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Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: History of education

375

Clinical anecdote suggests that rates of eating disorders (ED) vary between schools. Given their high prevalence and mortality, understanding risk factors is important. We hypothesised that rates of ED would vary between schools, and that school proportion of female students and proportion of parents with post-high school education would be associated with ED, after accounting for individual characteristics.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Medical statistics, Education, High school, School, Student, Teacher, History of education

147

Educational interventions to reduce Lyme disease (LD) among at-risk school children have had little study. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a short in-class LD education program based on social learning theory and the Health Belief Model (HBM) impacted a child’s knowledge, attitude, and preventive behavior.

Concepts: Psychology, Truth, Education, Educational psychology, Model theory, Learning, School, History of education

74

Teaching is a form of high-fidelity social learning that promotes human cumulative culture. Although recently documented in several nonhuman animals, teaching is rare among primates. In this study, we show that wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) in the Goualougo Triangle teach tool skills by providing learners with termite fishing probes. Tool donors experienced significant reductions in tool use and feeding, while tool recipients significantly increased their tool use and feeding after tool transfers. These transfers meet functional criteria for teaching: they occur in a learner’s presence, are costly to the teacher, and improve the learner’s performance. Donors also showed sophisticated cognitive strategies that effectively buffered them against potential costs. Teaching is predicted when less costly learning mechanisms are insufficient. Given that these chimpanzees manufacture sophisticated, brush-tipped fishing probes from specific raw materials, teaching in this population may relate to the complexity of these termite-gathering tasks.

Concepts: Psychology, Human, Education, Learning, Hominidae, History of education, Jane Goodall, Common Chimpanzee

74

We have previously shown that individual differences in educational achievement are highly heritable throughout compulsory education. After completing compulsory education at age 16, students in England can choose to continue to study for two years (A-levels) in preparation for applying to university and they can freely choose which subjects to study. Here, for the first time, we show that choosing to do A-levels and the choice of subjects show substantial genetic influence, as does performance after two years studying the chosen subjects. Using a UK-representative sample of 6584 twin pairs, heritability estimates were 44% for choosing to do A-levels and 52-80% for choice of subject. Achievement after two years was also highly heritable (35-76%). The findings that DNA differences substantially affect differences in appetites as well as aptitudes suggest a genetic way of thinking about education in which individuals actively create their own educational experiences in part based on their genetic propensities.

Concepts: Psychology, Genetics, Education, Concepts in metaphysics, Learning, Heredity, Heritability, History of education

67

BioEYES, a nonprofit outreach program using zebrafish to excite and educate K-12 students about science and how to think and act like scientists, has been integrated into hundreds of under-resourced schools since 2002. During the week-long experiments, students raise zebrafish embryos to learn principles of development and genetics. We have analyzed 19,463 participating students' pre- and post-tests within the program to examine their learning growth and attitude changes towards science. We found that at all grade levels, BioEYES effectively increased students' content knowledge and produced favorable shifts in students' attitudes about science. These outcomes were especially pronounced in younger students. Having served over 100,000 students, we find that our method for providing student-centered experiences and developing long-term partnerships with teachers is essential for the growth and sustainability of outreach and school collaborations.

Concepts: Epistemology, Education, Science, Learning, Knowledge, School, Teacher, History of education

35

Teaching bioinformatics at universities is complicated by typical computer classroom settings. As well as running software locally and online, students should gain experience of systems administration. For a future career in biology or bioinformatics, the installation of software is a useful skill. We propose that this may be taught by running the course on GNU/Linux running on inexpensive Raspberry Pi computer hardware, for which students may be granted full administrator access.

Concepts: Education, Higher education, School, Student, Teacher, Microsoft, History of education, Course

30

Transforming science learning through student-centered instruction that engages students in a variety of scientific practices is central to national science-teaching reform efforts. Our study employed a large-scale, randomized-cluster experimental design to compare the effects of student-centered and teacher-centered approaches on elementary school students' understanding of space-science concepts. Data included measures of student characteristics and learning and teacher characteristics and fidelity to the instructional approach. Results reveal that learning outcomes were higher for students enrolled in classrooms engaging in scientific practices through a student-centered approach; two moderators were identified. A statistical search for potential causal mechanisms for the observed outcomes uncovered two potential mediators: students' understanding of models and evidence and the self-efficacy of teachers.

Concepts: Scientific method, Statistics, Mathematics, Education, Experiment, Knowledge, Teacher, History of education

28

Because educational achievement at the end of compulsory schooling represents a major tipping point in life, understanding its causes and correlates is important for individual children, their families, and society. Here we identify the general ingredients of educational achievement using a multivariate design that goes beyond intelligence to consider a wide range of predictors, such as self-efficacy, personality, and behavior problems, to assess their independent and joint contributions to educational achievement. We use a genetically sensitive design to address the question of why educational achievement is so highly heritable. We focus on the results of a United Kingdom-wide examination, the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), which is administered at the end of compulsory education at age 16. GCSE scores were obtained for 13,306 twins at age 16, whom we also assessed contemporaneously on 83 scales that were condensed to nine broad psychological domains, including intelligence, self-efficacy, personality, well-being, and behavior problems. The mean of GCSE core subjects (English, mathematics, science) is more heritable (62%) than the nine predictor domains (35-58%). Each of the domains correlates significantly with GCSE results, and these correlations are largely mediated genetically. The main finding is that, although intelligence accounts for more of the heritability of GCSE than any other single domain, the other domains collectively account for about as much GCSE heritability as intelligence. Together with intelligence, these domains account for 75% of the heritability of GCSE. We conclude that the high heritability of educational achievement reflects many genetically influenced traits, not just intelligence.

Concepts: Psychology, Genetics, Education, Educational psychology, High school, History of education, General Certificate of Secondary Education, Compulsory education

27

As electronic learning (e-learning) becomes increasingly popular in education worldwide, learning technology (LT) has been applied in various learning environments and activities to promote meaningful, efficient, and effective learning. LT has also been adopted by researchers and teacher-practitioners in the field of special education, but as yet little review-based research has been published. This review research thus carefully examined the trends of LT implementations in special education, providing a comprehensive analysis of 26 studies published in indexed journals in the past five years (2008-2012). Two research questions were addressed: (a) What are the major research aims, methodologies, and outcomes in these studies of implementing LT in the field of special education? and (b) What types of LT are mainly used with special education students, and for what kinds of students? Major findings include that examining the learning effectiveness of LT using was the most common research purpose (75%); researchers primarily relied on experimental studies (46%, 12 studies), followed by interviews and questionnaires (19%, 5 studies). Moreover, the most common use of LT was computer-assisted technology (such as web-based mentoring, educational computer games, laptop computers) in special education; studies investigating the use of LT with mentally disabled students were more than those with physically disabled ones. It is expected that the findings of this work and their implications will serve as valuable references with regard to the use of LT with special education students.

Concepts: Education, Research, Educational psychology, Developmental disability, Disability, Personal computer, History of education, Special education

27

BACKGROUND: Clinical skills education must accommodate the different needs of nursing students, particularly in view of increasing numbers of graduate entrants. E-learning has been promoted for its ability to engage learners and customise the learning process and evidence supports its use for clinical skill acquisition. However, graduate nursing students have unique needs, and their perceptions and experiences of e-learning require exploration. AIM: The aim of the study was to explore graduate first year nursing students' perceptions and experiences of e-learning when used to supplement traditional methods to learn clinical skills. DESIGN/METHOD: Mixed methods, employing qualitative and quantitative approaches, were used. Eighty-three (46%) participants were recruited from a cohort of graduate students (n=180) enrolled in an accelerated pre-registration nursing programme. Participants completed e-learning educational materials prior to attendance at clinical skills sessions. Focus groups (n=2) explored participants' (n=15) experiences and perceptions of e-learning and identified common issues. Discussions were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic approach. Findings informed the development of a questionnaire which sought to confirm perceptions of e-learning and the perceived value for clinical skills acquisition in the larger student group. Data from questionnaires (n=83) were analysed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS/DISCUSSION: Students found e-learning valuable for developing clinical skills and, although they viewed it positively, they did not want to relinquish conventional teaching methods, preferring both in combination. Video clips were perceived as the most useful feature while online readings were viewed as the least useful. An underestimate of time requirements, navigational issues and technical difficulties were reported frustrations. CONCLUSION: Although limited by potential volunteer bias, findings contribute to the ongoing discourse on how e-learning can support clinical skills education and provides insights from the perspective of graduate nursing students. E-learning does not suit the needs of all learners. This must be recognised to enhance the learning experience.

Concepts: Psychology, Education, Skill, Qualitative research, Learning, Knowledge, History of education, Dreyfus model of skill acquisition