El Salvador is giving a free computer to 100% of public sector students and teachers, aiming to bridge ‘digital divide’

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An investment of $450m began making its way into the hands of students and teachers in the Central American nation in late February. The first batch was delivered directly to students in a ceremony headed by the country’s president, Nayib Bukele, who pointed out the investment in education is equal to the investment in 3 new airports.

“The computers come with Windows 10, Google Classroom, and free internet, also included is certification in the English language for final year high school students,” explained Bukele. “The goal is for students to have the necessary tools for a transformative education.”

By Milan Sime Martinic

First State to Offer Free College for Almost All Adults

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Tennessee is the first state in the country to offer community college free for almost all adults.

The state already had free community college for all graduating students, but now it has extended this to pretty much everyone. And the state lets attendees do it part time if they want, since many people work while attending.

People Are Adding ‘Badges’ to Their Resumes Now

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They’re called digital badges. Or micro credentials.

Because a resume stating a person graduated from any college with a 4 year degree doesn’t mean much to employers now, they’re looking for new ways to demonstrate hirability.

The badges are for specific things, like critical thinking, good oral communication, creative problem solving, collaborating, reliance, and unnumbered other skills a person could work toward acquiring.

Colleges are considering having students aim at badges that represent things they want to be good at, and then giving them the badges if they earn them.

The badges are hosted online with the relevant metadata, including the body of work done by the student and the assessment done of his or her work.

Grads Graduating Without Learning Any Critical Thinking Skills

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On the test that measures critical thinking, some colleges actually had scores lower for grads than for freshmen, although other schools showed pretty good improvements.

‘Critical thinking’ refers to certain skills: Being able to understand the value of an argument based on the validity of facts involved, forming a conclusion about veracity based on available information, as well as being able to form cohesive arguments, are included.

The tests, called CLA+, started less than 20 years ago. Their purpose was to assess what really took place in a student’s learning over their 4-6 years at college, rather than testing the domain-specific facts and other information memorized in classes.

An example of a test question would be a challenge to a student to form an argument for or against purchasing a particular model of business plane for the company they work for, when that model had recently been reported in the news after being in a crash. The student is provided with written material about the plane to inform their argument, such as newspaper articles about the accident, federal reports on the type of engine and its known issues, charts on the planes performance, magazines with reviews of the plane and other similar models. The student has to “prepare a memo that addresses several questions, including what data support or refute the claim that the type of wing on the model of plane leads to more in-flight breakups, what other factors might have contributed to the accident and should be taken into account, and your overall recommendation about whether or not the company should purchase the plane.”

With these tests, it’s not a matter of just looking at the numbers, like 1,100 out of 1,600 versus 1,200 out of 1,600. People also look at a student’s position compared to others who took the same test.

When Wall Street Journal looked at test results recently. though, they looked at how many students were in the “below basic skills” level. While some colleges saw improvements, — numbers like 40% for freshmen to less than 10% for grads — a lot of others only saw changes of a few percent, including a couple of schools where the grad score was lower than the freshman.

What does the CLA+ test?

Elementary Schools Cancel High Jump Due to ‘Risk’ Factor

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Two school boards in Sault St. Marie are citing the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines, which classifies high jump as a “higher risk activity,” as the reason they are cutting the sport out of elementary schools immediately.

Other sports so far included in the “higher risk activity” category: wrestling, alpine skiing, and snowboarding.

According to the school boards’ joint statement, “It was felt that the changed classification and the need to maintain student safety as a priority means this event is best suited for development at the secondary level where there is greater access to trained staff and proper equipment at sites.”

“We felt it best to maintain high jump at the secondary level and to have our younger students compete in events that are most appropriate for their stage of development and which can showcase their abilities with less risk involved,” added Lucia Reece, Algoma District School Board director.

‘City Stay’ Lets Students Study with Immigrant Families in the US

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A new study experience option has started, called “city stay,” which is in some ways similar to “study abroad.”

City Stay is the name of a program run by Minnehaha Academy, a private school in Minneapolis. When students enrol in a city stay, they are placed in immigrant homes for a week and have a chance to learn a foreign culture without ever getting on a plane.

Minnehaha’s “City Stay” project has about 60 students and 20 host families so far. So far, It is an unpaid project run by founder Julie Knopp.

Fed and Province to Give Additional $51.5 M to UBC

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UBC is to receive another $51.5 million dollars from the federal and provincial governments, bringing the total investment in the university to almost $100 million.

The announcement of the joint-funding plan was announced by Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains and British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson today at the school.

It is part of the government’s “Innovation Agenda.” They intend for this money to create jobs, drive growth across industries and improve lives of Canadians. Specifically, the UBC funding is intended to help create a future well-paying middle class.

It will be used, along with UBC’s own money, to replace the Undergraduate Life Sciences Teaching Labs at the Biological Sciences Complex, build the new Chan Gunn Pavilion, and expand a part of the Vancouver General Hospital.

Of the $51.5, $39.7 is federal money and $11.8 provincial.