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the roundup

Apple fans lined up in several cities to get their hands on the iPad mini on Friday, but the device, priced above rival gadgets from Google and, attracted smaller crowds than at the company’s previous global rollouts.SUZANNE PLUNKETT/Reuters

The best of the web on education from kindergarten to postsecondary, as chosen daily by Globe and Mail education editor Simona Chiose.

New mini or used iPad?

Students or teachers making up their Christmas list might want to drop a used iPad among the wanted items. As Wired points out, yes, the first generation lacks the front-facing camera or Retina Display but it's got a big mobile screen. On the other hand, iPads have kept their value much better than laptops, so a new one is not a terrible investment.

For kids, definitely is anything but

Accidentally, practicing, definitely and believe are the top words that are misspelt by schoolchildren, found a Oxford University Press study. As Annie Murphy Paul writes, really difficult words, like brachiosaurus, kids usually get right because they recognize they need to spend more time on them. Definitely appears with seven variations.

Afraid of math?

Areas in the brain involved in perceiving pain and detecting physical threats lit up when people who have "math anxiety" knew they would be asked to solve a math problem. The implication is that if the anxiety is controlled, doing the problem itself would be much easier.

Commander Zack Proton to the rescue

Teaching science can include more than labs and test tubes. A list of annotated graphic novels about science offers some of the best titles including the graphic adaptation of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species or perhaps even more promising, The Adventures of Commander Zack Proton and the Warlords of Nibblecheese.

Data mining students

By data mining information about college students, universities are trying to improve the campus experience. Professors can receive instant feedback on how well students in lecture understand the material, and when hoooked up to Facebook, the programs can even suggest friends for students and courses that best match academic records.