By Soulskill from Slashdot's best-of-luck-without-raising-pay deptartment
theodp writes "The teaching profession gets schooled in cover stories from the big pubs this weekend, as Newsweek makes the case for Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers, and the NY Times offers the more hopeful Building a Better Teacher. For the past half-century, professional educators believed that if they could only find the right pedagogy, the right method of instruction, all would be well. They tried New Math, open classrooms, Whole Language — but nothing seemed to achieve significant or lasting improvements. But what they ignored was the elephant in the room — if the teacher sucks, the students suck. Or, as the Times more eloquently puts it: 'William Sanders, a statistician studying Tennessee teachers with a colleague, found that a student with a weak teacher for three straight years would score, on average, 50 percentile points behind a similar student with a strong teacher for those years. Teachers working in the same building, teaching the same grade, produced very different outcomes. And the gaps were huge.' But what makes a good teacher? When Bill Gates announced his foundation was investing $335 million in a project to improve teaching quality, he added a rueful caveat. 'Unfortunately, it seems the field doesn't have a clear view of what characterizes good teaching,' Gates said. 'I'm personally very curious.'"Read Replies (0)
Best WAP For Dense Crowds?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's well-phrased-and-specific deptartment
An anonymous reader writes "A local community organization has asked me to help them set up WiFi access for an upcoming event, with some unusual (to me) requirements. All users (up to 500 people) will occupy a relatively small area and more-or-less have line-of-sight to the WAP, so issues like signal strength and wall penetration don't matter. Security also does not matter, as we plan to open this to anyone wanting to connect. Cost always matters, but we realize a $50 Linksys or three won't cut it here.In the past, I have used Cisco AP1200s for a few dozen users to great satisfaction, but they only handle 50 connections at a time, and practically count as antiques at this point anyway. My research on the matter tells me that 802.11n performs far better in this regard, but I want to support 802.11g as well. I have no objection to using two APs to split those apart (with n limited to 5.8GHz, as per the suggestion of several comments in a recent Ask Slashdot), but physical constraints make it preferable to minimize the total number of APs needed — Ten WRT54s might cost about the same as one Aironet, but I only have three good places to mount these.I welcome any suggestions and real-world experiences with similar situations, including the ever-popular Ask Slashdot refrain of 'What kind of idiot would do it like that, when you can just do this?' Ideally, I would like to know model numbers and how well they held up under real-world loads comparable to my situation."Read Replies (0)
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's patent-troll-slayer deptartment
MMBK writes to share an interesting look at Dr. "NakaMats" Nakamatsu, mastermind behind a world-record 3,000 patents. The 81-year-old scientist has inventions like the "PyonPyon" spring shoes, the karaoke machine, and others. He also at least partly to blame for things like the digital watch, the floppy disk, and cd's. "Dr. Nakamatsu harbors other ambitions too: in 2007, he took his penchant for political campaigning to a new level, becoming a candidate in the gubernatorial election in Tokyo, and the election for the Upper House. Although he failed to get a seat, Dr. NakaMats has other tricks up his sleeve. In 2005 he was awarded the Ig Nobel prize for Nutrition, for photographing and retrospectively analyzing every meal he has consumed during a period of 34 years (and counting). By the time he dies at the age of 144 (a goal he maintains with an elaborate daily ritual that rejuvenates his body and triggers his creative process), he intends to patent 6,000 inventions."Read Replies (0)