by Stephen Downes
Jun 18, 2015
It Takes All Kinds
Fun discussion of personality tests. And yes, I've done dozens and dozens of the Buzzfeed tests, some of which are not to be taken seriously, but others of which offer at least some insight (a lot depends on the test). The author writes, "The point is that this was a valuable exercise in self-awareness as well as team building. I learned about what motivates and what irritates my coworkers and what different skills sets each of us possess and value. However, I learned the most not from the test results themselves but from hearing feedback and opinions of my colleagues as we analyzed ourselves and discussed in which ways we fit the different categories (colors)." Notice: not one word about making all someone's instruction 'blue' or 'orange'.
Max C Roser and 223 of his closest friends are Enemies of the Truth!
Will at Work Learning,
I think that the question we need to ask here is not how wrong Max Roser was not how much damage he has done (both of which, I think, are quantified in this post) but rather, what is it about our existing system to creating and disseminating knowledge in education that makes Max Roser's actions seem reasonable and plausible to Max Roser. Because I'm quite sure he never set out to misinform 223 people. So what led him to, first, believe that the diagram represented a form of knowledge, and second, to share it without verifying the veracity of the information? This is the fundamental problem of education in our society. It is incredibly easy to get people to remember things - too easy (which is why these 'learning outcomes' studies are so misleading). What really matters is remembering the right things, useful things, and usable things. Maybe by studying Max Roser instead of merely complaining about him we can find out how to address this.
Tap, Swipe … but not for long.
I think it is useful to observe that different devices are used for different purposes. For example, we tend to prefer large devices - such as desktop computers - if we are using the computer for a long period of time. Now true, I read What is Code on my phone (the first time; I reread it on a desktop and enjoyed all the animations too the second time). But reading 38,000 words on a phone isn't something I normally do (what can I say? I was riveted). So generalizations like "teen s are using nothing but phones" may reflect the fact that they're not working at jobs all day (or at least, not desk jobs) more than than some trend about the future of computing devices.
How to respond to learning-style believers
This is a post to help bolster the arguments of people who disagree with me. :) But treat carefully. Cathy Moore writes, "Learning styles have been popularized by well-intentioned people, including possibly your professor of instructional design. However, the claim that we have to adapt our design to accommodate different learning styles has been repeatedly debunked by research." My take is that many people who talk about learning styles do not believe that this means we have to "adapt our design" to different learning styles - we are not, in other words, instructionists. Indeed, from my perspective, one of the problems of instructivist approaches is that they are completely indifferent to - and unimpacted by - individual learner differences. So they begin by denying what to me is the most obvious and intuitive fact about learning and education - that everyone is different. But hey, maybe if you read Moore's last paragraph you'll disagree with me. And I certainly agree with this: "I say that the best way to honor people’s individuality isn’t to shove them into simplistic categories so we can pour information into them." Taxonomies are for pigeons. See also: Will Thalheimer.
Foundations for OER Strategy Development
Nicole Allen, Delia Browne, Mary Lou Forward, Cable Green, Alek Tarkowski,
This document has matured a lot since it began life as a proposal earlier in the year. It is not much more balanced and nuanced, and is approaching a state where it can be considered a comprehensive account of open educational resources (OERs). There are still bits I disagree with: it should be more focused on the value proposition, and less focused on the specific manner in which the value is realized; and it still stresses a common approach (and especially definitions and standards) on grounds of being able to scale rather than a diverse and multi-faceted approach on grounds of usefulness. But it's better - a lot better - than what I was seeing earlier.
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