Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kids Don't Learn Better Just Because They're Young 'Little Sponges': What Really Works

Great post by Daniel Willingham in Real Clear Education (April 22, 2014):

RCEd Commentary
You often hear the phrase that small children are sponges, that they constantly learn. This sentiment is sometimes expressed in a way that makes it sound like the particulars don’t matter that much -- as long as there is a lot to be learned in the environment, the child will learn it. A new study shows that for one core type of learning, it’s more complicated. Kids don’t learn important information that’s right in front of them, unless an adult is actively teaching them. 

The core type of learning is categorization. Understanding that objects can be categorized is essential for kids’ thinking. Kids constantly encounter novel objects. For example, each apple they see is an apple they’ve never encountered before. The child cannot experiment with each new object to figure out its properties. She must benefit from her prior experience with other apples, so that she can know, for example, that this object, since it’s an apple, must be edible.

Read more... 

Sacrificing Comfort for Complexity: Presenting Difficult Narratives in Public History

Interesting post by Rose Miron in The Public History Commons (April 24, 2014):

Editor’s Note: This piece continues a series of posts related to the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, a collaboration of public history programs across the country to raise awareness of the long history of the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay (GTMO) and foster dialogue on its future. For an introduction to the series, please see this piece by the Project’s director, Liz Ševčenko.
Fort Snelling. Photo credit: Rose Miron
Fort Snelling. Photo credit: Minnesota Historical Society
Upon entering Fort Snelling, visitors are greeted with American flags, interpreters dressed in 19th-century military attire, and a narrative of patriotism and progress. The historic site in St. Paul tells the story of Minnesota’s founding but in the process obscures a story about Dakota dispossession and genocide. For Dakota people, Fort Snelling is not a symbol of the state’s triumphant founding but rather a testament to American imperialism, a reminder of the women and children that were held there in the winter of 1862-1863, and the hundreds that died in the camp, as well as on the death marches to and from Fort Snelling. It is this “difficult history” that the Minnesota Historical Society struggles to present at Fort Snelling.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Comment peut-on rendre l’histoire et le patrimoine plus accessibles à une génération de plus en plus branchée ?

Par Nathalie Landry
( - le 8 avril 2014)

C’est une question qui préoccupe Jeanne Mance Cormier, conservatrice au Musée acadien de l’Université de Moncton, Aïcha Benimmas, professeure à la Faculté des sciences de l’éducation de l’Université de Moncton,  et Éric Poitras, étudiant au postdoctorat à l’Université McGill. Leur collaboration met à profit une expertise en éducation muséale, en pédagogie, en histoire et en éducation en réseau. Ils collaborent actuellement sur un projet de recherche intitulé Collaboration interdisciplinaire en matière d’éducation muséale — Enjeux et promesses des TIC, dont les fruits seront présentés à Toronto ce jeudi 10 avril, lors de la Conférence annuelle de l’Association des musées canadiens.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Museums make you happier and less lonely, studies find

Author: Lindsay Van Thoen
March 26, 2014  - Freelancers Union 
One of the greatest things about freelancing is that although we’re often very busy, we can choose to be “off” during 9-5 hours. This means that we can visit uncrowded museums and attend other midday events, which are often hellish on the weekends.
Here are 6 reasons why you should take a long lunch tomorrow and head off to your local museum: