Evidence based Education

Evidence Epicureans,
There appears to be a disconcerting discrepancy between My Plate and your palate  :-)Balancing eating and exercise seems all that is needed to keep the body healthy. However more paternal steering is thought necessary from governments … and the food industry.
The US 1992 Food Pyramid and 2005 My Pyramid has just been replaced by the 2011 My Plate. However scientific evidence is lacking for these lovingly crafted art works. Where’s the cake, mate! 😉 
Even us Swedes are wondering about the 1978 “6 to 8 bread slices a day” , the “key hole mark” and other state food advice given over the years.  Shame on these food “educators”.  ————————————————————————————–
Musical accompaniment: “Scientific Dance” about the love of living on Planet Earth  😉 
 Shame Shame Shame on You (Izabella Scorupco 1992)  
 Can’t stop me now…hear what I say!…
My feet..want to move..so,…get out my way!..
I’m gonna have my say, I’m goin to levitate today,
I’m gonna dance, dance, dance, ’til the break of day!
It’s a shame, shame, shame,….shame on you,..if ya can’t dance too…
Shame on educators who won’t dance the scientific-evidence-and-logical-argument dance.
Here in Sweden again, the Gender Wars continue. A few radical Gender Studies social scientists had lobbied some fluffy education politicians and so are now infiltrating kindergartens, schools, universities and teacher training courses across the kingdom. However the ranks of The Gender Resistance are swelling  🙂
  Miniatyr      Miniatyr       Miniatyr         
Mathematician Tanja Bergkvist’s blog and IT speaker Pär Ström’s blog Gender News are leading the charge against this ideological and unscientific Gender Studies attack on schools. Even the world’s Media is shaking it’s head in amazement that Swedish teachers must oppose the facts of biology.

Gender studies activists, please meet the ancient chemical testosterone.  The burst of testosterone hormone in a 6 week human fetus masculinizes a boy’s brain while still in the mother’s womb.  So, from birth girls are more interested in smiling, communicating and people, boys with actions and things. The stucture of a girl’s Corpus Callosum is markedly larger than boys. A girl’s brain functions are more spread out over the two hemispheres, the boys more restricted. Girl’s behaviour is then based on better language skills and boy’s more on the spatial and mathematical. At puberty 20x more testosterone shoots through boy’s veins than girls locking in behaviour differences for life. Genes, not culture, drive childhood behaviour. Does treating boys and girls differently mean treating them unequally? … unjustly? Too many triangle or square shapes in a room? Hmm … 
Like green eyes and blue eyes: Different ≠ Unequal. This is the Gender Ideology fallacy that all its feel good evidenceless moralising cannot cover-up. Shame on you too.  
Do Smartboards make Smart students?
Evidence appears to show that extra money made available for school technology tools cannot be balanced by spending cuts on teachers and textbooks … and still give a good education. 

In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores
Some quotes I find particularly appealing are: 

“To be sure, test scores can go up or down for many reasons. But to many education experts, something is not adding up — here and across the country. In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.”
The data is pretty weak. It’s very difficult when we’re pressed to come up with convincing data,”
“Critics counter that, absent clear proof, schools are being motivated by a blind faith in technology and an overemphasis on digital skills — like using PowerPoint and multimedia tools — at the expense of math, reading and writing fundamentals. They say the technology advocates have it backward when they press to upgrade first and ask questions later.”
We’ve jumped on bandwagons for different eras without knowing fully what we’re doing. This might just be the new bandwagon,” he said. “I hope not.”
Some classroom studies show that math scores rise among students using instructional software, while others show that scores actually fall
” … few rigorous studies had been done and that policy makers “lack scientific evidence” of their effectiveness.. A division of the Education Department that rates classroom curriculums has found that much educational software is not an improvement over textbooks. “
Larry Cuban, an education professor emeritus at Stanford University, said the research did not justify big investments by districts.
There is insufficient evidence to spend that kind of money. Period, period, period,” he said. “There is no body of evidence that shows a trend line.”
But the research, what little there is of it, does not establish a clear link between computer-inspired engagement and learning, said Randy Yerrick, associate dean of educational technology at the University of Buffalo.
” … the best educational uses of computers are those that have no good digital equivalent. As examples, he suggests using digital sensors in a science class to help students observe chemical or physical changes, or using multimedia tools to reach disabled children.
“Clearly, the push for technology is to the benefit of one group: technology companies.”
This is big business. Sales of computer software to schools for classroom use were $1.89 billion in 2010. Spending on hardware is more difficult to measure, researchers say, but some put the figure at five times that amount. “

AND again … 
Faith-Based Education and a Return to Shop Class

… some enlightened comments on this Technology vs Teachers education debate:

we should not expect technology in the classroom to result in better educational outcomes as they suggest we should in the case of a tehcnology like vaccines.

… the textbooks and software used in education do not embody the essence of what needs to be done. That is, they don’t provide the basic ‘go’ of teaching and learning. That depends on the skills of teachers and on the attributes of classrooms and students.

 “What this means is that the advocates of technology in the classroom as a means of improving educational outcomes are basing their advocacy on little more than faith — faith that technology will make outcomes better, despite a lack of evidence to support that faith.

Students who engage in making tangible things with tools are engaging in critical thinking and problem solving. These skills transfer easily to learning contemporary technologies (PowerPoint, etc.), important career skills (Project Management), and also provide a base from which to cultivate life-long learning. Humans learn through all of their senses, and current pedagogies ignore the tactile and kinesthetic.”

Shame on you three.

Evidence biased Brady 😉

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3 Responses to Evidence based Education

  1. C-F says:

    continuing on song…
    [Off Topic – please comment on the science … don’t get carried away JUST with the song 🙂 ]

    That took a while! By the way it seems as if the girl is kissing every single guy in the video… doesn’t seem like healthy relationships!
    Anyway, great work separating the facts from fiction!

    Enjoy the interglacial! And the five moons of planet Earth! (debatable!)

  2. C-F says:

    Woops 😀 My bad! Sorry!

  3. Bob C. Submitted on 2011/10/11 at 06:43 CEST
    Dear Brady,
    I liked the Evidence Epicureans about what we should eat. Now I am older than you Brady, and some time ago I thought I would make up a list of ‘What they said then and now’ as it has kept changing. One I particularly like was about how many eggs we should eat and it has changed from almost never to quite a few actually. At the below I like the answer to the eggs question where they basically say we had no scientific evidence for that advice but it seemed like a good idea at the time. In Austrlain legal circles this is jocularly known as the-flashers-defence.
    You have to scroll down a little –
    Also at that site they mention Omega-3 from oily fish but another I was able to dig up casts some doubt on this –
    This 2005 Abstract says that for 30 years the idea that oily fish saved Eskimo/Innuit from CHD was based on a casual observation with no supporting scientific evidence. Here the authors find no evidence.
    Anyway I hope you find this of some interest and I shall now go back and follow more things to read on your site. (I’m not going to mention what is going on here in Australia at the moment.)

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