18 May 2015

Items to Share: 17 May 2015

Education  Focus
  • How One Psychologist Is Tackling Human Biases in Science [nautil.us] 'Sometimes it seems surprising that science functions at all. In 2005, medical science was shaken by a paper with the provocative title “Why most published research findings are false.” Written by John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, it didn’t actually show that any particular result was wrong. Instead, it showed that the statistics of reported positive findings was not consistent with how often one should expect to find them. As Ioannidis concluded more recently, “many published research findings are false or exaggerated, and an estimated 85 percent of research resources are wasted.”'
  • Donald Clark Plan B: Deficit model in education: a dangerous conceit? 'If only we filled our minds up with even more knowledge, even more skills, GDP will dog-leg upwards, productivity will soar and all will be well. The conceit of education is that the answer to bad schooling is always more schooling. The glass is always half empty, even when the data suggests it is close to the brim. We always seem to have deep deficits and divides; digital divide, digital skills, maths, 21st C skills, qualifications, even happiness!'
  • Five ways universities have already changed in the 21st century [theconversation.com] 'Global higher education underwent a period of remarkable change in the first 15 years of the 21st century. Five key trends affecting universities around the world illustrate how, despite increased access to information, our understanding of higher education remains limited.
  • University Readiness | The Traditional Teacher 'The problem isn’t spoon feeding: it’s hoop jumping. Pupils are trained to perform peculiar tricks for the benefit of examiners, while schools neglect to give them a proper grounding in the academic subjects. In fact, our pupils are not being fed enough. They are intellectually malnourished. But this is not inevitable, even within the current exam system. There are brave schools that are bucking the trend and focusing on core knowledge. They will find that their GCSE results are very good as well, because they will go far beyond the impoverished requirements of the GCSE curriculum.'
  • researchED New York, part 2: Daniel Willingham persuades - Tom Bennett - Blog  'Willingham was doing something he's very good at, and many academics aren't: summarising and highlighting useful lessons that cognitive psychology can teach to teachers – all teachers, be ye progressive bringer of light or neo-trad axeman. He took pains to describe how these biases and filters affect everyone. In point one, above, he was at pains to say, "this is all of us, we all do this".'
  • What’s the Point of a Professor? - NYTimes.com 'You can’t become a moral authority if you rarely challenge students in class and engage them beyond it. If we professors do not do that, the course is not an induction of eager minds into an enlarging vision. It is a requirement to fulfill. Only our assistance with assignments matters. When it comes to students, we shall have only one authority: the grades we give. We become not a fearsome mind or a moral light, a role model or inspiration. We become accreditors.'
  • What is an “original contribution”? | patter Doctoral regulations invariably include a requirement that the thesis constitute an "original contribution" to knowledge. What does that mean? 'As David Lodge argues, originality is taking the reader, and I’m suggesting the thesis reader/examiner too, somewhere which is simultaneously familiar and not. Original thinking and writing defamiliarises and in doing so, recovers a newness about the topic no matter how well trodden it is. An original contribution to knowledge offers the reader a chance to re-view and re-think the event/text/phenomena in question. That’s the kind of original contribution I’m interested in.
  • Do all good ideas need to be researched? | David Didau: The Learning Spy 'I was asked a very good question by Alex Wetherall. Basically – and I hope he forgives my paraphrase – he asked whether it would be worth conducting some ‘proper’ research on my good idea. I said no. It seemed as though this came as something of a surprise to the research literate audience. I’ve had a good think since and I stand by the justification I gave.'
  • Ideas: Why Good Teachers Get Bad Evaluations '...an interesting piece of research on student evaluations of teachers. It judged the quality of teachers by how well their students did in later courses, compared the result to student evaluations of teaching quality, and found that the two anti-correlated. On average, good teachers get bad ratings, bad teachers get good ratings.'
Other Business
  • BBC - Future - Press me! The buttons that lie to you 'The tube pulls in to a busy station along the London Underground’s Central Line. It is early evening on a Thursday. A gaggle of commuters assembles inside and outside the train, waiting for the doors to open. A moment of impatience grips one man who is nearest to them. He pushes the square, green-rimmed button which says “open”. A second later, the doors satisfyingly part. The crowds mingle, jostling on and off the train, and their journeys continue. Yet whether or not the traveller knew it, his finger had no effect on the mechanism.'  

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