Saturday, August 7, 2010

ENDORSEMENT FOR "GEEK CAMP." CNN describes summer camps for gifted young people, in particular the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and the Duke Talent Identification Program. Read how campers past and present appreciate the experiences they had. Sample reactions: "Yes, yes, I'm not a freak..."; and "You can really get into discussions with people and they'll know exactly what you're talking about." The article's lead notes that Lady Gaga once went to gifted camp; so did one of the founders of Google and the founder of Facebook. Read the article.

MORE ON IMPULSIVITY AND DOPAMINE. Another study, this one from Vanderbilt University, links high levels of dopamine in the brain with impulsivity. Researchers there found that when highly impulsive subjects were given a drug that released dopamine their brains released more than four times as much of the chemical as the brains of less-impulsive subjects. Read the report.

iPADS FOR ALL. A college-prep school in Georgia that serves bright kids with learning challenges has decided to use the Apple iPad to learn in a multi-sensory way. One app on the iPad, Dragon Naturally Speaking, will help students with dysgraphia. The headmaster says that there are so many educational apps available that the school will be able to get rid of most textbooks. Read more.

EQUITY IN ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION. You know those things you don't want your kids exposed to because they can interfere with the body's endocrine system, including the reproductive system? They're equally high in both high-income and low-income homes, according to a study in California, and they're present in the air inside and outside as well as in dust inside the homes. Even more worrisome to us: the number of suspected endocrine disrupting compounds the scientists tested for -- about 70. That's lots of stuff to worry about. Read more.

GENES & ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE PSYCHOPATHY; that according to researchers at the University of Illinois. They discovered that "children with one variant of a serotonin transporter gene are more likely to exhibit psychopathic traits if they also grow up poor." Hopefully your encounters with gifted psychopaths will be infrequent, but now if you do encounter one you can better explain the causes. Read the report.

BOB HERBERT IS FRUSTRATED. The columnist for The New York Times notes that "the U.S., once the world’s leader in the percentage of young people with college degrees, has fallen to 12th among 36 developed nations." He sees college education as important in maintaining a good standard of living in the U.S. and crucial to the country's economic competitiveness. He blames everyone, saying "A society that closes its eyes to the most important issues of the day, that often holds intellectual achievement in contempt, that is more interested in hip-hop and Lady Gaga than educating its young is all but guaranteed to spiral into a decline." If you need more things to be depressed or angry about, read the column.

TREES AND GIFTED KIDS. Tamara Fisher makes a metaphor about growth, potential, and constraints. Read her blog.

READING DIFFICULTIES AND INTERVENTIONS. Two UK scientists compared three reading programs to see which one helped most in children with reading-comprehension difficulties. If you raise or teach a bright young person with reading problems, read about the programs and the results.

CULTURE AND PSYCHOLOGY. The July issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science evidently contained a special section on the "macro" influences on brain structure, brain function, thought, and behavior. Two of the articles were summarized in Science Daily. Find one about the influence of culture; find one about the influence of social and physical environments.

#GTCHAT. If you "tweet," or would like to, you might be interested in Michael Shaughnessy's EdNews.org interview with Deborah Mersino, who moderates #gtchat on Twitter, devoted to discussing gifted issues. Read the interview.

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