Blogger templates

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 3:02 PM No comments
Failed Operation - A new Amiga game from "Irongate" created using Backbone
Iron Gate is certainly no slouch when it comes to making Amiga games, games such as The Zing, The Real Brus Lii and Mini Legión to name but a few that we've mentioned on Indie Retro News. Well if you're looking for some more Amiga games to play, then Irongate aka jojo073 has you covered with his brand new game of 'Failed Operation(Operacion Fallida)'. A new action platformer which is being shown

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 1:56 PM No comments
eLearning Skills 2030: Leading Change

To lead change effectively, a leader must have a growth mindset to embrace the challenge and define a vision, be able to ask questions, use structured problem solving, exercise agility, listen actively, and importantly, build coalitions and inspire their team to forge ahead to implement the change.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 12:54 PM No comments
Sunday, July 31, 2022, Jesse Goldberg


When I saw the title today, and then read the clue for 9A, "Got too scared, with 'out,'" I quickly decided that there would be some kind of "chicken" theme. A chicken rebus, or we'd have to have it "cross the road" into another clue or something... I thought I was so clever. Figuring it all out, and on the second clue! 

Mr. Spock with a TRICORDER

Well, as you well, know, that was not how things went down. Instead, we have Ys that are inserted into phrases that don't usually have them (BELLYBOTTOMS (Places where some belts are tightened?)) and taken away from phrases that do (COMBATREAD (Stephen Crane's 'The Red Badge of Courage,' e.g.?)). So already, that's pretty fun, but then we get to the revealer, WISEUPTO, and realize that each time a Y is inserted into a phrase, it's been taken from the exact spot that it was removed from in another phrase and moved up two squares in the puzzle. Now that's fancy! I mean, really, how is it even possible to make that work out? 

Amazing. In other news, ENYA continues to have a big week in the crossword. I was fooled for a while by "Server error," thinking about "file somethingorother," but no, it's a tennis FOOTFAULT. Also, I did not remember learning that Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts was DEAF. Interesting. And why did I enter "Gauze" for "You can see right through it," when the obvious answer was GLASS? I guess I was not TUTU awake yet.

Well, it's been a fun week of puzzles. Tomorrow, I think Frannie takes over, but we're on vacation, so maybe she'll try to enlist one of the many other family members that we're sharing a house with to either do it or help with it. We shall see. Tune in tomorrow, same HAFDTNYTCPFCA time, same HAFDTNYTCPFCA channel.

- Horace

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 7:56 AM No comments
Another Journal (1950)
I've covered Jane material by Norman Pett on the blog before (here) and now, thanks to a seller on ebay, I can look a little deeper into a number of Jane books that Pett produced. 

All dates are based on this blog post by Steve Holland

Here's the next book them - come back soon for more!

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 6:59 AM No comments
Jesse Goldberg’s New York Times crossword, “Why? Well, Why Not?” —Nate’s write-up Happy weekend! If you’re like me, you’re desperately holding onto the end of July, and today’s puzzle will hopefully give you some enjoyable moments before those Sunday scaries …

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 5:54 AM No comments
Paul Niemeyer – by Michael Mertes

May 21st, 2022 – It’s been a rainy morning on the day of the B.N. Video Game Con, but Paul E. Niemeyer emerges from the car with a smile, and soon after, a hearty laugh as he cracks a joke with NBA Jam announcer Tim Kitzrow as they
make their way into the convention center. Paul and Tim split up as they walk to their designated booth spaces. Within moments, Paul is setting up his booth featuring some pieces of his fantastic artwork. This is certainly not the first convention that Paul, the original Mortal Kombat artist, and illustrator, has been at, but the B.N. Video Game Con will soon be a special one for him. Before the doors to the event even open, Paul is excitingly greeted by other show attendees, and with a big smile, he greets them all energetically. With his booth setup, he’s ready to start the day, and shortly after, the convention opens up to eager retro gamers.

Read the rest of this article on page 22 by clicking here!



Be sure to sign up to get Old School Gamer Magazine for free by clicking here!


The post Paul Niemeyer – by Michael Mertes first appeared on Old School Gamer Magazine.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 4:51 AM No comments
Southwest Sweet Potato Bowl

This southwest sweet potato bowl uses black beans, corn, tomatoes, crisp romaine lettuce, and a flavor-packed cilantro cashew dressing.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 2:57 PM No comments
Top List Spotlight: Top LMS With Learning Analytics Tools

Do you want to leverage online learning analytics? Read this list to discover the best LMSs with learning analytics tools in the market.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 1:57 PM No comments

Just hours after the launch of the OS v1.1 Beta firmware update, the Analogue Pocket can now run ROMs thanks to the new openFPGA feature.

It was just one day ago that we shared our article about the changes coming to the Analogue Pocket’s firmware.

Check that out here: Analogue Reveals new “openFPGA” For Their Pocket Handheld.

We discussed some of the important details about FPGA technology and the difference between software and hardware “emulating” game play from some of our favorite retro game consoles.

Well, as we predicted, things just got real exciting for the Analogue Pocket.

So how did we get here?

The Analogue Pocket was launched with the ability to play original Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance game cartridges on a hardware setup that would perfectly mimic the performance of original Nintendo hardware.

If you purchased one of Analogue’s adapters, you could do the same with Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket, Neo Geo Pocket Color, and Atari Lynx cartridges as well.

Analogue is always sure to clarify that their device is not designed to offer software emulation and that the use of game ROMs is not an officially supported function.

The Analogue Pocket “emulates” original hardware. It does not emulate game play through software.

It’s an important difference, though most users won’t know or care about that.

Well, the launch of Analogue’s new software feature openFPGA sooooort of opens the door to something that feels a lot like software emulation (it’s technically not, but still).

That didn’t take very long

Typically, when a major company is about to launch a product or update, they will contact media and influencers and give them the heads up.

That gives folks like us the chance to write our articles about the exciting news and have everything ready to launch at the time and date that the company specifies.

So details about the new features for the Pocket have been known to some of us for a little while.

This includes developers who could create new openFPGA cores for the Analogue Pocket.

News about the Analogue Pocket update was under embargo until July 29 at 8am PDT.

Well, it was about three and a half hours later that the Github account Spiritualized1997 launched with two new FPGA cores for the Pocket: openFPGA-GBA and openFPGA-GB-GBC.

Presumably, Spiritualized1997 was in the know about the new openFPGA features and had been working on these features for a while now.

Analogue Pocket - openFPGAPhotos provided by David Knott (instagram @nintendiy_) What does that all mean?

So yeah, within hours of the firmware update, the Analogue Pocket can now play ROM files directly from the SD card slot, much like some of the Best Retro Handhelds (the ones that focus on retro game emulation).

You can play any one of the Best Gameboy Games, Best Gameboy Color Games or Best Gameboy Advance (GBA) Games on the Analogue Pocket without a game cartridge.

And because you are playing those games using FPGA hardware, not software emulation, those games should theoretically perform identical to original hardware performance.

It’s not like many of us can tell the difference. Game Boy emulation has been pretty much perfect for years now. If it plays, it plays.

But what makes this new third-party feature so exciting is that now, finally, we can play game ROMs on one of the most beautiful handheld consoles that has ever been released.

The Pocket was already insanely beautiful and one of the most desirable consoles on the scene.

That screen alone was reason to prefer it to any other game console you have in your collection.

But the main complaint about the Pocket was that you also had to have a bunch of original game carts.

So, as expected, the community has delivered the feature that Analogue couldn’t (legally): ROM game play straight from the SD card slot.

Analogue Pocket - openFPGAPhotos provided by David Knott (instagram @nintendiy_) What’s next?

It’s just a matter of time before we get Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and whatever other retro game consoles are compatible with the Analogue Pocket’s button configuration and hardware capabilities.

If you were on the fence about the Analogue Pocket in the past, now is the best time to get yourself on the pre-order list or try to get one that is already out in the wild.

The Analogue Pocket just became one of the most beautiful retro game emulators on the market… sort of.

Still hardware level emulation. An important distinction. But the users won’t notice the difference.

The post Analogue Pocket can now run ROMs thanks to openFPGA update appeared first on Retro Dodo.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 12:53 PM No comments
Saturday, July 30, 2022, Lance Enfinger

The week began with a couple debuts, and it ends with one - a lovely, challenging, triple-stack Saturday. Welcome to the fold, Mr. Enfinger, I am already a fan.

Crayola in EASTON

Way back when, when I first started doing puzzles, long, grid-spanning stacks struck fear in me. All that empty white space! Then, once I had solved a bunch, they struck fear for another reason - all those short crosses! But this time, the stack is run through with fives, sixes, nines, and elevens! And almost all of them are sparkly! I don't take a FILETMIGNON, but you've gotta love that as fill, complete with French clue "Literally, 'dainty slice'" (well, I would have said "cute slice"). "Simple kind of question" (TRUEFALSE) is strong, too. I kept wanting to stretch out yessornoo. LEADBALLOON (It's not going to fly) is a heavy hitter, and SLIDINGDOOR (Future-altering decision point, metaphorically) slides into the stack nicely. 

Once again, my upbringing stood me in good stead for OPERETTAS ("Iolanthe" and "Candide," for two) (I dropped that right in), but even though I was thinking of the gambling kind of whale, I could not for the life of me think of HOTELCASINO. (Don't bet on me at the crossword tournaments!)

Even the small stuff running through the middle is strong. It starts on the left with the FIC (False Imperative Clue) (I had to look that up in our own glossary!) "Scratch that" (ITCH), and continues with a real imperative clue "Get outta here!" (SHOO). And on the other side, the word ERST always reminds me of Shakespeare's sonnet 12, which is nice.

There's just so much good stuff I could talk about in here! DENOTE (Mean) (tricky!), LILTS (Pleasant cadences) (tried LopeS first), BLUNT and CHEF (Pot holder) (uhhuhhuhhuh...), EELS (The ancient Egyptians believed they were created from the sun hitting the Nile) (Whaa?!), ONNOTICE (Warned), STOMACHS (Bears)... HELLNO (Rude "Forget it!"). It's all good.

It's a fantastic debut. I'll be happy to see Mr. Enfinger's byline again.

- Horace

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 7:56 AM No comments
Understanding GPT-3 In The Context Of The eLearning Industry

Emerging technologies that will shape the future of eLearning: a close look at GPT-3 and understanding its impact on digital learning design.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 6:51 AM No comments
GAO finds government has underestimated cost of student loans
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, a middle-aged Hispanic man with glasses and a goatee.

The Education Department projected that student loans would generate $114 billion in income over the last 25 years. However, a new report shows that federal student loans have actually cost the government $197 billion, a $311 billion difference.

The findings come from a Government Accountability Office report released today that undermines a narrative from the department that the federal student loan program is generating income. The study, analyzing data on student loans between 1994 and 2021, found that the Education Department greatly underestimated how changes to loan programs and borrower behavior have impacted the federal student loan balance.

Recent changes to the loan program since the start of 2022 that were not included in the study, like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver and multiple group discharges of federal student loan debt, will drive the cost higher. Additionally, if President Biden moves to cancel some outstanding student debt, the cost would rise as well.

The shift, according to the report, is driven by changes to the federal student loan program, as well as flawed assumptions about borrowers’ income, repayment rates and default.

Although the GAO did not offer recommendations for the department to improve its budgeting method, the report highlights key factors for review that are contributing to massive differences in how much the student loan program is actually costing taxpayers.

In a letter to the GAO in response to the report, Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal said, “In some cases, estimates are revised because of changes in both the data available to the department and the department’s methodology for estimating costs.” He continued, “While the department always strives for the best possible estimates, there is some inherent uncertainty in the department’s cost estimates, which the department publicly discloses in its Agency Financial Report and the President’s Budget.”

The findings of the report have sparked harsh pushback from congressional Republicans, who have been highly critical of the Biden administration’s changes to the student loan system (although the report covers years that Republicans were in charge of the government as well as Democrats). “Any way you look at it, the claim that the federal government ‘profits’ off student loan borrowers is false. Taxpayers have lost hundreds of billions of dollars on this program,” said a statement from a group of Republican lawmakers from both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

What Is Causing the Difference?

Every year the Education Department submits an estimate of its costs for the purposes of developing the federal government’s annual budget. This includes estimates for any new loan programs as well as loan performance, such as how many borrowers are expected to default or how much outstanding debt will be paid off.

The department, however, cannot fully realize the true cost of the federal student loan program until the loans are fully paid off. Therefore, it must estimate how fast borrowers will pay back their debt, how many borrowers are expected to default and how borrowers’ incomes might change in a given year. The report found that since 1994, not a single group of borrowers has completely paid off its debts.

As a result, the Education Department’s estimates are often far off from what actually occurs in a given year, the study finds. Inevitably, certain social and economic changes, such as a recession or a pandemic, are not always able to be accurately forecast at the beginning of a fiscal year.

Figure 4: Increases in budget cost estimates due to direct student loan programmatic changes, fiscal years 2005 to 2021

Changes in Federal Student Loan Programs

Since 1997, changes to the federal student loan program, including programs that set certain borrowers on a path toward forgiveness, new repayment methods and the pause on student loan payments that was enacted at the start of the pandemic, have driven a 33 percent increase in the cost of the student loan program, totaling $102 billion.

By far, the largest change that contributed to this increase was the pause on federal student loan payments and programmatic changes enacted throughout the pandemic and other pandemic-related loan forgiveness programs, the report shows. In total, these changes drove an increase of over $107 billion between the years 2020 and 2021.

Other changes included the Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act of 2004, which increased the amount of loan forgiveness that certain teachers could be eligible for, resulting in a $48 million increase; the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, which re-established models for income-driven repayment (IDR) and PSLF, resulting in a $4 billion increase; and the Revised Pay as You Earn plan, a form of IDR, resulting in a $9.9 billion increase. In total, these changes have accounted for a 6 percent increase, totaling $20 billion.

Flaws in Estimates of Borrower Behavior

The largest driver of the increase in federal student loan costs to the government was a gap in available data, the report says. Limited data available to the department to estimate how borrowers are repaying their loans, how much money borrowers are making and how many borrowers will default have driven a $189 billion increase in cost since 1997, according to the report.

The department’s inability to access data on borrowers’ income through the Internal Revenue Service has been highlighted as a key driver of internal difficulties in administering income-based repayment programs, including the possibility that Biden will cancel $10,000 in debt per borrower for those making under $150,000 a year.

Assumptions on borrowers’ repayment plan selection alone drove a $70 billion increase. One of the most common repayment plans, IDR, is especially difficult to estimate because the amount a borrower is required to pay each month changes if they have a change in their income. Almost half of federal student loans, 47 percent, are being repaid through IDR.

Additionally, changes to borrowers’ estimated income growth caused a $68 billion increase, and assumptions on how many borrowers will default caused a $23 billion increase.

Changes to the Education Department’s Budget Model

The Education Department is currently in the process of introducing a new budget model that will be implemented in fiscal year 2026. The current model is based on estimates of large groups of borrowers, while the new model, called the microsimulation model, will take into account data from the National Student Loan Data System.

According to information provided by the department detailed in the report, this new budget model will provide more accurate predictions of changes driving cost to the federal student loan program.

Representative Robert Scott, a Democrat from Virginia and chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, said in a statement, “Regrettably, this GAO report shows that the soaring cost of college—caused by decades of state disinvestment in higher education and the declining value of the Pell Grant—has forced students to borrow more money for a degree. Unlike previous generations, students are now taking out loans in amounts which make repayment difficult.”

Image Source: 
The Washington Post/Contributor via Getty Images
Image Caption: 
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Newsletter Order: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 
Magazine treatment: 
Display Promo Box: 
Live Updates: 
Most Popular: 
In-Article Advertisement High: 
In-Article related stories: 
In-Article Advertisement Low: 

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 5:54 AM No comments
A Great Place to Find Lesson Plan Ideas
Disclosure: TARA is currently an advertiser on

Earlier this week I published a lengthy piece about a new tool called TARA and how it can help you save time this fall. My favorite of all the features in TARA is the strategy resource bank that is available to any teacher who wants to use it. In the strategy resource bank you'll find dozens of teaching strategies accompanied by free handouts to use in your classroom. 

In this short video I provide a demonstration of how to use TARA's strategy resource bank

Applications for Education
The resource bank is obviously a good resource for new teachers but it shouldn’t be overlooked by experienced teachers. When you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or your “old reliable” lesson plan isn’t clicking with kids anymore, browse through TARA’s resource bank for some inspiration for a new strategy to try.
Are you a tech coach or media specialist looking for some new ideas to share with your colleagues? If so, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook you need. You can get it right here.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 4:51 AM No comments
Xbox Apparently Wants Gamers to Go Outside

The Xbox Gear Shop has been around for a while now, providing gamers with a great place to find a range of Xbox-related clothing and accessories. Everything from coffee mugs to action figures to playing cards, as well as hoodies, socks, and tank tops can be found there, sometimes even for reasonable prices. These items might be Xbox themed or based on popular franchises like Halo, Psychonauts 2, or even specific developers like Obsidian Entertainment.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here

Friday, July 29, 2022

Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 2:51 PM No comments
Lost in Blue 2

Play Lost in Blue 2 Online Release year: 2007 | Players: 1 player – multiplayer | Developed by Matrix Software Here, at My Emulator Online, you can play Lost in...

The post Lost in Blue 2 appeared first on MyEmulator.Online.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 1:56 PM No comments
Announcing Arena Kings With New Weekly Format is proud to announce the return of Arena Kings starting on August 3 at 9 a.m. PT/17:00 CET! Arena Kings is shifting back to its roots: An event by chess streamers for chess streamers. It is for this reason that the event now features a w...

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 12:51 PM No comments
The Light Salon Full Body BoosterIf you need some instant sunshine in your life, not matter the weather, The Light Salon is where you need to go! They offer a range LED Light treatments with add-ons and I recently tried out the De-Puffing Full-Body Booster. I absolutely loved it. Here’s what you need to know! What is LED Light Therapy? […]

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 6:59 AM No comments
Activities for Developing a Positive Classroom Climate

This article first appeared in the Teaching Professor on March 21, 2017. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved.

Positive classroom climate can encourage students to participate, think deeply about content, and engage peers in intellectual debate. Creating a classroom climate conducive to that type of expression can be difficult. Classrooms are filled with a diverse cross-section of our society representing multiple learning preferences and expectations. Professors aspire to reach all students and engage them in meaningful, content-rich examinations of the subject matter, but peer-to-peer relationships, personal struggles, students’ perception of course content, and even the novelty of the college classroom itself can all impact the class climate. The key to overcoming these variables is the professor. The professor is the one piece that most students attribute their success or failure and their positive or negative experiences in a college classroom (Boesch, 2014).

The following describes a pilot project completed in the fall of 2016 in a small liberal arts college:

After several courses in which I was dissatisfied with the frequency and depth of student participation, I designed two sets of opening activities for students to do at the beginning of class. These class starters would act as a conduit for developing a climate of respect, cooperation, and emotional safety (Matsumura, Slater, and Crosson, 2008; Shuck, Albornz, Winberg, 2007). I believed by establishing a positive classroom climate, students would be more willing to participate in content-based discussions and activities.

Class starters

Class starters, or bell ringers, are common in the elementary, middle, and high school settings, but are rare in college courses. Class starters are short activities aimed at getting students engaged in a topic independent of instructor interaction.  In this case, the class starters were comprised of two activities, a Check-in and Warm-up. Each activity was created and displayed, one at a time, on a PowerPoint slide that was presented at the beginning of every class. The goal was for these quick class starters to break down students’ walls and insecurities and encourage them to focus and engage in class discussions and activities.

The Check-in

The Check-in questions remained the same all semester, and the Warm-up activity changed with each class. The Check-in questions were designed to be broad whereas the Warm-ups were content-specific. The class first shared the Check-in questions and then moved into discussing the Warm-up.

The five Check-in questions were projected on a screen before class began. The Check-in happened right away—before any housekeeping or lecture. The five questions were:

  1. What’s new?
  2. What’s exciting?
  3. What’s bothering you?
  4. What have you thought about from last class?
  5. Describe your mood in one sentence (optional follow-up).

I introduced the concept of the Check-in during the first meeting of the semester. I explained that it was not graded and did not focus on course readings or content; rather, the activity was created to allow everyone in the class to share something. Participation in the Check-in was not optional. All were required to participate. I shared the rationale behind the ‘forced’ sharing by explaining, “Often, the first time speaking in a class is the most difficult, particularly if the subject matter is not your favorite or you reserved. These Check-ins are designed to present a way to encourage yourself to speak up in a non-threatening, non-academic manner.”

The rules for the Check-in were simple:

  1. The instructor chose one student to begin and then all other students participate in a clockwise rotation.
  2. Everyone must participate.
  3. Select any one of the five choices and announce your selection and response to the group.
  4. The response can/should be brief. A single word or brief phrase is sufficient.

I modeled the expectation on day one and continued modeling throughout the semester by always selecting one of the Check-in questions and speaking first.

The Warm-up

After each Check-in, I revealed the Warm-up portion of the class starter. Warm-up activities were designed around the content of the course, but presented in a manner that was more conversational than text or lecture-based. For example, for a lesson on social and emotional development in our educational psychology course, the Warm-up was designed to focus students’ attention on factors that influenced their personal development. Students were asked to, “Identify a person who has contributed to your growth and development as a student, writer, accountant, teacher, (or whatever your major is), or just as a person. Share what you found significant.”

I listened and affirmed student responses with a nod or simple, “Thank you for sharing.” I kept my comments brief so as to not lose the momentum of students’ sharing. However, as we transitioned to the lecture portion of class, I would integrate some of the comments students made earlier. The personal connection to the text and course topic was valuable to students. “I liked the way the professor used our words when she talked about the chapter, it made the topics seem real and easy to understand,” a student reported.

Sample Warm-up exercises

Composing Warm-ups directly linked to course content can be challenging. The easiest way I found to do it was to look for icebreaker activities and use them as a frame. By keeping the structure of the activities in place and adding course content, the creation of the Warm-ups was manageable.  Examples of ways to create Warm-up activities for any class include:

  1. The M&M icebreaker. Provide bowls of M&Ms and tell students to take a few (but don’t eat any…yet). After everyone has their M&Ms, instruct them to explain one part of the course reading or topic for each color M&M they selected; green = explain the theory of ______, red = tell something that was challenging about the reading/topic, yellow = restate one of the key ideas of _________, brown = tell something you’d like to know more about.
  2. The three truths and a lie icebreaker. Challenge students to partner up and describe three statements from the reading (two true and one factually inaccurate). Each must take turns identifying which is the false statement.
  3. The reception line. Divide the students into two groups and have them stand facing each other. Each person talks to the person across from them until signaled to move. The person at the end of one line moves to the other end so that everyone has a new person with whom to talk. Topics (main points of the class/reading) can be provided or students can be assigned to talk about one surprise and one question they had about the reading.
 Feedback on the strategy

As part of an unrelated project, two faculty members from outside my department observed this course. Independent of each other, each observer commented on the Check-in and Warm-up activities. 

  • “I have never seen a college course start like this. It created a warm feeling I have not seen in other courses.”
  • “You share a lot of yourself with the students. I have never considered doing this. After seeing the way the students respond, I may try some of these ideas next semester.”
  • “Departments don’t teach you to teach. I know my subject matter, but ways to present it and ways to engage students in learning are unsaid. This gave me ideas to try with my students.”

At the end of the semester, I asked students to anonymously write their thoughts about the Check-in and Warm-up class starters. All responses were positive, and students reported feeling more comfortable in class and enjoyed the sense of camaraderie that developed throughout the semester. Here are some of their comments:

  • “I admit, the first couple of classes were uncomfortable for me because the atmosphere was unparalleled to any other course I had taken. However, my initial moments of discomfort when I was asked to share turned positive and impacted my view of the class. I believe this has helped me learn more content than I have in any other course.”
  • “The Warm-up and Check-in have created a comfortable and safe environment for our class. As a senior, I have never been one to speak that much in class. Although I doubted this exercise at first, it has truly given me the confidence to actively participate in class discussions.”
  • “I love this part of class. Even though I don’t know everyone’s names, I still feel comfortable enough to approach them for their help on something and to work with them in groups. It’s a great way to get comfortable in class, speak-up when questions arise, and it makes presenting in front of the class easier.”
  • “The Warm-up and Check-in is something I look forward to doing every class. I feel like it brought me closer to me peers and instructor. It helped me feel more engaged and committed to class which in turn made it easier to work in groups, respond to questions, and present materials to the class. I feel if more classes did this, more students would feel more connected and comfortable in class and get more out of going to class.”
  • “I really enjoyed the Warm-up/Check-in. I’m an introvert. I don’t like to talk usually, but these Warm-ups have really made it easier for me to make connections and to answer questions in class. In my other classes, I don’t speak at all. These activities helped me learn about those around me and that we aren’t as different as we seem.”

While students are ultimately responsible for their actions and how they participate in class, it is my hope that by striving to break down some barriers, I will create a place that supports and nurtures students and in turn, guides them to become more involved in class.

Melissa Parks is an assistant professor of education in the Stetson University Department of Education.


Boesch, B. (2014).  The Importance of the Professor in College Classroom Climate for Immigrant Students. College Quarterly, 17(4), 2-21.

Matsumura, L., Slater, S., & Crosson, A. (2008). Classroom Climate, Rigorous Instruction and Curriculum, and Students’ Interactions in Urban Middle Schools, The Elementary School Journal, 108(4), 293-312.

Shuck, B., Albornoz, C., & Winberg, M. (2007). Emotions and their effect on adult learning: A Constructivist perspective. In S. M. Nielsen & M. S. Plakhotnik (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth Annual College of Education Research Conference: Urban and International Education Section (pp. 108-113). Miami: Florida International University.

The post Activities for Developing a Positive Classroom Climate appeared first on Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 5:54 AM No comments
Students’ Physical and Mental Health Declined During the Pandemic. Could a New Telehealth Initiative Help?

Hope that school might return to normal in the fall is quickly dimming as new COVID-19 variants threaten to pummel communities throughout the country and COVID hospitalization rates increase.

Many districts are dusting off COVID-19 safety and cleaning protocols and shoring up remote learning options. All signs point to record teacher and staff departures at schools across the country. Pandemic era shortages continue to plague school districts, affecting everything from the availability of nutritious food for school lunches to basic classroom supplies. And that’s to say nothing of the impact of high inflation and record-high gas prices on schools. Meanwhile, school and district leaders continue to try to regain ground against so-called “learning loss” that occurred during the pandemic, investing in tutoring programs and summer school options.

Faced with these daunting realities, it’s understandable that school and district leaders might put deep investment in students’ physical and mental health on the back burner.

But that would be a mistake.

Children’s Health Is Crucial to Closing the Achievement Gap

Student wellbeing—including physical and mental health—is deeply intertwined with learning outcomes. In short, healthy children learn better than children who are suffering from health-related problems. That’s the big takeaway from decades of research and emerging findings on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student outcomes.

Researchers have shown that mental health risks—including aggression, depression, and suicidal behaviors—are often present for students experiencing struggles in school. On the other hand, researchers have found a positive correlation between physical exercise and particular types of cognitive skills, particularly executive function. Executive function includes many of the core skills needed for learning: memory, attention, planning, and the ability to manage multiple tasks.

Even short amounts of physical activity have been shown to improve students’ cognition. In one study, researchers asked children to complete cognitive tasks after either watching television or engaging in physical activity for 30 minutes. The children who participated in exercise significantly outperformed those who watched television. In another study, researchers administered academic achievement tests after children walked on a treadmill at a moderate pace. Children who walked on the treadmill performed better on the achievement tests than those who rested prior to testing.

There’s a key equity dimension of this research. Health challenges disproportionately affect children in low-income communities, particularly children of color in urban areas, resulting in a widening achievement gap. Children in low-income communities are more likely to experience pollution, food insecurity, housing insecurity, and stress, among other factors affecting physical and mental health, which, in turn, affect learning.

The pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges. More than 200,000 children have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19, affecting Black and Hispanic children at nearly twice the rate of white children. Researchers have documented declines in children’s mental health during remote learning and social distancing. Just a few months into the pandemic, one in three parents reported that their child was experiencing harm to their mental or emotional health. One study found that during the pandemic, adolescents showed more signs of anxiety and depression and a decrease in life satisfaction.

Researchers have also found substantially decreased physical activity among children during the pandemic, with socioeconomically disadvantaged children faring especially poorly. Many experts have raised concerns that these disparities could lead to increased risk of diabetes, obesity, and other adverse health outcomes for children in the long-term. In turn, such health challenges could significantly affect students’ learning—especially among students from low-income communities—further widening an achievement gap that has become more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What can schools do about these health challenges?

Research has shown that school investments in physical education and mental health services can play a role in improving student learning outcomes. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have stepped up or extended existing programs to provide food and social services to students and families. But with few trained counselors, nurses, or other professionals, and with so many other demands on educators’ time and energy, it’s hard for many schools and districts to help address students’ mental and physical health at scale.

Instead, statewide initiatives offer an opportunity to leverage pandemic-era learnings in order to offer health services at scale. One such model is the Mississippi Department of Education’s (MDE) partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) to provide telehealth services to K-12 students. The partnership officially launched earlier this year, with clinical implementation beginning in July.

Leveraging Investments in Tech for Better Health

The $17.6 million telehealth delivery system grant is funded by the MDE out of the state’s COVID-19 relief funds. The program will draw on UMMC personnel to provide telehealth services to K-12 schools in Mississippi across the following areas: remote urgent care, remote behavioral health, dental health education, and lifestyle coaching of students at risk for developing diabetes.

UMMC will conduct needs assessments with schools and districts, and set up and maintain the program locally, training school nurses and other staff on how to use the system. UMMC staff will convene local stakeholders to identify goals and metrics to evaluate locally and will continue to monitor progress for the duration of the grant. The program will initially be available in four districts, but telehealth services will expand to all districts throughout the state by July 2023.

The goal of the program? To use preventative services to improve health outcomes of Mississippi’s students, in order to improve learning.

Carey Wright, the recently retired Mississippi state superintendent of education, explained the goals of the partnership this way: “Healthy students learn better. … This program can potentially reduce absenteeism, help parents and guardians get quicker access to services for a child and even save lives.”

The MDE leverages the technological capacity that the MDE has built through its Mississippi Connects program. That initiative provides computing devices to students and teachers throughout the state, and offers the infrastructure to support use of these devices, including professional development, software, curricula, broadband, and other resources. These devices and services are critical for students accessing telehealth services.

The telehealth partnership also leverages the expertise of UMMC’s professionals in delivering telehealth services. UMMC’s Center for Telehealth has more than 200 sites in 73 of the state’s 82 counties and has expanded its telehealth capacity during the pandemic.

That reach and expertise has been particularly important for serving the state’s most vulnerable populations, according to Dr. Saurabh Chandra, chief telehealth officer at UMMC's Center for Telehealth. “Telehealth has provided means to increase access and delivery of care, especially in the rural and underserved communities,” Chandra says.

It’s too soon to say how effective the partnership will be. But the MDE’s telehealth partnership with UMMC has the promise to address health disparities that have become more pronounced during the pandemic, and that threaten students’ learning. It’s a model that other states would be wise to monitor.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here
Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 4:54 AM No comments
Put down your spear and blunderbuss and strike up your tuba and fiddle! This is the message that New World conveyed early this morning as it released its huge Summer Medleyfaire update and ushered players into the musical craziness of the new event. “Celebrate the Summer Medleyfaire with fishing and musical events throughout Aeternum. Summer […]

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 2:54 PM No comments


Bookmark Us

Delicious Digg Facebook Favorites More Stumbleupon Twitter