The Assumption in Existence that Math is Harder for Girls Is a Lie: A Study Has Revealed

The Assumption in Existence that Math is Harder for Girls Is a Lie: A Study Has Revealed

A study conducted recently has revealed that when both boys and girls of the age not more than 10 do mathematics, there has been noticed undistinguished brain patterns and activities. This latest finding is a clear indication that the assumption which has been here for ages that boys do better in mathematics than girls is not true. The truth of the matter is that the field of mathematics has had men dominating but is not true that it’s harder than their women counterparts.

During this study, the researchers found that in high school level, boys are twice as likely to score very high marks in mathematics than their girl counterparts but it does not mean that male brains have got inherently an advantage over female. This is according to Jessica Cantlon of Carnegie Mellon University. She made it clear that when these differences are noted in adulthood, it’s important to understand the history and circumstances under which these behaviour differences could have originated from.

In this study, brain scanning was done to more than 100 boys and girls doing basic math under very noisy boundaries of magnetic resonance scanner. The age was between 3-10. The team of scientists observed the activity of brain patterns of these children for almost half an hour each. Tasks were given and teams were prepared to see which brain networks became more active during math tasks. When the analysis was done for both boys and girls was done, it was found indistinguishable thus challenging the assumption that math is harder for girls!

 

References

https://www.nrp.org/2019/11/08/777753427/new-study-challenges-the-assumption-that-math-is-harder-for-girls

 

 

Computer Science To Count as Math Credit In K-12 Schools

Computer Science To Count as Math Credit In K-12 Schools

In the US, Florida is one of 47 states that have resorted to allowing the learning of computer science count just like a math credit. This is dated back in 2013 when the world’s who is who united to come up with a nonprofit organization called Code.org and the main aim was to have more students get to study computer science in schools.

This plea caused some world’s billionaires like Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg donating a lot of money to the organization, to the tune of millions of dollars. A report given by the organization revealed that the organization had used US$91 million throughout between 2013 and 2018. Part of the money was used to advocate for the course of computer science in the whole country.

Being part of the organization’s mission to ensure computer science counts in K-12 education, code.org is proud to announce that it has influenced the growth and learning of computer science to 42 states. As it stands now, in more than 47states, students have been allowed to take computer science in place of math. Before the organization came into place to pursue this noble task, a few states only could allow computer science to count the credit contained in math.

It is, therefore, important to note that there has been a steady increase in the number of states that have allowed computer science to take the credit of math. In as much all these advancements have been seen by the code.org the main question that is to be asked is whether the changes will positively affect the students positively or negatively.

 

References

https://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20191015/florida-schools-computer-science-now-counts-as-math-credit—is-this-good-idea

 

Shortage of Math and Science Teachers Forces New Delhi Government to Hire Computer Science Teachers

Shortage of Math and Science Teachers Forces New Delhi Government to Hire Computer Science Teachers

A paralyzing shortage of teachers in schools in New Delhi has caused a few that the results of Class X may not be good this year. For this reason, the government has resolved to seek services of computer science teachers to help in the gapping of the screaming vacancies. According to a newsletter from the government, all heads of schools were asked to allocate math and science sessions to all the computer science teachers who had been hired in all public schools in New Delhi. They would do this until when the government will hire other teachers of math and science for them to be relieved of this responsibility.

According to government data, there was a total of 709 vacancies in mathematics and 726 vacancies in science. A recent report had shown that the government had out of 709 vacancies hired 653 math teachers and 416 teachers for science. It is reported that in this year’s Class X examinations, all other subjects had more than 96% except science and math, the reason that necessitated the move by the government to have computer science teachers getting involved in the teaching of math and science.

When asked about the government’s move, a teacher stated that most of the computer science teachers are good in mathematics and that she did not have a problem with them teaching mathematics but has greater doubts of them teaching science. Most parents are purely blaming the government over teacher recruitment processes that have been very slow. A government official indicated that computer science teachers teaching math and science will equip the learners with the newest technologies and skills that would make learners develop skills.

 

References

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/delhi-computer-science-teachers-will-teach-maths-and-science-too/articleshow/71845702.cms

 

 

 

 

Bridges; Outstanding Alumni Award Winner

Bridges; Outstanding Alumni Award Winner

The College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University name William “Larry” Bridges ’75 as the 2018–19 Outstanding Alumni Award winner. Bridges is a part-time lecturer at the Department of Computer Science at the college.

Before he came to Appalachian, Bridges worked with the Hanesbrands/Sara Lee Corp. for over 39 years, handling multiple leadership roles in information technology. He also worked for ten years as chief architect and information security officer. It was he that led Hanesbrands as it made entry into e-commerce because he built the necessary infrastructure and the applications that made the business to realize sales worth $100 million.

According to Bridge’s student, a graduate student in computer science at the Appalachian college, it was he that served as her eye-opener. This made her grow to become a well-prepared and thorough and ethical programmer. She also added that the experience which Bridge had outside of academia was key to helping her learn how to apply the knowledge acquired in the classroom outside the classroom environment. She was also able to realize other pathways that are offered in this field.

By serving as a visiting lecturer in the department of computer science, he together with his colleagues was able to win a grant through the common chancellor’s innovation scholars program. This helped in establishing cybersecurity operations centre for students.

Bridges is one of the founding members of and a contributor to the Computer Science Industry Advisory Board. He also served as chairperson of for the Stokes County Special Olympics Board (1988–2018). He is a very dedicated member of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church (1965–present).

 

References

https://today.appstate.edu/2019/11/11/bridges

 

 

More Computer Science Classes are Needed, Educators Say

More Computer Science Classes are Needed, Educators Say

The Westmoreland Central School District is on the verge of introducing Computer Science and coding program that will be in each level. The district initially started by adding a coding program in kindergarten and second-grade curriculum.

According to Superintendent Rocco Migliori, each year, the district made sure to include two more grades until this year when the high school started offering the program with a dual credit class through Mohawk Valley Community College. The high school is intended to provide more courses in the future.

However, the journey has not always been rosy. They encountered challenges such as training of staff, curriculum development, certification, finances, and equipment.

“Some of this is about STEAM programs. Some are about creating relevance to mathematics. Some were to meet the demands of business partners who provided us with these ideas and insight. Some has been in response to kids’ interests,” Migliori said in an email.

Unfortunately, many districts face obstacles when rolling out computer science sources. Currently, only 45 percent of all high schools teach the subject according to a 2019 State of Computer Science Education report.

The report is a joint effort by Code.org, Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance, and Computer Science Teachers Association.

In New York, for example, only 44 percent of high schools offered at least one computer science courses during the 2017-2018 academic year. However, educators say that more is to be done.

“We live in a technological society, and any advantage we can give to our students is important, including exposure to the computer sciences as a viable career path,” said Steven Falchi, administrative director of curriculum and instruction K-12 in the Utica City School District.

Source: https://www.timestelegram.com/news/20190915/educators-more-computer-science-classes-needed

 

New Strategy to Tackle the Math and Science Shortage

New Strategy to Tackle the Math and Science Shortage

Yvonne Baker expresses her gratitude to her teacher, who encouraged her to go into engineering. According to Baker, her teacher inspired her at a time when it was unheard for girls to consider engineering. She was glad that she made her choice; as a chartered chemical engineer, she now focuses on persuading people to choose science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM).

Baker said that teachers can change things and that they are a crucial part of solving the engineering skills shortage and encouraging more girls. She is currently heading the STEM Learning, which provides education and career support.

Concerned over the lack of math and physics teachers, the government is currently focusing on finding more and hanging on to them with a new recruitment and retention strategy started this year. It supports teachers and offers flexible work. With some bonuses of up to £10,000, the government hopes to encourage math teachers to remain after training, in total £406m is invested precisely on math, digital, and technical education.

According to Helen Staton, who teaches biology and science in Southampton, Hampshire, she would not leave if she got paid. She joined via Teach First, a charity which focuses on recruiting for shortage subjects in 2016. Staton says that for her, it is about teaching what science is because kids do not know the fantastic careers available.

However, there are not enough teachers like Staton. Half of math and physics teachers stay on in-state schools for more than five years, which is worse than the overall retention rate of sixty percent according to a 2018 report from the Education Policy Institute shows. Presently, there are more pupils, 17 per teacher up from 15.5 in 2010. In 2025, a population increase means that there will be 15 percent more pupils in secondary schools than in 2018.

Reference

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/careers/2019/jun/24/teachers-can-change-things-tackling-the-maths-and-science-shortage

 

Researchers Develop a Way to Manipulate Brain Cells Using Smartphones

Researchers Develop a Way to Manipulate Brain Cells Using Smartphones

A team of scientists in Korea and the United States has developed a device which controls neural circuits using a tiny brain implant controlled by a smartphone. The researchers who published their study believe that the device could speed up efforts to find brain diseases like addiction, pain, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

The equipment, using Lego-like replaceable drug cartridges and robust Bluetooth low-energy can target specific neurons of interest using light and drug for prolonged periods. According to the lead author Raza Qazi, a researcher with Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and University of Colorado Boulder, the wireless neural device enables chronic chemical and optical neuromodulation which has never been achieved before.

Qazi mentioned that the technology significantly overshadows conventional methods used by neuroscientists that involve rigid metal tubes and optical fibers to deliver drugs and light. Besides limiting the subject’s movement due to the physical connections with heavy equipment, their relatively rigid structure leads to a lesion in soft brain tissue over time. This makes them not appropriate for long-term implantation.

As much as some efforts have been directed to partly mitigate negative tissue response by incorporating soft probes and wireless platforms, the previous solutions were limited by their failure to deliver drugs for more extended periods as well as massive and complex control setups.

To enable chronic wireless drug delivery, scientists had to solve the crucial challenge of exhaustion and evaporation of drugs. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the University of Washington in Seattle cooperated to invent a neural device with a replaceable drug cartridge that could enable neuroscientists to study the same brain circuits without worrying about running out of drugs.

The plug-n-play drug cartridges were put into a brain implant for mice with a soft and ultrathin probe which consisted of microfluidic channels and tiny LEDs, for ample drug doses and light delivery.

Reference

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190805143525.htm

 

Researchers Find a Way to Imitate Softness

Researchers Find a Way to Imitate Softness

A team of engineers and psychologists at the University of California San Diego explored the question of the factor that affect how human touch perceives softness for instance, a fingertip against a marshmallow, a rubber ball or clay. They discovered tricks to design materials that imitate different levels of perceived softness.

The findings of the study show fundamental insights into designing tactile materials and haptic interfaces which can recreate real touch sensations. These materials could be applicable for electronic skin, prostheses and medical robotics.

According to Charles Dhong who co-led the study as a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Siego, they are providing a formula to recreate a spectrum of softness and in doing so, they will be helping close the gap in understanding what it takes to recreate aspects of touch. Dhong is currently the assistant professor in biomedical engineering at the University of Delaware. He worked with Darren Lipomi, the study’s co-responding author and a professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego.

Dhong said that the interesting thing about the study is that they found two new ways to tune the professed softness of an object, micropatterning and changing thickness. Said that Young’s modulus is what scientists usually turn to in terms of what is soft or hard. This is a factor that they could now show that it is only one part of the equation.

The researchers started by examining two parameters engineers use to measure the perceived softness of a material: indentation depth and contact area between the fingertip and the object. Usually, these parameters change simultaneously as a fingertip presses into a material. Touch a piece of soft rubber for instance, and the contact area will increase deeper a fingertip presses in.

Lipomi, Dhong and colleagues got more interested in how indention depth and contact area independently influenced the perception of softness. They specially engineered materials which decoupled the two parameters and then tested them on humans.

Reference

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190830150804.htm

 

Virtual Reality Helps To Solve Minor Problems

Virtual Reality Helps To Solve Minor Problems

A recent study shows that conversation with yourself embodied as Dr. Sigmund Freud works to improve people’s mood as compared to talking about your problems in a virtual discussion with pre-scripted comments. Some researchers claimed that this method could be used clinically to help people dealing with minor personal issues.

Usually, people are better at giving others useful advice when they are in trouble than when they are dealing with their problems. As much as people typically have a continuous internal dialogue, people are trapped inside their ways of thinking with their history and points of view, finding it difficult to take an external perspective regarding their problems. But, with friends, especially those who know people know well, it gets simpler to understand the bigger picture and help them solve their problems.

A team of researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB), IDIBAPS and Virtual BodyWorks, a spin-off of both institutions and ICREA used immerse virtual reality to see the effects of talking to themselves as if they were someone else with the help of virtual reality.

Mel Slater and Solene Neyret who are researchers at the Experimental Virtual Environments Lab for Neuroscience and Technology (Event lab) led the study, a research of the Faculty of Psychology of the UB. Guillem Feixas, a clinical psychologist of the UB Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology and the Institute of Neuroscience of the University of Barcelona, was also part of the study.

Studies in the past developed by the research team showed that, when people adopt a different body using virtual reality, their behavior, perception, and attitude towards things change. According to Mel Slater, they showed earlier that people could talk to themselves as if they were another person, body-swapping to two different avatars and that the moods and happiness of the participants improved.

Reference

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190730125325.htm

 

Biomass Fuel Conversion Improved Through Supercomputing

Biomass Fuel Conversion Improved Through Supercomputing

Fuel produced from forestry or agricultural waste, also known as lignocellulosic biomass, has always been a champion in the process of reducing the use of fossil fuels. However, plant cell walls have some innate defense system, which makes the process of breaking them down to be costly and complicated.

To understand how plant biomass could be a game-changer and can be further broken down efficiently, a research team from the University of California, Riverside joined forces with groups at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Central Florida to create a chemical roadmap to breach the defenses.

For access the energy-rich sugars found in the plant cell walls to be possible, they renewed focus on solvating lignin, a complex polymer is found in plant cell walls that act as a natural shield, preventing both chemical and biological attack. Lignin is also useful in avoiding commercial enzymes from digesting cellulose that makes up the bulk of sugars in biomass.

Previously, different specialized chemicals and pretreatment methods had been used to improve enzyme access to cellulose; however, they were ineffective at removing lignin. Using strong acids, ionic liquids, ammonia, and sulfite treatments have somehow developed the digestibility of cellulose; however, the methods still leave lignin behind making cellulose costly to recover. Other methods used co-solvents like ethanol and acetone solvate to remove lignin. They still required very high reaction temperatures, which also cause the remaining sugars to degrade.

Due to this, economically viable methods of transforming biomass into biofuels are yet to be discovered. The assistant research engineer at the Center For Environmental Research And Technology in the Marlan called Charles Cai and Abhishek S. Patri, a doctoral student in chemical and environmental engineering and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside, led a team of researchers to focus on identifying highly specialized co-solvents, substances added to a primary solvents to make it useful and can facilitate milder temperature salvation, releasing lignin from plant cell walls.

Reference

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190801180924.htm