Wednesday, May 05, 2010

April - May 2010


Following on from Mark Treadwell’s talk on Monday, I like the post below from Doug Johnson which reaaly illustrates the point about memory…….

When a good memory works against you

DateFriday, April 30, 2010 at 06:51AM

I was visiting with a local Verizon telephone support person yesterday (we were both chaperones on a middle school field trip - great fun). She made an interesting comment about her job.

When someone calls with a question about his/her cell phone operations, the person providing support is expected to use a database to get the correct answer. If the support person does not go to the database but relies on memory instead, it will result in a negative performance evaluation. Things change so quickly in the field that not checking for the most recent "fix" is irresponsible.

A system that rewards good interpersonal skills and the ability to find and use information? A system in which a good memory is not only unecessary but possibly a liability?

The ability to memorize has always been a critical skill for success in traditional education. (Memorize the capitols of all the countries in Central America, the quadratic equation, today's Spanish vocabulary words, the three branches of government, the dates of World War II ... )

Are we rewarding an obsolete skill set when we give top grades to those with good memories? After all, wouldn't you want your physician, car mechanic, airline pilot, etc. checking for updates rather than relying on a good memory?

Standardised Testing – Sir Ken Robinson

Really worth a listen.


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Being part of the Schools Loop means we can access the KAREN network for resources such as these:

Online magazines:

Online magazines which have content relating to teaching and leaning. Perhaps this is why I need an IPad??




Interface magazine. As you know, the print version of this magazine is well written – aimed at teachers. There is also the website which is worth visiting for links.


A Short video on the reality of bottled water:


1 comment:

manuka said...

Mmm- while "checking for updates" is certainly to be praised (especially if you're waiting for European ash cancelled flights!),a database check system often legally covers the organisation against wildcard answers. This is especially an issue in NZ with the phone in "Health Line" support service. It just needs a single brain lapse & the caller may be given the wrong advice...

The human brain works in mysterious ways,& some memorable link from long past events may trigger productive associations. Even knowing "x = minus b, plus or minus the square roor ..." or the words of a WW2 ditty may save the day! Of course many types of memory are recognised, and "brain training" by even rote learning (times tables etc) may have spin offs later in life.

Overall it's horses for courses I'd say. Memory HAS to be the key for rules of the road etc when driving,but even the best airline pilot will pull out the emergency manuals (& updates) when the plane's ash filled engines splutter and die at altitude...