Another dot in the blogosphere?

Being internally consistent is critical whether you are designing a survey or a test, or writing argumentatively.

In the case of a survey as a data collection tool, this might refer to how sets of questions are aligned to provide answers to research questions. In a test, internal consistency might measure how well the questions are aligned to explicit learning outcomes.

These are specific skills that can be taught to ensure the rigour of a survey or test. The same could be said about writing.

The same should be said about writing, be it for a scholarly article or a tweeted tech piece. I use the latter to illustrate.

This was the tweet.

It left out the word “lower” or “slower” after “35%”. This made it sound as if the drop in performance was more drastic than it actually was.

If you read the actual article, you find that “the read speed is down 35%”.

Why harp on a seemingly innocuous mistake? What is in print, be it paper or electronic, is not as fluid or negotiable as what is said in real time. It is your word in concrete form.

If we are to say what we mean and mean what we say, we should practice being internally consistent. A headline, or a tweet in this case, should be aligned to what is in the body of an article.

Do a Google search of the types of flipped classroom or flipped learning. You might find proponents of four types or six types or even what is best in which circumstance.

Read these without critical thought and you reduce a complex and worthwhile design to sound bites. There are no easy answers even if you find convenient ones.

Flipping starts first with a change in mindset. Such a change becomes evident with changes in behaviours of teachers and students. What might these changes look like?

I share two of my perspectives in image quotes.

The flipped classroom swaps WHAT happens WHERE. Flipped learning changes WHO does WHAT.

The flipped classroom focuses on engagement. Flipped learning is about learner empowerment.

Are these perspectives reductionist? No. They do not define flipping so precisely as to remove possibilities and contexts. They do, however, establish good foundations upon which to design and build.

I ask questions quite a bit on my blog. For example, yesterday I raised questions about the coding move for primary school students in Singapore.

Sometimes I ask myself if I should ask these questions. After all, these can come across as being critical or cynical, aggressive, or anti-establishment.

However they are perceived, I know that they come from a good place — the heart and mind of a reflective educator — and were nurtured in a graduate school and varsity that valued critical thinking.

So I remind myself: If not me, then who? If it helps someone else think more deeply about an issue or a plan, why not ask away?

As I ask questions, I am guided by these principles.

I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned. -- Richard Feynman

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself. -- Lord Alexander.

If you seek to indoctrinate, provide the answers. If you seek to educate, provide questions.

If your students can Google the answer, you are not asking the right questions.

When I read that coding is “compulsory for all upper primary pupils next year”, I had questions. I was not the only one.

I had more basic questions.

Furthermore, how do policymakers and implementers distinguish coding from authoring and computational thinking? How might computational thinking be integrated into current subjects instead of being an “enrichment”?

If we consider the SAT, the prime test for entrance to US universities, what does that test actually measure?

The video below provides insights into the history and design of the SAT.


Video source

It concludes with this sobering thought:

The SAT was created in the pursuit of precision. An effort to measure what we’re capable of — to predict what we can do. What we might do. What we’ve forgotten is that, often, that can’t be untangled from where we’ve been, what we’ve been through, and what we’ve been given.

The same could be said about practically any other academic test taken on paper.

This refrain might seem old, but it should be seen as timeless instead — correlation is not causation.

Case in point, the article embedded in the tweet highlighted how you can correlate almost anything with enough data and participants. Just because eating potatoes is correlated with “negative” technology use does not mean that one causes the other.

The use and integration of everyday and educational technologies are not monolithic. They are complex phenomena that cannot be reduced to soundbites or clickbait.

As the author pointed out in his article, if one is to explore the possibilities and problems in this wide field, one has to first be a student of cognitive development, epistemology, sociology, moral philosophy, etc. And yet these are so easily circumnavigated by a combination of misplaced correlation and fear of change.

About a week ago I ignored (yet again) another small deluge of demands that I give my Twitter handle to someone else.

I ignored and blocked the noise because I have found those strategies to be effective against people who do not listen or read.

One such person declared that someone else deserved my Twitter handle because I had fewer followers than them.

I do not play that number game because I prevent people from following me by blocking them. I used to have to estimate how many until this week. I discovered that the latest version of the Twitter app shows my block count — it is over 33K.

I have blocked bots, spammers, and people who mistake me for someone else. I go on a blocking binge every month or so. This might seem like a foolish thing to do. But if I believe in curating my account as an educator, I need to practice what I preach.

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