EDUCATION UPDATE 8/5/15


Doodle of a feedback protocol of adults and students by Shelley Paul; Mind/Shift; KQED.org

Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick

Shelly Paul, Director of Learning Design at Woodward Academy along with her colleague Jill Gough, Director of teaching and learning at Trinity Schools had heard that doodling while taking notes significantly improved retention of newly learned material. Before promoting the idea to teachers at their schools, the two directors tested the notion on themselves and found how effective doodling is at improving memory. After using a TED talk to introduce the practice to teachers, listening in class improved at their schools. Teachers noticed a collective learning environment had been created where students could share their drawings and discuss the main ideas. Similarly, William Klemm, a professor of neuroscience at Texas A&M University, has found that thinking in images and stringing them together (story chains) vastly improves how much students can remember.

Students meet with the center’s creative director and a rep. from the National Organization of Minority Architects as part of the school’s revitalization efforts. Image source: Spencer, Kyle; hechingerreport.org; 7/29/15

Can Schools Integrate When Neighborhoods Do?

Efforts to integrate the nation’s most segregated neighborhoods and desegregate it’s public schools are often spearheaded by different agencies(e.g.developers and schools districts) that don’t communicate or share resources. Hoping to change this, San Francisco’s Center for Cities and Schools, an urban planning think tank in collaboration with the local chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects is working Malcolm X, an under-enrolled elementary school, to collaborate with the city to improve the conditions of the school building. Workshops are held to engage students with their neighborhoods and the design process. The Center aims to have cities include struggling public schools in their housing redevelopment projects. The workshops are part of a larger $2 billion redevelopment project called Hope SF, which strives to desegregate five of San Francisco’s poorest areas by replacing housing projects with mixed use development.

Image source: Siegel, Mike; Seattle Times; 8/3/15

‘It’s Just Math’: Preschoolers Can Do More Than We Might Think

Typically, math in preschool has been seen as premature because of the belief that kids do not understand numbers at that age. Years of research, however, have proven otherwise; preschoolers understand much more than what was initially perceived. With much success, schools in Seattle and Boston have been using programs such as Building Blocks, to introduce math instruction through games and other forms of play. The curriculum not only teaches preschoolers how to count, but how to understand mathematical relationships using geometry. The math connections kids make, however, depend on other factors as well, such as genetics and learning opportunities at home. Nevertheless, getting an earlier start in math is significant because as research has shown, kids who start out behind in early grades don’t tend to catch up. Watch an example of how one school, South Shore PreK-8 school in Seattle, teaches math as a team.

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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