Over the years, I’ve noticed that when I do have a specific reason to ask everyone to set aside their devices (“lids down,” in the parlance of my department), it’s as if someone has let fresh air into the room. The conversation brightens, and more recently, there is a sense of relief from many of the students. Multi-tasking is cognitively exhausting — when we do it by choice, being asked to stop can come as a welcome change. So this year, I moved from recommending setting aside laptops and phones to requiring it, adding this to the class rules: “Stay focused. (No devices in class, unless the assignment requires it).” Here’s why I finally switched from “allowed unless by request” to “banned unless required.”

Why Clay Shirky Banned Laptops, Tablets and Phones from His Classroom | Mediashift | PBS

Still, the results surprised us. We had expected enormous differences in human and machine grading. In more than 79 percent of assignments, the agreement between scores assigned by the instructor and those assigned by the automated system matched up.

Are We Ready for Robots to Grade? - NEXT: The Quest for Student Success - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Google is teaming up with a dozen college campuses across the U.S. to provide access to free Chromebook notebooks to any student who wants one, in a system that lets them temporarily check out the laptops for late-night cram sessions or just finding the best animal GIFs on Imgur.

Chromebook Lending Library Offers Students At 12 U.S. Colleges A Free Laptop To Borrow | TechCrunch

Those in default on their loans can see their Social Security checks garnished, leaving them with retirement income that leaves them well below the poverty line,” he said at a committee hearing this week to examine the issue. “Some may think of student loan debt as a young person’s problem,” he said, “but, as it turns out, that is increasingly not the case.

Student Loan Debt Burdens More Than Just Young People - NYTimes.com

Harvard students are smart people,” said Harry R. Lewis ’68, former dean of the College and current director of undergraduate studies for Computer Science. “They have figured out that in pretty much every area of study, computational methods and computational thinking are going to be important to the future.

CS50 Logs Record-Breaking Enrollment Numbers | News | The Harvard Crimson

“Most of the digital reading that students ‘practice’ is at home on Instagram, chat lines, Facebook and texting,” he said. “Since students are choosing to read and respond in these mediums, and since students have considerable prior knowledge and expertise in the subject matter, their engagement/comprehension is high.” The trick to being a good reader, no matter the medium, is being an engaged reader, a fact that Pennington notes is well-supported by research. “It’s pretty clear that good readers are active readers engaged with the text,” he said.

Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading? | MindShift

Harvard called on corporate leaders to help solve America’s wealth gap by working to buttress the kindergarten-to-12th-grade education system, skills-training programs, and transportation infrastructure, among other things.

Wealth Gap ‘Unsustainable,’ but May Get Worse, Harvard Says - NBC News.com

Exactly 20 percent of all families had an education loan in 2013, up from 19.2 in 2010. The median value of the loans held by those families was $16,000 in 2013, up from $13,900 in 2010. The mean debt rose by 5 percent, to $28,900 from $27,500.

Families’ student loan debt grows, but rate of increase slows @insidehighered

Across the country, teaching is an overwhelmingly female profession, and in fact has become more so over time. More than three-quarters of all teachers in kindergarten through high school are women, according to Education Department data, up from about two-thirds three decades ago. The disparity is most pronounced in elementary and middle schools, where more than 80 percent of teachers are women. Educators, advocates and lawmakers fight bitterly about tenure, academic standards and the prevalence of testing, but one thing most sides tend to agree on is the importance of raising the status of teaching so the profession will attract the best candidates.

Why Don’t More Men Go Into Teaching? - NYTimes.com

While we hail higher education as the great equalizer, disparities in university admissions reveal staggering race-based inequalities. A recent report by researchers at Georgetown University, for example, found that “more than 30 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics with a high school grade point average (GPA) higher than 3.5 go to community colleges compared with 22 percent of whites with the same GPA.” This finding points out that the racial disparities in higher education are not linked to merit or personal achievement, but systematic exclusion and discrimination.

Affirmative Action Is Still Needed in Higher Education - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society