Ideas Worth Spreading

I’ve been setting up for course 3, Program Planning, and ran across a new site- TED Ideas Worth Spreading (and they are). So here is the first video I listened to. It ties to our role as educators and the concept of multiple intelligence and what we value as a society…a personal interest of mine and a topic of discussion during our residency. Hope you enjoy it too.

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More Reserch re Blogging

you may have seen this, but i am ‘playing’

Thanks Jacqui!

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Researching how to blog =)

Photo Credit: “Anne, Countess of Chesterfield, Blogging, after Thomas Gainesborough” by Mike Licht, via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

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Reflecting on our Case Studies

Last week we presented our case studies to the Professors and class.  It was interesting to note how each group approached the assignment from a research perspective.  Some groups seemed to conduct an extensive literature review; others seemed to work primarily from assumptions and prior knowledge and yet others fell somewhere in the middle.

It became apparent that in order to conduct a thoroughly researched case study we should have determined which literature was academically relevant, rigorous and applicable.  We should have checked the authors credentials, reputation, association; title relevance; publication information including date, revision, publisher and title of journal.  We should have determined the intended audience, either specialized or general; if objective reasoning was used, either fact, opinion or propaganda; if the coverage was primary or secondary; what conceptual/theoretical approach was used; if evaluative reviews showed agreement or controversy and finally if the writing style was clear and logical.

Given the opportunity to complete the same assignment at the end of the second year, I am convinced we would all do a much better job of conducting our research and considering learning theory when designing our training programs.  At work I have often considered giving the students an assignment during their first and final term to see if our teaching has been effective.  This is an interesting research topic, but one that I may not be able to conduct because of my bias. I believe that intelligence is a result of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’.

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Multiple Intelligence / Theories of Intelligence

I’ve always found the concept of multiple intelligences and what we deem to be ‘valuable’ intelligence extremely interesting.

As a student I noticed that the brightest students were often not particularly socially astute (perhaps because they were bored); as a professional I noticed that students who had been ‘top of class’ in school were not always the most successful in their careers (perhaps because they lacked social skills) and as the faculty member responsible for placing hundreds of student in internships I watched ‘top of class’ students missing internships, while the extroverted, attractive students landed the best positions.   These observations lead to wondering about how we value intelligence as a society; how much of intelligence is a result of ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ and a result of intelligence, hard work and perseverance.

As a result of the lectures it was interesting to consider that what we value as intelligence changes over time (i.e. the computer programmers of today) and to consider what we will value in the future.  It was also interesting to consider the implications for my teaching practice.  What influence will my teaching have and how can I best utilize my time and effort with the students?  These are questions worthy of much more research.

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Big Fish

A film full of assumptions and truths:  some fish can’t be caught; goldfish respond to the size of their bowl; big fish get that way by never being caught; the more difficult something becomes, the bigger the reward; short cuts may kill you, the long way is easier, but longer; never show a work in progress; dangerous paths are made much worse by darkness; no man can avoid reaching the end of his life; most things we consider evil and avoid are lonely and lacking in social niceties; fate has a cruel way of circling around you; at the end you become what you always were…or are they?  What is real?  Who is it real to?  Does reality change over time?  These are the questions we must struggle with when crafting our research questions.  Questions which lead to methods and resources and back to questions again…

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The Brain: Changing the adult mind through the power of plasticity

This is the title of an interesting article in the Toronto Star this weekend dealing with research findings concerning the brain and how we learn. I found myself asking all sorts of questions about the research:  who conducted the research; what was their primary purpose; what assumptions did they hold; did they use a deductive or inductive approach; what methods did they use; how was their data interpreted; who paid for the research; how would this apply to learning theory, cognitive learning, and development learning theories…  These are all questions I would not have asked one week ago.

Boyle, T. (2010, July 30).  The brain:  changing the adult mind through the power of plasticity.

The Toronto Star,

http://www.thestar.com/article/842511–the-brain-changing-the-adult-mind-through-the-power-of-plasticity

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