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dy/dan » Blog Archive » Your GPS Is Making You Dumber, and What That Means for Teaching
"Ann Shannon asks teachers to avoid “GPS-ing” their students:
When I talk about GPSing students in a mathematics class I am describing our tendency to tell students—step-by-step—how to arrive at the answer to a mathematics problem, just as a GPS device in a car tells us – step-by-step – how to arrive at some destination.

Shannon writes that when she used her GPS, “I usually arrived at my destination having learned little about my journey and with no overview of my entire route.”

True to the contested nature of education, we will now turn to someone who advocates exactly the opposite. Greg Ashman recommends novices learn new ideas and skills through explicit instruction, one facet of which is step-by-step worked examples. Ashman took up the GPS metaphor recently. He used his satellite navigation system in new environs and found himself able to re-create his route later without difficulty.

What can we do here? Shannon argues from intuition. Ashman’s study lacks a certain rigor. Luckily, researchers have actually studied what people learn and don’t learn when they use their GPS!

In a 2006 study, researchers compared two kinds of navigation. One set of participants used traditional, step-by-step GPS navigation to travel between two points in a zoo. Another group had to construct their route between those points using a map and then travel segments of that route from memory.

Afterwards, the researchers assessed the route knowledge and survey knowledge of their participants. Route knowledge helps people navigate between landmarks directly. Survey knowledge helps people understand spatial relationships between those landmarks and plan new routes. At the end of the study, the researchers found that map users had better survey knowledge than GPS users, which you might have expected, but map users outperformed the GPS users on measures of route knowledge as well.

So your GPS does an excellent job transporting you efficiently from one point to another, but a poor job helping you acquire the survey knowledge to understand the terrain and adapt to changes.

Similarly, our step-by-step instructions do an excellent job transporting students efficiently from a question to its answer, but a poor job helping them acquire the domain knowledge to understand the deep structure in a problem set and adapt old methods to new questions.

I’ll take that trade with my GPS, especially on a dull route that I travel infrequently, but that isn’t a good trade in the classroom.

The researchers explain their results from the perspective of active learning, arguing that travelers need to do something effortful and difficult while they learn in order to remember both route and survey knowledge. Designing learning for the right kind of effort and difficulty is one of the most interesting tasks in curriculum design. Too much effort and difficulty and you’ll see our travelers try to navigate a route without a GPS or a map. While blindfolded. But the GPS offers too little difficulty, with negative consequences for drivers and even worse ones for students."
education  teaching  gps  belesshelpful  instruction  math  mathematics  2016  annshannon  learning  howwelearn  navigation  attention  knowledge  curriculum  domainknowledge  problemsolving 
june 2016 by robertogreco
dy/dan » Blog Archive » When Delayed Feedback Is Superior To Immediate Feedback
"Craig Roberts, writing in EdSurge:
Beginning in the 1960s psychologists began to find that delaying feedback could improve learning. An early lab experiment involved 3rd graders performing a task we can all remember doing: memorizing state capitols. The students were shown a state, and two possible capitols. One group was given feedback immediately after answering; the other group after a 10 second delay. When all students were tested a week later, those who received delayed feedback had the highest scores.

Will Thalheimer has a useful review of the literature, beginning on page 14. One might object that whether immediate or delayed feedback is more effective turns on the goals of the study and the design of the experiment.

To which I’d respond, yes, exactly!

Feedback is complicated, but to hear 99% of edtech companies talk, it’s simple. To them, the virtues of immediate feedback are received wisdom. The more immediate the better! Make the feedback immediater!

Dan’s Corollary to Begle’s Second Law applies. If someone says it’s simple, they’re selling you something."
danmeyer  2016  teaching  education  howweteach  feedback  timing  craigroberts  willthalheimer  research  edtech  immediacy  learning  howwelearn  belesshelpful 
february 2016 by robertogreco
» Intrusive Scaffolding, Obstructed Learning (and MOOCs) SAMPLE REALITY
"If you think of riding a bike in terms of pedagogy, training wheels are what learning experts call scaffolding. Way back in 1991, Allan Collins, John Seely Brown, and Ann Holum wrote about a type of teaching called cognitive apprenticeship, and they used the term scaffolding to describe “the support the master gives apprentices in carrying out a task. This can range from doing almost the entire task for them to giving occasional hints as to what to do next.” As the student—the apprentice—becomes more competent, the teacher—the master—gradually backs away, in effect removing the scaffolding. It’s a process Collins, Brown, and Holum call “fading.” The problem with training wheels, then, is that fading is all but impossible. You either have training wheels, or you don’t.

Training wheels are a kind of scaffolding. But they are intrusive scaffolding, obstructive scaffolding. These bulky metal add-ons get in the way quite literally, but they also interfere pedagogically. Riding a bike with training wheels prepares a child for nothing more than riding a bike—with training wheels.

My oldest child, I said, learned how to ride a bike with training wheels. But that’s not exactly what happened. After weeks of struggle—and mounting frustration—he learned. But only because I removed the all-or-nothing training wheels and replaced them with his own body. I not only removed the training wheels from his bike, but I removed the pedals themselves. In essence, I made a balance bike out of a conventional bike. Only then did he learn to balance, the most fundamental aspect of bike-riding. I learned something too: when my younger son was ready to ride a bike we would skip the training wheels entirely.

My kids’ differing experiences lead me to believe that we place too much value on scaffolding, or at least, on the wrong kind of scaffolding. And now I’m not talking simply about riding bikes. I’m thinking of my own university classroom—and beyond, to online learning. We insist upon intrusive scaffolding. We are so concerned about students not learning that we surround the learning problem with scaffolding. In the process we obscure what we had hoped to reveal. Like relying on training wheels, we create complicated interfaces to experiences rather than simplifying the experiences themselves. Just as the balance bike simplifies the experience of bike riding, stripping it down to its core processes, we need to winnow down overly complex learning activities.

We could call this removal of intrusive scaffolding something like “unscaffolding” or “descaffolding.” In either case, the idea is that we take away structure instead of adding to it. And perhaps more importantly, the descaffolding reinstates the body itself as the site—and means of—learning. Scaffolding not only obstructs learning, it turns learning into an abstraction, something that happens externally. The more scaffolding there is, the less embodied the learning will be. Take away the intrusive scaffolding, and like my son on his balance bike, the learner begins to use what he or she had all along, a physical body.

I’ve been thinking about embodied pedagogy lately in relation to MOOCs—massive open online courses. In the worse cases, MOOCs are essentially nothing but scaffolding. A typical Coursera course will include video lectures for each lesson, an online quiz, and a discussion board. All scaffolding. In a MOOC, where are the bodies? And what is the MOOC equivalent of a balance bike? I want to suggest that unless online teaching—and classroom teaching as well—begins to first, unscaffold learning problems and second, rediscover embodied pedagogy, we will obstruct learning rather than foster it. We will push students away from authentic learning experiences rather than draw them toward such experiences.

After all, remember the etymological root of pedagogy: paedo, as in child, and agogic, as in leading or guiding. Teachers guide learners. Scaffolding—the wrong kind—obstructs learning."
marksample  scaffolding  pedagogy  howweteach  belesshelpful  trust  education  teaching  learning  bikes  biking  johnseelybrown  annholum  allancollins  mooc  moocs  coursera  experience  balance  2014 
february 2014 by robertogreco
We need to think very, very seriously about this - The Edge of Tomorrow - Standing on the verge of a technologically educational revolution.
"1. Why don’t we give kids more credit for their natural capacity to learn?

2. What if we’re the ones getting in the way?

3. Can we finally put to rest the silly digital immigrant/digital native nonsense?

4. Why does there remain such a fascination with teaching kids very specific technology skills in our schools today?

It’s intriguing to compare the new approach OLPC is taking with the tablets to the approach they took in Peru. Reading through the reflections on the failure in Peru brings to the surface two immediate observations. The hardware/software wasn’t ready for the task. And the adults continued getting in the way. The second point, to me, is the most salient. Read through each section of Patzer’s observations, and you see how often the breakdown happens in the way the adults try to move the students through a pre-determined way to learn with the device."

[via: http://blog.genyes.org/index.php/2012/11/02/given-tablets-but-no-teachers-ethiopian-children-teach-themselves/ ]
holeinthewall  perception  teaching  neoteny  belesshelpful  technology  autodidacts  1:1  ipads  littleboxes  ethiopia  olpc  learning  2012  deschooling  unschooling  bengrey  1to1  ipad 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Albert Cullum, Pablo Picasso and The Art of Teaching | Teaching Out Loud
""I think teaching is pushing them away from you…through different doors. Not embracing them. When you embrace someone, you’re holding them back. Picasso really captured that in his art work, Mother and Child: a chunky mother, balancing the baby perfectly. She doesn’t hold him…it’s balance…he can go, anytime he’s capable of going, but he’s perfectly balanced until he takes the step. Classroom teaching should be that. Find a security spot for them and then they’re ready to go."

…the “balance” to which Cullum refers has more to do with allowing children to discover their own uniqueness, their own abilities and their own “script”. He creates the structures and the strategies that allow this discovery to take place,  but the goal is never to have them cling to him as teacher. Instead, the goal is to have them embrace that uniqueness and potential and run with it…as far as they can in whatever direction they choose."
children  parenting  learning  education  belesshelpful  deschooling  unschooling  potential  discovery  balance  howweteach  cv  2012  stephenhurley  albertcullem  dependence  independence  freedom  control  teaching 
may 2012 by robertogreco
The Most Dangerous Gamer - Magazine - The Atlantic
"Thoreau…“With a little more deliberation in the choice of their pursuits,” he proclaimed, “all men would perhaps become essentially students and observers, for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike.”

Blow clicked off the stereo and turned to me. “I honestly didn’t plan that,” he said.

In so many words, Loud Thoreau had just described Blow’s central idea for The Witness. Whereas so many contemporary games are built on a foundation of shooting or jumping or, let’s say, the creative use of mining equipment to disembowel space zombies, Blow wants the point of The Witness to be the act of noticing, of paying attention to one’s surroundings. Speaking about it, he begins to sound almost like a Zen master. “Things are pared down to the basic acts of movement and observation until those senses become refined,” he told me. “The further you go into the game, the more it’s not even about the thinking mind anymore—it becomes about the intuitive mind."
literature  narrative  taylorclark  miegakure  marctenbosch  interactivefiction  asceticism  storytelling  payingattention  attention  observation  noticing  intuition  myst  littlebigplanet  money  belesshelpful  fiction  jenovachen  flow  tombissell  gamedev  chrishecker  einstein'sdreams  alanlightman  invisiblecities  italocalvino  jonblow  deannavanburen  art  2012  thewitness  thoreau  srg  edg  videogames  gaming  games  braid  jonathanblow  if  cyoa 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Ukulele Dayz « Sarcasymptote
"What I’ve been doing a better job of, though, (but see footnote 2 and know that IT STILL ISN’T GOOD), is backing off and letting them struggle…

…brought my ukulele to school one day because I had a rehearsal to go to after, and I started playing it in class as a joke. Not only did they not complain, but they said they kind of liked it[3]. So I started to do it more. And I noticed something. They stopped asking me for help when I was playing ukulele and would instead turn to their neighbor and ask them. Good God, that is what I’d been asking you guys to do forever! Hot damn! It was beautiful: I could still move around and check up on their work, but when they asked me to help them, I would just say, “Ugh, I’m too busy playing ukulele.”
teaching  via:lukeneff  sarcasymptote  math  struggle  learning  belesshelpful  2011  ukeleles  music 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Unlearning How to Teach
"Rather than teachers delivering an information product to be ‘consumed’ and fed back by the student, co-creating value would see the teacher and student mutually involved in assembling and dissembling cultural products. As co-creators, both would add value to the capacity building work being done through the invitation to ‘meddle’ and to make errors. The teacher is in there experimenting and learning from the instructive complications of her errors alongside her students, rather than moving from desk to desk or chat room to chat room, watching over her flock."

[via: http://weblogg-ed.com/2010/unlearning-teaching/ ]
creativity  education  teaching  unlearning  knowledge  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  learning  toshare  topost  belesshelpful  intervention  lifelonglearning  ericamcwilliam  zigmuntbauman  sageonthestage  guideontheside  teacherasmasterlearner 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Itch of Curiosity | Wired Science | Wired.com
"The fact that curiosity increases with uncertainty (up to a point), suggests that a small amount of knowledge can pique curiosity and prime the hunger for knowledge, much as an olfactory or visual stimulus can prime a hunger for food, which might suggest ways for educators to ignite the wick in the candle of learning."
jonahlehrer  uncertainty  certainty  education  learning  humans  curiosity  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  howwelearn  belesshelpful  teaching  knowledge  humannature  instinct  brain  neuroscience  creativity  imagination  psychology  evolution  science  behavior  academia 
august 2010 by robertogreco
dy/dan » Impatience With Irresolution, pt 1: Part Of The Problem
"Nowadays, I don't much care what they answer. I'm disinterested. I want to get past their answer. My response to their answer is an automated "Why?" That's where the action is.

I have been asking questions lately like "If the students in our class are the domain of a relationship, is their hair color a function?" which you can successfully defend from either angle.

I like the debates. I like the fights. I'm happy that we're slowly detoxing off our addiction to easy answers, taking longer to answer questions that are worth more of our time."

[Rediscovering this stuff courtesy Basti. This one continues with part 2 at: blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=2971 ]
assessment  learning  patience  students  irresolution  uncertainty  ambiguity  danmeyer  glvo  tcsnmy  questions  questioning  pedagogy  socraticmethod  relationships  answers  davidmilch  belesshelpful  storytelling  narrative 
june 2010 by robertogreco
The Philosophy of Punk Rock Mathematics – Technoccult interviews Tom Henderson | Technoccult
"Many students want teachers to “show me the steps...sequence...that they can perform that will give them an answer...not unreasonable; they know that performance on exams, & therefore their performance on All-Seeing GPA, is largely determined by being able to Do The Steps."

[ via: http://snarkmarket.com/2010/5348 ]
education  games  math  learning  tcsnmy  teaching  pedagogy  belesshelpful  superstruct  janemcgonigal  arg  evoke  gametheory  gaming  play  tomhenderson 
february 2010 by robertogreco

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