Educational Experiments

If you’ve ever been cured of a stomach ulcer, you can be thankful for the work of an Australian scientist, Dr Barry Marshall. As a young researcher, he and a colleague developed the idea that stomach ulcers were not just caused by stress, but by a bacterium that somehow managed to survive the hydrochloric acid in our digestive system.

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First Presidential Debate

Here’s a summary of what Obama and Romney said on education during the first Presidential debate. I first posted this information as a sequence of tweets.

It supports what I wrote earlier – educators should vote Democrat this election, because Obama has a vision of education building a core of strength into the USA, but Romney gives education little thought.

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Mitt Romney’s Education Policy

Several months ago, I wrote to all potential 2013 Presidents and inquired about their views on education. The only reply I received was from Barack Obama.

However, Mitt Romney’s website allows me to receive pre-prepared emails on certain policy issues. So, I entered my email address, hit “send”, and quickly got his canned response. Since the other Republican candidates had dropped out of the race by then (or didn’t, but can’t win anyway), I didn’t bother pursuing the matter further with them.

I’ll comment further on the replies received from Obama and Romney soon, but for now, here’s what Team Romney had to say on education.

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Barack Obama’s Education Policy

A while ago, I sent an email to all the people who might be president in 2013. In it, I asked :

  • What is the most important thing you would do, as president, to ensure America’s future prosperity?
  • Relative to this, how important to America’s future prosperity is the goal of ensuring all children have access to affordable education?
  • What plans, if any, do you have to ensure that all Americans have affordable access to high-quality education?

Today, the first reply came in – from Barack Obama. No reply yet from any of the Republican candidates, though I suppose there’s only one that matters now.

I’ve reproduced Barack Obama’s letter below. I’ll comment further when I get a reply from Mitt Romney, or when I’m convinced I’m not going to get one.

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Getting Your Kid Into a UK University

The Financial Times has a rather technical piece on the effect of some changes in how British Universities will be funded. Basically, the universities have been told

  • top students won’t count against your quota.
  • quotas will be cut in proportion.
  • non-university institutes of higher learning have successfully obtained 10000 quota places that were previously held by universities.

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Swimming and Math

I was doing a bit of random lunch-hour web-surfing, and came across a blog post by a swimming instructor. It starts with the eye-catching line “before you can teach something, you have to realize it’s hard

The blogger writes about their insights into how (and how not) to teach swimming, and then wonders “how much this applies to other areas (teaching math in elementary school, for example?)” Having read the post, I’d say an awful lot does. Here’s my take on it.

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I learned a new word the other day. “Extelligence”. If intelligence is the ability to use the knowledge inside our minds, then extelligence is the ability to use the knowledge that resides outside individual human minds. I’ll give some examples of extelligence below.

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