Sunday, March 30, 2008

Celebrity Educators

Freeman Hunt: Education in Hong Kong

That is one freaky cool story. I could see this happening in the U.S. with ease. People complain about the poor state of education all the time, but are never willing to pony up the money or ideas that it would take to fix some of the problems. Obviously this doesn't solve all the problems, but it would certainly elevate the profile of educators in general which simply cannot be a bad thing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The purpose of education

The Other Side of Kim du Toit

Normally I wouldn't link to a highly-charged blog like the one linked here...however...the thoughts expressed are extremely thought provoking and worth considering.

I have often thought of a more or less familiar platitude: we have infinitely more knowledge at our disposal than previous generations, yet who among us would consider ourselves more wise than a Jefferson or Adams, or even a relatively uneducated Lincoln? We have information aplenty and access to more knowledge than any one person could ever use but do we use it judiciously? Do we exercise wisdom in how and what we use?

I'm not sure that I would ascribe to "education" the duty of moral compass - but certainly the thoughts expressed are worth exploring in more depth.

I often hear students complain about one course or another as being "useless" or some similar adjective decrying the course as not being applicable to their "every-day life" or career. What they don't seem to realize is that is kind of the point. It seems that both administrators and students have lost sight of the fact that we're trying to provide a well-rounded education. It might even help if students were aware of the underlying assumptions and motivations for why their educational experience is planned that way.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Morality under threat as science debunks our sense of free will

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Morality under threat as science debunks our sense of free will

This free will thing is just getting out of control. Despite the sarcasm the post is worthwhile and a good summation of some of the arguments out there around the concept of whether or not humans actually have free will or are merely a product of our genetic nature.

Baby pains

Conscious Entities » Baby pains

This is an extremely interesting debate and one that hits on many levels. Go forth and read.

The downside of a good idea

The downside of a good idea

Group-think strikes again. There is a bit more subtlety to this article than that, but the essence is there.

4 Unique Human Cognitive Abilities?

FuturePundit: 4 Unique Human Cognitive Abilities?

I'd be willing to bet that human cognition is unique in more than just 4 ways. But the argument being presented is interesting nevertheless.

Has average intelligence started to decline?

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Has average intelligence started to decline?

One of the more interesting effects of intelligence testing over the years has been the strange increase in the average intelligence of the subjects. There have been many attempts to explain the effect and none have really been fully accepted as a consensus. This article seems to point to a leveling or reversal of that trend in recent testing.

Beyond any arguments over the validity or the appropriateness of IQ testing in truly measuring intelligence the fact that the effect existed and now seems to be ceasing to exits - that's interesting no matter how you slice it.

Child's play is a tough problem

Mind Hacks: Child's play is a tough problem

Probably my favorite subject in cognitive research: Play. Not just for children, but for adults as well. Play can be one of the most effective methods of learning. Even if you don't believe in evolution it's hard not to notice that play is one of the primary components of learning for most mammals. So it's one of the most pervasive and commonplace methods of learning and teaching - and yet we don't use it hardly at all in our formal educational environment.

I'd like to be able to have something to do with bringing this dynamic to the forefront of educational practice.

7 Sins of Memory: Complete Guide

PsyBlog: 7 Sins of Memory: Complete Guide

This is the capstone post for a series of very, very good posts on memory. These are all worth the read and quite worthwhile.

Sunday, March 09, 2008