German free school teaches without grades, timetables or lesson plans

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The Evangelical School Berlin Centre is a private "free" school -- that is, it costs money to go there, but the tuition is on a means-tested sliding scale, and the students enjoy enormous educational freedom -- that has drawn attention thanks to the exceptional performance of its graduating students. Read the rest

A law prof responds to students who anonymously complained about #blacklivesmatter tee

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This redacted pair of letters surfaced two months ago: the first one is a letter from an anonymous law student (or group of students) who wrote to a prof to object to their choice to wear a Black Lives Matter t-shirt in class; the second, a devastating takedown from the prof, is a tiny masterclass in legal thinking, persuasive writing, and the nature and character of a legal education. Read the rest

Claude Shannon, MOOCs, and nanoassembly: what 3D printing is really about

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Neal Gershenfeld, founder of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, has been talking about making digital things physical and physical things digital longer than almost anyone, and his books -- notably FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop -- are visionary and inspirational ways to think about how information technology has changed our species' relationship with the universe; while the Fab Labs he helped invent represent the best and most thoughtful way that a makerspace can be built to suit local community needs. Read the rest

IS CELL PHONE DO BAD TO CHILD IN CLASSROOM?!11?

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Gus the hacker puppeteer writes, "While looking for Google-autocompleted questions about the media to answer on The Media Show, we started typing 'how do cell phones...' and Google came back with '...distract students.'" Read the rest

What if school was out, forever?

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Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence.

Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | Reddit

In this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially intelligent TA, folks who build learning apps, and critics who wonder if all the promises being made are too good to be true. What do we gain when we let students choose their own paths? What do we lose when we get rid of schools?

Illustration by Matt Lubchansky.

▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest

Teach crypto with emoji: Codemoji!

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Brett from Mozilla writes, "Codemoji, a game and learning tool that lets you encode secret messages in emoji and then send them to friends for deciphering." Read the rest

Rubber fingertips to use with fingerprint-based authentication systems

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Mian Wei, a Chinese student at the Rhode Island School of Design, has created an experimental series of fake fingertips with randomly generated fingerprints that work with Apple and Android fingerprint authentication schemes, as well as many others. Read the rest

Australian educational contractor warns of wifi, vaccination danger to "gifted" kids' "extra neurological connections"

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Wise Ones, an Australian "gifted" education programme offers students who test into it vaccination exemption forms, and advises them to avoid wifi, because they say that "gifted children" have "extra neurological connections" that make them vulnerable to "extra sensitivities to food or chemicals." Read the rest

Improv Everywhere: asking random New Yorkers to give a commencement speech

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The fun-loving stunters of Improv Everywhere staged a fabulous stunt in New York City's Bryant Park: they set up a crowd of "grads" in caps and gowns with a stage and a podium, then sent the "dean" out into the park to beg randos to step in and serve as emergency commencement speakers, filling in for a last-minute cancellation. Read the rest

$40,000/year private school sues school for low-income kids for $2M over "Commonwealth"

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The Commonwealth School is a $40,000/year private school that occupies a couple of mansions in the Back Bay of Boston, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Academy is a pay-what-you-can school for underprivileged kids, located 90 miles away (also in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). Read the rest

Family of teen raising money to rescue her from pray-the-gay-away "boarding school"

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When Sarah, a 17 year old in Texas, decided to take her girlfriend to the prom, her parents forced her into an "East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens" from which she has repeatedly attempted to escape. Read the rest

Let's teach programming as a tool for analyzing data to transform the world

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Data-scientist Kevin H Wilson argues that computers are tools for manipulating data -- from companies' sales data to the input from games controllers -- but we teach computer programming as either a way to make cool stuff (like games) or as a gateway to "rigorous implementation details of complicated language," while we should be focusing on fusing computer and math curriciula to produce a new generation of people who understand how to use computers to plumb numbers to find deep, nuanced truths we can act upon. Read the rest

Young Journalist contest: win admission to the HOPE hacker conference

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This summer, NYC's Pennsylvania Hotel will once again fill with joyous hackers as 2600 Magazine celebrates the 11th Hackers on Planet Earth conference (HOPE): I'm giving a keynote, and if you're a student or young journalist, you can win admission to the conference by writing an article about subjects of interest to the event. Read the rest

Citizen Maths: free, open mathematical literacy for everyone

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Britain faces a major maths challenge. The challenge involves a stock of people and a flow of learners. Read the rest

Middle school teacher in trouble after administering "Pimps and Hos" math test

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Teacher JoAnne Bolser of Mobile, Alabama's public Cranford Burns Middle School was put on leave last week after administering a math test with word problems about pimps, hos, cocaine dealing, drive-by shootings, gangmembers who "knocked up" multiple girls, and other delightful subjects. The questions included:

"Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in the gang. There are 20 girls in his gang. What is the exact percentage of girls Tyrone knocked up?"

"Pedro got 6 years for murder. He also got $10,000 for the hit. If his common-law wife spends $100 of his hit money per month, how much money will be left when he gets out?"

Dwayne pimps 3 ho's. If the price is $85 per trick, how many tricks per day must each ho turn to support Dwayne's $800 per day crack habit?

Kids in Bolser's class texted photos of the quiz to their parents, sparking an investigation.

"The principal looked into it and then our school resource officer investigated it and then we immediately put the teacher on administrative leave," said the school's director of communications, Rena Philips.

Bolser was already planning to retire at the end of the school year this month.

According to Snopes, the quiz, known as the "L.A. Math Test," has circulated on the Web for years as a "joke" and Bolser is far from the first idiot to distribute it to students.

(NBC News) Read the rest

Summer Camps for Coding? Think Again.

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If you're a Boing Boing reader with children, the thought of getting them into coding has probably crossed your mind. Summer is a great time to expose kids to new interests, and coding is no exception. But unlike traditional summer camps, coding camps are less familiar territory, and often demand a high price tag with uncertain outcomes.

Wealthy families are most responsible for American wealth segregation

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Inequality in Children’s Contexts, USC Sociologist Ann Owens's paper in American Sociological Review (Scihub mirror), investigates the factors that contribute most to the unequal lives of wealthy and poor American children, and concludes that the single most significant factor is the neighborhood that the children's parents live in. Read the rest

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