Tag Archives: education

Young boy reading

How children learn to read

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I have some mixed feelings about this research, so I thought it would be a great idea to share it with you and get your sage insights on it. Start with this summary in the New Yorker by Maria Konnikova. I read her work all the time – she is a truly excellent psychology writer. And if you want the original study from Psychological Science by Fumiko Hoeft at UCSF, you can get it here if you have access to the journal.

Why is it easy for some people to learn to read, and difficult for others? It’s a tough question with a long history. We know that it’s not just about raw intelligence, nor is it wholly about repetition and dogged persistence. This is the mystery that has animated the work of Fumiko Hoeft, a cognitive neuroscientist and psychiatrist currently at the University of California, San Francisco.

a silhouette of a person with gears in the brain

Priming Mindsets for Learning

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I have talked before about inexpensive ways to increase learning (here and here). Here is another example for you. I am sure many of you are familiar with Carol Dweck’s wonderful work on mindsets. Brainpickings has one of the best summaries of her work.

One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves, Dweck found in her research, has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality.

a fancy lecture hall

Classroom Design

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This is a very disheartening article. Sapna Cheryan at the University of Washington has spent the past several years looking at the design of classrooms and has found them inadequate for learning. All the way from kindergarten to university. There are many different deficiencies to choose from, but many of them are related to human factors and ergonomics issues. She has a TEDx talk here

a machine to score scantron forms

Student Evaluations of Teaching

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The typical student evaluations that occur in most college courses at the end of the semester are intended to be used as part of the professor’s performance appraisal. The instructions clearly state that students should not consider factors such as the contents of the course, the time classes are held, or how much they like the professor personally. And yet the validity of these instruments often falls down on the job…

children standing out in the rain

Performance and Climate Change?

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This article from the Boston Globe, citing a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, has some more bad news about climate change. The study looked at how candidates performed on college entrance exams on days when the weather was bad. Not only did students do worse on the exams, but this led to reduced matriculation in college and even lower lifetime wages…

a man playing the violin

The Basis of Design Standards

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In the 1960s, Shin’ichi Suzuki developed a method for teaching music. It turns out that Suzuki may have faked his credentials. It was only because of his credentials that his methods were adopted in the US. So it is a key point. But how key? This question is very relevant to us in HF/E because we are often called on to design a variety of products, services, customer experiences, and on and on…

Immersive Role Playing in Education

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I just finished reading Mike Carnes’ thought provoking book Minds on Fire. The book goes through his experiences using “Reacting Games” in his university courses. Reacting Games are role playing, debate-style exercises that take up the entire course (in-class, out-of-class preparation, student evaluation, the whole thing) for months at a time. Students are assigned roles from great debates and conflicts in history. The key advocates have to convince the others to join their sides. Why are so many students intellectually disengaged? Faculty, administrators, and tuition-paying…

What is Creativity Really?

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A recent study put jazz musicians into fMRI machines while they were riffing to see if they could get some insights into creativity.

In search of a better understanding of how the mind processes complex auditory stimuli such as music, Dr. Limb has been working with Dr. Allen Braun to look at the brains of improvising musicians and study what parts of the brain are involved when a musician is really in the groove…

a computer lab

Educational Technology Needs an Education Focus

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Jon Kolko over at UX Magazine has a great article on educational technology. His main message is pretty simple. Too many vendors focus on the wrong value proposition. They create systems that are scalable (e.g. MOOCs), convenient (e.g. multi-channel), give graduates official credentials (e.g. certification), and/or have access to a large corpus of content to choose from.

This fit between problem and solution is sometimes called a value proposition—a promise a brand makes about the ability of a product to help someone achieve a specific goal…

a father and child using the computer together

Intergenerational Games: A New Form of Edugames

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I really loved reading this article on Annie Murphy Paul’s Brilliant Report. Since I consider myself an ardent follower of the education research and the gaming domain, I am kind of embarrassed that I am not more familiar with the research on intergenerational games.

“Electric Racer,” intended to improve the literacy skills of children aged six to nine, is one of a new crop of intergenerational educational games, designed to be played by grownups and kids together…