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Posts Tagged ‘ted talk

Here is another example of why propagators of “learning styles” do schooling and education a disservice.

An NBC correspondent highlighted a quote from a WaPo article:

For some context, here is an excerpt from the article

Trump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings. 

Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Say what you want about “learning styles”. If you are a teacher and what you say is not informed by research, then you dig you and your students into a hole. These “learning styles” become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you do not like reading words, here are lots of pictures instead. If you cannot listen attentively to someone, go outside and do something that somehow teaches you the same thing.

“Learning styles” can become an excuse to label yourself or someone else so that you or they do not have to try to learn something else some other way.

Do you and your students a favour and educate yourself on the fallacies of “learning styles”. Read this tweet storm — a response to an uncritical and irresponsible vendor — for a start.

You do not even need to read the research. Just question your conscience and logic — is it right and helpful for any learners to grow up with a limited set of tools and skills?

Video source

The video above highlights how “learning styles”:

  • have no research evidence that show that they improve learning
  • waste the time and effort of teachers who try to cater to different styles
  • label and limit people into believing they learn only or best in certain ways

Admit your bias, take the first difficult step of learning what research tells us, and unlearn “learning styles”. Your first step is any of the resources I have shared in Diigo, the articles mentioned in the tweetstorm, or the TED talk embedded above. Read, watch, or listen; choose your learning preference, but do not call it a learning style.

Learning is often difficult. If it was easy, it probably is not learning. Giving in to your uninformed bias that kids have “learning styles” may be easier, but that does not make it right.

Video source

You get all sorts of interesting and inspiring speakers at TED Talks. This old but recently featured one by Terry Moore almost seemed improptu. He showed everyone how to tie shoelaces.

Or rather, he urged his audience to relearn how to tie them. It was a slight change to the process but the result was more effective. I think I learnt how to tie laces this way from a LifeHacker article a while back.

Consider the way we teach. It’s easy to just teach the way we were taught and assume that what we do is effective. But sometimes someone can come along and show you more effective ways with the help of small tweaks.

That is why I like examining my teaching shoes often and thinking of more effective ways of tying my laces. This prevents me from tripping up!


You need to skip forward to the 8min 40sec mark to get at the seven ways.

If the talk was a game, most people would have stopped playing…

I monitor Richard Byrne’s FreeTech4Teachers blog by RSS. Hardly a day goes by without something useful appearing on it.

Byrne highlights a recent TED talk by Daniel Pink on motivation. While there is a business slant to the talk, the principles of motivation apply just as well in education.

Pink describes how providing extrinsic rewards are not necessarily motivating and that rewards is only good for simple tasks where the outcomes are obvious. He adds that rewards are not productive for complex tasks and that rewards kill creativity. He proposes that in order to motivate, we should be promoting autonomy, mastery and purpose in order to motivate.

Hmm, sounds eerily similar to our adopted framework of meaningful learning!

… because they are not truly interactive white boards.

Normally the only one interacting with them is the teacher. More often than not, the type of interaction is limited to the vain attempt to deliver information (the same information that is often better learned by other means) in a flashy manner. I think that IWBs promote tired and increasingly irrelevant teacher-centred pedagogy.

But there is one thing I like about IWBs: Their high cost has got innovative people like Johnny Lee figuring out ways to not only create cheaper ones with the Wiimote, but also how to make them multi-input-capable. This multi-input capacity makes multi “touch” computing possible (see video below) and can allow more than one student to interact with the resources on it!

[YouTube video source] [Original TED talk source]

What I like most about Lee is his personal philosophy of getting as many of the people who don’t have the technologies to help themselves! He has offered his ideas and software online for free.

If you use his hacks, acknowledge him and please don’t just create an IWB. Use it to allow students to learn better!

Click to see all the nominees!

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