Tag Archives: skepticism

Don’t Be Fooled by the Learning Pyramid Myth

The problem with the pyramid is not merely that it’s inaccurate, but that it’s incoherent.
The important lesson here goes beyond “always check the sources.” Instead, the point is “always check specific claims.”
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Foolish “Brain Training” Flim-Flam of the Day

Tom Brady’s new “Brain Training” Website looks a lot like earlier attempts to over-hype thinly supported brain research. Don’t fall for it. Continue reading

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Diagnosing ADHD with MRI

How do we know if a student has ADHD? Typically, we observe behavior. To what degree is the student inattentive? (That’s one kind of ADHD.) To what degree is s/he hyperactive? (That’s another type.) Perhaps the student demonstrates both kinds

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Now Even the New York Times Has It Wrong

Here’s a hypothetical situation: Let’s say that psychology researchers clearly demonstrate that retrieval practice helps students form long-term memories better than rereading the textbook does. However, despite this clear evidence, these researchers nonetheless emphatically recommend that students avoid retrieval practice

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Does project-based learning work?

The answer to the titular question depends on a) your definition of “project-based learning,” and b) your methodology for measuring success. In a just-published, comprehensive literature review, MDRC takes 84 pages to say: “we can’t really answer the question, because we don’t have

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5 Praises a Day

Back in May, a brief flurry of articles rose up (here, here, and here) around the “Five Praises a Day Campaign,” which encourages parents of 2- to 4-year-olds to praise their children more often. (The authors don’t claim that the

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Action Video Games Harm the Hippocampus, Right?

Here’s a headline to get your attention: Action video games decrease gray matter, study finds. The article opens with this alarming sentence: “A new study suggests that playing action video games can be detrimental to the brain, reducing the amount of

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We Need a Bigger Boat

Because working memory is so important for learning, and because human working memory capacity isn’t as large as we wish it were, we would LOVE to be able to increase it. If we could make working memory bigger, then all

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Criticizing Critical Thinking

Over at Newsweek, Alexander Nazaryan wants to vex you. Here’s a sample: Only someone who has uncritically mastered the intricacies of Shakespeare’s verse, the social subtexts of Elizabethan society and the historical background of Hamlet is going to have any original or

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How Best to Take Notes: A Public Service Announcement

The school year is beginning, and so you’re certainly seeing many (MANY) articles about the debate over laptop notes vs. handwritten notes. If your research stream is anything like mine, most of the articles you see assert that handwriting is superior

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