Arne Duncan's Disruptive Innovation

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Americans love innovation. Such reverence we have for our start-up geniuses, rewarding them with vast fortunes and influence in matters beyond their ken.

Not for our babies. Developmental scientist Alison Gopnik refers to them as the “R&D department of the human species—the blue-sky guys, the brainstormers.” The role of adults: production and marketing. “Babies make the discoveries,” she has written, “and we implement them.” Yet we’re squashing this impulse so early.

This week, the Stanford Social Innovation Review posted to its digital edition an excerpt from “The Yin and Yang of Education Reform,” one . . . Read full article →

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Close Encounters of the Digital Kind

Last week, Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco, released Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America 2013. The latest crop of “digital citizens” are taking to screens with a vengeance. Ownership of tablet devices has increased fivefold, from 8 to 40 percent, since the last report, just two years ago. During that same period, the percentage of children with access to some type of “smart” mobile device leapt from 52 to 75 percent; mobile media usage almost doubled, coming in at a whopping 72 percent. But most stunning is the revelation about the . . . Read full article →

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Virtual Kindergarten? There Goes the Neighborhood

The headline for yesterday’s post at “Rules for Engagement,” Ross Brenneman’s blog at Education Week, was riveting. “How to be Social: Early-Childhood Edition,” it proclaimed. “Children…learn from each other,” Brenneman wrote. “They imitate one another’s actions, language, and appearances. And it begins early.” So far, so good.

But the plot quickly thickened, as a link drew me to the latest issue of Digital Directions, and a feature story (nice and short, for our rapidly shrinking attention spans), by Robin Flanigan, on the pros and cons of online kindergarten. Yes, you heard me. After I got . . . Read full article →

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Screens 'R' Us: The High Cost of Lost Face Time

In their earliest months and years, children’s interactions with familiar, sensitive, and stimulating caregivers fuel their social, emotional and intellectual growth, with enduring effects on their future development, learning, and academic capacities. Smiles, funny faces, the voices of the ones who love them are the stuff that count for the blossoming infant. The process of bonding, or attunement, is the first order or business, as parents and babies begin their duet. Through delicate and nuanced choreography, infants and mothers forge a relationship, with both partners building what psychologist Erik Erikson called “basic trust, “ a sense of security and optimism . . . Read full article →

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