by Stephen Downes
Mar 28, 2016
Types And Tokens
Stephen Downes, Mar 27, 2016.
Naming things, counting things, generalizing over things - these are really useful tools we have created for ourselves in language and in thought to make the world easier to navigate (and, sometimes, to rationalize after the fact why we navigated on one way rather than another).Enclosure: 2016-03-25.jpg
I do the New York Times crossword on a regular basis. Just as in the Poincare example described by Stephen Krashen in this article, I've found that if I'm stuck on a clue, or on a section, if I turn away from it for a bit - sometimes just a few moments - and come back later, the answer is right there. Why is this more than just a curiosity? The Pearson software under discussion here prevents students from turning away and focusing on something else for a few moments. Krashen explains, "This strengthens an error nearly all schooling makes and makes true creative thinking and learning impossible." It's an interesting point, and it sounds right to me. This is one of several few posts on the new Pearson software; see also The Most Intrusive Software of All Time, and Pearson's Plan to Close the Achievement Gap. Image: Testing for Kindergarten.
Flowing Data writes, "Willard Cope Brinton is credited as one of the pioneers of information visualization, and I just found out his 1939 book Graphic Presentation is available in its entirety at the Internet Archive. You can download it in various formats. The book was an update to his previous book from 25 years prior, Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts. It’s also at the Archive." It's also interesting to note that not long after these dates we say the first graphical fallacies, detailed with care by Darrell Huff (73 page PDF). I cut my teeth on this work back in the 1980s.
"My work on the experiences of digital students had already led me to question what it means to thrive in a learning environment that is saturated with digital technologies," writes Helen Beetham. And I think the exploration of digital well-being is a good idea. But as is so often the case with educational researchers (maybe social science in general) the primary output is a hierarchy and a taxonomy. This is similar to what we've seen in digital literacy, and it's about as useful. We need to dig deeper. Is there anything about the use of digital technology itself that influences well-being? What are thee linkages? We won't get to it simply by replicating Maslow's hierarchy for the digital space. It's a serious question; let's begin by taking it seriously.
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