Welcome to our new show crossref:ed, a short podcast in which we take two articles or blog posts that cover a certain topic and either validate or invalidate each other. We are planning to release at least one episode per week, depending on what articles we find, of course.
Before we start, let me quickly thank our sponsor for this week: AcademicPub allows you to take content from their copyright cleared library of over 125 publishers, your files or anything on the web, and create custom course packs that are perfect, for you. Visit them at academicpub.com and follow them on Twitter @AcademicPub. We thank them for their support of crossref:ed.
In our first episode let’s take a look at a very classic topic in education: homework. And is it good or bad? Christopher dedicated his last episode of C12 here on EDUKWEST to homework, I gave a long rant on “the French Homework revolution” in last week’s episode of review:ed. So why not start crossref:ed with two articles related to homework, as well?
The Guardian published a piece with the title “Two hours’ homework a night linked to better school results”. It is based on a study published by the Department of Education in the UK. Over 15 years the study has tracked the performance of 3000 students with the result that
“Spending more than two hours a night doing homework is linked to achieving better results in English, maths and science”
As a side note: A previous research referenced in the article found only modest links of homework related to achievement in secondary school, though. But that is not the second crossref:ed article I would like to talk about today.
The new study also controlled for social class, the environment where the homework takes place in and whether students generally enjoy going to school. All those factors seem to have played a role as well.
What I found interesting was the time the homework is done. It is not explicitly mentioned in the text but as the headline lets us assume, most homework is done in the evening or at night. And here comes our second article into play.
According to an article in Scientific American the “Ability to Learn Is Affected by the Timing of Sleep”. The sooner we go to sleep after we learned something, the better we retain that new information.
“In the 24-hour retest—where all subjects had a full night of sleep—those participants who went to bed shortly after learning the words did much better than those who went through an entire day before sleeping. And this leg up in memory was maintained on subsequent days.”
This basically means that if the students in the study did their homework before they went to sleep or at least pretty close to that time the actual amount of hours put in the homework might not necessarily explain the better performance.
If the study mentioned in Scientific American is right then it is all about when to do the homework, not for how long which would be a great basis for an experiment. Maybe I’ll try it out with learning Spanish at night.
- Two hours’ homework a night linked to better school results
Source: The Guardian
- Ability to Learn Is Affected by the Timing of Sleep
Source: Scientific American
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Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.
Dorm rooms can be cramped, small spaces. But don’t fret! We’ve got some tips that will allow you to maximize your living space, while ensuring you can work as efficiently and productively as possible. The first thing a professor told me in university was that beds are for very few activities (for your brain’s sake). The only use of your bed should be for sleep and the only use of your desk should be for studying. So here are our best tips on how to work productively in your dorm room:
1. Use Your Bed For Sleeping
You bed is meant for SLEEP and nothing else. Your brain learns all the time, even when you don’t realize. If you get into the habit of doing homework, readings, or other assignments in your bed, your brain will forget that getting into bed means it’s time to shut down and switch off. Your brain will be restless, which will result in you not sleeping well. Proper sleep is essential to succeed in school, and to stay healthy.
2. Use Your Desk For Working
Your desk should be for schoolwork and that’s all. If you sit at your desk and play video games a lot you’re less likely to be on task when you need to be doing homework. Again, your brain prepares itself according to the space you’re using. Try to dictate which spaces of the room are for what. For example, you could have a bean bag chair for playing video games, or a chair by the window for reading non-school related books.
3. Keep Your Room As Clean & Organized As Possible
Nothing sucks more than trying to work in the messiest space ever. For example, if you need to do laundry and your dirty clothes are all over the floor you’re going to be thinking about that instead of your essay or assignment. In short, if your room is a mess, your brain is going to be distracted thinking about all the clutter.
4. Make Your Bed
It keeps your room looking tidy, which makes doing work in your room more inviting. In addition, you’ll be less likely to use your bed for studying or get into your bed in the middle of the day which will keep your mind active.
5. Open The Windows
Opening the windows is great to get some fresh air, but more importantly it’s great for the natural light it provides. So pull back the curtains and let the natural light in! It is better for you than artificial light from lamps, and will result in less headaches from long screen use or a long reading session.
6. Keep Your Desk Clutter-free
It’s one thing for your room be messy, but to have a messy desk is a major problem. Nothing is worse than not being able to find your favourite pen, or your notebook because your desk is a dumping ground. You should make sure there is AT LEAST enough room to put your laptop on your desk at all times.
7. Keep A Calendar Or Planner By Your Desk
While studying, it’s essential to have a clear way of knowing when all of your assignments are due. Hanging a calendar above your desk, or keeping your day planner in a corner of your desk is a great way to ensure you are always on track. This will also help prevent stress. If you can visualize your due dates and see how many days you have before a final task is due, it may make things a little less overwhelming.
Education is the basis of personal growth and professional success. The ability to impart knowledge to others is one of the greatest gifts we have.