17 March 2014

Items to Share: 16 March 2014

Education Focus
  • Learning from Our Teaching Mistakes | Faculty Focus [MaryEllen Weimer] 'I hold in particularly high esteem those faculty members not only willing to talk about teaching failures but also to publish articles about them. At the end of this article I’ve listed a collection of my personal favorites. You can’t read them without admiring the courage of the authors. But you also can’t read them and be unimpressed by how much they learned through the analysis.'
  • Getting Beyond Brain Games - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education [James Lang] 'Educators [...] need to tread carefully into the fields of brain-based research. Fortunately, some of the leading thinkers in the field have taken up the challenge of pushing their findings outside of the laboratory. They are testing their theories in real classrooms and in other learning environments, and spelling out the implications for teaching.'
  • A Don’s Life: Teaching and tears [Mary Beard] 'And finally I remember saying that no computer course could make you cry and that good teaching was always liable to lead to tears. Now this is a favourite, slightly exaggerated, image of mine. It's meant to capture the idea that really learning to think can be hard, uncomfortable and actually upsetting... sometimes it has to make your head hurt, and make you feel you can't do it. That's what learning really difficult stuff means.' 
Other Business
  • Why Survey Questions Matter: Blasphemy Edition [Sociological Images] “How could we get evidence for this?” I often ask students. And the answer, almost always is, “Do a survey.” The word survey has magical power; anything designated by that name wears a cloak of infallibility. [] “Survey just means asking a bunch of people a bunch of questions,” I’ll say. “Whether [it] has any value depends on how good the bunch of people is and how good the questions are.” My hope is that a few examples of bad sampling and bad questions will demystify...' 
  • Thoughts on Art and Teaching: Realism and Reality [Jim Hamlyn] 'Despite the fact that more distant objects are projected at a smaller scale onto the retina than closer objects, it is crucial that we perceive the size of distant sources of food, predators etc. as accurately as possible. If our ancestors had perceived proximate objects as larger than distant objects, their chances of survival would have been severely limited. One of the major evolutionary obstacles for the development of visual processing therefore, must have been to overcome the fact that distant objects are projected onto the eye in this way. What we see when we look at distant fruit is distant fruit, not tiny little tidbits. Nonetheless, when we draw distant fruit we have to render them at a smaller scale than closer fruit.' 
  • The Tri-X Factor [More Intelligent Life] A tribute to the classic b&w film stock no no longer produced—but some devotees have fridges full of thousands of rolls ..'if we include just a few other Tri-X users—Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Josef Koudelka and most of the finest of the photographers who worked for the Magnum agency—it becomes clear that this film may be the most aesthetically important technology in photographic history. The story of Tri-X is unique. It goes to the heart of how we see and what we see and what we may be losing as billions of casual, digital snaps are taken daily and as photographic integrity is subverted by the dead, flawless, retouched faces of actors and models that gaze blankly out at us. 

1 comment:

  1. Chris3:13 pm

    Dear James
    Whilst accepting your point about journal outputs being a poor method for mass dissemination they are the final stage of what defines a planned period of inquiry as research. Without peer review and publication (in some form or perhaps multiple forms from coffee table outputs to the most academic journal) research activity is simply personal inquiry. Not that there's anything wrong with that if it improves the teaching and learning experience but it isn't research.


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