Education Update: 7/22/15

Image Source: Getty Images,; 7/20/15

How Freshman Seminars Can Help Students Starting the Ninth Grade

Transitioning from middle school to the ninth grade can be daunting for some students. Schools are taking notice and providing a course to aid in the journey. A new city-wide effort in Nashville, TN for example, offers a new Freshman seminar which prepares eighth graders for the passage to high school. The seminar also gives an introduction to college preparation and vocational programs to prepare the students for setting academic goals. Projects are assigned to build “soft skills” such as perseverance and steps to achieving goals. A previous article posted on Mind/Shift explains why a successful transition to the 9th grade can prevent a student from dropping out of high school.

Image Source:; 07/20/15

Deciphering Sounds Over Background Noise – The Key to Reading

New research suggests that in children, the brain’s ability to decipher speech within noise can predict whether a child will have difficulties with reading and later learning. Efforts to find methods for early intervention strategies have led scientists to analyze the brainwaves of 3 year old children using an EEG to measure the brain’s response to specific sounds and background noise. Preschoolers who can match sounds to letters at an early age go on to become successful readers more easily than children who have difficulty with this task.  This is because auditory processing is part of pre-reading development, and if the brain is slow to distinguish a “D” from a “B” sound, for example, recognizing words and constructing sentences could also be challenging. The goal of this research is to find more ways to identify problems earlier and even make detection a part routine hearing screenings.

Image Source: Manfield, Kerry,; 07/20/15

Expired: Looking at Library Books in a New Light

At Integrus Architecture, there have been many discussions about the role of the library in schools in the midst of a digital age where students are provided with tablets and laptops to complete lessons and research topics. Schools are reducing the amount of physical book storage in libraries as ebooks are on the rise. The library’s role has shifted slightly, but still remains a resource for students and a place to read. Kerry Mansfield, a photographer and former architecture student, pays an homage to the cherished, physical book with “Expired”, a photos series of books either discarded or withdrawn from the library. In the series, each book with torn edges, stained covers, or defaced cover delineates its history along with that of the library experience with checkout cards and paper pockets. Perusing the titles will bring a blissful nostalgia of a time long past.

Education Update is a weekly blog post highlighting recent developments in the world of education. The linked articles and summaries are not endorsements, rather frame points of view to begin conversations about the state of education, trends, and how we as designers can play an active role in shaping schools.

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