GSE in the News

Headlines from stories that featured our faculty and students

In the past six months, schools around the world have converted from classroom learning to some degree of remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been some issues along the way. Samuel Abramovich, an associate professor with the Open Education Research Lab at University of Buffalo stopped by (virtually) to talk about online education.

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“Hackers hack everywhere, it's just that they look for the vulnerable,” said Maria Garrity, a lecturer in SUNY Buffalo State College’s computer information systems department. Cybersecurity is a hot topic for many students across the country as they kick off the school year on iPads and laptops. University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education Associate Professor Sam Abramovich says safety for remote learners starts with the school students attend.

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In the early days of remote learning – two months ago – it was enough for school districts to keep students sharp and reviewing content while stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. But now, with home instruction continuing for the remainder of the school year and a fall reopening still in question, the education system finds itself pondering the next phase: building a better online model.

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Canceled soccer practices. Shuttered dance rehearsals. With worldwide lockdowns to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the normal rites and rituals of childhood and adolescence froze. Children around the world were stuck at home, slipping into more video game playing, more television watching and more just sitting around. It's a natural progression, especially when there's not much to do during a lockdown. Lockdowns could be putting kids at higher risk for becoming overweight or obese, according to an observational study recently published in the journal Obesity.

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The University at Buffalo (UB) Graduate School of Education plans to host a two-day virtual event to discuss activism, racial injustice and systemic racism in higher education. As part of the instruction, “Make Good Trouble” Now: Teach-In for Racial Equity,” over 80 sessions will be held Sep. 3-4. Some speakers include authors Drs. Bettina L. Love,  Ali Michael and psychologist Carlton Green.

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The thought of having to isolate yourself is scary. Warnings like this are making many adults feel anxious and on edge. So how are children feeling? What's the best way to talk to your kids about the pandemic coronavirus?  Dr. Clare Cameron, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo, said the best thing to do is convey calm and not to panic. 

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The Center for Disease Control has a checklist for parents to help them better manage their kids’ mental health. CDC Checklist For Parents. Claire Cameron is a childhood development and educational psychology expert at the University at Buffalo, she says engaging kids with positive questioning could help manage anxiety and stress.

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Jaekyung Lee, professor of counseling, school and educational psychology, discusses the plans that affluent parents are making for their children as school plans remain uncertain in many areas. In the U.S., private tutoring traditionally has been used mainly for remediation purposes, according to the story. In Asian countries, the service is popular among higher-achieving students, with the primary purpose of either getting ahead of other students or providing enrichment, Lee tells Quartz.

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Personal growth and job skills have taken a backseat to an increased focus on standardized test scores in schools across the nation, according to new University at Buffalo-led research. The study, which analyzed the educational goals of principals at thousands of public, private and charter schools over two decades, found the shift in priorities is most pronounced in public schools.

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With apologies to Stanley Kubrick, I initially wanted to title these thoughts Dr. Pandemic or: How I Learned to Start Worrying and Effectively Advise My Ph.D. Students. For those unfamiliar with the reference, in 1964, Kubrick directed and produced a gallows-humor comedy, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, that satirized the Cold War fears and possibilities of nuclear conflict between the then Soviet Union and the United States. Many people consider the film to be one of the greatest comedies ever written, and it is one of the highest-rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes.

To be clear, I don’t think anything about this pandemic is funny. Nor am I attempting to make connections between nuclear annihilation and the entire globe dealing with COVID-19. Instead, on a much more basic level, I am struck by how simply viewing Dr. Strangelove in 1964 and decades later influenced audience perceptions of the rationality and viability of war. It made people rethink what they thought they knew about conflict, conflict escalation and nuclear anxiety. I can’t help but find parallels in how COVID-19 is making me rethink everything I thought I knew about our work environment, processes, tasks and responsibilities.

Although the scope and depth with which COVID-19 has affected us and the work we do is still unfolding, I do know right now that it is making me deeply rethink everything, including our roles and responsibilities as faculty members.

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In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, many university presidents released statements condemning racial injustice. But professors who study campus racial diversity and organizations that track college staffing and leadership say that university leaders need to take concrete steps now to promote the cause of racial justice. “University presidents have the power to prioritize diversity and inclusion within their institutions, through initiatives such as hiring more faculty of color and changing the curriculum to include classes about anti-racism, Pope says,” according to the article. “She says schools should allow students to have an ongoing dialogue with administrators about their needs” said Raechele Pope, associate dean for faculty and student affairs and chief diversity officer for UB’s Graduate School of Education.

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A few years ago, University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi used his annual address to trumpet the UB 2020 strategic plan as laying the groundwork for propelling Buffalo Niagara in everything from health care and the arts to business and industry. But with that target year now here and bringing a whole new set of issues – or, rather, an acknowledgement of issues that Blacks have long tried to raise – UB’s faculty is pushing one of the region’s major institutions to take on something else: systemic racism.

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Keep going China. Keep going Wuhan — are just some of the well wishes being sent across the globe to China. University at Buffalo graduate student Qinghua Chen is putting together a short video of encouragement for her friends, relatives, and the residents of China who are currently fighting the coronavirus.

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University at Buffalo student, Qinghua Chen, who is originally from China, started her mission to help people battling the coronavirus pandemic a few months back, with a motivational video, made by her and others from UB.

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What’s life in lockdown like for children? A new virtual show of artworks by kids from around the world is offering a glimpse. The exhibition, titled “Born Artists,” is organized by Qinghua Chen, a graduate student in early childhood education at the University of Buffalo who first became interested in children’s art when she saw how much her five-year-old daughter loved drawing. 

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A molecular scientist in Buffalo, New York, is going viral after creating a rap song about COVID-19. Raven Baxter, otherwise known as Raven the Science Maven, remixed Lil Boosie's hit single "Wipe Me Down" using coronavirus-inspired lyrics.

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Raven Baxter grew up loving science. She went to space camp and studied molecular biology in college and graduate school. Not until she entered the workforce, doing project work for pharmaceutical companies at a contract research organization, for a long time the only Black person at her office, did she feel the spirit-crushing sense from those around her: You don’t belong here. She left that job and dedicated herself to STEM education, developing a next generation of talent that looked more like her and the rest of the country.

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