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Stories by Matt Weber

By Matt Weber 03/22/2018 10:57 AM EDT
Computational Thinking
As technology advances, so must the ways in which we are taught to interact with it. And these new skills should be taught in schools, says computer scientist and physicist Stephen Wolfram, chief designer of Mathematica, the Wolfram Alpha answer engine, and the Wolfram Language. “At any moment in history there is certain amount of knowledge that is worth teaching ... and there is another part of knowledge that should be automated,” says Wolfram. Many skills that used to be taught — writing with quill pens or using typewriters, for instance — are not anymore, because these skills have been "...
By Matt Weber 03/15/2018 2:52 PM EDT
Growth Mindset
Over the course of her career, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has been fascinated by how some children accept their failures and others feel defeated by them. It became clear to her and her research partners that the difference was in the mindset. If a child understood that they had the capacity to learn and do better next time (growth mindset), then they were able to move on from the failure. If a child felt that they had performed to the best of their ability and could learn no more (fixed mindset) — and still did not do well — then the failure dragged them down. Dweck's research, which...
By Matt Weber 03/07/2018 3:46 PM EST
Making Caring Common
It is clear that we are living in tumultuous times. Our democracy seems fragile, says Senior Lecturer Richard Weissbourd, and, as a society, we are becoming fractured. With adults seemingly unwilling to have the conversations necessary to strengthen our democracy, it has become increasingly important to reach the children. "We feel we have to prepare young people to be constructive citizens who can mend those divides,” says Weissbourd, faculty director of Making Caring Common (MCC). “How do we prepare young people to become caring, ethical citizens who can do better than we did?” In an effort...
By Matt Weber 02/22/2018 10:58 AM EST
Community College
Community colleges are the "backbone of the higher education system," says Professor Bridget Terry Long, an educator and economist, whose work focuses on the transition from high school to higher education and beyond. Over 42 percent of college students — including many students of color, older students, and people seeking continuing education — attend community colleges in the United States, says Long, and many of that number experience challenges in paying their tuition. Programs such as the Obama administration's American College Promise, which offers two years of free tuition to...
By Matt Weber 02/14/2018 2:40 PM EST
Dr. Ruth
What is the key to successful interpersonal relationships? The answer to that is clear, says famed therapist and sex educator Dr. Ruth Westheimer. "Respect is not debatable," she says. And, that respect needs to extend into every aspect of a relationship, including sex, something that Westheimer does not take lightly. Everyone should strive to be sexually literate and be taught to constantly nourish their relationships, both sexually and otherwise, she says. Westheimer is concerned, however, about some young people's focus on casual sex. "I do believe in the importance of relationships," she...
By Matt Weber, Sarah Dryden-Peterson 02/07/2018 2:51 PM EST
Elmo and Sarah Dryden-Peterson
It could be argued that nobody is more universally beloved by young children than loveable, furry monster Elmo. And that love extends way beyond Sesame Street, which was evident on Elmo's recent trip to Jordan to visit with Syrian refugees. "We got to visit a school, and read books, and meet lots of new friends!" says Elmo. And Elmo's new friends were equally thrilled to meet him. "There was nothing better than seeing children light up when they met Elmo," says Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, who accompanied Elmo on the trip....
By Matt Weber 01/25/2018 3:56 PM EST
Cornel West
Could education be the solution to many of society's problems? It is possible, says Dr. Cornel West, activist, philosopher, and faculty member at Harvard Divinity School, but maybe not in the way we have come to think it will be. "There is a deep difference between cheap schooling and deep education," he says. "A lot of times when people are talking about education, they are talking much more about schooling. I'm not talking about something that is just formal and institutional, I'm talking about soulcraft; I'm talking about the shaping of the kind human beings people are." Families,...
By Matt Weber 12/07/2017 11:54 AM EST
Chezare Warren
In 2006, Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men (also known as Urban Prep Academies) opened its doors in Chicago's South Side with the goal of providing the young black boys of its student body the tools for post-secondary success. Among the founding faculty was Chezare Warren, now an assistant professor at Michigan State University, a young math teacher who jumped at the chance to help design a curriculum for these students — many of whom had never thought college to be an option for them — that would consider their unique stories and focus on understanding the factors that would lead...
By Matt Weber 11/08/2017 12:15 PM EST
Access for All
For refugees, fleeing their country for another comes with huge sacrifices. Not only are they leaving their home for the unknown, they are also leaving their families, friends, and neighbors, and a familiar way of life. For young people, there comes the additional burden of attempting to continue -- or, in many cases, begin -- their education in an unfamiliar place, in an unfamiliar language. John Palmer, associate professor at Colgate University, researches refugees and the schools that welcome them, with particular focus on refugees from North Korea now living in the United States and South...
By Matt Weber 11/02/2017 1:06 PM EDT
College Couple
Author Vanessa Grigoriadis knew that if she really wanted a window into what was happening on college campuses in regard to relationships, sex, and consent, she was going to have to go straight to the people to whom it matters the most — the students. It couldn't be through formal interviews, though. She'd have to talk to kids where they were most at ease: in food courts and dorm rooms, at frat parties. "I really talked to kids on their own terms and tried to hear their voices," she says, describing the visits she made to many college campuses while she was researching her book, Blurred Lines...