Changes to New York's social studies curriculum proposed by the Board of Regents has prompted some teachers to speak out online against the standards. Some are even calling for social studies educators to ban together and create an alternate set of standards if the proposal is approved.
Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, who spoke at the 2013 Iditarod Winter Conference for Educators in Alaska, recently learned firsthand about dog-sled racing and the potential it holds for teaching students about subjects from science to geography. The Iditarod website offers free lessons for various subjects. "Each sled has a GPS device and students can log in and pull up Iditarod Race information on a master computer where they can follow their favorite musher or favorite sled dog," Cargill said.
Laurence C. Smith, a geographer at the University of California, Los Angeles, and graduate student Scott Stephenson have studied routes through the Arctic Ocean that will become accessible as climate change continues. As conditions change, light icebreaking vessels may be able to travel through the Northwest Passage or over the North Pole, they found. Even if more is done to reduce emissions, "[t]he ice will thin sufficiently," Smith said.
Researchers are mapping the incidence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which affects amphibians, in the hopes of gaining a deeper understanding of the ailment. "This is allowing us to track what we know about this disease, which has been implicated in mass mortality events as well as some extinctions at the global scale," said Deanna Olson, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station in Oregon.
While schools nationwide are spending billions of dollars on education technology, there is little research to support whether such investments are paying off. At issue is that standardized testing does little to measure student engagement, which is a primary result of using technology in the classroom, experts say. Still, educators are touting the benefits of education technology, such as the use of Skype to connect students with experts worldwide.