In the past, teachers gave life to learning for generations of students — no different than today. But they were operating in an environment of scarcity that would make today’s teachers cringe (and they do, every time the Internet is down for more than just a short while). As the information available and our ability to access it increases, this new economy of information is transforming the practice of teaching and the roles of both teacher and student.
A look through the most popular MindShift posts this year reveals a strong interest in student-directed learning, inquiry-based approaches to teaching and the desire to help students learn how to learn in a changing world.
"In the context of learning, intrinsic motivation is motivation that stems not from external factors like grades and status, but rather from genuine interest and ambition. Like altruism, it assumes no reward. But – like altruism – it is difficult to corroborate. Even if Sally, your best student, completes the Extra Credit assignment out of pure enjoyment, it doesn’t mean she isn’t expecting external rewards like approval and attention.
Some psychologists go so far as to claim that intrinsic motivation doesn’t exist. Professor Steven Reiss at Ohio State University believes that human motivations can’t be forced into one category or the other and labeled as good or bad.
“We are taking many diverse human needs and motivations, putting them into just two categories, and then saying one type of motivation is better than another,” he says. “But there is no real evidence that intrinsic motivation even exists.”
The argument is that people should do something because they enjoy it, and that rewards only sabotage natural desire.
“There is no reason that money can’t be an effective motivator, or that grades can’t motivate students in school,” he says. “It’s all a matter of individual differences. Different people are motivated in different ways.”
Game-based learning scholar Kurt Squire explores how leveraging young people's interest in gaming could encourage greater youth community involvement and deeper connections to civic and political life.
The latest installment in Randall Munroe's XKCD "What If?" series is called Paint the Earth and it is amazing. One of Munroe's readers wanted to know "Has humanity produced enough paint to cover the entire land area of the Earth?" and Munroe uses this as a springboard for explaining Fermi estimation, a powerful, counter-intuitive tool that has applications in many fields.
Manabu Watanbe is a Japan-based educational author and blogger who contacted us because he is concerned many in the west are missing the point about education in Asia where, he says, success is largely because of the ‘shadow education system’ (made up of paid-for after-school groups and private tutoring) rather than the school system...
Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
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