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Time Is Running Out to Apply for Cambridge's LEGO Professorship

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Some people think that academia is all work and no play, but that won’t be the case at the University of Cambridge. In 2015, the English educational institution announced that they were looking to hire the world’s first full-time professor of play, development, and learning. As The Guardian reports, the application for the LEGO professorship is due on Friday, January 20—meaning fun-loving scholars only have three days left to throw their hats in the ring.

Cambridge’s so-called "LEGO professorship" was established by a £4 million donation from the LEGO Foundation, a corporate foundation whose mission, according to its website, is "to make children’s lives better—and communities stronger—by making sure the fundamental value of play is understood, embraced, and acted upon." More than a third of that donation will fund a new Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development & Learning (PEDAL), led by the LEGO professor; the remaining money will go toward the professorship.

Scientists are still figuring out how play contributes to child development, and they’re hoping that PEDAL will provide some answers. Ultimately, their findings may influence how children are taught in schools—think more playful learning instead of tests.

"The value of play is relatively under-researched," Cambridge professor Anna Vignoles, who's currently serving as PEDAL’s interim director, told The Guardian. "You have people who are claiming that it enhances learning, that it’s important, that it’s good for children’s wellbeing. All of that might be true, but actually there’s remarkably little evidence for that. The aim of the PEDAL center is to conduct rigorous research into the importance of play and how playful learning can be used to improve students’ outcomes."

Cambridge University is in charge of the hiring process, and they’re seeking a candidate whose focus is educational psychology. Even though the LEGO Foundation has no ultimate say in the final hire, they’re hoping the candidate will be playful, curious, open-minded, imaginative, and possess a "childlike mindset," according to Bo Stjerne Thomsen, the LEGO Foundation’s global head of research. As for experience level, applicants don’t need to have already held a professorship, as more emphasis will be placed on their research skills.

No word on whether the position will include playing with actual LEGOs, but if that's the case, the world's largest LEGO store opened in London's Leicester Square in November, making it worth a field trip.

[h/t The Guardian]

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The 25 Toughest Colleges to Get Into in 2018
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As many students from the class of 2018 look forward to college, the next year's seniors are gearing up for the application process. The school and neighborhood analysis tool Niche has broken down which universities are the most competitive in 2018.

To compile the list below, Niche pulled data from the U.S. Department of Education on college acceptance rates and the SAT/ACT test scores of enrollees. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Harvard University, one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in the U.S., ranked No.1 with an acceptance rate of 5 percent and an SAT range of 1430 to 1600 points. Right below that is California's Stanford University, also with an acceptance rate of 5 percent and a slightly lower SAT range of 1380 to 1580. Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the California Institute of Technology round out the top five.

America's best schools don't always come with the highest tuition. According to Niche, the average cost to attend Harvard after financial aid is $16,205 per year. The most expensive school on the list is Harvey Mudd in California in 14th place with a net price of $35,460.

Check out the full list below.

1. Harvard University // Cambridge, Massachusetts
2. Stanford University // Stanford, California
3. Yale University // New Haven, Connecticut
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology // Cambridge, Massachusetts
5. California Institute of Technology // Pasadena, California
6. Princeton University // Princeton, New Jersey
7. University of Chicago // Chicago
8. Columbia University // New York
9. Vanderbilt University // Nashville, Tennessee
10. Brown University // Providence, Rhode Island
11. University of Pennsylvania // Philadelphia
12. Duke University // Durham, North Carolina
13. Dartmouth College // Hanover, New Hampshire
14. Harvey Mudd College // Claremont, California
15. Pomona College // Claremont, California
16. Northwestern University // Evanston, Illinois
17. Rice University // Houston, Texas
18. Johns Hopkins University // Baltimore, Maryland
19. Swarthmore College // Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
20. Claremont McKenna College // Claremont, California
21. Washington University in St. Louis // St. Louis, Missouri
22. Cornell University // Ithaca, New York
23. Amherst College // Amherst, Massachusetts
24. Bowdoin College // Brunswick, Maine
25. Tufts University // Medford, Massachusetts

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Live Smarter
The 25 Most In-Demand Job Skills Right Now, According to LinkedIn
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Looking for a new job? Depending on what line of work you’re in, you may want to brush up on your technical skills—or learn some new ones. LinkedIn recently released a list of the 25 most desirable skills for 2018, and it’s clear that many employers are on the lookout for people with experience in computing, web development, and software and data engineering.

LinkedIn analyzed data from its member base of more than 500 million people to determine which skills are most needed by employers, according to Business Insider. The thousands of individual skills that can be found across member profiles were grouped into overarching categories (iOS, for instance, would go under the mobile development umbrella). Next, LinkedIn analyzed hiring and recruiting activity during an eight-month span and “identified the skill categories that belonged to members who were more likely to start a new role within a company and receive interest from companies.”

Here’s the full list:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing
2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
3. Middleware and Integration Software
4. Web Architecture and Development Framework
5. User Interface Design
6. Software Revision Control Systems
7. Data Presentation
8. SEO/SEM Marketing
9. Mobile Development
10. Network and Information Security
11. Marketing Campaign Management
12. Data Engineering and Data Warehousing
13. Storage Systems and Management
14. Electronic and Electrical Engineering
15. Algorithm Design
16. Perl, Python, and Ruby
17. Shell Scripting Languages
18. Mac, Linux, and Unix Systems
19. Java Development
20. Business Intelligence
21. Software QA and User Testing
22. Virtualization
23. Automotive Services, Parts and Design
24. Economics
25. Database Management and Software

Many of these skills can be learned from the comfort of your home via online classes that are available on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Lynda. While it couldn’t hurt to know these hard skills, 57 percent of business leaders surveyed by LinkedIn said soft skills are even more important. Those tend to be more universal across careers, with leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management being identified as the most crucial soft skills to have in 2018.

If you’re ready to start learning a new skill but don’t know where to start, check out this list of 25 ways to learn a new skill quickly.

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