The Educator's Notebook

A weekly collection of education-related news from around the web.

Educator’s Notebook #452 (June 30, 2024)


  • An excellent week.

    This week’s first feature offers Harvard’s parallel reports to the two released by Stanford last week.  Most of the findings in both cases are familiar, and the key will be how institutions respond to the recommendations. Recommendations are robust in both university’s cases. Find links to the individual reports in the article itself.

    In the other feature, see the helpful model from the now-merged organizations of ASCD and ISTE. Useful research in education is expanding, but it does not feel unified in a model or framework that is both comprehensive and intuitive. ASCD/ISTE’s “Transformative Learning Principles” is a good step in the right direction.

    Also this week, see several posts about involving students in decision-making, about leading and teaching based on core values, about innovative math classrooms, and more. Note, too, that I have folded the “Cognitive Science” section into the broader category of “Learning Science.”  This has been applied to all back issues and articles.

    These and more, including the full AI section below, enjoy!


    PS. As I noted last week, I’m looking to talk with and learn from teachers, school leaders, and third party organizations who are focused on practices in the classroom and how we support them. If you are open to sharing how you plan classes, how you support teacher growth and improvement in their teacher and learning, or how you build communities for instructional improvement, I’d like to hear from you. Please schedule a 20-minute call with me here.



    Browse and search over 13,000 articles curated in past issues:

    • New York Times
    • 06/26/24

    “The preliminary reports come after a school year in which concerns have grown about antisemitism and Islamophobia at Harvard and other universities. Last week, Stanford released reports from its own task forces, which found pervasive antisemitism and suppression of pro-Palestinian speech on its campus.”

    • ISTE
    • 06/25/24

    “The Transformational Learning Principles (TLPs) are a set of evidence-based guidelines highlighting the most essential elements of effective learning. Bringing together core ASCD and ISTE concepts and informed by learning science, they are a key part of our organizational mission and vision. They also bring focus and a common language to our collaborative efforts with schools and educators to ensure all students have access to impactful and joyful learning experiences.”





    • Your Local Epidemiologist
    • 06/27/24

    “Public health is everywhere—think seatbelts, non-smoking areas, vaccines, airbags, clean drinking water, cleaner indoor air, food security, and cancer prevention. Experts are in health departments, nonprofits, government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. That’s because public health is most effective when combining science, education, policy, advocacy, and innovation.”




    • Learning Scientists
    • 06/27/24

    “When we experience a stressful event our memory is improved for whatever was stressing us out. So in this way our memory is improved. However, we are less able to pay attention to and remember other aspects of the event, and have difficulty with critical thinking and learning new thought patterns. So, our learning for things that are not the stressful event are impaired. In the case of truly life-threatening scenarios, this is an adaptive response.”

    • Hechinger Report
    • 06/24/24
    • Inc.
    • 06/22/24

    “They concluded instead that it didn't matter whether the time people felt they naturally wanted to sleep corresponded to when they actually did. Instead, regardless of preference, people who stayed up late at night had higher rates of behavioral and mental disorders than those who did not.”

    • MIT
    • 06/19/24

    "Your language system is basically silent when you do all sorts of thinking.”



    • Hechinger Report
    • 06/24/24

    “More than a decade later, welding department instructors say that math for welders has had a huge impact on student performance. Since 2017, 93 percent of students taking it have passed, and 83 percent have achieved all the course’s learning goals, including the ability to use arithmetic, geometry, algebra and trigonometry to solve welding problems, school data show.”



A.I. Update


  • Another remarkable week.

    Products keep evolving, new models keep coming out, new tools keep emerging.  All are true this week.

    I think most notable, however, is that we’re seeing more and more of the emergence of AI as a counseling resource.  Now, stories and data are becoming more concrete and reaching more readers. The recent TED AI podcast about Woebot is one excellent example. Further, for some remarkable history on this topic, see the final linked article on ELIZA, the first AI chatbot therapist from the 1960s(!).

    Also, Eric Hudson’s writing continues to offer strong direction for schools.  His four priorities for human-centered AI distill key principles for schools to be thinking about today. Don’t miss these if you are planning your school’s AI strategy.

    Lastly, I’m so glad to read from creator of Everything is a Remix Kirby Ferguson his note on the copyright cases by the music industry. It will take time for the various industries to figure out this moment, but I believe Kirby is correct that the ingestion of other creative works is simply a part of the creative process.  Certainly, the scope of what can be consumed by machines is greatly increased, but its process mirrors what we do as people; we are inevitably — always — influenced by commercial, proprietary works that we encounter and are not licensed to use. But this only informs our creative work and it is not a violation of copyright to witness, be inspired by, and even emulate (to a degree) other copyrighted artwork. It would be a mistake to think anything otherwise. That said, while it would be unwise to criticize newly created works by artists or machines influenced by commercial music or art, there may yet be successful cases brought against companies who train on proprietary content without permission — but that is separate from the mistaken notion that a work created by AI is itself somehow corrupted.

    So: the AI sector continues to grow and evolve. It will be a remarkable summer, I’m sure, and by the start of school in the fall, we will inevitably be facing further questions still.

    These and more, enjoy!


    • Learning On Purpose
    • 06/27/24

    “The question I’m asking myself right now is, How can what I’ve learned shape what I will do in the coming year? I came up with four priorities that will drive my work. I even made a little card that I’ve taped to my desk: Augmentation over automation, Literacy over policy, Design over technology, Vision over decision”

    • TED AI Show
    • 06/25/24

    “We may think the complexities of the human mind can only be understood by other humans. Yet research on chatbots and psychology suggests non-human bots can actually help improve mental health. Bilawal talks with Dr. Alison Darcy, the founder of mental health app Woebot, and Brian Chandler, an app user, to learn what chatbots reveal about our inner lives and what they can (and can’t) do when it comes to emotional wellness.”







Every week I send out articles I encounter from around the web. Subject matter ranges from hard knowledge about teaching to research about creativity and cognitive science to stories from other industries that, by analogy, inform what we do as educators. This breadth helps us see our work in new ways.

Readers include teachers, school leaders, university overseers, conference organizers, think tank workers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders, and people who are simply interested in what’s happening in education. They say it helps them keep tabs on what matters most in the conversation surrounding schools, teaching, learning, and more.

Peter Nilsson


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