They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets.

Facebook under magnifierHere’s an important heads-up for the college-bound. It seems college recruiters do more than check academic records. They search through students’ electronic trail of tweets, posts, photos and text messages. Reporter Natasha Singer of The New York Times provides details what happens when college admissions officers examine applicants’ digital trails through cyberspace:

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Reading Fiction May Change the Brain for the Better

Mt. VesuviusNeuroscientist Gregory Berns reports reading fiction — stories and novels — may help develop the human brain. Research conducted at Emory University shows that good stories and novels seem to develop neural connectivity, a mind-altering effect that may be long-lasting and positive.

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How to Fall in Love with Math

Arp 271 colliding spiral galaxiesDr. Manil Suri is good with numbers and letters. He explains why mathematics isn’t something to be feared, but appreciated:

Think of it this way: you can appreciate art without acquiring the ability to paint, or enjoy a symphony without being able to read music. Math also deserves to be enjoyed for its own sake, without being constantly subjected to the question, “When will I use this?”

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Funding preschool education smart use of tax dollars

Preschool importantAttorney, biotech VP and educator Matt Valenti reports:

“A study done by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman concluded that investing in quality preschool programs is a better bet than investing on the stock market, yielding economic returns between 7 percent and 10 percent. Can your mutual fund do that?”

Mr. Valenti’s article reminds us of the enormous difference investment in early childhood education makes — for individuals and for society.

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The Joys of Educational Jargon

Jargon Word Cloud Jargon

John Merrow, educational reporter for PBS NewsHour and the author of “The Influence of Teachers,” cuts through the hype of educational jargon in this essay:

Does jargon disguise vacuity? Anne Lewis, a veteran reporter, offered this analysis: “I have come to the conclusion that it exists because of a professional lack of esteem. Other professions requiring college degrees have a specific language — medicine, the sciences, engineering, law. But educators only have plain English, so they change it into a “professional” language that sounds fancy and inaccessible when it ought to be the most accessible profession of all.”

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Einstein’s Brain Better Connected

Albert EinsteinA new study suggests Albert Einstein’s brain was unusually well-connected. Microscopic imagery of the corpus callosum, the neurons and fibers that connect the left and right hemispheres, revealed Einstein’s brain was better “wired” to send and receive information between the brain’s halves and various regions. Researchers at East China Normal University’s Department of Physics developed a new method for mapping the connection between the two cerebral hemispheres in Einstein’s brain. Their study, reported in the journal Brain, suggests the physiological difference contributed to Einstein’s remarkable genius.

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Smart Teenage Brains May Get Some Extra Learning Time

Teenage Brain i2When it comes to the teenage mind: Nature and Nurture both matter. Researchers working to understand the influences of genetics and environment in shaping the teenage mind report kids with higher IQs may have an extended period in adolescence during which they can absorb new information and learn at a rapid pace, similar to how babies and infants rapidly learn. The brighter the teen, the bigger the window. National Public Radio reports details:

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