After a seven-week recess, Congress returned to Capitol Hill this week with a sense of urgency. With 16 legislative working days left before the beginning of the new federal fiscal year, Congress must pass a spending measure to keep the government operating on October 1, 2016. Decisions will be made affecting NIH, NSF, AHRQ and IES.
Dr. Marcia K. Johnson is a Sterling Professor of Psychology at Yale University, among the highest honors bestowed on Yale faculty.Herresearch has examined human attention and memory, including: the relation between comprehension and memory, mechanisms of veridical and distorted memory, component processes of reflection and consciousness; memory changes associated with aging; the relation between emotion and cognition; and the “self” in cognition. Her work has been described as “intellectually, empirically, and theoretically broad-ranging and bold” (APS William James Award citation, 2006).
When Tyler Stevenson was a child, he was fascinated by the seasonal rhythms of his native Ontario, amazed that some animals knew when to leave for the winter while others stayed and adapted in order to survive. Little did he know that fascination would turn into a career that would advance understanding of how the environment shapes human, animal, and plant behavior. Stevenson’s research has shown that seasons affect far more than whether birds (and people) go south for the winter. Seasons impact core biological processes like hormonal fluctuations, with implications for everything from how nighttime smartphone use can disrupt sleep to how climate change can affect the annual patterns of agriculture and disease.
The National Science Foundation is beginning the process to update its strategic plan. The agency is specifically requesting feedback on the vision, core values, strategic goals and strategic objectives of its current plan, Investing in Science, Engineering, and Education for the Nation’s Future: Strategic Plan for 2014-2018. We encourage behavioral and brain scientists to offer input; online comments are due by September 27th.
Similarly, the National Research Council’s Board on Science Education is seeking input on its draft report on undergraduate STEM. An expert committee is developing a conceptual framework for national indicators that will monitor the quality of undergraduate STEM education beginning in the first two years of undergraduate education and track progress over time. Comments are due by October 14th, but preferred by October 1 in advance of the committee’s next meeting.
When legislators make education policy, the decision-making process sometimes leaves out a surprising group of stakeholders – teachers. For decades, teachers have complained that policies too often ignore their expertise, and there may be another problem with excluding them: even the clearest standards and best instructional strategies won’t help students if teachers don’t believe in them. Teachers’ beliefs about learning affect what they do in the classroom, including whether they use policies and guidelines like learning standards, according to Helenrose Fives and Michelle Buehl.
There’s no question that video games are popular – they rack up more than $100 billion in sales every year – but can they improve student learning? Electronic games are everywhere in children’s lives, not only on home computers and smartphones, but increasingly in schools. Gaming enthusiasts like well-known researchers Jane McGonigal and James Gee have called for educators to leverage the popularity of gaming to revolutionize schooling. Children could learn more and more efficiently with gaming at the center of the curriculum, they claim, because video games tend to engage and motivate young people. But while some games can help children learn certain things, they are not the answer to improving teaching and learning, studies suggest. Reviewing research on the potential educational benefits of gaming, Richard Mayer says that gaming advocates’ claims are overblown.