The observent among you will have noticed that I’ve tweaked the title. That’s because I’m broadening it slightly, as I’m now looking at items I’ve saved as favourites in Twitter, through RSS and Pocket (Read it Later as was). I’m trying to use RSS feeds to reduce the amount of time I spend browsing webpages instead of working. I can synchronise them when I’ve got WiFi and read in spare minutes rather than wasting time at my desk. Saving interesting items to Pocket works the same way, and I now use ifttt.com to send any items from all these applications to the same folder in EverNote. Basically, 2012 is great.
Boring stuff over; on with the show. What caught my eye in the last week or so?
The echoes and responses to Wilshaw’s unfortunate comment on teachers’ stress levels continue, as these letters in the Observer testify. I find myself particularly agreeing with one suggesting that independant schools should lose charitable status. Private hospitals remain businesses, companies which provide charitable funding (and for most private schools, this is a tiny percentage of turnover) do not benefit unduly. Why should schools be different? (Thanks to @teachitso for the link, but the opinion is obviously mine!)
Tom Nennett is at his ranty best in Soylent Green is Teachers. Some of the issues discussed there are illustrated by the recent story about Mossbourne. This is a successful (and much feted) academy which have declined to accept a student with (physical) special needs and claim they are not legally obligated to do so.
Readers of this blog, or my twitterfeed, will probably know I’m an Android person. However, that is not why I liked this post from @mattpearson: iPads do not have magic learning dust coming out of the back vent. A great post discussing the difference between shiny gadgets and effective learning, despite the obvious disappointment when I looked for magic dust. Or, indeed, a back vent.
@myGCSEScience is producing revision videos and putting them online, for free. Which can’t be bad. I like the ones I’ve seen, but still believe that getting kids to produce their own – or at least script them – would be even more successful. This, however, is a nice addition, or would be a great way to introduce the idea to a class. And free.
And while we’re talking about science students, A Rough Guide to Evidence-Based Medicine by @jdc325 would provide an excellent reading assignment. They should get a lot out of it even if they’re not planning a career in some medical field, as it links so nicely with a more general model of how science works.
- @davestacey shared a presentation he used with PGCE students about technology in the classroom.
- @informed_edu: Parental unemployment impacts on pupil attainment, especially from more disadvantaged backgrounds: http://bit.ly/IXH8YC /via @SchoolDuggery
- Why Maths Exams Are Not Just Stupid But Actively Harmful is well worth a read, and not just for maths teachers/tutors. Would be a great stimulus before an inset day or CPD session on formative vs summative assessment (an oversimplification, I know).
- I’ve seen odd bits and pieces from the site, but never checked it out properly until @mrsebiology recommended it. Fake Science would provide some interesting starters as long as the students realised they were supposed to be misconceptions.
- Crowdsourcing vs outsourcing exams, an old article, also via @mrsebiology. Turns out my idea for a new exam board wasn’t that, umm, new.
- I recommend you read this article by @teachertoolkit on ‘Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce’. But first copy and paste so you can adjust the horrendous font and colour scheme.
- @davestacey: Real kick up the backside for me – MUST go back to no hands up – (Classroom experiment – http://bit.ly/KG9RoO from @dylanwilian)
- Time to add in more online content; according to a study reported in the Boston Globe, students learned faster with networked access rather than face to face contact with instructors. The study itself is freely available but runs to 53 pages.
- @wonderfrancis (Francis Gilbert) provides evidence that we should teach less. I like the idea of the focus being returned to students, I must admit.
- @josepicardo shares some thoughts about Why Schools Must Teach Social Networking.
Politics affecting schools
- @diervilla: MT @drgrist: 9 year-old’s lunch blog shames school into making changes<I love this blog. The governors should read it!
- This post by @drhelenwright discusses (some of) the issues with the current GCSE system.
- @informed_edu: Can 20% of schoolchildren really have Special Needs? No, says SEN coordinator via @Telegraph http://soc.li/up5lqsZ (I’d say that a lot of this is more about politics than pedagogy.)
- Two complementary posts, both from the Guardian, about Gove’s vanity project for sending Bibles to schools: one by David Mitchell and the other by Richard Dawkins.
- The ever-readable Ed Yong (aka @edyong209) produced an article about replication studies in psychology. Interesting to read and possibly useful for able students considering careers in research – or just their next essay topic.
- Real science, done by kids: @CERP_UK published a short opinion piece by Mary Kellett on papers such as this one by Victoria Spalding.
- @mocost: Depressive symptoms associated with certain patterns of internet usage http://bit.ly/Lf1Bxt [PDF] (raises some interesting issues about datamining, right to privacy and so on.)
- @snapshotscience flagged up yet another reworking of the periodic table, this one showing relative abundances.
- @cebmblog: Neat explanation of absolute risks of taking statins RT
@UniofOxford: Statins for the many? #oxsciblog http://bit.ly/JQjTBN
- on units: @jonmbutterworth: One foot per nanosecond. Sunday lunch advert for thing I wrote yesterday about units, including animated
#ATLAS event http://gu.com/p/37yh2/tw
- @thelittleidiot: Nice fact: the energy in photons that strikes the earth in one hour is as much as all humans use on the planet in a year.
- @scienceweekUK: Due to the effect of thermal expansion, the Eiffel Tower is up to 15cm taller in summer. http://ow.ly/b4llf
- @AdamRutherford: The shameless Aric Sigman is back with his usual awfulness. @DrPeteEtchells takes him splendidly apart here http://bit.ly/Jl26UZ
- Look, Feynman! Or at least, a video and some great commentary.
I’m playing around with some ideas for what might be a book at some point, putting together a couple of sample chapters and a summary. So this infographic fills me with terror.
@gurumag: Have you read
#TheHungerGames yet? No, don’t scoff – here’s why you should: http://gurumagazine.org/book-reviews/book-review-the-hunger-games-trilogy-by-suzanne-collins/ (I enjoyed them but not sure they deserve the hype, FWIW.)
@ProfFrancesca, according to most observers, was the star of last weekend’s ‘The Big Questions‘ on BBC, about the distinction – if any – between a religion and a cult. I shall leave today’s last words to her:
— F Stavrakopoulou (@ProfFrancesca) May 20, 2012