27 January 2014

Items to Share: 26 January 2014

Education Focus
  • Reforming Education Requires another Way of Thinking: What is it? (artofteachingscience.org) 'In this post I am going to argue that the kind of thinking that will be required to reform education has been part of our culture for decades, but it runs counter to ways that reformists have been “tinkering” with schools, K – college. This “tinkering” is playing havoc on teachers, students, and parents, and seems to be no end in sight. [...] School can be reformed if we think differently.' 
  • BishopBlog: What is educational neuroscience? 'Neuroscientists can tell you which brain regions are most involved in particular cognitive activities and how this changes with age or training. But these indicators of learning do not tell you how to achieve learning. Suppose I find out that the left angular gyrus becomes more active as children learn to read. What is a teacher supposed to do with that information?'
  • Language Log » Epic software rant 'Why are certain types of software systems so reliably bad? In my understanding, it's a combination of the process of specification and implementation, the (mis-)education and general outlook of the designers and implementers, and the characteristics that the people in charge are actually trying to optimize.' Spoiler—it's about Blackboard.
  • Cheat codes to intelligence: touchpaper#7 | Pragmatic Education  'As a starting point, [...] we set ourselves the simple constraint of one page. If we had one page that distilled and summarised the research for the classroom, we asked, what would we like teachers to have access to, free, online and neatly packaged? [...] So here it is. "What do we know about how memory works? What can teachers can do about it?"'
  • Enough With the 'Lifelong Learning' Already - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education  'If cultivating lifelong learning in our students describes a desire for them to continue to pursue learning beyond college [...] I'm not holding my breath. I have 15 weeks with students in my introductory literature courses. In that time I am supposed to introduce them to basic literary genres, foster their ability to interpret the written word, and improve their writing and speaking skills. [...] But now, on top of all of that, I should also be making them lifelong learners? What would that even mean?'
  • Using the "Speed Dating" Model to Enhance Student Learning | Faculty Focus  'In reflecting upon their feedback, I had an epiphany: speaking directly with others about their work is similar to dating. In dating you have to ask questions to get to know each other and you must have a conversation to learn about the other’s experiences. [...] Employing a speed dating model in the classroom in place of a panel can be an effective way for students to learn a variety of perspectives in a short amount of time.'
Other Business
  • A Wonderfully Simple Heuristic to Recognize Charlatans (farnamstreetblog.com) 'Sometimes we can’t articulate what we want. Sometimes we don’t know. Sometimes there is so much uncertainty that the best approach is to attempt to avoid certain outcomes rather than attempt to guide towards the ones we desire. In short, we don’t always know what we want but we know what we don’t want.[] Avoiding stupidity is often easier than seeking brilliance.' 
  • Mustn’t Grumble : The Last Word On Nothing  '“Mustn’t grumble” culture explains a vast range of England’s unfortunate idiosyncrasies, from the fact that you can’t get a decent chicken salad sandwich in this country to the appalling state of drafty British houses to the lack of social upheaval. But it’s equally possible that the Brits have stumbled on the secret to a happy life. '
  • The myth of age-related cognitive decline (theconversation.com) '[A]s people get older, they gather more experiences, they learn more names for things, and they potentially better understand how the social and economic systems around them work – and this makes them slower. [...] So while youth has the benefit of speed and flexibility, age has the benefit of wisdom and guile … and slowness'.
  • How Lewis Carroll Can Improve Your Email | Steve Leveen huffingtonpost.com
    'Being a teacher, Dodgson decided to document his advice about how to write more satisfying letters. He did this in a delightful little missive called "Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter-Writing."...'  
  • The Humanities and Us by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal Winter 2014 (city-journal.org)
    'You may have heard the defense du jour, tossed out en route to the next gender studies conference. The humanities, we are told, teach “critical thinking.” Is this a joke? These are the same people who write sentences like this: “Total presence breaks on the univocal predication of the exterior absolute the absolute existent (of that of which it is not possible to univocally predicate an outside, while the equivocal predication of the outside of the absolute exterior is possible of that of which the reality so predicated is not the reality. . . . of the self).”And we’re supposed to believe that they can think?'

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