“Flipped classroom” teaching model gains an online community

first_imgResearchers at Harvard University have launched the Peer Instruction (PI) Network, a new global social network for users of interactive teaching methods.PI, developed by Eric Mazur, area dean for applied physics and Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), is an innovative evidence-based pedagogy designed to improve student engagement and success.Mazur, famous for his talk titled “Confessions of a Converted Lecturer,” developed the method after realizing in the 1990s that his physics lectures at Harvard, while popular, were not helping students to master the basic concepts.The PI technique relies on the power of the “flipped classroom.” Information transfer (i.e., a teacher transferring knowledge to students) takes place in advance, typically through online lectures. In short, students study before rather than after class.As a result, the classroom becomes a place for active learning, questions, and discussion. Instructors spend their time addressing students’ difficulties rather than lecturing.While originally developed for Mazur’s introductory physics courses, PI is now used across multiple disciplines, from the sciences to the humanities.The Peer Instruction Network will serve as a hub for educators around the world to connect and share their PI experiences, submit questions, and engage with other PI users.last_img read more

Helping to uncover the mechanism controlling brain states

first_img Study using brain imaging suggests why zebrafish facing a threat surprisingly opt to keep mating rather than flee Related How biology affects behavioral decisions It might be complicated, but the concept is as simple as a light switch.A team of researchers led by two Harvard alumni have uncovered a switch-like mechanism in the brains of larval zebrafish that flips their brains between two distinct motivational states — one a highly focused hunting state and the other an easily distracted, exploratory state.The findings, which they detail in the journal Nature, can begin to shed light on how the brain switches between internal states and coordinates this brain-wide shift, leading to dramatic changes in motivation, focus, and behavior for specific time periods.“As soon as you have more than one objective in life [that the brain has to solve], you have a tug of war. You have a conflict,” said Drew Robson, Ph.D. ’13, one of the paper’s lead authors and a former fellow at Harvard’s Rowland Institute, where most of the research took place. “The brain has to have some way of deciding who’s actually in charge right now. Which objective should I prioritize at this moment in time?”How the brain does this has long been a mystery because it happens deep in the brain where it is difficult to image, especially in complex animals such as humans. That is one of the reasons zebrafish have become model organisms for brain researchers, like Robson. A larval zebrafish, with 100,000 neurons in its brain and a limbic system similar to humans, has thin and transparent skin that allows scientists to analyze its neural activity using a microscope.In the study, the researchers describe using a tracking microscope to pinpoint a hub of serotonergic neurons buried deep in the brains of zebrafish where they believe the switch lies that controls this type of decision. This hub is in the zebrafish’s dorsal raphe, a tiny cluster of neurons that sits at the base of the brain and has a reach that stretches through most of the brain. These neurons act as a master regulator for the zebrafish’s motivational state.In zebrafish, the switch mechanism that the researchers studied blasts a powerful signal that the researchers believe promotes certain behaviors and actions while suppressing others for a set amount of time. “You don’t want an animal to be perfectly focused for an infinite amount of time, because that isn’t how an animal has to survive in the world.” — Jennifer Li “Normally, when you think of how neurons talk to each other, you have one neuron that makes a selective set of connections to other neurons. That’s not how these cells work,” said Jennifer Li, Ph.D. ’13, another lead author and also a former fellow at the Rowland Institute. “When these cells fire, almost all other cells in your brain are listening. They are not a way to communicate narrowly from one information channel to another. They send a signal that gets broadcast to your entire brain.”This makes sense, Li said, because this type of system is exactly what’s needed to set a global brain state. It’s also interesting that the brain naturally sets a timer for this, she added.When a zebrafish’s priority is to hunt, the switching mechanism leaps into action, making the zebrafish not only a more motivated but a more effective hunter, because cells in the brain that amplify motor functions related to hunting — like making highly precise turns —are also heightened. This state lasts about 5 to 8 minutes and, in a chart, looks like a triangle. “It shoots up to a really high level and slowly winds down, like the discharging of a battery,” Robson said.In the opposing state, when the signal fully discharges, skills and desires related to hunting are suppressed and the animal seems more interested in exploring its environment and covering longer distances. In this state, even if the zebrafish is hungry and presented with prey, it is routinely inattentive to it, demonstrating a different set of internal priorities. In fact, when it tries to hunt in the exploratory state, the researchers report the fish is more likely to fail.The researchers hypothesize that the zebrafish makes this switch because it is balancing two competing priorities: eating and not being eaten. The findings call into play the questions of how long a focused state can be maintained, and even controlled.“You don’t want an animal to be perfectly focused for an infinite amount of time, because that isn’t how an animal has to survive in the world,” Li said. “They have to switch out of that state so that they can balance all of their other objectives in life.”,The design of the experiment — begun at the Rowland Institute in 2017, where the researchers led a joint laboratory, and finished this September after they moved their lab to the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany — was deliberately simple. The tracking microscope followed the zebrafish in an arena more than eight times their body size while they swam and hunted without interruption for 50‒80 minutes. The researchers put the prey (paramecia) in the same arena and then watched what the zebrafish did. When they analyzed the neural data, they spotted the link between the dynamics of the switching mechanism and the animals’ behavior. Their driving question was whether this hunt-or-prey behavior was random or more organized.The results raise questions about how different areas of the brain listen to and interpret signals from the regulator-like hub.“What we think, based on the results from the paper, is that selective parts of the brain become more activated in response to the broadcast signal, but other cells in the brain are suppressed by the same signal.” Robson said. “So even though you are broadcasting the same message, how it’s interpreted seems to vary greatly in different cells in the brain.”The researchers hope these implications, along with why and how this switching mechanism has been preserved across evolution, can be analyzed in future studies. Serotonergic cells are present throughout the animal kingdom, from worms to fish to mammals, and there is evidence that worms may have a simplified version of the brain-state switch, and mammals, including humans, a more complex one. Though a major difficulty will be comprehensively recording deep regions of the brain like the dorsal raphe in the more-complex animals, the researchers hope that their findings can be used to identify and study other internal-state switches.“Someone just has to find them,” Li said.This work was financially supported by the Rowland Institute at Harvard. How a zebrafish model may hold a key to biology Sensors go undercover to outsmart the brain Study: Artificial neural networks could be used to provide insight into biological systems Devices used in mice offer a more accurate way to study the brain, potential treatment for disease, damage, mental illnesslast_img read more

Prayer service calls for peace in wake of recent violence

first_imgHeads bowed and hands clasped, members of the Notre Dame and South Bend community gathered Thursday evening at the Grotto for a prayer service in response to recent acts of violence across the United States.Despite the reduced number of people on campus for the summer session, an estimated 100 students, faculty, staff and other members of the community came together to pray for peace exactly one week after the sniper attack in Dallas that killed five police officers and barely more than a week after the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, both shot by police.“Everything is not well with America. The blood of innocent men share the streets with us and we weep with their grieving families, long for justice with their fatherless children and distraught wives,” student body president Corey Robinson, who spoke at the service, said.“There is a way of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness,” he said. “ … A way that is both pro-Black Lives Matter and pro-law enforcement. A way that is not divided by political ties and prejudice, but is rather united by the faith in a common interest — and that’s love for each other.”In addition to Robinson, representatives from Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), Campus Ministry, the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Institutional Equity spoke at the service.Eric Love, director of staff diversity and inclusion, said the purpose of the prayer service was not “to take sides or to point fingers,” but rather to spread a message of love.“We hope that love overcomes hate, that ignorance will be conquered by intelligence and that fear is replaced by understanding,” Love said.However, Love also said he worries “things are going to get worse before they get better.”“We can’t reach our full potential until all of our citizens are valued equally,” he said.Following Love, NSDP chief Keri Kei Shibata spoke, emphasizing the need for constant solidarity in bringing about peace.“On both the good and bad days, all of us in the Notre Dame community must remember that we all need each other,” Shibata said. “We cannot be successful without one another. We cannot have the kind of community that we want to have without every one of us doing our part.”Like Shibata, Fr. Joe Corpora, associate director of Latino student ministry, said in order to confront violence and racial tension, people must first recognize their commonality instead of emphasizing their differences.“People just might relate to each other as human to human rather than documented to undocumented, Christian to non-Christian, athlete to student, Anglo to Latino, rich to poor, gay to straight — all these kind of divisions that we sort of make up,” Corpora said.Karrah Miller, director of the Office of Institutional Equity and campus Title IX Coordinator, concluded the service by thanking all those in attendance, including representatives of the South Bend community, such as South Bend Fire Department chief Steve Cox and South Bend Police Department uniform chief Jeff Rynearson. Representatives from the mayor’s office were also in attendance.“I do not know all of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of those that we have lost in recent weeks,” Miller said. “Nor should I or anyone else make assumptions or pass judgment about the circumstances surrounding those deaths and those great tragedies. But what I do know is that I am a part of a campus community that is committed to fairness and equity not only in our nation but across the world, not only in our campus community but in our greater community. … Our presence here today is a testament to our collective desire to see things change for the better, and I commend all of us for being here.”Miller said there will be a vigil and march for justice and solidarity Sunday beginning at 7 p.m. on Irish Green.Tags: Dallas shootings, NDSP, Prayer service, Student governmentlast_img read more

Tickets Now On Sale for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Allegro

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 14, 2014 Tickets are now available to see Claybourne Elder and Elizabeth A. Davis in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro. Directed by John Doyle, the production will play a limited off-Broadway engagement November 1 through December 7. Opening night is set for November 19 at Classic Stage Company. View Comments Allegro was Richard Rodgers’ and Oscar Hammerstein II’s third collaboration and first premiered on Broadway in 1947. The musical chronicles nearly four decades in the life of an Everyman, Joseph Taylor Jr. (Elder), from cradle through a mid-life discovery of who he is and what his life is truly about. The saga takes us from Joe’s birth through his childhood, from college dorm to marriage altar, and on to his career; from the tranquility of his small Midwestern hometown to the hectic din of big city life. Allegro The cast will also include George Abud, Alma Cuervo, Malcolm Gets, Maggie Lakis, Megan Loomis, Paul Lincoln, Jane Pfitsch, Randy Redd, Ed Romanoff and Jessica Tyler Wright. Related Showslast_img read more

Stratton resort owner recommends helmets for all skiers

first_imgStratton Mountain Resort,Intrawest today announced that, beginning with the 2009-2010 winter season, the Company will increase awareness of the importance of helmet use at all of its wholly-owned ski resorts in North America. Intrawest will recommend that all skiers and snowboarders visiting its resorts wear helmets and there will be mandatory helmet requirements for all children and youth(1) participants in Ski and Snowboard School Programs as well as all students participating in freestyle terrain park programs, regardless of their age. The new helmet use guidelines underscore Intrawest’s commitment to guest safety and have the support of the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) and Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA).A helmet will be included with all children/youth ski and snowboard rental packages from all of Intrawest’s equipment rental outlets. The new guidelines will be supported with enhanced employee education sessions and common language highlighting the importance of helmet use will appear on resort websites and in all trail maps. Going forward, Intrawest will place an increased focus on using website images and advertising visuals that feature skiers and snowboarders wearing helmets and Intrawest will introduce new graphic standards that require all of its ski resorts to feature helmets predominantly.In the past at some resorts, a parent/guardian has had the ability to opt-out of having their children wear a helmet in certain on-mountain programs and activities. Beginning this season, Intrawest will remove the parent/guardian “opt-out clause” from all children’s waivers for Ski and Snowboard School Programs and all freestyle terrain park student programs.Looking ahead to the 2010-2011 winter season, Intrawest will require employees to wear a helmet at all times while skiing or snowboarding on-duty in any freestyle terrain park at its resorts. Staff at Intrawest’s Ski and Snowboard Schools will also be required to wear a helmet if they serve as a guide or an instructor for any program that requires mandatory helmet use by a resort guest. Several Intrawest resorts will begin to implement these new employee helmet use guidelines this winter and the remaining resorts will be fully compliant by the beginning of the 2010-2011 winter season.”Intrawest is working in conjunction with the ski industry to establish important best practices on behalf of our resort guests and employees,” saidBill Jensen, chief executive officer at Intrawest. “Together, we have established a new baseline for helmet use at our resorts that has received strong support from the NSAA and CWSAA. We will continue to work with all of the ski industry associations in the United States and Canada to raise awareness of this important initiative and the obligation of everyone to ski and ride in a controlled and responsible manner.”The helmet usage guidelines will be phased in at the following Intrawest ski resorts: – Copper Mountain (Colorado) – Stratton Mountain (Vermont) – Mountain Creek (New Jersey) – Tremblant Resort (Quebec) – Panorama Mountain (British – Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia) Columbia) – Snowshoe Mountain (West Virginia) – Winter Park Resort (Colorado) – Steamboat Ski Resort (Colorado) About IntrawestIntrawest is a leader in the development and management of experiential destination resorts. The Company has interests in a network of resorts at North America’s most popular mountain destinations including Whistler Blackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world. In addition, Intrawest markets and sells real estate at its resorts in North America and at other third-party locations around the world. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia and is a portfolio company owned primarily by private equity funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE: FIG). For more information, visit www.intrawest.com(link is external) (1) Required helmet use for children/youth program participants aged three to 12, 13, 14 or 17 at Intrawest’s wholly-owned ski resorts in North America (upper age limit will be determined by each resort and will include regional considerations).Source: VANCOUVER, Oct. 1, 2009 /PRNewswire/ –last_img read more

Daily Dirt: National Parks Add Billions, Avalanche in Missoula, No Bags at Boston Marathon, Celebrity Athletes Promote Pro-Activity

first_imgThis week’s Daily Dirt for March 5th, the day the hula-hoop was first patented.National Parks Add Billions to EconomyA new report suggests that America’s national parks stimulate the economy far beyond the limits of their peaks and forests. On Monday, the National Park Service confirmed that recreational attendance at the 401 units of the National Park System in 2012 resulted in $14.7 billion in spending in “gateway” communities, those within 60 miles of a park. Park visits supported 243,000 jobs and contributed $26.8 billion to our national economy.“Our parks are economic engines for local communities,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “They support business ranging from motels and restaurants to gas stations and tour companies and, of course, the people who work in those businesses.”Last October affirmed the economic importance of our National Parks, as the 16-day government shutdown resulted in 8 million fewer visits and a loss of $414 million in visitor spending in gateway communities.“The sequester was a reminder of the parks’ importance to local economies,” said Jewell. “The shutdown cost the parks and nearby communities nearly half a billion dollars in visitor spending. Let’s hope we don’t ever have to go there again.”Avalanche in MissoulaPolice in Missoula, Montana have confirmed that a snowboarder triggered an avalanche last Friday that uprooted a home and left three buried in snow, later killing one. Mount Jumbo had reportedly experienced an unseasonably warm period, priming it for a slide. Sourced at the summit, the avalanche ripped through the Rattlesnake Valley Neighborhood, burying an eight-year-old boy and two adults. One of the adults, Michel Colville, died Monday morning due to injuries sustained during the avalanche.The avalanche, which struck at speeds well over 110 mph, buried eight-year-old Phoenix Coburn, who was playing in the street with his sister. After an hour, Phoenix was found under several feet of snow between a fence and one of the homes. He remains in fair condition at the hospital. Phoenix’s sister was also hit by the avalanche but able to free herself.Over an hour after the slide, 66-year-old Fred Allendorf, a retired professor from the University of Montana, was pulled out from his destroyed home. It was another three hours before Allendorf’s wife, Michel Colville, was discovered and rescued from a small air pocket in the debris. Unfortunately, Colville died Monday from her injuries.Surrounding neighbors, skiers, and snowboarders in the community grabbed shovels and probes immediately after and contributed to the search efforts. Officials interviewed and later rescued a group of snowboarders above the avalanche. One snowboarder was apparently stuck in the slide and able to escape before it gathered speed.No Bags at Boston Marathon This YearThe Boston Athletic Association has announced a “no bags policy” for the 2014 Boston Marathon to hasten security checks and promote overall safety in the wake of last year’s bombing.While runners are banned from brining their own bags to the race, they will be given the opportunity to place a change of clothes or other personal gear in a clear plastic bag B.A.A. will provide when they pick up their race numbers near the finish line on Boston Commons.This is just one of the new policies implemented after last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured 260.Celebrity Athletes to March on Capitol Hill Promoting Pro-Activity LegislationToday, one Heisman Trophy winner, Hershel Walker, and two U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists, softball pitcher Jennie Finch and swimmer Cullen Jones, will march at the 15th annual National Health Through Fitness Day in Washington D.C.Several other prominent athletes have also joined in for the event, which promotes face-to-face discussions with U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators about the importance of federal funding to support quality physical education in schools and encourage more physical activity for families by making it more affordable. PHIT America and SFIA will assemble a series of small groups featuring well known athletes, sporting goods and fitness manufacturers, physical educators, and association leaders for these discussions.last_img read more

Credit unions remain competitive in lending

first_imgby: Ashley BinderFor more than 30 years, the number one vehicle in America by sales is the Ford F-series line of trucks. More than three-quarters of a million were sold in 2014, continuing its reign as the top vehicle since 1981. The Toyota Camry, the first car on the 2014 list, ranked fourth overall with more than 428,000 new to the road. The top-selling SUV, the Honda CR-V, came in eighth among the most popular vehicles, according to automotive site Good Car Bad Car.Since most Americans don’t hand over briefcases of cash when visiting their local dealership, consumers routinely require financing when purchasing their Rogues (#20 in 2014) or their Priuses (#34). Overall auto lending at credit unions is up more than 30 percent in recent years, a positive sign that CUs remain competitive in an evolving banking landscape.In a recent article from Credit Union Times, 71 million consumers had an auto loan in the first quarter of 2015, the most since the recession and an increase of 1.2 million over the last quarter of 2014. The article cited data from TransUnion, the national consumer data collection company, which reported that among the nation’s largest cities, Atlanta (up by 5.9%) and Houston (up by 5.4%) experienced the largest increases in auto loans from the previous quarter.Utilizing the Sageworks Bank Information platform, Sageworks recently examined how steadily auto lending at credit unions – specifically for new vehicles – grew in 2014. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Getting familiar with your Foundation – Jenni Speth

first_imgThis is the fifth edition of our “Getting Familiar with Your Foundation” series on our blog! We will highlight a different member of our Foundation staff so you can get to know the people who make our work possible. Last month we got to know National Program Director Lois Kitsch. This month, get to know our Office and Event Manager Jenni Speth!Here are some lessons in leadership and fun facts you might not know about Jenni:When you aren’t at work, what are we most likely to find you doing? Spending time with my husband and our two kids, who are 12 and 4. My youngest is now playing soccer and so that has been keeping us busy. We are also expecting our third child later this month! On the weekends, my family enjoys watching the Wisconsin Badger’s college football games.Do you have a guilty pleasure? If so what is it?Sweets! Especially butterfinger cookies…those are my weakness.What is your favorite TV show or a few that you can’t miss?I enjoy shows on the food network. Right now there is a show called Halloween Wars where teams compete to make the best Halloween display. It’s a show that I really like and the kids do too so we can all watch it together. continue reading » 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Tourist offer of Slavonia presented in Turin

first_imgOrganized by the CNTB Representation in Italy, a presentation of Slavonia was organized in Turin, as well as a business workshop between Croatian tourist entities and Italian partners.The program was attended by 19 travel companies from Croatia and 70 travel agents and representatives of CRALs, organizations within the union of large companies and banks that organize travel for their members from the Piedmont region. The aim of the business workshop was to intensify cooperation between Italian and Croatian partners and to present the potential, tourist products and beauties of the Slavonia region.The participants were greeted by representatives of the Slavonia cluster, the director of the Požega-Slavonia Tourist Board Maja Jakobović and Osijek-Baranja Ivana Jurić, who with her colleagues also held a presentation of Slavonia by bringing tourist products such as active holidays, eno-gastronomy, culture, nature, etc. pointed out that Slavonia is for Italian guests, who spend the summer on the Croatian coast, an ideal destination for a combination of vacation at sea and on the continent, or to get to know a different Croatia. During the evening, a prize game was organized where the happiest participants won thematic trips to Slavonia, as well as two return tickets from Croatia Airlines on the Milan-Zagreb route.”After several years, the Croatian tourist offer was presented in Turin, the main center of one of the most developed and potent regions of Italy, Piedmont, and we are extremely glad and important that we presented the tourist offer of Croatia and the Slavonia cluster to Italian partners who followed the presentation with special interest. participated in conversations. This business meeting justified the expectations of Croatian and Italian partners, primarily due to the contacts made, ” concluded Viviana Vukelic, Director of the CNTB Representation in Italy.After the workshop, a tasting of Slavonian delicacies was organized, and brochures about Croatia and Slavonia were distributed, as well as occasional Slavonian souvenirs.last_img read more