08 September 2006
But for how long?
It took me about three weeks playing every second day or so (and a fresh-air break in Aberdeen) to get my brain age down to 20. I haven't dared take the test since. Dr Kawashima would not approve.
11 July 2005
New definition of media literacy
- the ability to critically assess information gathered from multiple sources
- the ability to appreciate works from many different aesthetic traditions (give them vocabularies for what they’re already consuming)
- an understanding of the contexts within which media are produced, distributed, and consumed
- the ability to express your ideas through a range of media (which kids already do)
- the ability to assess which media is most appropriate for a given purpose (cell phones vs. text messaging vs. camcorders, etc.)
- the ability to meaningfully participate in collective intelligence community
- the ability to think in multimodal terms (multiple levels of interpretation; the videos of Tokyo Park show more than just sound, audio, or text would)
- an ethical framework for thinking about our freedoms and responsibilities as communicators
01 July 2005
Emotions and learning
After children have entered adolescence, emotions become a major influence on their ability to perform at school. This is being investigated by Abigail Baird... She is using MRI to watch what happens in the brain when a student hears a nasty comment or a gender slur and then proceeds to flub an exam. Outreach to teens who are struggling with their emotions is central to this work: Baird and her undergraduate assistant Jane Viner have created a 10-week mentoring programme that helps teenage girls cope with aggressive interactions. Girls who took part subsequently showed an increase in the activation of their prefrontal cortex — an area of the brain thought to help rein in our emotions — suggesting that they had indeed acquired some new cognitive strategies.
Fom Nature's Educational research: Big plans for little brains, an article about research into neuroscience and education (via 3quarksdaily).
27 June 2005
NYU journalism instructor, Jefferson Flanders, on the internet-enabled classroom:
The late Nobel Prize-winning economist Herbert Simon had it right: the verb “to know” used to mean having information stored in one’s memory – and it now means having access to that information and knowing how to use it. Maintaining the instructor’s authoritative “sage on the stage” role will grow more difficult. Instead, teachers at all levels will increasingly be called on to help students navigate this Alexandrine-like Web library and a new informational literacy will be needed, with an emphasis on judgment, synthesis, clear thinking, and what author Robert McHenry calls a “genial skepticism” about the veracity and quality of the information a mouse-click away.
24 April 2005
Donald A. Norman: In Defense of Cheating
I can't quote from this enough:
...In real life, asking others for help is not only permitted, it is encouraged. Why not rethink the entire purpose of our examination system? We should be encouraging students to learn how to use all possible resources to come up with effective answers to important problems. Students should be encouraged to ask others for help, and they should also be taught to give full credit to those others...
Consider this: in many ways, the behavior we call cheating in schools is exactly the behavior we desire in the real world. Think about it. What behavior do we call cheating in the school system? Asking others for help, copying answers, copying papers.
Most of these activities are better called networking or cooperative work...
In a system where copying is punished, the student feels compelled to lie. Suppose that copying were encouraged honest copying, where the source must be revealed. And suppose that both the copier and the originator of the material were rewarded, the originator for their contribution and the copier for knowing where to seek the information. This would reinforce the correct behaviors, minimize deceit, and encourage cooperativeness...
24 January 2005
Everything else is proofreading
The most valuable attitude we can help children adopt - the one that, among other things, helps them to write and read with most fluency and effectiveness and enjoyment - I can best characterise by the word playful.
It begins with nursery rhymes and nonsense poems, with clapping games and finger play and simple songs and picture books. It goes on to consist of fooling about with the stuff the world is made of: with sounds, and with shapes and colours, and with clay and paper and wood and metal, and with language. Fooling about, playing with it, pushing it this way and that, turning it sideways, painting it different colours, looking at it from the back, putting one thing on top of another, asking silly questions, mixing things up, making absurd comparisons, discovering unexpected similarities, making pretty patterns, and all the time saying "Supposing ... I wonder ... What if ... "
...It's when we do this foolish, time-consuming, romantic, quixotic, childlike thing called play that we are most practical, most useful, and most firmly grounded in reality, because the world itself is the most unlikely of places, and it works in the oddest of ways, and we won't make any sense of it by doing what everybody else has done before us. It's when we fool about with the stuff the world is made of that we make the most valuable discoveries, we create the most lasting beauty, we discover the most profound truths. The youngest children can do it, and the greatest artists, the greatest scientists do it all the time. Everything else is proofreading.