How to Curate Your Academic Digital Identity

curate digital ID

Reposted from the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Wow might academics – particularly those without tenure, published books, or established freelance gigs – avoid having their digital identities taken over by the negative or the uncharacteristic?

After all, no one wants to be associated almost exclusively with blogs of disgruntled students, Tumblr and Twitter hashtags like #IHateMyProfessor, Facebook hate groups such as “I No Longer Fear Hell, I Took a Course With Aruna Mitra,” and other potentially contentious sites like Rate My Professors. As an academic or would-be academic, you need to take control of your public persona and then take steps to build and maintain it. With drag-and-drop websites, automatic publishing tools like IFTTT (short for “If this, then that”), and social-media sharing, this task is not necessarily as time-consuming as it seems.

Take control. In a nutshell, if you do not have a clear online presence, you are allowing Google, Yahoo, and Bing to create your identity for you. As a Lifehacker post on this topic once noted: “You want search engine queries to direct to you and your accomplishments, not your virtual doppelgangers.”

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Academic Mindsets: The Placebo Phenomenon

placebo growth

Reposted from MindShift:

In medicine, the placebo effect is well known, but still mysterious. Through some unknown connection between mind and body, placebos produce changes in brain states, immune systems, blood pressure and hormone levels. Although most of us think of a placebo as a sugar pill, in fact it’s any intervention in which beliefs produce measurable changes in physiology, and thus performance. Here’s a typical example: When adults enter a flight simulator and take on the role of Air Force pilots flying a plane, their eyesight improves 40 percent more than adults who just “pretend” to fly a plane in a broken simulator. Something in the belief system shifts the body.

Results from research into the growth mindset tell us that placebos have finally hit the classroom. When students are informed that it’s possible to improve their IQ, they respond by improving their IQ. A simple message of possibility opens the door to an improvement in brain function. When distance-learning students in west Texas used an avatar from Second Life to attend virtual meetings, their new personas gave them permission to change their behavior. They turned into noticeably different and more attentive students than in person.

What’s the takeaway from the placebo phenomenon? More than anything, the results tell us that beliefs matter, perhaps much more than we realize. In many cases, the chief message of placebo research is that focusing on using the mind and beliefs to power up the brain and body is the key to better learning in the future. This approach requires that we take more seriously the latest research showing that intentional, placebo-like interventions also work.

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10% of Academic Achievement Correlates to Quality of Home Life at Age 3

toddler

Reposted from MindShift:

The first study, published Thursday in Child Development, found that the type of emotional support that a child receives during their her first three and a half years has an effect on education, social life and romantic relationships even 20 or 30 years later. Lee Raby, a psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Delaware collected from 243 people who participated in the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk. All the participants were followed from birth until they turned 32. “Researchers went into these kids’ home at times. Other times they brought the children and their parents to the university and observed how they interacted with each other,” Raby said.

Of course, parental behavior in the early years is just one of many influences, and it’s not necessarily causing the benefits seen in the study. While tallying up the results, the researchers accounted for the participants’ socioeconomic status and the environment in which they grew up. Ultimately, they found that about 10 percent of someone’s academic achievement was correlated with the quality of their home life at age three. Later experiences, genetic factors and even chance explain their other 90 percent, Raby says.

A second study, also published in Child Development, found that children’s early responses to experience help predict whether or not they end up developing social anxiety disorder as teenagers — but only for those who were especially sensitive and distrustful as babies. For this study, researchers from the University of Maryland observed how 165 babies interacted with their parents. When separated from their parents, some got upset but quickly recovered when they were reunited. Other babies had a harder time trusting their parents after a brief separation, and they weren’t able to calm down after being reunited. Those extra-sensitive babies were more likely to report feeling anxious socializing and attending parties as teenagers.

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Deeper Learning: The Academic Growth Mindset

growth mindset1

Reposted from Education to Save the World:

An April 2013 article by Camille A. Farrington explains that “[a]cademic mindsets are …both motivators for and outcomes of engagement in deeper learning experiences.”  You need academic mindset to be successful in deeper learning and conversely deeper learning experiences help students develop academic mindsets.  Based on a wide-body of research, Farrington introduces four academic mindsets.

These mindsets matter.  They help students engage in the complex work of deeper learning and are developed by that same learning.  What’s more they are highly correlated with adult success.  The great news about this news is that each of these minds is 1) malleable and 2) influenced by students’ school experience.

Farrington contends, “Students’ academic identities and attitudes and beliefs about schooling are strongly influenced by the school and classroom environment in which learning is situated; the structure of academic work, goals, support, and feedback in that environment; and the implicit and explicit messages conveyed to students about themselves in relation to that academic work.”

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