The LSU Top 5 #45

This is the 45th of our weekly links to the top 5 bits and pieces we’ve found from around the internet.

(Linking doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with these articles!)

Students’ use of laptops in class lowers grades: Canadian study – The Globe and Mail

Using a laptop to take notes, or even sitting near someone using a laptop, reduces information recall. This is probably due to the temptation to multi-task.

“A lot of students spend quite a big chunk of time in class doing things that are not related to the academic environment or aren’t directly related to the course or the lecture,” [study co-author Faria] Sana said.

“We’re hoping that based on these results, students will take responsibility for their actions.”

Link

Vietnam’s not got talent?Thanh Nien

This article looks at why Vietnam has trouble getting overseas-Vietnamese to come back to work in Vietnam, focusing on the role of the education system.

Historically, the cause has been war and colonialism and their lingering aftereffects. Currently, it might have to do more with bloated bureaucracies and business and management culture. Experts are mulling over what can be done in Vietnam to keep talent around, and draw in talent from overseas.

Link

30 Simple Ways To Connect With StudentsEdudemic

Though aimed at school teachers, this gives some nice and simple ways to connect with students. As I (Sam) say in workshops, if you take away just one or two things, it’ll be worth your time!

Link

Why exam results should be getting better all the timeTimes Higher Education

This article offers a defence of ever increasing average grades, often dismissed simply as ‘grade inflation.’

Improvement occurs because so many more tools for thinking and learning exist now and because of better teaching in schools… The new world of today’s kids bubbles over with information and ideas… They have instant access to a cornucopia of concepts and facts. In such rich soil thinking blossoms. Kids write and communicate in a dozen different ways: no wonder they are getting smarter.

And schools are better: not only are classes smaller but youngsters are encouraged to think where once they would have been drilled in handwriting. Teaching is improving all the time: today’s teachers are better educated, understanding the ways children learn and cultivating methods, teaching styles and curricula best suited to those in their charge. The differences between schools today and those of my generation are huge.

One commenter disagrees:

This author must be mad. Certainly young people live in a “new world of (that) bubbles over with information and ideas.” Unfortunately it’s rubbish information like vampire stars and “Britain’s Got Talent”. In real knowledge, today’s university students are much more poorer [sic] trained than a couple generations ago. Only a “professor of education” could be so ignorant about education.

Link

Why Earning Potential Shouldn’t Drive the College Major DecisionThe Woofound Blog

In the US (especially), there is a lot of talk about the importance of STEM degrees, with less ‘practical’ degrees becoming unfashionable. Students taking these less practical degrees are often portrayed as short sighted, given their apparent lower earning potential. This might be mistaken, though, as what the student does with their degree – no matter what area it is in – is more important than the major itself.

Daniel Hamermesh, a labor markets expert and economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, ran the numbers—and learned this from his analysis: “Perceptions of the variations in economic success among graduates in different majors are exaggerated. Our results imply that given a student’s ability, achievement and effort, his or her earnings do not vary all that greatly with the choice of undergraduate major.”

Link

We love hearing your thoughts on these articles, so feel free to comment below!

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