders had reached that level.
The results Tuesday from the National Assessment of Educational Progress are a stark reminder of just how far the nation's school kids are from achieving the No Child Left Behind law's goal that every child in America be proficient in math and reading by 2014.
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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIH News
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) <http://www.nichd.nih.gov/>
For Immediate Release: Monday, October 24, 2011
CONTACT: Robert Bock or Marianne Glass Miller, 301-496-5133, <e-mail:email@example.com>
MATH DISABILITY LINKED TO PROBLEM RELATING QUANTITIES TO NUMERALS
NIH-funded study also finds math disabled students fail to catch up to classmates
Children who start elementary school with difficulty associating small exact quantities of items with the printed numerals that represent those quantities are more likely to develop a math-related learning disability than are their peers, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health.
The children in the study who appeared to have difficulty grasping the fundamental concept of exact numerical quantities-- that the printed numeral 3, for example, represents three dots on a page-- went on to be diagnosed with math learning disability by fifth grade.
Other early factors correlated with a math learning disability were difficulty recalling answers to single-digit addition problems, distractibility in class, and difficulty understanding that more complex math problems can be broken down into smaller problems that can be solved individually.
Although the math learning disabled children did make limited progress in subsequent grades, by fifth grade they had not caught up to their typically achieving peers in the ability to recall number facts or in their ease of adding sets of dots and numerals together. The authors note that the math disabled students did catch up in other areas, such as the use of counting to solve problems.
The study was not designed to prove cause and effect, so the researchers do not know whether the factors they identified caused the children's math learning disability or were linked to other, unidentified factors.
"The search for factors underlying difficulty learning mathematics is extremely important," said Kathy Mann Koepke, Ph.D., of NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which funded the study. "Once we identify such factors, the hope is that we can modify them through appropriate teaching methods to help people who have difficulty learning and using math."
Dr. Mann Koepke directs the NICHD's Mathematics and Science Cognition and Learning Development and Disorders program.
"Math skills are important for higher education and for entry into many higher paying technical fields," she said. "Math skills have many health implications. For example, many American adults lack even the basic math skills necessary to estimate the appropriate number of calories in their diets or to calculate the time intervals at which to take their medications."
The study was conducted by Mary K. Hoard, Ph.D., Lara Nugent, Drew H. Bailey and David C. Geary, Ph.D., all of the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Their findings appear in the Journal of Educational Psychology.
The researchers' analysis was based on a battery of tests they gave one to three times each year to 177 students at 12 Columbia, Mo., public schools. The testing process took place from kindergarten through fifth grade. The researchers measured several factors:
-- math achievement
-- reading ability
-- intelligence and general cognitive ability
-- paying attention in class
-- working memory, the ability to hold one idea or concept in mind while switching between tasks
-- an understanding of numbers and their relation to each other
-- understanding of the number line
-- aptitude for solving simple and complex addition problems
The researchers classified the students into three groups based on their early achievement and the subsequent progress they made in math from kindergarten to fifth grade. One group-referred to as typically achieving students-had average scores in kindergarten and developed their skills at an average rate during their early school years (132 students). Low-achieving students had an average score in kindergarten and made inconsistent and slow progress (29 students). Students with a low initial score and consistently slow progress were described as learning disabled with regard to math (16 students).
After their analysis, the researchers found that differences between groups in kindergarten scores were correlated with the result of one test in particular. For this test, students were asked to look at a series of rectangles, resembling dominoes, on a computer screen. Each domino was each divided into two or three areas; some areas contained one to nine dots, and others a written numeral. Students were asked to quickly circle any dominos in which the number of dots, together with the numeral, matched the target number and to not circle those that did not match.
The researchers found that the difference in scores from this test was linked to the overall gap in math scores between typically achieving and math learning disabled groups.
"Our findings suggest that children who generally struggle with math-the low achievers-may have a poor sense of numbers, but they can narrow the achievement gap in part because most of them can memorize new math facts and, thus, learn some aspects of math as quickly as their typically achieving peers," said Dr. Geary.
Dr. Geary added that, in contrast to the low achievers, students with a math learning disability not only have a poor concept of numbers, but also have difficulty memorizing math facts.
Clarifying the factors that contribute to a math learning disability may lead to the development of teaching methods that help students overcome difficulties with number concepts and skills, Dr. Mann-Koepke said. It is important to identify potential difficulties early, when chances for successfully overcoming them are greatest.
Other NICHD-funded investigators have also identified basic risk factors for math learning disability. These researchers have shown that math skills are linked to the approximate number system, a person's intuitive ability to estimate quantities or identify the approximate number in a set. One study of grade school children showed that this ability is impaired in children with a math learning disability. A related study showed that difficulty with estimating such quantities is apparent in children as young as 3 and is correlated with later poor math performance in school. Researchers do not yet know if the ability to distinguish between small, exact quantities is related to the approximate number system.
About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute's website at <http://www.nichd.nih.gov/>.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit <www.nih.gov>.
The AP reports that as girls earn the majority of undergraduate and graduate degrees, they are also making inroads in the last frontier, STEM majors.
Will this trump previously believed truisms about gender and subject abilities?
When it comes to the STEM fields, women have been most successful in medicine and biology - and least successful in engineering, math and computer science.
But experts hope that, too, will change.
A recent report from the American Association of University Women notes that, 30 years ago, the ratio of seventh- and eighth-grade boys who scored more than 700 on the SAT math exam, compared with girls, was 13 to 1. Now it's 3 to 1.
Many school districts suffer from a dearth of teachers in key subject areas such as math and sciences. Maricopa County in Arizona is compensating for this by setting up virtual classrooms and hiring instructors from afar to teach students. Many qualified teachers are snapped up at the higher education or high school level and this allows students at the middle school level to have access to higher level courses.
While perhaps not the optimal solution versus having a teacher on campus, it allows students to take a wider range of courses from qualified instructors from almost anywhere.
The Maricopa County Education Service Agency is expanding its program after a successful pilot this spring. The agency paid $400,000 to hire an instructor, set up a video-recording studio and purchase video equipment and iPads that are leased to schools.
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President Obama will waive parts of "No Child Left Behind" for the states as long as they comply with certain provisions of his adminisration's educational goals.
Once again, the devil will be in the details...
In a White House speech, Mr. Obama plans to invite states that agree to overhaul low-performing schools and adopt more rigorous teacher evaluation systems to apply for relief from the Bush-era law’s 2014 deadline for bringing all students to proficiency in reading and math, as well as other unpopular provisions, senior administration officials said Thursday.
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A webinar "Are US Students Ready to Compete" based on a paper by Paul E. Peterson, Ludger Woessmann, Eric A. Hanushek and Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadón asks this question, They analyzed the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) with an special focus on math as it is the college major that leads to the highest salaries. The study also tries to provide data that can shed light on our economic policies as US, despite high unemployment, has jobs that can't be filled due to lack of educational achievement and skills.
The researchers results are not encouraging and unsurprising, given the raft of other data pointing to deficits in math proficiency in the US. This important paper should be included as our nation seeks to form effective programs and curriculum to remedy this dismal situation.
Given that definition of math proficiency, U.S. students in the Class of 2011, with a 32 percent proficiency rate, came in 32nd among the nations that participated in PISA. Performance levels among the countries ranked 23rd to 31st are not significantly different from that of the U.S. in a statistical sense, yet 22 countries do significantly outperform the United States in the share of students reaching the proficiency level in math. Six countries plus Shanghai and Hong Kong had majorities of students performing at least at the proficiency level, while the United States had less than one-third. For example, 58 percent of Korean students and 56 percent of Finnish students performed at or above a proficient level. Other countries in which a majority—or near majority—of students performed at or above the proficiency level included Switzerland, Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands. Many other nations also had math proficiency rates well above that of the United States, including Germany (45 percent), Australia (44 percent), and France (39 percent).
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The New York Times reports on Stanford University offering an online artificial intelligence course globally with 58,000 signed up already.
Speaking of ways to increase national and global technology knowledge and skills during a recession, this one has to take first prize.
The course is one of three being offered experimentally by the Stanford computer science department to extend technology knowledge and skills beyond this elite campus to the entire world, the university is announcing on Tuesday.
The online students will not get Stanford grades or credit, but they will be ranked in comparison to the work of other online students and will receive a “statement of accomplishment.”