Today Scholars go on Strike to Bring Attention to Racial Injustices

The recent strike by NBA and WNBA players has shown that reactionary and direct labour action can make meaningful change beyond just the workplace. In the WNBA & NBA, the workers (players) refused to play in protest of police bracingly killing non-white people, the strike resulted in basketball arenas being used as a voting station in the coming American election. The media attention the workplace action got can’t be ignored either.

In the world of academia a similar action is happening today. Scholars across North America will put down their work to draw attention to the racial injustice happening on campuses. They won’t stop teaching though, you can attend online session today to learn about the troubles facing radicalized individuals and precarious workers on the front lines of postsecondary education. One such event is embedded above.

Scholars across Canadian universities are outraged at the relentless anti-Black police killings of Black people in the U.S. and in Canada. As athletes have done, so, too, must academics. We will be joining thousands of academics in higher education in a labour action known as Scholar Strike to protest anti-Black, racist and colonial police brutality in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere. Scholar Strike for Black Lives in Canada will take place on Sept 9th & 10th, 2020. For these two days, we will pause our teaching and all administrative duties. We will use this time to organize public digital teach-ins on police brutality and violence in our communities from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

The program of public digital teach-ins through Sept 9 & 10 and other relevant resources will be released soon. We have confirmed a key note address by journalist and activist Desmond Cole and cross-campus digital teach-ins that will bring together activists, artists and scholars from York University, University of Toronto, Ryerson University and OCAD University.

Check the strike out and learn something.

Learning About Moral Philosophy Reduces Meat Consumption

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A taste of a postsecondary level moral philosophy class can turn you off of tasting meat. It’s been debated for thousands of years if learning moral philosophy actually changes how people live. Does knowing about the complexities of ethics actually make you more ethical? Short answer: yes. In a recent study a team of researchers and philosophers tested out if moral education about meat consumption would change their diet.

And it worked! Not only were students in the meat ethics sections likelier to say they thought eating factory-farmed meat is unethical, analysis of their dining cards — basically debit cards issued as part of UC Riverside’s meal plan that students can use to buy meals on campus — suggested that they bought less meat too. Fifty-two percent of dining card purchases for both the control and treatment groups were of meat products before the class. After the class, the treatment group’s percentage fell to 45 percent.

This effect wasn’t driven by a few students becoming vegetarians, but by all students buying slightly less meat. It’s possible this effect was temporary; the authors only had a few weeks of data. But it at least lasted for several weeks.

Read more.

The Physics Travel Guide

Sometimes learning stuff can be difficult due to obscure terms and references to concepts that you might not know. Physics is filled with terms and concepts that are intimidating to learn right from scratch. Enter the Physics Travel Guide. The guide is a resource meant for adults who need an aspect of physics explained to them in a clear way without a priori knowledge. So if you’re wondering how something in the field of physics functions – check out the guide.

The Physics Travel Guide tries to fill a gap because textbooks and lectures usually don’t acknowledge that there is a difference between pedagogy and andragogy. Textbooks and lectures explain things linearly and try to be pedagogical. “Pedagogy” is a synthesis of the two Greek words “paidos” (child) and “ágō” (to lead) and literally means “to lead a child”. In contrast, “andragogy” means literally “to lead a man” and is the study of methods and principles to teach adults. It’s clear that you can’t teach children and adults in the same way.

This Physics Travel Guide has the needs of adults in mind, is non-linear and ideally suited for self-directed learning.

Check it out.

In Ontario, People Support Education

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Educators in Ontario are currently on rolling strikes because the provincial Conservative government has chosen to weak havoc on the education system. Since they’ve been elected they’ve sliced and diced all that matters to ensure Ontario has a functioning education system (they’ve even cited chronically-underperforming Alabama as an educational state to follow). You can see a full list of cuts by the Conservatives here.

It’s clear that people are sick of the Conservative’s incompetence and are actively supporting the education system. The government launched a propaganda campaign to pay parents for days their kids missed school due to labour actions. This campaign has utterly backfired and parents receiving the money are donating it back to the school system and educators – where the money should go in the first place.

“It’s amazing that while the Ford gov. is trying to win a public relations battle against teachers, they essentially proved they could provide real childcare subsidies if they have the interest and willpower to do it,” wrote MPP Chris Glover on Twitter earlier today.

Some parents are even choosing to take the money and donate it back to the education system.

“Show our educators your support & Stephen Lecce and Doug Ford your displeasure. Let them know that as a province, we do NOT accept their decisions,” reads an online petition started by parent Amy Llewellyn.

“We want money in our schools, not our pockets.”

Read more.

Little Robot Friends: Kids Should have Fun with Code

Little Robot Friends is a Toronto-based startup that wants kids to not only be comfortable with code, they want kids to have fun playing with it too. The company runs traditional classes which teach coding practices like similar educational services. The neat thing with Little Robot Friends is that they want you to take it home. They sell kits for kids to make, you guessed it, a little robot they can be friends with.

We started with a simple idea. How can we blur the line between toys and tools? Can we make a robot that encourages kids to customize not only how it looks and sounds, but how it works? And so we created the Little Robot Friends – a coding companion for curious minds.

Before launching Little Robot Friends, Ann & Mark spent their time designing and building museum and science center exhibits around the world. Their expertise is in taking challenging subjects and making them fun & engaging for kids. When kids discover for themselves why things are awesome, they can propel their own excitement and imagination. Check out their past work at Aesthetec Studio.

Check it out.
Thanks to Nick!

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