Is it better to promote competition or cooperation in order to produce better educational outcomes? A good question, you think. But the after reading this Yong Zhao article you may conclude that the question is best not even asked. "PISA has the bad habit of looking for things that would work universally to improve education," he writes, and as a result goes on these fishing expeditions. "In some cultures, competition works to motivate students, but in some others, cooperation may be a stronger motivator. The variations can also be across tasks and situations... Bottom line: PISA needs to stop fishing for culture-free and universally applicable policies and practices to improve education in the world."
Kahoot! is a game-based student response system (SRS). This article is a literature review of studies assessing the use of Kahoot! and whether it supports student learning. The articles compared Kahoot! with traditional learning, with group discussions, and in comparison with other tools. I applaud the authors for not selecting to include papers accessible only behind paywalls. I also like that that the review looked at more than just test results, and included things like classroom dynamics, student anxiety, and student perceptions. That said, as the authors themselves note, papers about Kahoot! specifically tend to be favourable toward Kahoot! "Of the accepted articles, 97% present mainly positive results related to Kahoot! and 8% include challenges and problems." Even so, only about two thirds reported that Kahoot! improved learning.
Ah, corporate ethics, you never fail to disappoint. On the same day I learned that Apple was fined for not telling users that its updates deliberately slowed down older phopnes, I also read that Google creates a unique ID for every instance of Chrome that users install, so it can track their every move. More in Hacker News: Google tracks individual users per Chrome installation ID.
My final mathematics course was integral calculus, and no, I did not do well (I passed, but I never felt comfortable with it). The rest of mathematics remains something I'll 'get back to' one day (I did continue much further in formal logic, so I imagine I could circle around and get my math). So I'm not surprised that calculus is where the most math students founder. According to this item, "the courseware uses more than 100,000 assessment items to pinpoint skills gaps and intervenes with instruction and interactive activities as soon as the student needs them." But I'm not sure the issue with calculus is skills gaps. I think there's a conceptual leap to be taken. Calculus defies logic and reason, or at least, everything you learned about logic and reason up to that point. You have to abandon reality and embrace a world of magical infinitesimals in a way that would make Zeno blanche. Learning 'skills' doesn't cut it.
Depolarizing American voters: Democrats and Republicans are equally susceptible to false attitude feedback
Thomas Strandberg, Jay A. Olson, Lars Hall, Andy Woods, Petter Johansson, PLOS ONE, 2020/02/07
There's a well-known phenomenon whereby people who have taken a position on an issue will, when questioned, entrench their views and interpret evidence in such a way as to favour that position. They can be gradually led into supporting more and more extreme views; this is a well-known effect of some recommendation engines. But what if we misled them about the position they actually took in a more positive way? In this study, "By making people believe that they wrote down different responses moments earlier, we were able to make them endorse and express less polarized political views." That sounds great, but is it ethical? Via Futurity.
Here's how Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) chief executive Roberta Mock opened a recent conference:
"The TaPRA Executive wants you to feel welcome and valued – and not simply regardless of your nationality, gender, body, sex, race, ethnicity, dis/ability, age … but because of these lived experiences. TaPRA aims to facilitate an environment in which a productive balance of researchers at all career stages are able to work together, supporting and learning from each other … [It] is … important that we practise a form of radical acceptance and solidarity – that we make space, that we respect each other and that we look to common goals and aspirations."
I'd say this is a huge step forward, but not far enough. We need to promote, in my view, radical acceptance and solidarity even when we have different goals and aspirations. It's about what we can do for each other, not how we can make people align.
If you want a fun, light, but long read on the history of CSS, this is the document for you. My own experience goes back to those days before CSS, so I lived through all the changes described in the article, and it seems pretty accurate to me (and yes, I rember using tables to define headers and footers and left-site menus). It's funny, though - for all the work that has been put into CSS over the years, it feels like such a small advance over the dayt
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