What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Text Messages Inspire Students, But Test Scores Stay The Same

June 11, 2013, 3:04 PM
Shutterstock_133580459

What's the Latest Development?

A paper just published in The National Bureau of Economic Research describes what happened when 2,000 Oklahoma City sixth- and seventh-graders were given free mobile phones that received texts once a day encouraging them to work hard in school and study. The texts, which were produced by an award-winning ad agency, included such missives as "High school dropouts are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as college graduates" and "People don't look down on someone for being too educated." After nine months of daily texts, the students gave generally positive feedback. However, "there was no measurable increase in educational attainment or achievement."

What's the Big Idea?

Roland Fryer, the Harvard University economist behind the experiment and lead author of the paper, writes that the experiment's mission was "to assess whether students better understood the link between human capital and outcomes." The students took quizzes that demonstrated they were paying attention to the texts, and some earned more airtime for reading certain books and answering other questions. As to why the positive reinforcement failed to produce better scores, Fryer theorizes that students may not have received enough guidance on "how to translate [extra] effort into output."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The Guardian

 

Text Messages Inspire Stude...

Newsletter: Share: