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Education Psychology Podcast Summaries

Below are five summaries of podcasts by Dr. Anita Woolfolk on Education Psychology I wrote today for a class I am taking in the same subject.

Educational psychology is a very prevalent and helpful field in today’s society. It can be the cornerstone of understanding the rationale and mindset of students within an educational system. A degree in educational psychology and a masters in educational technology can complement each other in the classroom.

Podcast Summary 1 (3%): Podcast #1 – The Importance of Teachers

According to Ms. Anita, “Teacher involvement and caring is the most significant predictor of student engagement in school,” at all grade levels, because as Abraham Maslow noted, people need to belong and feel safe, so supportive teachers give higher self-esteem, more motivation, less chance of dropping out, and help facilitate a better understanding of the course materials, lifelong learning, and understanding, trust, and respect at all levels, even when having to discipline students for misbehavior, missed days, or not turning in assignments on time.

A study that followed students from 3rd grade through 5th grade found that the average mathematics achievement score from students who had the most effective teachers through all three grades was in the 96th percentile, which is to say it was in the top 4%. Students who had the least effective teachers through all three grades were in the 44th percentile, which is to say they were below 56% of the other students. Teachers are the most important influence on students in the classroom.

Podcast Summary 2 (3%): Podcast #3 – No Child Left Behind

According to Ms. Anita Woolfolk, while states have some say in defining standards for adequate yearly progress (AYP), test scores, and proficiency among students, all schools must reach proficiency at the end of each school year by 2014, because of the federal No Child Left Behind act. If a school fails to do this for several years in a row, severe sanctions will be taken against in it which may even involve it being shut down and all the students and teachers being sent elsewhere or laid off.

However, if American students improved in 4th grade math at the same rate they did from 1990 to 2000, it would take about 57 years for them to reach 100% proficiency, and for 12th grade math, it would take 166 years. Another problem is that the tests are starting to define the curriculum, and schools that are shut down often bring down the test scores of other schools when their students are transferred there. However, the NCLB act has positive results, such as encouraging more qualifications and knowledge for teachers and giving special attention to students who are struggling on standardized tests. For all teachers, it is important to teach for both knowledge and understanding.

Podcast Summary 3 (3%): Podcast #5 – Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is not just another word for punishment. Anything that causes a behavior to maintain or increase is a reinforcer. When a child keeps whining, we can assume there is a reinforcer that is encouraging that child to continue that behavior. Strictly speaking, there are two ways to encourage a behavior: adding something (positive), or taking something away (negative).

If you wear a shirt and get compliments, you may wear that shirt more often and the compliments are the positive reinforcer. Reading a textbook may have the positive of higher test scores. Conversely, when you put on your seatbelt and your car’s buzzer goes off, that is negative reinforcement, because you put on the belt to make something go away, be negated, and be removed. Getting sick is a behavior, and missing an unwanted class is a negative reinforcer.

You can decrease a behavior by adding something unpleasant, like running laps, or taking something pleasant away, like watching TV. Positive reinforcement is based on addition, and negative reinforcement is based on negation or removal.

Podcast Summary 4 (3%): Podcast #10 – Procrastination

Procrastination is putting off something you should be doing by an excuse such as “I’m tired” or “I’m too busy” or any other unreasonable reason. It is very prevalent among college students and can be characterized by students waiting until the last minute to do assignments. One study finds that some students spend up to one-third of the day (five hours) procrastinating, putting off school-work to watch TV, play games, surf the Internet, or text message.

Some students pretend they work better under pressure, and others worry about being perfect and never get started on assignments. Others enter a spiral of depression by not giving themselves enough time on an assignment because they put it off, resulting in poor performance. Ideas for avoiding procrastination include modeling, social persuasion, outlines, and chunking.

An example of chunking is working ten minutes solidly, then taking a two minute break, and then working ten minutes again results in fifty minutes of solid work at the end of an hour. This is a much better strategy than procrastinating thirty minutes and then performing thirty minutes of rushed work. The key is making a plan for projects you have been avoiding and then consistently following through, moment by moment and day by day, throughout your life.

Podcast Summary 5 (3%): Podcast #15 – The Brain and Education

New brain scan technologies have revealed that neurons of the brain send out branches that reach out to connect to other branches of the brain’s cells that get close to each other without touching, creating synapses through which impulses pass. Each brain contains trillions of synapses, because each neuron contains thousands of branches and there are billions of neurons in each brain.

Children have many more synapses then they’ll ever need, and many more than adults have. Unused synapses and neuron pathways die off, while those that fire over and over become more efficient and more easily accessed. “Cells that fire together wire together,” meaning the brain is physiologically changed by learning. One study found an area of the hippocampus in the brain is larger in taxi drivers who have driven longest. Another finds that musicians have an automatic response to sheet music in preparation for reading notes. Blind children use their visual centers for processing sounds, and deaf children use their hearing centers for processing visuals.

It is important to use different areas of the brain and different talents and interests so that if any of areas of your memory are blocked, you can still unlock your skills and memories with other cues. Teachers should use multi-sensory lessons including talking, audio, smart boards, drawing, writing, and visuals, if possible. This is called differentiated instruction.

Thoughts on the Psychology of Education

Below are five essays I wrote over the past few days for my Educational Psychology course at Daytona State College. All references to the textbook reference this book (PDF, 3MB, 365 pg.).

E-Journal 1 (4%): What is the role of educational psychology in understanding teaching and learning? How can we use research to understand and improve teaching?

Educational psychology is the study of how students learn and develop, so understanding it helps teachers adapt their lesson plans and teaching strategies to promote independent learning, cooperation, caring, collaboration, metacognition and psychological development, while demoting frustration, fears of helplessness, dependency, and apathy.

One example of a theory that may help with understanding learning is the chart on page 69 of our textbook (Golobuk & Fivush, 1994), which says that teachers often give praise to boys for correct knowledge and to girls for compliant behavior, overlook compliant behavior with incorrect knowledge in boys and misbehavior with correct knowledge in girls, and criticize misbehavior in boys and incorrect knowledge in girls. This means that teachers will often praise boys just for behaving, even when they are misinformed, whereas girls are praised for good behavior, with inappropriate behavior and the core lesson plan being overlooked. Knowing this, a new teacher or a veteran teacher can adapt his/her lesson plan to avoid such pitfalls, while being careful not to overcompensate in the opposite direction.

Research helps us to understand and improve teaching by giving us a deeper example of learning. For example, it has been shown that fluent bilingualism gives a definite cognitive advantage by allowing students to understand that languages assign words to objects or concepts which can be manipulated and changed (pg. 72). Therefore, teaching students English and Spanish or another language can help them write stories and essays with more depth and understand complex text materials more easily.

E-Journal 2 (4%): Describe, in detail, Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development.

Kohlberg divides moral development into three categories with two stages each, giving six stages in all (table 3.5, pg. 53). In the pre-conventional category, the stage of obedience and punishment is characterized by the egocentric belief that actions that are rewarded and not punished are good, and that superior power defines superior morality. For example, taking a cookie is good if it triggers praise from adults and bad if it triggers criticism. The subsequent stage is “market exchange,” where the child begins to show a limited interest in the needs of others, but only to further his/her own interests by securing their continued assistance. This is often morally relative, and an adolescent or adult who stays at this level may find it okay to pay others to do his/her homework or provide sexual favors to receive special treatment (pg. 54).

At the conventional level, the third stage is often called the “ethics of peer opinion,” where the individual views his/her peers’ arbitrary social conventions as indicators of morality. This can be good if the individual’s peers are all upstanding, but if they settle on bad practices such as bullying, dereliction, or shoplifting, an individual at this stage of peer opinion will go along with it. The subsequent stage is the “ethics of law and order,” where the individual looks at the community as a whole for guidance. This is a step up, but still not ideal.

The post-conventional level is divided into the stages of the ethics of the social contract and the ethics of self-chosen, universal principles. The former places an emphasis on democracy, even when the majority decides to be unfair to a minority. The latter is based on personally held principles which the individual applies to him or herself and the community, which may or may not agree with peers, customs, the law, or even the social contract.

E-Journal 3 (4%): According to your text, what does “intelligence” mean? How is intelligence measured? What should teachers know about intelligence? Have you ever known someone “really smart”? What were they like? Was everything “easy” for them?

Classical definitions of intelligence have tended toward defining it as a singular, broad-spectrum ability which allows an individual to solve complex problems and perform academic tasks more easily depending on the level of intelligence the person has (pg. 64, Educational Psychology global text). This idea is supported by research, but teachers should also know about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, which proposes eight forms of intelligence that operate independently and explain why some people are gifted in one area and average in others. The eight intelligences are linguistic, musical, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist, and each person has a combination of each. While many researchers criticize the theory for relying on anecdotes (pg. 66), it is still a useful tool for debate.

Intelligence is difficult or impossible to directly measure, but may be approximated using assignments, observation, constructive learning, aptitude tests, and “intelligence quotient” tests. Teachers should know that some students are gifted in certain areas and disadvantaged in others, and exceptional student education should always be a priority, even if it requires individualized instruction for certain students.

When I was in my Physics class at Daytona State College in fall 2008, there was a student who was 16 years old, barely studied or did homework, and usually had an intuitive understanding of all the concepts which allowed him to ace the exams. While everything seemed easy for him, he would also obsess over calculus derivations which barely seemed of interest to me.

E-Journal 4 (4%): Discuss Token Reinforcement Programs that apply to the classroom.

Token reinforcement involves giving recognition to children who perform well on assignments and demonstrate good behavior, usually through stars on assignments and occasional pieces of candy. Tokens that are slightly delayed may prove more effective than instant gratification, but tokens that are given too late may become disconnected with the positive achievement they are intended to reward (O’Leary). However, reinforcement can be misdirected for the wrong strategies, and the most dangerous type is a “partial schedule of reinforcement,” where the student generalizes simplified behavior to more complex problems based on what he or she was rewarded for before.

An example of overgeneralizing is when a student adds multiple two-digit numbers together by adding the digits, i.e. 13 + 19 = 1+1 and 3+9 = 212 instead of 32, because token reinforcement has led the student to abandon common sense (Edu. Psych. global text, pg. 87). This approach works when none of the summed digits exceed 9, but when they are 10 or above, borrowing and carrying over is required. From a behaviorist point of view, this is an example of thinking everything is a nail because you have a hammer—the same technique is being used to solve different problems, sometimes correctly and sometimes wrong. A broken clock is right twice a day, but the human tendency to mentally construct order from chaos makes this proclivity frustrating and discouraging unless both the student and instructor work together with neither giving empty flattery or dismissing the other as unteachable. One way to stay on track is to introduce a neutral third party which cannot be blamed, i.e. a computerized graphical or graphing calculator.

E-Journal 5 (4%): Does anxiety promote or inhibit learning? Should anxiety be used as a stimulus for learning?

Anxiety can promote or inhibit learning depending on the student, teacher, and how it is applied. Just like a knife or a pencil, it is a tool that can be used and abused but remains philosophically neutral. Some teachers may apply it to promote fear in students of being held back a grade, or of social ostracism, not succeeding in life, not learning vital knowledge, or some other cause, just as other teachers or the same teachers may apply it to promote competition and learning in students who wouldn’t normally be motivated to study. Other teachers may not use anxiety at all, and many students will create their own anxiety about tests (Edu. Psych. global text, pg. 211), which will cause them to become flushed or in a state of mental anguish while taking a test, which may negatively or positively affect their performance (but usually negatively).

Additionally, many institutions and institutionalized practices, such as the Florida FCAT test, and the SAT and ACT college entrance exams, are set up as high-stakes tests which single-handedly shape students’ futures. While it may be better to have a greater number of low-stakes tests which do not alone determine whether a student will be held back a grade or not get scholarships or admission to college, it is more convenient for the bureaucracy to have fewer, all-encompassing high-stakes tests, since this simplifies management and allows students and schools to be fit into neat little boxes based on their test scores or test averages. For some students, it creates a great deal of anxiety, but for other students, it may be a powerful motivator to study and learn, and students who do well on high-stakes tests may enter a positive-feedback loop where they associate test-taking with success. Similarly, other students may do poorly and enter a negative spiral, associating education with failure.

Avoiding CBC Decisions

The primary goal of all institutions is to avoid case-by-case (CBC) decisions by setting up a bureaucracy to handle every decision not based on possibility (pro-actionary), but based on precedent (reactionary) OR by delegating or removing those decisions to an independent, definitive, un-coerced third party, which is not necessarily or even desirably neutral and fair.

This is why in the United States of America we have a jury system of common people to judge all courtroom proceedings and unanimously determine guilt. If even one of the twelve jurors has doubts, he can deny the State the right to incarcerate, fine, or otherwise punish the defender, be him a victim or a criminal. The jury is not a star panel — any citizen can be drafted at any time for jury duty and jury selection should be of the person’s peers, coworkers, or neighbors rather than strangers, because if his friends rule him not guilty when they know him to be guilty, one to twelve of them will have to fear him on the streets or in public if he is truly a criminal.

Similarly, the system of federal courts and a Supreme Court to prosecute federal law and strike down states’ laws if they violate the spirit of the Constitution is set up hierarchically so that a case can be removed to an independent, definitive, un-coerced third party in a pattern of escalation or de-escalation, unless it reaches the Supreme Court, in which case a CBC or non-CBC decision is made which cannot be appealed, confined, over-turned, or escalated to an international or world court. Similarly, the case can be “thrown out of court” if there is no crime committed, or if the case is not worthy of the court’s time, because all time and resources are finite and never infinite.

While avoiding CBC decisions may be ideal for institutions, it is not ideal on an individual scale because every person has certain gut feelings he or she is unable to articulate. For this reason, personal discrimination is a sacred right which must always be upheld, and you should not hold yourself to machine standards because you are like no other machine.

Introduction to Mathematics

If you have 3 apple pies and 19 people, how should you slice the pies so that each person gets an equal share? Each person should get 3/19 ≈ 0.1579 pies, but if you make each pie into 6 slices, that’s only 18 slices for 19 people. You have to slice each pie into 6 and 1/3 slices, with each slice being equal except the 1/3 being smaller, and then give the three 1/3 slices to the 19th person.

What if you have 1 pie and the Half-Blood Prince from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the only person dining? Then you have 2 pies per person, assuming he’s half a person. In the expression 1/(1/2), move the denominator to the numerator and flip the ex-denominator, making the reciprocal and thereby converting division to multiplication. 1/(1/2) becomes 1*(2/1) which is just 2, because any number without a denominator has a denominator of 1.

Your neighbor lends you $8000 at 3.75% interest compounded annually, with no payments being required for 25 years and the full balance and interest being required to be repaid at that time. What is the payment? $8000*1.0375^25 ≈ $8000*2.5102 = $20,081.34.

What if you want to make a graph of the increasing amount owed on the Cartesian coordinate system where y is the number of years and x is the dollar amount in thousands? Use the equation y = 8*(1.0375^x).

PROBLEM: Your truck gets 15 miles per gallon in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Your destination is 38 miles away as the crow flies, 42 miles away through the cities, and 49 miles away if you take Interstate-95. However, taking the interstate requires 5 miles of city driving. How many gallons of gas will be used on each route, which one uses the least gas, and how much does each trip cost if gas is $4.15 per gallon?

SOLUTION: First, note that there are only two routes: 42 miles through the cities and 5 miles through the cities PLUS 44 miles on I-95. Then, do this:
42/15 = 2.8 gallons –> 2.8*4.15 = $11.62 in gas
5/15 + 44/19 ≈ 2.65 gallons –> 2.65*4.15 = $10.99 in gas

NOTE that with the variables provided, the longer route is in fact the cheaper route. However, in reality there would be an inordinate number of variables, such as your engine’s efficiency, time of day, traffic patterns, traffic lights, and unforeseen events. For example, traveling an extra 7 miles may necessitate an earlier oil change or some other maintenance. If you get into an accident on the interstate at 80 miles per hour, you might be instantly killed rather than being only wounded if crashing at a much lower speed in a city. Highway driving vs. city driving requires different mental concentration and one may appeal over the other depending on your upbringing and psychological makeup. In the city, you are more likely to be pulled over by policemen and ticketed. The road surface may be smoother on the interstate, which will prevent your tires from wearing down as quickly. If you break down on the interstate, you may be stranded if you don’t have a cell phone. All math problems simplify.

PROBLEM: The 2012 Presidential election is coming up, and observing that Ron Paul (R) and Barack Obama (D) have won the primaries, General Electric is deciding how much to donate to each candidate’s campaign. GE’s budget is $4,000,000, and they estimate Paul has an 8% chance of winning and Obama has a 92% chance of winning. GE estimates donations to Paul have a political worth three times greater than donations to Obama to secure support from the Constitutionalist movement. How much will GE donate to each campaign?

3*0.08 = 0.24
1*0.92 = 0.92
0.24+0.92 = 1.16
4,000,000/1.16 = 3,448,275.862
3,448,275.862 * 0.24 = $827,586.21 to Ron Paul
3,448,275.862 * 0.92 = $3,172,413.79 to Barack Obama

PROBLEM: Steve Jobs is developing the iPad 3 for release November 28, 2012 and must choose between Foxconn’s 64GB isolinear-NAND flash chip and Foxtrot’s 59GB neo-EEPROM flash chip. Foxconn’s chip costs $28.78 and has a five-year failure rate of 2.8%. Foxtrot’s chip costs $26.55 and has a five-year failure rate of 2.1%. Both chips are functionally identical in form factor, read/write speed, power consumption, resiliency, and failure potential, both technologies are equally reliable, both companies use slave labor, and both companies are of equal capacity, reputability, and geographic location.

Apple estimates the market value of an extra 5GB (64GB vs. 59GB) of storage capacity to be $14.50 per unit, and estimates that each five-year failure will have an effective cost of $895.88 on Apple’s image, future sales, and support network. Which chip should Steve Jobs choose?

($28.78 – 14.50) = $14.28 effective cost per 64GB Foxconn chip
$26.55 = $26.55 relative cost 59GB per Foxtrot chip
$895.88 * 0.028 = $25.08 failure cost per 64GB Foxconn chip
$895.88 * 0.021 = $18.81 failure cost per 59GB Foxtrot chip
$14.28 + 25.08 = $39.36 total cost per 64GB Foxconn chip
$26.55 + 18.81 = $45.36 total cost per 59GB Foxconn chip

Jobs should choose the 64GB Foxconn chip, even though it is 0.7% more likely to fail in the first five years, because it’s easier to market a 64GB device than a 59GB device so the 64GB Foxconn chip has an effective cost of $6.00 less than the 59GB Foxtrot chip, given the variables.

PROBLEM: General Motors Company is developing a new type of engine that improves fuel economy by 100%, but has discovered that 0.000097% of the engines blow up when reaching a speed of 88 miles per hour, instantly killing everyone in the vehicle and seriously wounding everyone in a 100 foot radius. GMC is considering including this engine in its new SUV, the ThinkNeighbor Plus, which will get 42 highway miles per gallon instead of the standard 21 highway mpg, will be manufactured in a quantity of 5 million, and will sell for $38,000. GMC estimates only 0.5% of ThinkNeighbor Pluses will ever reach a speed of 88 miles per hour, and estimates the Public Relations costs of each explosion will be $8 million. The U.S. State Department has pledged to blame the explosions on domestic terrorist attacks, but only to a limit of three. Should GMC manufacture the ThinkNeighbor Plus?

NO. Since the question is “should GMC manufacture the ThinkNeighbor Plus?,” it isn’t even a math question because “should” is completely subjective.

More next time.

Spring 2008 Student Awards 35mm Scans

I took these 70 photos on April 16, 2008 at the awards ceremony at the (then) Daytona Beach College gym, for my Photography I class, using Kodak PX125 B&W 35mm film.

I saved these negatives for the past three years, and finally bought a good scanner to scan them. Sorry for the dust spots.

There are a lot of photos of ex-president Kent Sharples, administrators, and faculty in this archive.




Daytona State Chemtrails, Jan. 11, 2011 [YouTube]

Airlines blatantly poison the students of Daytona State College with poisonous chemical trails from airplane exhaust everyday, which goes to show you what our criminal federal government thinks of the next generation.

The U.S. State Dept. wants you to be docile, dependent, stupid, and totally defenseless, which is why they keep poisoning us from the skies, which rains down on us and has similar effects to lithium.

Chemtrails: What In The World Are They Spraying?

$95.6 Million

Did you know? Daytona State College is operating this year on a budget of $95.6 million. I really think they could get by on $47.8 million if they weren’t so wasteful all the time. That’s a state-run college for you.

I know for sure, they could get buy on a budget of $94.3 million if they weren’t constantly paying executives off.

Spotlight on Daytona State’s Accreditation

I logged onto to find this message:

Daytona State College recently was notified that the Southern Association of Colleges (SACS) is planning a site visit. The College believes that we will be able to address any issues or questions and do so without jeopardizing the College’s accreditation.

Michael Vitale
Interim VP of Academic Affairs
Daytona State College

Do you think Daytona State deserves to continue being accredited? Why or why not? Leave your feedback by commenting on this post. I particularly want to hear from people who have withdrawn, dropped out, transferred away from, or decided not to attend Daytona State.

In my opinion, Daytona State has a high market share that does not necessarily reflect upon its high quality, but rather, the fact that people are being paid to go to or to return to college. The IRS Earned Income Tax Credit applies from the ages of 19 to 24 if you are taking 12 credits in at least 5 calendar months of the year (one major semester), which can easily provide over $3000 to your parents from the federal government. The federal government also gives many students $2775 free money per semester for the Pell grant, and many students get the lottery scholarship, Florida BrightFutures, which is $924 per semester. The Daytona State Foundation provides scholarships of $800 per semester to many other students who apply, which are provided by local business magnates. Tuition and books typically cost under $2000 per semester, excluding ignorant students who use the bldg. 200 bookstore instead of ordering online from websites such as Amazon, Half, AbeBooks, and Bookbyte. The college also provides many work-study positions to students at $7.25 or $14.50 an hour which are often undeserved, because no solvent business would provide such jobs. Additionally, the college gets tens of millions of dollars from the state per year, and professors have cushy jobs in general.

Furthermore, most students who graduate from Daytona State College have a degree in worthlessness, unless they fundamentally changed their thought processes for the better, and/or went into a field that provides real value such as engineering, science, or psychology. This is not the college’s fault because students have free reign over their choice of majors, but it does show that Americans in general, and Floridians in particular, are lazy.

Daytona State’s graduation is below 30%, and our retention rate is barely 70%. If you are a student, ask yourself: why are you really going to college? If you answer any of the following, you should drop out now, unless you have children or a family to support.

* To get a high-paying job
* To socialize
* Scholarships and financial aid
* To meet women
* Because everyone says you should
* Work-study job
* Something to do
* Power
* To have something to occupy your time
* You were fired or laid off
* Low self-esteem
* To show the world you can succeed
* To prove a point
* To feel loved
* To feel a part of something greater than yourself
* To be a slave
* To text message in class
* To cause trouble
* Social norms
* Discount movie tickets
* To get a student checking account or credit card
* To attend plays for free
* To use the college darkrooms
* To use the piano labs
* Cheap food
* To further your political agenda

All of these reasons might sound good on paper, but they ultimately will not satiate you. Only a love of learning can get your through life, and in many ways, that is not what Daytona State provides.

If you are a professor, executive, or staff member at Daytona State, if you work there for any of these reasons, you should quit now, unless you have a family and big mortgage.

* Job security / tenure
* Easy work
* Stepping stone
* To force your students to buy your textbook
* To be a cog in the wheel
* To please your parents
* High income
* To further the status quo
* Power
* Sadism
* To foster dependent learners
* To boss people around
* To set up a fiefdom
* Because your parents told you so
* To have a title
* To posture instead of postulate
* For your ego

None of the above further the expansion of human knowledge in anyway. Only the joy of helping others become independent learners, capable of recognizing truth from falsehood, and motivated to explore the domain of life without becoming bitter or lazy, will lead you to true happiness.

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