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China’s Adaptive Education System

November 24, 2014 6:00 pm
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It is no secret that China consistently dominates standardized tests on the international platform. Their education system, although stressful, adapts students to roles needed in the economy. China’s Educational history While far from perfect, their education system has successfully served the... View Article

Critics speak out against behavior-tracking apps

November 16, 2014 6:00 pm
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In a New York Times article, Natasha Singer relates criticisms of behavior-tracking apps, in particular the most popular, ClassDojo, which its developer reports is now “used by at least one teacher in roughly one out of three schools in the United States”.... View Article


Lizette Alvarez reports on Florida’s reactions to standardized testing in a New York Times article. Florida has adopted standards more challenging than Common Core, including its Florida Standards Assessment which is still to be validated. She writes, “In Florida, which tests students... View Article

Chocolate may enhance memory

October 26, 2014 6:00 pm
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New evidence suggests that ingestion of chocolate is associated with memory enhancement. In healthy adults aged 50-69, ingestion over three months of a mixture with a relatively high- vs. low-concentration of cocoa flavanol (specifically epicatechin) was associated with about 25% better... View Article

Portal 2 vs. Lumosity

October 2, 2014 6:00 pm
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Shute et al. (2015 Comput & Educ) compared undergraduate subjects who were randomly assigned to play either Valve’s Portal 2 video game or Lumosity for eight hours. Those who had played Portal 2 showed significantly higher pre- vs. post-test gains on measures... View Article

EQAO shows Waterloo elementary students trailing

September 18, 2014 6:00 pm
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Grade 3 and 6 reading, writing and math test scores in the Waterloo region are uniformly less than the provincial average, according to more detailed EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office) results released yesterday. See here. Performance is worst in... View Article

Canada’s emphasis on commercial research is criticized

September 5, 2014 6:00 pm
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An episode of CBC’s The Current, hosted by Chris Hadfield, dealt with the Canadian government’s increasing support for commercial research over basic research. In 2013, the federal government decreed that every new dollar of research funding would be earmarked for... View Article

EQAO Math: Falling performances in Ontario 2014

August 28, 2014 6:00 pm
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Ontario provincial test scores released by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) today showed falling performance in elementary school (Grade 3 and 6) math (in terms of the fraction of students meeting provincial standards, relative to 2010), and even... View Article


As related by Catherine Shu in an article in TechCrunch, the Korean start-up Ybrain has raised a $3.5M Series A round to manufacture and run clinical trials with its wearable health device. This headband device is targeted at Alzheimer’s and MCI (mild cognitive impairment)... View Article

Memory retrieval for arithmetic problem solving

August 19, 2014 6:00 pm
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Qin et al. (2014 Nat Neurosci) found that as children transition from counting to a memory retrieval strategy when solving arithmetic problems (between ages 7 and 9), there are corresponding changes in BOLD activation from prefrontal-parietal to hippocampal areas (along... View Article

Preventable medical error is a lead cause of death

August 9, 2014 6:00 pm
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According to Daniel J. Levitin in the New York Times, by “some estimates, preventable medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year”.

Language learning: Effortful vs passive learning

July 23, 2014 6:00 pm
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Finn et al. (2014 PLoS One) find evidence that the more “effortful” language learning of adults vs. children interferes with their learning of an artificial language (consisting of two-syllable, three-category nonsense words). In particular, adult learners under given instructions to... View Article


A Scientific American article by Carl Wieman examines how lecture-style classes, the typical structure employed in most university classrooms, may not be the most effective method for teaching, especially when it comes to science and engineering. Instead, research favoured a... View Article

Edtech and Silicon Valley

June 16, 2014 6:00 pm
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Christopher Nyren writes about “The EdTech Failings of Silicon Valley” in an EdReach piece. The article highlights “10 EdTech Startups that Silicon Valley Loved” during the 1997-2001 Internet Bubble: UPromise, Lightspan, Advantage Schools, Saba Software, QuinStreet, ApexLearning, SchoolPop, TrainingNet, Academic Systems,... View Article


A New York Times article by Maria Konnikova cites a series of studies showing separate neural activations associated with printing, cursive (longhand) handwriting vs typing by children (Berninger et al., 2006 Dev Neuropsychol), and greater activation of a “reading circuit” during... View Article