18 November 2014

Items to Share: 16 November 2014

Education Focus

  • University courses for prisoners could reduce re-offending rates [theconversation.com] 'Those prisoners who had successfully completed at least one higher-level course while in prison developed a positive student identity, resilience and hope with realistic aspirations for a crime-free life after release. Those who had not engaged with learning lacked these qualities and most returned to prison. Of the 28 adults I traced, only four had not engaged with learning – and three of them returned to prison. Of the other 24 former prisoners I traced who had studied while in prison, only two returned to prison – and one of those was on a technicality.'
  • The Problem with Learning Technology | Vitae [chroniclevitae.com] 'It now seems important, as it didn’t 10 years ago, to keep things simple: to focus on the humans in the room, the literature we’re reading, the tools that help us make sense of the texts. Students experience much of their contact with other people by making things happen on a screen. What feels fresh and immediate to them now is a real conversation, in real time, over pieces of paper that can be held in the hand.' 
Other Business
  • The Decline of Grammar Education – Lingua Franca - The Chronicle of Higher Education (Geoff Pullum) 'Google fetches more than 300,000 hits for the term "grammar quiz"; yet if quizzes on chemistry were as uninformed as those on grammar, they would ask silly questions on peripheral topics (“Who is the Bunsen burner named after?”), and would make no reference to the periodic table, or atoms or molecules. The web’s grammar quizzes deal in minor pieces of puristic flotsam with roots in dimly understood 18th-century grammatical analysis.'
  • Explainer: the pitch drop experiment [theconversation.com] 'Something strange is happening within the world-famous pitch drop experiment with the latest drop forming much faster than the last couple of drops. There have been nine drops so far and all attention is now on trying to observe the tenth, expected sometime in the 2020s. The actual experiment began in October 1930 and is now recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest-running laboratory experiment – and in all that time no one has ever witnessed a single drop of pitch to fall. But what started as a simple lecture demonstration has captured the interest of tens of thousands of people worldwide'
  • Kurt Vonnegut Explains "How to Write With Style" | Open Culture 'If you feel the need for tips on developing a writing style, you probably don’t look right to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ journal Transactions on Professional Communications. You certainly don’t open such a publication expecting such tips from novelist Kurt Vonnegut, a writer with a style of his own if ever there was one. But in a 1980 issue, the author of Slaughterhouse-Five, Jailbird, and Cat’s Cradle does indeed appear with advice on “how to put your style and personality into everything you write.” ' 
  • The Great Psychologists: Sigmund Freud As a commenter puts it, ' A great introduction to a man who was about as troubled as all of us. A reminder that we are all quite mad, and everyone else is a degree of crazy.' 

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