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We Need to Teach Kids Creative Thinking, and We’re Teaching Them the Opposite
"Education is far less about a set of facts than a way of thinking," says professor and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss. "And therefore what I always think should be the basis of education is not answers, but questions."
Lawrence Maxwell Krauss is a Canadian-American theoretical physicist who is a professor of physics, and the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe from Nothing. He is an advocate of scientific skepticism, science education, and the science of morality. Krauss is one of the few living physicists referred to by Scientific American as a "public intellectual", and he is the only physicist to have received awards from all three major U.S. physics societies: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics.
Lawrence Krauss: Education is far less about a set of facts than a way of thinking, than learning how to critically think. And therefore, what I always think should be the basis of education is not answers, but questions. We should teach kids how to question. Now having said that, of course, to be a productive adult there are certain skills that are required — reading, writing, and in the old-fashioned days we used to say arithmetic. Now we say mathematics. And it’s important that we provide students those basic skills. And in that sense, I’m in favor of a common core because I think there are certain things that most reasonable educators and most reasonable mathematicians and scientists and historians would agree are a part of what every modern literate person should have as a tool to go out and look at the outside world.
I am in favor of saying okay, let’s get teams of educators and experts in certain disciplines to say, "What are the basic things that we think are an essential part of an early education for people?" Put them together and create as well as possible a set of goals and tools to learn those things. One thing I cannot understand and people are probably going to be upset about this is why local school boards have control over educational content. Because local school boards are inevitably made up of individuals without any training. One of the reasons we send kids to school is to help protect them from their parents — in a good sense. I mean most parents want their kids to learn; they're good, but the point is the reason kids are outside the house is so they can get exposure to things that might take them beyond the biases that they learn at home. And if we send them to school we should take them beyond the biases that are present in local school board members. There should be standards that are based — that are determined by educators, not by people who for one reason or another run for election to a local school board. So a common core is something I’m in favor of. What I’m not in favor of, by the way, is standardized tests, however. Testing always inevitably means you teach students to be able to do tests. And I’ve seen it at all levels, including, by the way, at graduate school. We have many grad students, say, from China who are excellent at taking physics tests, but when they want to become researchers — just being able to regurgitate information is not what makes you a creative researcher. And I think the same is true for a young person. Being able to know specifics to pass a test is not the same as being able to understand how to go about answering those questions.
"Education is far less about a set of facts than a way of thinking," says professor and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss. "And therefore what I always think should be the basis of education is not answers, but questions." In this video interview, Krauss explains why it's vital for young students to be taught more than just basic skills. They need to be taught to solve the sorts of problems not conveyed on a test. An adequate curriculum could only be derived from the wisdom of experts. This is why Krauss supports the idea of a common core, although not one hinged on stringent testing. "Being able to know specifics to pass a test is not the same as being able to understand how to go about answering those questions."
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.