28 July 2014

Items to Share: 27 July 2014

Education Focus
  • Mind Benders | Webs of Substance  Might Dweck's mindset model get reified and used as a label? '[M]uch of the discussion that I see on teaching blogs and websites does seem to take quite a reductive stance to the issues as if there are simple polar opposites [...]. Infographics are produced showing the difference between a growth and a fixed mindset – one good and one bad – but with no hint at a continuum or that it might just be a little more complicated than this. [ ] What if there are children in classes right now filling in worksheets to decide their mindset? What if we end up hanging this label like an albatross around their necks?' 
  • Examining Knowledge Beliefs to Motivate Student Learning | Faculty Focus 'There is no magic solution to the motivation question. Motivation for learning is an extremely complex entity and scholars disagree on how to measure motivation, evaluate learning, etc. (Schunk, 2012). I believe the heart of motivating students lies in the ability to reach the student at the beliefs level.'
  • How Tests Make Us Smarter - NYTimes.com 'tests serve students best when they’re integrated into the regular business of learning and the stakes are not make-or-break, as in standardized testing. That means, among other things, testing new learning within the context of regular classes and study routines. [ ] Students in classes with a regimen of regular low- or no-stakes quizzing carry their learning forward through the term, like compounded interest, and they come to embrace the regimen, even if they are skeptical at first. A little studying suffices at exam time — no cramming required.' By Henry  Roediger, one co-author of Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.
  • Behaviour Blind Spot | Webs of Substance 'the crisis in school behaviour is a crisis of authority. The same anti-authoritarian stance that promotes discovery learning is the stance that favours permissive approaches to classroom behaviour.'
  • Teaching science with bad science: resources for teachers – Bad Science  'People often wring their hands over how to make science “relevant” to the public, or to young people. For me, this is an open goal: we are constantly barraged with health claims in popular culture, and evidence based medicine is the science of how we know what does good, and what does harm. Every popular claim is an opportunity to learn about the relative merits and downsides of randomised trials, systematic reviews, cohort studies, laboratory work, and more.' (You could build an entire course around Jo Willey--the Daily Express "health" correspondent!) 
Other Business
  • Above LA: A Top-Down Timelapse View of the Great Megacity | Open Culture 'Chris Pritchard tells us: “Above LA showcases the often unseen beauty of Los Angeles from above. It was shot on hilltops, mountains, and high-rise rooftops around the city and features a number of day to night transitions and rare weather. My goal was to capture the depth, beauty, and movement of a vast and bustling megacity from a new angle, and encourage people to get out and experience their environments in new ways. I never thought I’d appreciate this city so much until I spent countless hours staring at it from high above.”'
  • C S Lewis' "Till We Have Faces" [brandywinebooks.net] 'Dr. Peter Kreeft [talks] about "one of the greatest novel[s] ever written," C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces. Kreeft says one of the reasons it is such a good book is Lewis' wife helped him write it.' It is almost forgotten now... (Video, 1 hour)
  • BPS Research Digest: What the textbooks don't tell you - one of psychology's most famous experiments was seriously flawed Conducted in 1971, the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) has acquired a mythical status and provided the inspiration for at least two feature-length films. You'll recall that several university students allocated to the role of jailor turned brutal and the study had to be aborted prematurely. Philip Zimbardo, the experiment's lead investigator, says the lesson from the research is that in certain situations, good people readily turn bad. "If you put good apples into a bad situation, you’ll get bad apples," he has written.
  • The Conscientiousness of Kidspeak - The New Yorker  'The study they [three sociolinguists at the U. of Texas at Austin] conducted “aimed to investigate how the frequency of filled pauses and discourse markers used in the English language varies with two basic demographic variables (gender and age) and personality traits.” The researchers explain that, to do this, they “focused on three common discourse markers … (I mean, you know, and like) and two filled pauses (uh and um).”'
  • What playfulness can do for you - Ideas - The Boston Globe '... playfulness, as a personality trait, is not only complex but consequential. People who exhibit high levels of playfulness—those who are predisposed to being spontaneous, outgoing, creative, fun-loving, and lighthearted—appear to be better at coping with stress, more likely to report leading active lifestyles, and more likely to succeed academically. According to a group of researchers at Pennsylvania State University, playfulness makes both men and women more attractive to the opposite sex.'

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