News Archives 2011 - 2012

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Technology, brain development and other interesting articles from

2011 - 2012

Puberty Before Age 10: A New 'Normal'? 
What science tells us about the incredible shrinking childhood. 
By ELIZABETH WEIL, The New York Times MAGAZINE | April 01, 2012 

Is the Internet hurting children?
By Chelsea Clinton and James P. Steyer, Special to CNN
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Mon May 21, 2012

A New Inspiration for Education: A Report from the Western Waldorf

Educators Conference Featuring Aonghus Gordon
By Stephen Payne, Biodynamics Blog, April 16, 2012



Report Calls for National Effort to Get Millions Of Young Americans onto a Realistic Path to Employability
Ed. The Magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Summer 2011

Missed connections in our digital lives
As screens and gadgets increasingly claim our eyes and time, shared family experience is feeling the squeeze

By Joseph P. Kahn, The Boston Globe, April 15, 2012

Why Bilinguals Are Smarter
By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, The New York Times, March 17, 2012

Violent games DO alter your brain - and the effect is visible in MRI scans in just a week
Researchers at Indiana University found that a random sample of gamers showed visible changes in magnetic-resonance scans after just a week of playing violent games.
Rob Waugh, The Daily Mail, 29 November 2011

Silicon Valley school with no computers
CNN|Added on March 13, 2012
CNN's Dan Simon reports on a school that uses a no-technology approach and how it's attractive to high-tech parents.

Waldorf Education in China
China starts to question strict schooling methods.
By Neil Connor (AFP) Google News, 11 hours ago.

How college prep is killing high school
A narrowing focus means more dropouts, says an expert.
By Russell W. Rumberger, The Boston Globe, November 20, 2011

Who really benefits from putting high-tech gadgets in classrooms?
How much genuine value is there in fancy educational electronics? Don't let companies or politicians fool you.
By Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2012


Electric Youth
Kids today are subjected to an avalanche of digital media — TVs, computers, tablets, smartphones — and the advertising that comes with it. As researchers try to figure out what that's doing to our children, Susan Linn and her tiny Boston nonprofit have become a child marketer's worst nightmare. Just ask Disney, Hasbro, Scholastic, and Kellogg.
By Catherine Elton, Boston Magazine, February 2012

The Joy of Quiet
By Pico Iyer, The New York Times, December 29, 2011

The Importance of Child's Play
In striving to make our kids super safe and super smart we have turned them into bored blobs.
By Lenore Skenazy, The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2012

How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts

With needles, wool and attention, a Howard County retiree, Lynn Zwerlinig, teaches prisoners how to cope after release.
From the article by Jill Rosen, The Baltimore Sun, November 21, 2011

Alex Steffen is one of the world's leading voices on sustainability, social innovation and planetary futurism. Editor of the the widely read Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century(Abrams, 2006), a 600-page compendium of leading solutions from around the world, with a foreword by Al Gore, Steffen was a student in David Sloan's first Waldorf class back in the early 1980's. Here is a link to one of Steffen's well-received TED talks: Alex Steffen on TED.


Grading the Digital School: 
Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools 
By MATT RICHTEL, The New York Times, Technology, January 04, 2012 
Teachers in Idaho and elsewhere have been in revolt over policy makers thrusting technology into classrooms and shifting money to unproven teaching methods.

Hooked on giving back(Handwork helps troubled teens)
Volunteer Dan Reardon oversees a program at the Long Creek youth center that not only has produced 3,000 blankets to donate to others, but also has taught troubled teens the rewards of learning a skill and giving back.

Bill Nemitz, Portland Press Herald, December 30, 2011


Waldorf Education in Public Schools: Educators adopt—and adapt—this developmental, arts-rich approach
By Laura Pappano. “Waldorf Education in Public Schools” appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of the Harvard Education Letter.

Ms. Pappano is an education journalist based in New Haven, Conn. She is the author of Inside School Turnarounds: Urgent Hopes, Unfolding Stories (Harvard Education Press, 2010). 


The 5 Best Toys of All Time
If you were wondering, what the five best toys of all time really are, then this article will answer that question once and for all. Jonathan Liu reviews books, toys and gadgets. From his experience, he's assembled a list of five toys that no child should be without. You may be surprised.
By Jonathan Liu, Wired

My Teacher Is an App
More kids than ever before are attending school from their living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. The result: A radical rethinking of how education works.
By Stephanie Banchero and Stephanie Simon, The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2011


All Work and No Play: Why Your Kids Are More Anxious, Depressed
By Esther Entin, M.D., The Atlantic, Oct 12 2011

Is This the Future of Punctuation!?
On the misuse of apostrophe's (did your eye just twitch?) and our increasingly rhetorical language.
By Henry Hitchings, The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2011


Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children
By Tamar Lewin, The New York Times, Published: October 25, 2011

Experts warn of harm to kids from secondhand TV viewing

You've heard of the hazards of secondhand smoke. Now here's another worry: secondhand TV.

By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY Updated 10/23/2011 10:36 PM

The following article was published on the front page of last Sunday's October 23) New York Times. It was their most emailed article that day!  We have also included three interesting articles/letters that have been published in response.

A Silicon Valley School That Doesn't Compute
The Waldorf School's computer-free environment has become a draw for parents
at high-tech companies like Google.
By Matt Richtel, The New York Times, October 22, 2011


What is a Waldorf School?
An article discussing the Sunday New York Times article above that provides some background on Waldorf Education., October 25, 2011


Letter to the Editor Re: A Silicon Valley School that Doesn't Compute, New York Times, October 25 2011
Invitation to a Dialogue: Computers in School?
The Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to VP Gore and Waldorf Parent responds to The New York Times article of October 23, 2011
The New York Times, October 25 2011


The dialogue continues in the Sunday, October 30 edition of The New York Times:
Sunday Dialogue: Using Technology to Teach
Letters. The New York Times. Published: October 29, 2011
In schools and in homes, teachers and parents wrestle with the role of technology in children's lives. Our readers weigh in.


Inflating the Software Report Card
By Trip Gabriel and Matt Richtel, The New York Times, October 8, 2011


Are Americans smarter than ever?
The nation's IQ scores have kept climbing over the past 100 years. Does that mean we're brighter than our forebears? (Especially note the final paragraph entitled "The decline of thinking outside the box.")
The Week,September 9, 2011, at 12:15 PM

Why Are Finland's Schools Successful?
The country's achievements in education have other nations doing their homework.
By LynNell Hancock. Smithsonian magazine, September 2011.Photographs by Stuart Conway


Standardized Testing: Is it a Blessing or Curse for U.S. Students?

By Ashley Portero, International Business Times, September 15, 2011


Findings: Can a Playground Be Too Safe?

Efforts to regulate playground equipment to prevent injuries may stunt emotional development,

a new study suggests.

By John Tierney, The New York Times, Science, July 19, 2011


The Schools We Need

When public education fails, democracy fails with it.
By Erik Reece, published in the Sept/Oct 2011 issue of Orion Magazine


High School Ultimate Catching On

Saturday, June 4 2011, 04:02 PM EDT

Ultimate Frisbee - a team sport that combines rules from several other sports - is becoming more popular than ever, especially at the high school level. News 13's Evans Boston went to the Cumberland Fairgrounds to check out the "Maine High School Ultimate" State Finals. To watch the video (you may catch glimpses of Merriconeag Ultimate in green in the background), click on the link above.


Learning how to Unplug

Our devices should work for us, not the other way around. Time for a tech detox?

By DANIEL SIEBERG The Washington Post


So Disconnected
By BARBARA ORTUTAY The Associated Press, May 29
An admitted tech addict abandons her email, Facebook and iPhone, and turns inward.


I Am, The Documentary

Go see it, if you can! This film has been playing at the Nickelodeon in Portland and the Eveningstar Cinema in Brunswick. To view the trailer, click here.

     From the I Am website: I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.

Fast-Tracking to Kindergarten?

Kate Zernike, New York Times, May 13, 2011

Enrichment programs like Kumon are gaining from, and generating, parental anxiety about what kind of preparation children need - and whether parents themselves have what it takes to provide it.

18 and Under: Fixated by Screens, but Seemingly Nothing Else

Perri Klass, M.D., New York Times, Health, May 10, 2011

Is a child's ability to stay focused on TV or a video game, though not on anything else, a cause or an effect of attention problems - or both?

The Case for Cursive
By Katie Zezima, New York Times, April 27, 2011

Finland's Educational Success? The Anti-Tiger Mother Approach

Joshua Levine,, April 11, 2011

Why Preschool Shouldn't be Like School

New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire.
By Alison Gopnik,, March 16, 2011


Parents — and schools — behaving badly
By Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post, 03/17/2011
"For all the Chuas, Imprescias and Bardwils out there, most of us don’t want to see our children racing to nowhere. It’s just that the treadmill is so hard to resist, and even harder to step off."

(This article was also in the 03/21/11 Portland Press Herald. It was entitled, "Ivy League or Bust Mentality Starts Early.)


Resources for Understanding Technology and Children

This is a comprehensive list of resourses from our recent speaker, Lowell Monke.


Social Animal and Higher Education
On February 25, 2011 New York Times Op-Ed columnist, PBS NewsHour and NPR All Things Considered political analyst, David Brooks gave his views on higher education in front of an audience at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

You can listen to his talk on MPBN's Speaking in Maine at the link above.


Poetry, Painting to Earn an M.D.

Article by Laura Landro from the Informed Patient, February 1, 2011, The Wall Street Journal


Want to get your kids into college? Let them play.
By Erika Christakis and Nicholas Christakis,
Special to CNN, December 29, 2010 7:57 a.m. EST

Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity

Many of us just can't get enough of Sir Ken. If you haven't seen this TED Talk,

be sure to make some time for it.

To read two significant articles in Orion Magazine by our upcoming March speaker, Lowell Monke, please use the following links:

Unplugged Schools

Charlotte’s Webpage



Premier Putin Visits the Waldorf School in Moscow
Premier Putin visiting the Waldorf School in Moscow N1060 for an educational meeting and to present the Waldorf School Director and Mathematics teacher Michael Sluch with a 'best teacher in Russia' award. Premier Putin said "such schools are schools for the future". View video here European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education January 2011


Effort to Restore Children's Play Gains Momentum

January 5, 2011 New York Times article by Hilary Stout

Watch Renate Hiller speak about handwork on YouTube.


Jordan Seavey shared this link to a recent MPBN broadcast of the CBS show Ideas. The topic was The Hurried Child. To listen, visit


To read the latest (January 2011) edition of the AWSNA newletter, Inform, please click here.


Parents Embrace Documentary on Pressures of School

December 8, 2010, New York Times article by Trip Gabriel

A film [Race to Nowhere] on how students are driven to build their resumes has attracted grass-roots attention.


Home is Where the Arts are too: Implications of Arts Learning for Families and Parents

By Susan Magsamen, November 19, 2009, The Dana Foundation News

High-school smarty-pants may not be the best collegian
A Tufts study finds wisdom and creativity are better predictors of success.
By ROBERT J. STERNBERG Special to The Washington Post

Your Brain on Computers: Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction

November 21, 2010, New York Times article by Matt Richtel.

The constant stream of stimuli offered by new technology poses a profound new challenge to focusing and learning.

Dr. Regalena “Reggie” Melrose, a licensed clinical and credentialed school psychologist and author,
writes an excellent piece in the “Magic Onion” on “Why Waldorf Works: From a Neuroscientific Perspective.”

An excerpt: “Until MRIs and other sophisticated measures of the brain were developed, we had no way to prove or disprove any of Steiner’s theories, not with the kind of precision and accuracy we can now. An overwhelming body of evidence from the last 20 years of neuroscientific inquiry supports Steiner’s theories, including some of the most fundamental foci of Waldorf Education.” You can read the entire piece by clicking on the link above.


Intelligence and Rhythmic Accuracy Go Hand in Hand

ScienceDaily (Apr. 21, 2008) — People who score high on intelligence tests are also good at keeping time, new Swedish research shows. The team that carried out the study also suspect that accuracy in timing is important to the brain processes responsible for problem solving and reasoning.


How Writing by Hand Makes Kids Smarter

New York – "Younger Americans are typing or texting more and writing less, even in school — and that's a problem when it comes to brain development..."


September 13, 2010, Portland Press Herald

The article is written by Daniel de Vise of the Washington Post.

"One recent semester, a professor tracked the grades of 17 student laptop addicts. At the end of the term, their average grade was 71 percent, "almost the same as the average for the students who didn't come at all."


Some Silicon Valley tech wizards are quietly raising their kids outside the lurid digital landscape that their own industry calls childhood. An article by Dan Frost. Published on San Francisco On-Line.

Digital Overload: Your Brain on Gadgets

August 24, 2010 Transcript of Matt Richtel, New York Times Technology Reporter, speaking with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air.

Listen to the story

Your Brain on Computers

Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Down Time, August 24, 2010 New York Times article by Matt Richtel.

Read other articles in the Your Brain on Computers Series


Review by Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press of Nicholas Carr's new book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains. Many in our community read this book this summer and highly recommend it.

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