Teachers vs Tech? The Case for an Ed Tech Revolution

8th October 2020

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Month

Teachers vs Tech? The Case for an Ed Tech Revolution, by Daisy Christodoulou. We’re tremendous fans of “force of nature” Daisy Christdoulou, author of Seven Myths about Education. In her newest book, Daisy makes the perceptive, balanced case for using technology for many critical teaching-related purposes, including personalized learning, make learning more active, and improving teachers’ reach and engagement with students. When combined with Daisy’s perceptive asides and experience, Teachers vs Tech makes for a compelling read.  

For example, think you can always “just look it up?” As Daisy shows, just looking things up can be worse than just being wrong—it can allow you and your students to be suckered by big tech into their self-serving, deceptive world. Want your students to learn independently? It’s not as simple as that—in fact, students don’t get better at learning independently by just learning independently. Think a video project can help your students learn more about the material? Think again—such a project can ultimately help students learn far more about video-making than about what you’re actually trying to teach.

Amongst all her intriguing perspectives, Daisy has a special insight into rubrics, and why rubrics can mislead teachers into believing students understand the material when they don’t. (Here is some of her published research on the topic.)  Indeed, there is excellent research evidence that just because a student may mouth or write the words you want to hear does not mean they actually understand what you want them to understand.

In the end, Daisy writes like a great teacher—we especially liked the illustrations and straightforward layout that made Daisy’s ideas easier to “chunk” and internalize. In these pandemic days, teachers and parents are pausing to reset their expectations about what the online world can bring to education. Daisy’s book provides an intriguing guide to what lies ahead.

Neuro Learning Hacks

Here’s a quick learning hack from TikTok [Hat tip Jeffery Parent], which articulates key ideas this far longer but deeply informative discussion between Joe Rogan and neuroscientist Andrew Huberman. [Hat tip Cal Newport—don’t miss Cal’s fabulous book Deep Work!]

Evolutionary and Heritable Axes Shape Our Brain

Sometimes as science advances, what seemed unimaginably complex at first can actually be broken down and explained in very simple ways.  In just such a fashion, as this article in Medical Press explains, scientists are discovering that the human brain—in fact, the brain of all primates—is organized along two primary axes. “One axis stretches from the posterior (back) to the frontal part of the cortex. This reflects a functional hierarchy from basic capabilities such as vision and movement to abstract, highly complex skills such as cognition, memory, and social skills. A second axis leads from the dorsal (upper) to the ventral (lower) part of the cortex. Whereas the ventral system has been associated with functions assigning meaning and motivation, the dorsal system may relate to space, time, and movement.” This supports the hypothesis that “ the cerebral cortex developed from two different origins, the amygdala and olfactory cortex on the one hand and the hippocampus on the other hand. From these origins two different lines of cortical development arose, reflecting waves from less to more differentiated areas starting at each origin.”

A Podcast between Atharva Khisti and Barb on Mentor Chat

Here’s Part 2 of the informative and fun-to-listen to chat between Atharva and Barb—enjoy! (Part 1 was last week.)

Google Has a Plan to Disrupt the College Degree

As this Inc. article notes, Google’s new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college. Key graf: “Although traditional degrees are still deemed necessary in fields like law or medicine, more and more employers have signaled that they no longer view them as a must-have—Apple, IBM, and Google, just to name a few.”

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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