Bulletin Board - The New York Times

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Computers, fake frogs, new desks, etc.: a collection of opinions and news from our learning special report.

Students usually learn about moles, atoms, compounds and the complexity of the periodic table in college, but Daniel Fried firmly believes that children can learn complex biochemistry topics in elementary school.

Mr. Fried is an assistant professor of chemistry at St. Peter’s University in New Jersey. In his spare time, he offers biochemistry courses for young people, teaches fourth to sixth grade students at the nearby Montessori school, and interacts with other teachers and home school Share courses with parents around the world.

Fried said: "When children are young, they are motivated." "Teaching them is easy. They mastered the pattern so quickly. They thanked everything." He said that by contrast, high school and college students To do more work, often just want to learn the knowledge needed to pass the exam.

Mr. Fried found it easy for children interested in biochemistry-especially when they heard that they could quickly correct older siblings or cousins. He said: "The most difficult part is getting adults involved."

At Hopatcong Middle School in northern New Jersey, Jim McKowen was one of the first public school teachers to take the course. He teaches sixth graders. McCowen said that after taking a class that taught students the molecules of flavoring agents, the students returned home and searched for ingredient labels to find chemicals that they approved. He said that after class, the children would doodle molecules on the school notebooks.

Mr. Fried has introduced biochemistry to students of various ethnic and socio-economic groups in schools and museums and found that all of them are happy with the course. He said that girls have the same interest in these courses as boys, although men tend to dominate the STEM field.

Both teachers believe that the curriculum can bring more diversity to STEM. McCowyn said: "I hope it will indeed arouse people's greater interest in science in later life, and we are beginning to see these results."

However, to get there, teachers must believe that the children's abilities are beyond their imagination.

McCowen said: "Sometimes we do short our children."

Anatomy day always makes Karina Frey uneasy. Even if she calls herself a "science and math girl", she doesn't like the idea of ​​cutting into chemically preserved animals.

"I believe animals have souls," said Karina, a senior at JW Mitchell High School in New Ridge, Florida.

As young people pay more and more attention to vegetarianism and environmental issues, the choice of learning things that do not have to die is becoming more and more attractive.

Enter SynFrog: an amphibian that is as slimy as a real frog, but never breathes.

The accurately dissected fake frog made its debut at Karina High School in November. The principal of the school, Jessica Schultz (Jessica Schultz) said that it has received a warm welcome from biology teachers and students. She said that schools usually experience about 300 frogs each year, and a few students in each class always choose not to participate in homework.

According to an animal ethical treatment person, the artificial frogs developed in cooperation with the manufacturing company SynDaver collect 3 million frogs each year for classroom dissections in the United States.

The price of the first SynFrog is $150, which is more expensive than a frog's carcass ($7 to $10 each); the company hopes to lower the price in the next version. Since frogs can be used for most dissections, they can pay for themselves over time.

According to the company's CEO and founder Christopher Sakezles (Christopher Sakezles), since the frog's debut, the company has not been able to complete orders fast enough. If SynFrog becomes popular, it may change the main conditions of high school education.

Plus the cost of going to college. What is the return on that investment? Georgetown University (Georgetown University) created a model to estimate the returns of more than 4,500 universities in 40 years. This is a comparison of five classes of schools, these classes have 97% of American undergraduates.

$ 1,000,000




Model works

40 years

After admission

PhD institution

$ 977,500

Net accumulation

Income per graduate

• Only include students who have received federal loans.

• Including students who have completed a degree and students who have not completed a degree; universities with higher graduation rates have higher incomes.

• Assuming a bachelor degree in five years and an associate degree in three years.


Master Institution

$ 860,000

Bachelor's degree institution

$ 801,000

$ 800,000

Associate College

(Preparation for bachelors)

$ 729,000

30 years


$ 674,500

$ 600,000

American University

Average return

6 years, 8 years and 10 years after entering the job, but not enrolled; no increase after ten years.

20 years



$ 400,000


In each type

the University





$ 200,000

average cost

Tuition and fees, room and board

Instead of college:

40 years later, invest $90,000 in Treasury bonds at an interest rate of 2% per year: $191,082

Financial aid


The authors of the study said that it should not be used to select a university, but as one of many factors. The result is very conservative, because it is assumed that income ten years after enrollment will not increase throughout the career.

Net income

When investing

How the model works

Financial aid

Net return on investment



10 years

New York Times | Source: Georgetown University Education and Workforce Center; annual income and cost discounts are 2%, which is a standard adjustment to long-term financial forecasts.

Children like technology. They like to play games, watch videos, find music and interact with their peers on social media. They like to explore the endless resources of the Internet.

Educators take note of this and believe that computers and other devices will attract students’ interest in the school.

93% of principals and 86% of teachers said that according to the latest school data, increasing student participation is the most important benefit of using computers and tablets in classrooms.

The agency surveyed more than 26,000 teachers and librarians and nearly 2,200 administrators last year.

Nearly 70% of district administrators said that they think participation is the most effective signal, indicating that some kind of educational technology is useful.

Approximately 290,000 students surveyed responded to Speak Up quite differently: only 41% of middle school students and 35% of high school students said that they closely related classroom technology to increased participation.

More importantly, anecdotal interviews, as well as from

, A national non-profit organization that conducts student surveys, shows that when teachers hand instructions to computers, many students actually don’t like it. They say they prefer to learn directly from the teacher-because they think that the teacher is an expert or it is their job-many people complain about spending too much time on the screen between studying and using technology at home.

Gen Z may live a life fixed on a smartphone, but this does not mean that they want to use computers in the classroom.


Now, the annual tuition fee in public schools is about US$20,000 and the tuition fee in private schools is US$41,000. Many students have jobs to cover the costs. But in the nine institutions designated by the federal government as job colleges, jobs are included in the curriculum to offset tuition and fees. The historic black university in Dallas, Paul Quinn College, became the newest working college in 2017 and the only urban college. Now it is expanding.

"We are not one of the overstaffed schools," said the school's principal, Michael Sorrell. "Other schools may hire a lot of people to do jobs. We have invested in students to do it."

Courses are mainly held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while Tuesday and Thursday provide students with uninterrupted work. They work in the President’s Office, campus farms (growing radishes, arugula, spinach, kohlrabi, etc.), and work outside the campus, such as JP Morgan Chase and Liberty Mutual.

This model obviously applies to Paul Quinn. The retention rate of full-time students in the first year of 2017-18 rose from 63% before the change to 71%. Two buildings are planned to open this summer, so enrollment can exceed the current approximately 500 students. One is a student dormitory, and the other is a gym and health center with classrooms.

Moreover, school leaders added a new campus in nearby Plano in 2018 and are looking for the next location. Sorell said: "I think you will see another campus in the next three years."

The neat rows of desks may soon become relics. Millions of dollars are being invested across the country to redesign classrooms, arranging bean bags, rocking chairs, and wheeled furniture in traditional layouts. As technology-driven changes increase the demand for more flexible classroom space, the North American school furniture market is expected to grow from USD 1.7 billion in 2018 to USD 2.4 billion by 2024.

Bryan Ballegeer of KI, a Wisconsin-based school furniture company, said the school administrator told him: “We’ve been sitting in the same chair for 40 years and our school system is changing. We don’t want any part of the room to become The front of the room. We hope our children will cooperate more."

In response, KI cancelled some desk/chair combinations. Now, its catalog includes standing or reflexive tables where students can study in groups and sit on the sofa to rest.

In order to find out whether furniture is helpful for learning, KI redesigned some classrooms in 9 schools and conducted before and after surveys of students and teachers. After the furniture exchange, the participation and participation of the two groups were both higher. Other research supports the view that changing the physical characteristics of the classroom can change the condition of the classroom and improve student performance.

Nonetheless, Mr. Ballegeer, a former educator, offered a warning.

He said: "My advice is to take some time to talk to your teacher and talk to your community." "It's a lot of money."

The bulletin board is produced by The Hechinger Report, a non-profit independent news organization covering education.

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