01 April 2013

Items to Share: 31 March

Education Focus
  • A Response to Ben Goldacre’s Building Evidence Into Education Report. Part 1 and  Part 2 | Scenes From The Battleground "Goldacre has not realised that much, or even most, educational debate is about worthless nonsense that can already be shown to be wrong long before the RCT stage. He assumes that education is like medicine was in the 1970s, whereas it is probably more like medicine in the 1370s. He assumes that we have clear aims and sound theories which need to be refined with better empirical research to identify those situations where we have been misled. However, it would be fairer to say we are at war in education over our ultimate aims and over the underlying theories. We are not 1970s doctors needing information about the effectiveness of certain drugs, we are medieval doctors trying to find the correct balance of the four humours." 
  • Why Doesn’t Teacher Feedback Improve Student Performance? | Faculty Focus  '“regardless of levels of motivation to learn, students cannot convert feedback statements into actions for improvement without sufficient working knowledge of some fundamental concepts.” Because they evaluate student work so regularly, teachers bring to the task a working knowledge of these concepts. Unfortunately, they provide feedback assuming students have the same knowledge, which they do not.' 
  • Presentation Zen: Eric Mazur: confessions of a converted lecturer  "To many people, the approach Dr. Mazur advocates may hardly seem new or controversial. After all, many instructors work hard today to make their classes more interactive. However, the one-way, didactic approach to teaching is still common in many schools today. " Yet another edu-brand.
Other Business
  • To be sure, journalists love cliches - Washington Post  "But ultimately, the list begs the question: If even this hastily convened national conversation can midwife a new way of writing — call it Journalism 2.0 — will the tightly knit community that is the mainstream media finally begin thinking outside the box?"
  • Graphene super-toys last all summer long  "researchers at UCLA discovered they could make single-layer sheets of graphene by coating a DVD with graphite oxide and then "playing" the disc in a plain old DVD drive. And then [that it] could be used, for example, as a mobile phone battery that lasts all day, charges in a few seconds, and can be thrown into a compost bin after use." This does sound like a proper breakthrough.

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