Another dot in the blogosphere?

Backed up readings

Posted on: October 26, 2018

I can tell when work gets in the way of learning — my readings pile up as open tabs in my browser or are marked unread in my Feedly reader. This is even more apparent when I do not react to and reflect on what I read, watch, or listen to.

Here are just two examples of open tabs in my Mac:

Lecture capture
On 21 Sep, Martin Weller shared his thoughts on lecture capture. Weller hooked me in with “don’t fight it, feel it”.

My first instinct was to fight it because that is what I stood against when I was a university faculty member and then head of group that led the way with progressive pedagogies.

Weller provided a broad and balanced series on points, and I agree with one operating principle that I will sum up as: Think about what lecture capture (or any technology for that matter) means for the learner and learning.

We might disagree fundamentally on the effectiveness of lectures, but we definitely are focused on the learner and learning.

Side effects of evidence-based education
Yong Zhao is not one to shy away from saying something controversial about education and he has the ammunition to back his words up.

His blog entry on 7 Oct was the introduction of his new book, What Works Can Hurt: Side Effects in Education. After listing examples of medications that were accompanied with warning labels, he wondered why educational products and interventions did not also come with such warnings.

In Singapore’s context, we have warnings not to take too much Panadol, but were not warned about how our notion and implementation of meritocracy could stratified society. Hindsight is clearer than foresight, but that is not Yong Zhao’s message.

While Yong Zhao compared the education systems in China and the USA, his message rings true for Singapore as we strive for evidence-based education: Interventions and their measures look for the positive and intended effects, not the side and dire effects.

If we are to be an example to the rest of the world, we need to embrace not just the plaudits, but also the brickbats.

If nothing else gets in the way of some reading and reflection, I might share some thoughts on the other open tabs on my browser.

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