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Posts Tagged ‘misconception

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Even though I might have referred to the marshmallow study a few times in the past, I misrepresented it. I simply passed on what I had heard instead of being more critical and nuanced.

In 2014, I learnt that the original study was less about how childhood traits like self-control (delaying gratification) were predictors of adult success. It was more about the children’s coping mechanisms and decision-making. The researcher behind the study, Walter Mischel, said so.

The press, YouTube video creators, and even Sesame Street do not always get it right, especially there seems to be an obvious link. If they take the bait instead of exploring nuance, they put marshmallow in the horse’s mouth and end up with egg in their faces.

This was recently featured in the Straits Times.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Second Life (SL) is not a game. There are no levels to go through, points to get, or game bosses to kill. It is a multi-user virtual environment (MUVE).

There are MUVE games like World of Warcraft, but SL is not a game. As its name implies, SL is another life you can live. It can be as mundane or as exciting as you want it to be. You can recreate your existing life or live out a fantasy. If you wish to create a game-like environment, you can. But SL is not a game in itself. It is a virtual space to create and collaborate.

Newspapers do a disservice by spreading this sort of misinformation. Label SL a game and other layperson perceptions creep in: Violence, addiction, anti-social behaviour, no educational value, time-wasting, etc. This could not be further from practice. Half the battle to win the minds of an overly critical but ignorant public is lost.

This is one reason why I include SL and other 21st century learning environments in the ICT course that I facilitate. I offer a Prezi presentation on educational SL to any and all who are interested. But the best thing you can do is get a SL avatar, try it out for yourself and read about the powerful things that people are doing with it to promote meaningful learning.

When I read a headline like “Web 2.0 gives new tools to hate groups“, I cringe. For two reasons.

First, to the uninformed, it reinforces the misconception that giving users the autonomy to create content only leads trouble. High profile cases of Web 2.0 tend to be abuses of this sociotechnical construct, e.g., bloggers defaming others or fanning the flames of intolerance. High profile cases of effective Web 2.0 use, such as Barack Obama’s campaign, seem to fly under the radar.

The second reason I cringe is because education is always last to catch up. Even hate groups and extremists have learned to harness the power of Web 2.0! Where is the sense of urgency in the educational arena?

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