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A really good read in response to Turklism is "The IRL Fetish" and the notion of digital dualism, all too often we do in education (and elsewhere) to boil complex spaces to binary choices on the extremes

I will say it is obvious to everyone that you are an awesome blogger ;-)


Nice piece Martin, I think we know that headlines are what gets attention, the drive by ed tech shooting type session at a conference is more likely to get a high attendance than a well researched presentation. "the VLE is dead" will get more attendees than "a statistical analysis of LMS use in 5 universities". The problem comes when policy influencers / makers start listening to headlines rather than content.

Interestingly I'm at eduwiki conference 2012, and the work presented is well referenced and evidence based. At odds with most headlines about Wikipedia in education.


Thanks Alan, hadn't seen that piece. The point you make about extremes is one I was going to make also (but, you know, couldn't be arsed). One interpretation of what I suggest here is that all such claims are rubbish, but it's usually more nuanced than that. For example, one such claim might be that 'games are a more engaging way to teach young people'. We could then find problems with this, but that wouldn't mean games are not an effective way to teach some people some things.
So, yes, it ain't all or nothing.
PS - everybody knows that cogdog blogs at a higher quality rate than previous generations


One of my favorite books, and one of my favorite subjects. I got so interested in this subject I actually wrote a free textbook about it. The model we use in my statistical literacy class is called COMPARABLE and the basic outline is here: http://www.makingfaircomparisons.us/introducing-the-fair-comparison-checklist-comparable/

Under that framework:

* Your question one is an "R" question (could this be nothingn but randomness at play?)

* Your Question 2 is an O/L question (How were the variables defined/operationalized? and, Could a longitudinal analysis tell us more?)

* Your question three is an "A1" question (What was accounted for/controlled for?)

* Your question four is another "O" question (or maybe an "A2" -- What alternative measures can we think of that represent the same issue? Do they tell the same story as the measures chosen, or a different one?)

Check out the link, I think you will like it.

In any case, there are multiple reasons I got into teaching this, but one is the non-critical way that people deal with edtech. I'm a proponent of analytics, for instance, but I see time and time again that people put up a slide on Purdue's Course Signals project, and uncritically state a headline increase in retention. But a short dive into Purdue's own data shows that the bulk of retention increase had nothing to do with Course Signals at all...it was an across the board increase...

"Digital Natives" are also a great example. Do they use technology in a slightly more social pattern than adults because they are a different generation? Or could it be that all generations, when younger, use technology more socially (thinking of my youth and the time my sister spent on the telephone). Could it be that they use facebook more than twitter, not out of a generational preference, but because facebook serves the needs of a young person, and twitter serves the needs of a professional more? Etc. etc.

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