I post links to interesting articles, websites, and references on Tumblr: if they’re related to science or science teaching, they go on the EDUC1706 Tumblr; if they’re regarding education in technologies or the arts, they go on the EDUC7545 Tumblr; all other interesting things (teaching in general, politics, fiction, dogs, quotes, psychology, life, etc) go on my home Tumblr. I thought this week I’d also share some of those interesting articles here, though I’m not sure if I’ll do this regularly or not!

1. These articles on The Conversation about lecturing in higher education

Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures – it makes students more stupid and professors more boring: “There are a host of possible reasons for a lecture going wrong: a badly planned course, inadequate preparation, feeling uninspired on the day, disengaged students, a crowd that’s too big, a poorly designed auditorium. To this bulleted list of catastrophes comes PowerPoint.”

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Why universities should get rid of PowerPoint and why they won’t: “Universities measure student satisfaction but they do not measure learning. Since organisations focus on what they measure and students like PowerPoint, it stays, regardless of its educational effectiveness.”

Effectiveness for what? Personally, I think any technology needs to be used purposefully, strategically, with an idea in mind about what it must be effective for. However, in addition to lecturers thinking more clearly about what they are teaching, for what reason, and how this might most effectively be presented, I’d also like to see students thinking more actively about what they are learning, for what reason, and how they might best value the teaching of their lecturers.

2. A Stanford dean on adult skills every 18-year-old should have (Quartz)

“Our kids must be able to do all of these things without resorting to calling a parent on the phone. If they’re calling us to ask how, they do not have the life skill.”

This article could have been improved by describing the scenarios in which these skills are developed and practice by children, as well as the negatively-framed “crutches” that prevent children from developing these skills.

3. These two articles about neoliberalism…

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems (The Guardian): “Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?”

The difficulty of ‘neoliberalism’ (Political Economy Research Centre): “We live in a society which now views mutual commitments as forms of debt, existential questions as matters of entrepreneurship and cultural pluralism as just another form of competition. Disentangling this is beyond the scope of public policy alone, which, again, may be why some policy thinkers would rather pretend it was all ‘meaningless’.”

4. This depressing article about neoliberalism and education in the UK

The Neoliberal Paradox: Forced Freedom For Schools: “…whatever the declared intentions of structural reforms, there’s no question that it’s bound to have an effect on teaching and learning – and will be driven by a testing obsession which benefits no one but the profits of education businesses.”

5. This article about probability, replicability, popularity, and bias in science

It depends on how you conceptualise science, of course.

Scientific Regress, by William A. Wilson, on scientism: “At its best, science is a human enterprise with a superhuman aim: the discovery of regularities in the order of nature, and the discerning of the consequences of those regularities. We’ve seen example after example of how the human element of this enterprise harms and damages its progress, through incompetence, fraud, selfishness, prejudice, or the simple combination of an honest oversight or slip with plain bad luck. These failings need not hobble the scientific enterprise broadly conceived, but only if scientists are hyper-aware of and endlessly vigilant about the errors of their colleagues . . . and of themselves. When cultural trends attempt to render science a sort of religion-less clericalism, scientists are apt to forget that they are made of the same crooked timber as the rest of humanity and will necessarily imperil the work that they do. The greatest friends of the Cult of Science are the worst enemies of science’s actual practice.”

6. Aphantasia: How It Feels To Be Blind In Your Mind

Q: How could you go your whole life not knowing that I “see” mental images?
A: How could you go your whole life not knowing that I don’t?

I think sometimes when I’m in a hurry I’ll conceptualise something without picturing it, but I can definitely picture things. I know what my husband’s face looks like, for example, because I can see it in my mind. When I *try* to picture a beach, I can remember Waikiki (ha!) and also Currimundi, and Shelly Beach, both at Caloundra, and I can see them all, but also hear them, but I’m not sure if they’re reconstructions or accurate representations.

 

I’d love it if you shared something interesting you read this week in the comments below.

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