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Change Magazine - September-October 2010

Change Magazine - September-October 2010
by Cedar Riener and Daniel Willingham There is no credible evidence that learning styles exist. While we will elaborate on this assertion, it is important to counteract the real harm that may be done by equivocating on the matter. In what follows, we will begin by defining “learning styles”; then we will address the claims made by those who believe that they exist, in the process acknowledging what we consider the valid claims of learning-styles theorists. But in separating the wheat from the pseudoscientific chaff in learning-styles theory, we will make clear that the wheat is contained in other educational approaches as well. A belief in learning styles is not necessary to incorporating useful knowledge about learning into one's teaching. What is a Learning Style? The claim at the center of learning-styles theory is this: Different students have different modes of learning, and their learning could be improved by matching one's teaching with that preferred learning mode. Resources 1.

Related:  knowledge managementlearning pedagogies

Where does knowledge come from? In most of the training courses I run, I ask the question "where does knowledge come from?" Always, every time, I get the answer "Experience - Knowledge comes from Experience". Never does anyone answer "Knowledge comes from Information". Never If you don't believe me, try it yourself. I love the iPad but I love learning more It is with mixed emotions that I begin my story. Whilst flattered to be asked to give an insight into the use of iPads in learning I feel somewhat of a fraud and perhaps a little misunderstood, you see I love the iPad but I love learning more. I have always embraced the learning potential of ICT, however it was not a relationship that began easily. Unable to make my O level timetable fit, yes I am that old, I was forced to take computer studies. Two years later I had laboriously written a programme in MS Dos that told me whether I was a boy or a girl – not a labour of love or frankly a revelation!

Why Is the Research on Learning Styles Still Being Dismissed by Some Learning Leaders and Practitioners? I have been battling the notion of "designing instruction for learning styles" in my own quixotic fashion for a couple of decades now. In my attempt to be a good steward of my clients' shareholders' equity I wished to help them avoid faddish instructional design practices that have been disproven by empirical research. I first learned back in the 1980s at NSPI (now ISPI) conferences that while self-reported learning style preferences do exist, that designing instruction to accommodate them has no basis. When I posted yet again on this topic on my blog a couple of months ago and then sent a Tweet out about it—Jane Bozarth, EIC of this magazine, invited me to publish an article. I accepted and decided to reach out to the usual suspects, those in my professional crowd who know the research, for their inputs.

How one great teacher was wronged by flawed evaluation system Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York has for some time been chronicling the consequences of standardized test-driven reform in her state (here, and here and here, for example). Burris was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010, tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is the co-author of the New York Principals letter of concern regarding the evaluation of teachers by student test scores. It has been signed by more than 1,535 New York principals and more than 6,500 teachers, parents, professors, administrators and citizens. You can read the letter by clicking here.

The best course I ever did, and 11 Top Tips for creative teaching Over the next few days we will be sharing the winning three stories in our Transition Training competition of courses people did that changed their lives. I thought it might be a good idea to start with my story of the course that impacted me the most in my life so far. In June 2001, I got off the bus in a small village in Lancashire, with a rather heavy bag and in somewhat inclement weather, to walk up the hill to Middlewood, a permaculture project set atop a hill in beautiful woodland. The walk was considerably longer than I had anticipated, the road, seemingly to nowhere, seemed to stretch on for miles. Reading: “Online learning in the workplace” Like many of my peers I read around my ‘subject’ a lot. Sometimes I print copies out and store them, other times I save to favourites (on Twitter mainly, very rarely to a browser), or to Delicious (when I remember to use it). The Australasian Journal of Educational Technology is always worth looking at as the papers are interesting and varied. “Online learning in the workplace: A hybrid model of participation in networked, professional learning” from Mary Thorpe and Jean Gordon covers different aspects of ‘work-based’, or rather ‘work-related’ learning, with a need to understand online participation as a “hybrid concept” that is a “reflection of offline roles, opportunities and pressures, as well as the usefulness, usability and relevance of what is online.” Do those who develop online materials for online students fully understand the importance of support, guidance, design, engagement, collaboration, assessment, timetable, social or professional pressures?

Common Core for ELLs: Resource Roundup With the beginning of the new school year, this week I’ll share some recently developed Common Core materials for English language learners that have been updated or that I have recently become aware of. If you know of others or would like to share your feedback on these materials, we’d love to hear from you! Recommended Resources The Northeast Comprehensive Center: The NCC, in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Education’s Bilingual and English Language Learner Department, developed a series of short videos and resources to support the implementation of the CCSS for ELA/Literacy for ELLs.

Time for knowledge and wisdom “I never have the time”. “The internet’s just providing too much information these days”. “No-one ever knows where to start with all this information”. Common symptoms of the Non-Believer, enough to stop him or her ever starting their own blog, podcast or bookmarking site. MIT Unleashes New Online Game for Math and Science Digital Tools MIT Education Arcade As the buzz around games and learning continues to grow, one particular subset — Massive Open Online (MMO) games — is catching the attention of educators as a particularly interesting way to encourage students to collaborate, problem solve, create and think for themselves within a game. Differentiating Instruction for Children With Learning Disabilities There are a number of instructional interventions that will help children with learning disabilities learn social studies content and master social studies processes (Lewis & Doorlag, 2006; Sheehan & Sibit, 2005; Steele, 2005; Tomlinson, 2001; 2003; Turnbull, Turnbull, & Wehmeyer, 2007). Children with learning disabilities have difficulty in basic psychological processes as evidenced by problems with listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, and mathematical calculations. The primary manifestations of a learning disability are problems with reading and any of a number of other characteristics that may include memory deficits or difficulty with fine motor coordination (Sheehan & Sibit, 2005).