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I’m so sorry for psychology’s loss, whatever it is
Adam Mastroianni, Experimental History, 2023/10/09


Suppose, says Adam Mastroianni, you removed all contributions to psychology authored by two professors recently accused of fabricating data. What would change? Now these are really famous professors, with tens of thousands of citations. But nothing would change. "If you think of psychology as a forest, we haven't felled a tree or even broken a branch. We've lost a few apples." Why is that? Mastroianni argues that it's because three major paradigms in psychology -  "humans are biased," "situations matter," and "pick a noun" - are ultimately empty. They are "unfalsifiable and inexhaustible... we're never going to run out of biases, situations, or words." But even though we can keep piling on data, nothing changes. They don't actually explain anything. "Catching the cheaters won't bring our field back to life," he argues. "Only new ideas can do that." I don't disagree.

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Mark Zuckerberg tried to revolutionize American education with technology.
Matt Barnum, ChalkBeat, 2023/10/09


This article recounts some of ChanZuckerberg's attempts to develop personalized learning as an alternative to traditional schools in the U.S., and in particular their investments in companies like AltSchool and Summit Learning. It also describes the failure of these initiatives. " By 2021, AltSchool had sold its schools and turned into a consulting firm. Most significantly, CZI now appears to be reducing its focus on Summit," Why did these fail? The disappointing results from remote learning and 'Zoom school' during the pandemic didn't help. Nor did the lack of trust in Facebook's data collection. But if I had to call it, I'd say it was because the model was prescriptive and boring. " Summit also featured 16 hours a week of "personalized learning time." Students worked at their own pace on a computer, which fed them a "playlist" of content where they learned specific skills. Students worked at their own pace on a computer, which fed them a "playlist" of content where they learned specific skills. Students could move on once they got eight of 10 questions right on an online quiz."

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The Flaw Behind Coding Bootcamps' Attempt To Disrupt Higher Ed
Michael B. Horn, Forbes, 2023/10/09


This short article describes what Michael B. Horn describes as the "flaw" in 'direct to consumer' (DTC) models of education, as exemplified by the coding bootcamp model. He argues that the model posed no inherent barrier to competition, so competitors quickly arose, driving the price down, and increasing the cost to acquire customers. Finally, traditional educational institutions, with their built-in advantage, moved in. "The DTC flurry is a vivid representation of the transient advantage phenomenon. Even dramatic early success doesn't guarantee a lasting advantage."

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We publish six to eight or so short posts every weekday linking to the best, most interesting and most important pieces of content in the field. Read more about what we cover. We also list papers and articles by Stephen Downes and his presentations from around the world.

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