The Tiger

3rd June 2021

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, by John Vaillant.  This is one of those books that’s hard to put down, as the story unfolds of a tiger with a lethal grudge against a particular human—a grudge that widened to encompass every human the tiger encountered.  John Vaillant is a magnificent story-teller—this brief excerpt gives a hint of his literary prowess: “As the encyclopedic reference Mammals of the Soviet Union puts it, ‘The general appearance of the tiger is that of a huge physical force and quiet confidence, combined with a rather heavy grace.’ But one could just as easily say: this is what you get when you pair the agility and appetites of a cat with the mass of an industrial refrigerator. To properly appreciate such an animal, it is most instructive to start at the beginning: picture the grotesquely muscled head of a pit bull and then imagine how it might look if the pit bull weighed a quarter of a ton. Add to this fangs the length of a finger backed up by rows of slicing teeth capable of cutting through the heaviest bone. Consider then the claws: a hybrid of meat hook and stiletto that can attain four inches along the outer curve, a length comparable to the talons on a velociraptor. Now, imagine the vehicle for all of this: nine feet or more from nose to tail, and three and a half feet high at the shoulder. Finally, emblazon this beast with a primordial calligraphy: black brushstrokes on a field of russet and cream, and wonder at our strange fortune to coexist with such a creature. (The tiger is, literally, tattooed: if you were to shave one bald, its stripes would still be visible, integral to its skin.) Able to swim for miles and kill an animal many times its size, the tiger also possesses the brute strength to drag an awkward, thousand-pound carcass through the forest for fifty or a hundred yards before consuming it.”

In The Tiger, you will learn a great deal, not only about tigers and their remarkably human ability to think abstractly, but about how the Russian Far East is slipping toward ecological imbalance, even as brave conservators work to keep this unique region intact. Highly recommended!

Live Webinar about Uncommon Sense Teaching with Barb, Terry, and Their Co-Author Beth!

Barb, Terry, and Beth will host a live webinar on Thursday, June 24th @1pm EST to discuss their new book, Uncommon Sense Teaching. There’s still time to register! They will drill down on two key ideas related to the declarative and procedural modes of thinking, and also give insights on how the book came to be. And there should be plenty of time to take questions. To receive your webinar link: 

1) Preorder the book here. Please note, for international book purchases our publisher recommends Book Depository.  

2) Complete the brief registration form here by Monday, June 14th. The form’s confirmation page will contain your link to access the webinar on June 24th!  We look forward to seeing you!

Audio Excerpt of Learn Like a Pro!

Here is a wonderful excerpt of Learn Like a Pro, read by Robert Petkoff—and when you hear Robert’s upbeat, enthusiastic reading, you’ll know why he’s such a star in the voice industry. Learn Like a Pro, audio version, is a concise, witty, practically useful book, and a perfect listen for those moments where you’d like to listen to something interesting.

Barb on the What Got You There Podcast with Sean DeLaney

Sean DeLaney is an insightful host with a fascinating podcast show—What Got You There.  Below are two links where you’ll be able to find everything from the episode, including listening, watching and episode notes. 

  • Show Notes Page, with a deep dive into the many key topics Sean and Barb discussed.   

Class Central’s MOOC Study Groups

We highly recommend the fascinating study groups that Class Central has been putting together for learning on MOOCs.  Check out upcoming groups here: Learn with Class Central: Join our Study Groups on Redis, Excel for Data Analysis, and A Life of Happiness.

Reminder: ‘Pedagogy and Practice when Teaching Online’ webinar taking place June 10th via the University of Kent

Barb will be speaking for 15 minutes on June 10th at 8:15 – 8:30 am Eastern time for the ‘Pedagogy and Practice when Teaching Online conference. This intriguing conference features short presentations of the best ideas from a variety of teachers about good online teaching. If you would like to attend the webinar, please register your interest here, and you’ll receive more information. If you yourself would like to present and share, please fill out this form to join the fun! 

Why an Active-Learning Evangelist Is Sold on Online Teaching

Eric Mazur, a professor of physics and applied physics at Harvard University, has long been the leading figure in active learning. As Beth McMurtrie notes in this excellent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education: “Mazur was just as surprised as anyone when the pandemic hit and he had to scramble to move his course online for the remainder of the spring-2020 semester. And, like so many others, he took time over the summer to redesign his course for a fully remote experience once Harvard decided to remain online.

Rather than just move what he usually did online, he decided to take advantage of the new format. That meant making changes including minimizing synchronous and instructor-paced activities.

Now, says Mazur, the results are in and he’s convinced: online teaching is better. Not in all circumstances, to be sure. But in his applied-physics courses, students showed larger learning gains and felt more supported than students had in in-person classes. In fact, they appear to have learned so much more effectively in this new format that he wonders if it’s “almost unethical,” to return to the classroom this fall. [Hat tip: Zvi Galil]

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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