Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Online Courses

There are a number of great online courses when it comes to economics. This one is one of my favorites. Not only can it be helpful to the teacher, but also for students are well. The lessons are engaging and full of information. If you are a first-year teacher and "got stuck with" economics, or you have been teaching this for a while and want so new resources, this could not come with a higher recommendation.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Supply and Demand Articles

Hey everyone. It has been awhile. Here are two great articles dealing with supply and demand as well as price discrimination. The first article deals with surge pricing at a London restaurant. This is of interest because of the use of Uber and Lyft. My guess this won't work out, as explained by this article when Coke tried the same thing in their vending machines.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Deck the Halls...

I love this time of year. Here is a video I show that the same economists that made the Keynes vs. Hayek videos, so there is an Austrian bent. After I show the video, we discuss the difference in macroeconomic policies. The students all think I am an economics nerd, which I am, and they like the songs used.

At the end, there is a photo of "Macro Santa." The joke is typically lost on the students. The voiceover says, "And remember, the one person to create presents out of nothing is Santa himself." The joke here is that they used someone who looked like then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke. This is a shot at the Federal Reserve, as they can create money from nothing due to the fact that our money is fiat.  Something else to discuss with your classes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How Evil is Tech?

With all of education moving towards the better and faster tech, and with us all trying to meet students where they live, this article, written by David Brooks, poses some interesting questions. His three big critiques of the use of technology are as follows:
1. It destroys young people
2. Tech companies are greedy and knowingly are causing this addiction
3. The main tech companies operate in a near monopoly setting which allows them to institute user settings to invade people's private lives.

So what should our response be as economics teachers and adults? I really like the way the article ends by saying, "Imagine if instead of claiming to offer us the best things in life, tech merely saw itself as providing efficiency devices. Its innovations can save us time on lower-level tasks so we can get offline and there experience the best things in life."


Monday, November 27, 2017

5 Classroom Tools to Measure Student Learning

This article does a great job explaining how to use real-time tools for quick assessment. The following are explored.



Quizlet Live



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Behavioral Economics

My favorite topic to teach is game theory and behavioral economics. Though a new area of study in economics, it is rich in material. If you are looking for ways to teach this topic, you can find resources here that are from the Council for Economic Education. I would also suggest that you pick up anything by the Freakonomics guys, or Predictable Irrational by Dan Ariely. You will find yourself and your students, thinking and approaching problems in a whole new way.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I am not sure how many of you get the Marshall Memo, but it is a great summary of what is being discussed within academic circles about education. This was in the latest edition:

1. Key Insights on Studying, Remembering, and Learning

            In an appendix to his 2013 book, How We Learn, Benedict Carey answers eleven essential questions that sum up the main insights he presents in the book:
            • How important is routine, like having a dedicated study area? Not at all, says Carey. “The more environments in which you rehearse, the sharper and more lasting the memory of that material becomes… That is, knowledge becomes increasingly independent of surroundings the more changes you make.” Most people learn better by studying in different locations, using different methods, at different times of the day, constantly changing the way they store material in memory.
            • Is there an optimal amount of time to study or practice? “More important than how long you study is how you distribute the study time you have,” says Carey. Ideally, break up study time into chunks over two or three days, each time reengaging with the material, retrieving it, and re-storing it in memory – “an active mental step that reliably improves memory.”
            • How much does it help to review notes from a class or lesson? Very little, he says. Looking over highlighted material is one of the least effective ways to study; the same goes for verbatim copying. That’s because both are fairly passive and don’t engage the brain in the kind of work that will make learning sink in. What’s more, passive review can cause what cognitive scientists call the “fluency illusion” – unwarranted confidence that you’ll remember it for good.
            • Is cramming a bad idea? Now always. It’s okay if you’re behind and have no choice. But the downside is that you won’t remember much after the test or performance. That’s because the brain sharpens memories only after a little forgetting has taken place.
            • So what does work? “Self-testing is one of the strongest study techniques there is,” says Carey. “Old-fashioned flashcards work fine; so does a friend, work colleague, or classmate putting you through the paces.” So does reciting a passage from memory, or explaining a concept to yourself or a friend. Testing yourself (or being tested) does two things: it forces you to retrieve information from memory, and it gives you immediate feedback if you couldn’t remember it so you know what you don’t know and need to work on some more.
            • What’s the most common reason for bombing a test after what felt like careful preparation? It’s the fluency illusion – the erroneous belief “that you ‘knew’ something well just because it seemed so self-evident at the time you studied it,” says Carey. Several passive, ineffective study methods feed this illusion:
-   Highlighting or rewriting notes;
-   Working from a teacher’s outline;
-   Re-studying after you’ve just studied.
Far better to test yourself, space out the study, and find out what you actually don’t know.
            • Is it best to practice one skill at a time until it becomes automatic, or to work on many things all at once? Working on just one thing (free throws, a musical scale, the quadratic equation) improves skill. “But over time, such focused practice actually limits our development of each skill,” says Carey. “Mixing or ‘interleaving’ multiple skills in a practice session, by contrast, sharpens our grasp of all of them.” Mixed practice helps review material from several areas, sharpens differentiating among them, and trains the brain to match the problem types with appropriate strategies. This is especially helpful in a subject like mathematics.
            • How does sleep affect learning? The deep sleep that occurs in the first half of the night is most important for consolidating and retaining hard facts – names, dates, formulas, concepts. So if you need to remember that kind of information, Carey recommends going to bed at your regular time to maximize deep sleep. But the kind of sleep we have in the early morning hours helps consolidate motor skills and creative thinking. If you need to perform creatively, whether it’s in math, science, writing, or music, you might stay up later and sleep in to maximize the effects of the second kind of sleep.
            • How about improving performance on longer-term creative projects? The proven method for a big, complicated project like a term paper is getting started as early as possible, chunking the work, and spreading it out over time. Doing this “activates the project in your mind,” says Carey, “and you’ll begin to see and hear all sorts of things in your daily life that are relevant. You’ll also be more tuned into what you think about those random, incoming clues.”
            • Are distractions from smartphones and social media a bad thing? Not unless you’re trying to give continuous focus to a lecture or some other sequential, connected learning experience. When you’re struggling to solve a problem, “a short study break – five, ten, twenty minutes to check in on Facebook, respond to a few e-mails, check sports scores – is the most effective technique learning scientists know of…” says Carey. “Distracting yourself from the task at hand allows you to let go of mistaken assumptions, reexamine the clues in a new way, and come back fresh.” Your brain will keep working on the problem offline, without your fixated, unproductive focus, and you’ll often have fresh insights when you return to it.
            • Can “freeing up the inner slacker” really be called a legitimate learning strategy? If by this we mean “appreciating learning as a restless, piecemeal, subconscious, and somewhat sneaky process that occurs all the time – not just when you’re sitting at a desk, face pressed into a book – then it’s the best strategy there is,” says Carey.

How We Learn by Benedict Carey (Random House, 2013, p. 223-228)