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What exactly is coding?

Before learning to create software applications, learning to code involves finding logically sound solutions to everyday problems that can be expressed as algorithms or mathematical equations. First, programmers break down a real-world problem into a series of steps (algorithm) and data structures. These then need to be expressed in a language the computer understands. C, C++, Java and Python are all programming languages, each with their own specific syntax. The choice of coding language will depend on how closely the coder needs to work with the underlying computer hardware and operating system. As a result, higher-level languages such as Python can be easier to master than lower-level languages such as C.

How does coding help children?

In essence, coding builds the capacity to analyse a situation, identify its key components, model the necessary data and processes, and create or refine a program that can solve the issue at hand. Therefore, programming processes require creative thought, structured reasoning, collaboration, and logic, all of which are employed to create elegant solutions to real-world problems. In addition to being a highly employable skill, coding might act as a catalyst towards a child’s personal and mental growth2. The practice of coding has been linked to creative therapy techniques since it represents a safe space for individuals to explore new ideas. Moreover, it allows children to express themselves in a format other than the spoken word. Coding can help children develop their creative thinking skills and boost confidence levels, since the results of solving a problem – a working piece of software – are immediate and tangible.

The benefits of learning how to code

Boosts creativity3 Coding allows children to create new and unique applications, helping establish a platform for children to channel their creative potential. Many start learning to code by writing games or animating graphics, for example. Some of the world’s top games companies, such as Codemasters, were founded by pioneers who began coding at a young age4. Coding attempts to engage the learner in a creative knowledge-building process5 that aims to enhance the co-creative learning process as opposed to a passive learning system. As a result, coding-related activities encourage children to employ unconventional and out-of-the-box thinking, improving their problem-solving skills. Teaches organisational skills The ability to organise and manage different types of information is especially crucial for children since they are still discovering how the world operates in an effort to satisfy their curiosity. Coding can help teach them how to manage multiple inflows of information and categorise them accordingly, helping them to learn, remember and succinctly present information. Teaches collaboration skills Any sizable coding project is usually a collaborative venture requiring several programmers and designers to work together to attack the different parts of a problem. Learning to code requires individual coders to communicate effectively with each other in order to manage and delegate tasks while working towards a common goal. The more experience children have of collaborative work, the greater their ability to become contributing members of a team. Additionally, collaboration-based projects can help children to effectively handle conflict and disagreement, and to learn how to harness the strengths and resources of each team member. Boosts problem-solving abilities Solving problems via writing computer programs is a hands-on process that involves making mistakes, testing your work, and correcting errors. Coding also encourages the breakdown of complex concepts and problems into manageable steps in an effort to understand the problem better. This helps children to measure progress and adjust their thinking accordingly. Moreover, coding encourages a process of self-reflection in a safe learning environment, where children can examine the errors in the software and try to solve them independently. Once this problem-solving skill is internalised, children learn the importance of thinking on their feet. Helps with academic achievement Coding relies heavily on concepts from both logic and mathematics and can be an engaging way for children to learn these ideas visually and interactively. The strategies learned in coding involve presentation, reasoning skills, concentration, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity, all of which are important for academic achievement. For example, research6 within a 5th-grade mathematics class demonstrated that students’ performance in a Mathematics test improved by an average of 4 points when they completed three to four coding activities per unit.

What are you waiting for?

Coding is a core 21st-century competency that encourages both creative and logical reasoning and helps children develop problem-solving ability. Learning how to code is both an employable and enjoyable skill – enroll your kids in coding classes today! Read more here.

References

[1] Nathan Stitt, 2016. Australian workers need to sharpen IT skills for jobs of the future. ABC News. Available at : https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-10/information-technology-skills-vital-for-future-jobs-report-says/8013958 [2] James Frew, 2019. How Learning Programming Can Help Your Mental Health. Makeuseof.  Available at : https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/learning-programming-mental-health/ [3] Flatiron School, 2019. Artist Turned Software Engineer Finds Creativity in Code. Flatiron School. Available at : https://flatironschool.com/blog/artist-turned-software-engineer-finds-creativity-in-code [4] Wikipedia, 2021. David Darling (entrepreneur). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Darling_(entrepreneur) [5] Romero et al., 2017. Computational thinking development through creative programming in higher education. International Journal of Education Technology in Higher Education. Available at: https://educationaltechnologyjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41239-017-0080-z [6] Meehan, S., 2019. The Effects of Coding Integration on Student Engagement and Academic Achievement in a 5th Grade Mathematics Class. Master of Arts in Education Action Research Papers. Available at: https://sophia.stkate.edu/maed/291/ [post_title] => How coding helps children become creative problem solvers [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => how-coding-helps-children-become-creative-problem-solvers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-15 17:25:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-15 17:25:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://edtechnology.co.uk/?p=47687 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 47683 [post_author] => 83 [post_date] => 2021-11-15 17:02:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-11-15 17:02:07 [post_content] => So, you’ve got a literature review to write and the deadline is approaching. Perhaps you don’t know how to begin, or maybe you’ve started and got stuck. Perhaps you’ve used one of the many discovery tools out there to find relevant papers, but now you have to read and filter them all. You’ve got a folder full of articles, and you’re learning that PDF doesn’t actually stand for ‘print, download, forget’…. As graduates and post-graduates ourselves, we’ve been there too. And it’s why we built Scholarcy. In this post, our goal is to help you learn some new techniques to quickly evaluate those papers you downloaded. Now, much has been written on how to search the literature1, and there are some great guides on how to organise your sources and how to structure your writing2. But when they suggest you identify gaps or weaknesses in the literature, or areas of controversy, how do you actually do this? While there are some excellent guides3 on how to read a paper4, they tell you what to do, rather than how to do it. When they suggest you verify the paper’s main assumptions, theoretical frameworks, and contributions, how do you go about doing that? Interestingly, some recommend not reading the abstract5, as this can provide a biased interpretation of the paper, given that author will often write the abstract in such a way as to show the paper in the best light. Jennifer Raff5 recommends reading the introduction and background first to identify:
  • what the main problem is that the researchers are trying to solve
  • prior work on the subject and its possible limitations

In the background

With Scholarcy’s flashcard technology, getting this background context is a simple process, as we make all citations clickable:
Shows clickable citations in Scholarcy linked to the full text of cited papers

Clickable citations in Scholarcy

This will take you direct to the source in your browser, where you can use our Chrome Extension to highlight potential limitations instantly:
Identification of study limitation in Scholarcy

Scholarcy identifies study limitations

Keshav4 suggests looking up background reading for information on unfamiliar terms or acronyms. In Scholarcy, acronyms are automatically expanded, and background knowledge to get you up to speed is just one click away:
[caption id="attachment_7775" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Key concepts extracted by Scholarcy with links to their definitions Key concepts extracted by Scholarcy with links to their definitions[/caption]

Follow the citation trail

Keshav also recommends following up references if you are unfamiliar with the topic. In the Scholarcy flashcard, this is super easy, as you can export all references to Zotero, which will locate the full texts for you, or you can click on the LibKey or UnPaywall links for individual references:
[caption id="attachment_7769" align="aligncenter" width="948"]Extracted bibliography with links to full texts Extracted bibliography with links to full texts[/caption]

It’s all in the method

Next, Raff advocates studying the methods in detail. What was done and with whom? Our flashcards help with this by isolating mentions of study participants and data analysis techniques used:
[caption id="attachment_7776" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Scholarcy extracts details of study participants and methods Scholarcy extracts details of study participants and methods[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7777" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Scholarcy extracts details of study participants and methods Scholarcy extracts details of study participants and methods[/caption]

If you are not sure what specific methods such as Kruskal-WallisBenjamini-Hochberg or Dunn’s tests are, you can get more information on them by clicking on them. We can see that the Benjamini-Hochberg test is a procedure to identify the false discovery rate which, if not corrected for, could cause the results to be inaccurately interpreted.

[caption id="attachment_7774" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Definitions of statistical tests - false discovery rate Links to Wikipedia for definitions[/caption]

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Both Raff and Keshav suggest comparing the results to previous work in the field. The ‘comparative analysis’ section of the Scholarcy flashcard makes this easier to do – again, all citations are clickable, and our integration with scite.ai shows whether others have confirmed or questioned those findings. Pay attention here though, as some of these may be self-citations, or to work by the same research group as the current study.
[caption id="attachment_7773" align="aligncenter" width="925"]Showing how a study builds on or contrasts with previous research Showing how a study builds on or contrasts with previous research[/caption]

In conclusion, discovery tools will get you so far, but for appraising individual studies, AI tools that distil and connect the key information can really accelerate the process. You need more than a summary – you also need background information on the results of previous work, the current findings in the context of what has gone before, and a quick overview of limitations and future work. Is the study is standing on the shoulders of giants? Scholarcy flashcards help you to decide.

Read more here.

References

  1. vom Brocke, J., Simons, A., Riemer, K., Niehaves, B., Plattfaut, R., & Cleven, A. (2015). Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Challenges and Recommendations of Literature Search in Information Systems Research. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 37, pp-pp. https://doi.org/10.17705/1CAIS.03709
  2. University of Edinburgh (2021). A general guide on how to conduct and write a literature review. Available from: https://www.ed.ac.uk/institute-academic-development/study-hub/learning-resources/literature-review
  3. BMJ (nd). How to read a paper. Available from: https://www.bmj.com/about-bmj/resources-readers/publications/how-read-paper
  4. Keshav, S. (nd). How to read a paper. Available from: https://web.stanford.edu/class/ee384m/Handouts/HowtoReadPaper.pdf
  5. Raff, J. (2016). How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists. Available from: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/05/09/how-to-read-and-understand-a-scientific-paper-a-guide-for-non-scientists/
[post_title] => How to evaluate the quality and veracity of an article [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-evaluate-the-quality-and-veracity-of-an-article [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-15 17:02:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-15 17:02:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://edtechnology.co.uk/?p=47683 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 47262 [post_author] => 83 [post_date] => 2021-10-28 10:50:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-10-28 09:50:28 [post_content] => “The UK's STEM skills shortage is a well-documented phenomenon, costing employers £1.5billion a year in additional training costs, recruitment, temporary staffing and inflated salaries.”1 Quality higher education is fundamental to closing this gap, but whether they are just starting a degree course or returning to study to further their careers, students are facing a range of challenges in 2021. Financial issues were cited as a major contributing factor to ‘record dropout rates2 during the 2020/21 academic year, but there are also concerns that many students ‘have lost the discipline of learning’2 as a result of missed schooling and exams during the pandemic.

Adjusting to more demanding reading requirements

Disruption to education over the past 18 months aside, the transition from school or employment to self-directed study at university is often overwhelming for new students. It’s not uncommon for undergraduates to find themselves with a reading requirement of 30 hours or more per week, and there’s a big cognitive jump from A-level textbooks to degree-level literature. A good percentage of those entering higher education will never have read a primary research paper and many will struggle to finish even the required reading list for their course. In the 2016 paper, ‘Why university students don’t read: What professors can to do increase complianceone of the findings from a study assessing ‘reading compliance’ in new students was: “46% of students reported that they read assignments, yet only 55% of those students were able to demonstrate the most basic level of comprehension of the material they claimed to have read.”3 The perception that students don’t take the time to read their course material is not always accurate.  Often, they just don’t know how to tackle these more complex texts without getting overwhelmed and giving up. It’s also well documented that the entry barrier to primary research literature is getting higher and studies have shown that scientific papers are getting harder to read.4

Supporting more diverse learning needs

Given the growing number of undergraduates requiring additional support because of a Specific Learning Difference (SpLD) such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorder, a mental health condition, or whose first language isn’t English, it’s easy to see how many might feel overwhelmed by self-study. Yet if we’re going to address the skills shortage in STEM jobs alone, we need to attract and retain students from more diverse backgrounds and set them up to succeed. Universities need to be attracting students from a wider pool of talent and helping them become adept at reading and appraising primary research, so that they remain engaged, motivated, and more likely to complete their studies. These same students need to be emerging from higher education with skills that match the requirements of new and emerging industries.

The role of technology in making course material more accessible

New technologies can contribute significantly to helping students with information literacy and self-directed study. A range of knowledge extraction applications have emerged over the past couple of years that are designed to make dense complex literature more accessible by breaking it down into bite-sized sections. They help build and reinforce knowledge by explaining new terminology, highlighting key learning points, and encouraging further reading on a subject. When a research paper or book chapter is presented as a series of short, interactive sections that can be explored in a non-linear way, the barrier to learning is lowered. Simply isolating and defining the most significant concepts and terms in a text can provide a student with the knowledge and confidence to explore it further. Wider reading is encouraged by these technologies, which generate direct links from any text to its referenced sources. And being able to save interactive digests of articles or chapters to return to later for revision and essay-writing can help students feel more in control of their reading. Information extraction and summarization tools are growing in popularity, particularly among students studying in a non-native language and those with a Specific Learning Difference. Simply presenting the contents of an academic text in a more structured way can improve focus and aid comprehension. The aim here is not to ‘cheat’, or to exclude or overlook sections of a paper or chapter, but rather make their contents more immediately accessible and encourage further exploration of the text with greater confidence. Autonomous study and self-directed learning were already on the rise before the pandemic. Now, with remote and hybrid learning here to stay, educators will need to put more learning technology in the hands of their students to help them succeed. About Scholarcy Scholarcy is a UK-based EdTech company. Its AI powered technology reads research papers and book chapters in any format and breaks them down into easy-to-digest, interactive summary cards. Scholarcy is helping students worldwide get to grips with their course material.  References: [1] Luminate. 2021. The UK's STEM skills shortage. [online] Available at: https://luminate.prospects.ac.uk/the-uks-stem-skills-shortage [2] the Guardian. 2021. UK universities predict record student dropout rate. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/sep/19/uk-universities-predict-record-student-dropout-rate [3] Hoeft, M., 2012. Why University Students Don't Read: What Professors Can Do To Increase Compliance. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 6(2). Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/ij-sotl/vol6/iss2/12/ [4] Plavén-Sigray, P., Matheson, G., Schiffler, B. and Thompson, W., 2017. The readability of scientific texts is decreasing over time. eLife, 6:e27725. Available at: https://elifesciences.org/articles/27725 [post_title] => Making academic literature more accessible to students with a range of learning needs [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => making-academic-literature-more-accessible-to-students-with-a-range-of-learning-needs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-10-28 10:54:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-10-28 09:54:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://edtechnology.co.uk/?p=47262 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 3 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 47687 [post_author] => 83 [post_date] => 2021-11-15 17:25:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-11-15 17:25:59 [post_content] => A recent study1 found that as many as 50% of all jobs in Australia will require a working knowledge of programming and other IT skills within the next 15 years. It is likely that coding ability will be one of the key differentiating skills of the future. But what exactly is it that makes coding so essential in everyday life? What are the benefits of learning how to code?  Why should we teach it to our children? Let’s find out!

What exactly is coding?

Before learning to create software applications, learning to code involves finding logically sound solutions to everyday problems that can be expressed as algorithms or mathematical equations. First, programmers break down a real-world problem into a series of steps (algorithm) and data structures. These then need to be expressed in a language the computer understands. C, C++, Java and Python are all programming languages, each with their own specific syntax. The choice of coding language will depend on how closely the coder needs to work with the underlying computer hardware and operating system. As a result, higher-level languages such as Python can be easier to master than lower-level languages such as C.

How does coding help children?

In essence, coding builds the capacity to analyse a situation, identify its key components, model the necessary data and processes, and create or refine a program that can solve the issue at hand. Therefore, programming processes require creative thought, structured reasoning, collaboration, and logic, all of which are employed to create elegant solutions to real-world problems. In addition to being a highly employable skill, coding might act as a catalyst towards a child’s personal and mental growth2. The practice of coding has been linked to creative therapy techniques since it represents a safe space for individuals to explore new ideas. Moreover, it allows children to express themselves in a format other than the spoken word. Coding can help children develop their creative thinking skills and boost confidence levels, since the results of solving a problem – a working piece of software – are immediate and tangible.

The benefits of learning how to code

Boosts creativity3 Coding allows children to create new and unique applications, helping establish a platform for children to channel their creative potential. Many start learning to code by writing games or animating graphics, for example. Some of the world’s top games companies, such as Codemasters, were founded by pioneers who began coding at a young age4. Coding attempts to engage the learner in a creative knowledge-building process5 that aims to enhance the co-creative learning process as opposed to a passive learning system. As a result, coding-related activities encourage children to employ unconventional and out-of-the-box thinking, improving their problem-solving skills. Teaches organisational skills The ability to organise and manage different types of information is especially crucial for children since they are still discovering how the world operates in an effort to satisfy their curiosity. Coding can help teach them how to manage multiple inflows of information and categorise them accordingly, helping them to learn, remember and succinctly present information. Teaches collaboration skills Any sizable coding project is usually a collaborative venture requiring several programmers and designers to work together to attack the different parts of a problem. Learning to code requires individual coders to communicate effectively with each other in order to manage and delegate tasks while working towards a common goal. The more experience children have of collaborative work, the greater their ability to become contributing members of a team. Additionally, collaboration-based projects can help children to effectively handle conflict and disagreement, and to learn how to harness the strengths and resources of each team member. Boosts problem-solving abilities Solving problems via writing computer programs is a hands-on process that involves making mistakes, testing your work, and correcting errors. Coding also encourages the breakdown of complex concepts and problems into manageable steps in an effort to understand the problem better. This helps children to measure progress and adjust their thinking accordingly. Moreover, coding encourages a process of self-reflection in a safe learning environment, where children can examine the errors in the software and try to solve them independently. Once this problem-solving skill is internalised, children learn the importance of thinking on their feet. Helps with academic achievement Coding relies heavily on concepts from both logic and mathematics and can be an engaging way for children to learn these ideas visually and interactively. The strategies learned in coding involve presentation, reasoning skills, concentration, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity, all of which are important for academic achievement. For example, research6 within a 5th-grade mathematics class demonstrated that students’ performance in a Mathematics test improved by an average of 4 points when they completed three to four coding activities per unit.

What are you waiting for?

Coding is a core 21st-century competency that encourages both creative and logical reasoning and helps children develop problem-solving ability. Learning how to code is both an employable and enjoyable skill – enroll your kids in coding classes today! Read more here.

References

[1] Nathan Stitt, 2016. Australian workers need to sharpen IT skills for jobs of the future. ABC News. Available at : https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-10/information-technology-skills-vital-for-future-jobs-report-says/8013958 [2] James Frew, 2019. How Learning Programming Can Help Your Mental Health. Makeuseof.  Available at : https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/learning-programming-mental-health/ [3] Flatiron School, 2019. Artist Turned Software Engineer Finds Creativity in Code. Flatiron School. Available at : https://flatironschool.com/blog/artist-turned-software-engineer-finds-creativity-in-code [4] Wikipedia, 2021. David Darling (entrepreneur). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Darling_(entrepreneur) [5] Romero et al., 2017. Computational thinking development through creative programming in higher education. International Journal of Education Technology in Higher Education. Available at: https://educationaltechnologyjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41239-017-0080-z [6] Meehan, S., 2019. The Effects of Coding Integration on Student Engagement and Academic Achievement in a 5th Grade Mathematics Class. Master of Arts in Education Action Research Papers. Available at: https://sophia.stkate.edu/maed/291/ [post_title] => How coding helps children become creative problem solvers [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => how-coding-helps-children-become-creative-problem-solvers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-15 17:25:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-15 17:25:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://edtechnology.co.uk/?p=47687 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 3 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => f24e435dc5bfcd5bb575f66503a5d868 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
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Students and researchers around the world use Scholarcy to get key information and sources from research papers and book chapters more easily.

Scholarcy reads files in any format (Word, PDF, HTML) and breaks them down into easy-to-digest, interactive summary cards to help students get to grips with their course material.

For those new to reading academic literature or overwhelmed by their reading list, Scholarcy helps by identifying the top five learning points from any text and presenting these alongside an overall summary with direct links to cited sources. Users can build a library of interactive summaries that they can share and download.

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    How coding helps children become creative problem solvers

    As the 21st century progresses, computer programming or ‘coding’ is becoming an invaluable skill.

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    How to evaluate the quality and veracity of an article

    Analysing how a study builds on, confirms or contrasts with previous work is key to appraising its reliability.

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    How AI can encourage students to read and avoid plagiarism

    Our goal at Scholarcy is to help students and researchers understand complex information faster, and provide a route into dense literature that can be intimidating for a newcomer or non-expert.

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    How Scholarcy is helping undergraduates with research

    At Scholarcy, we’ve been talking to students at all stages of learning to find out what kind of challenges they face when it comes to reading and understanding academic literature as well as writing their own essays or theses.

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    How to summarize a research paper with Scholarcy

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    Scholarcy News

    How coding helps children become creative problem solvers

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    How to evaluate the quality and veracity of an article

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    Making academic literature more accessible to students with a range of learning needs

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