A summary of the role of creativity in learning, and how to nurture a culture of creativity.

Lots of experiments and cool science videos for kids (and parents). Do try this at home! ExpeRimental: An initiative by the UK Royal Academy of Sciences. More here.

One could argue that a side effect of finding information is learning. So surely this means that the problem is not Wikipedia but that learning needs to evolve and we need to shift from a pedagogy of answers to a pedagogy of questions (and here I wanted to shout out ‘open learning and teaching practices’). In reality Wikipedia is a gift to education as it encourages people to learn how to think.

Engaging and inspiring thoughts about the materials that dominate our world, about technology, art, science, technology, and making as the essence of human and being human. And of course something about what is wrong with our society and how we can do better.

Check out the rest of the great interview here: The Life Scientific with Mark Miodownik. And don’t forget to check out his “Institute of Making" - this is the way forward for education!

Tip of the day for parents: ask your child to be ‘a helper’ rather than ‘to help’

Noun-phrasing is strategy used by psychologists to influence certain (desired) behavior, for example going to vote. Simply said, the effect of asking someone to go voting is much less effective than using the noun-version: asking this same person 'how it feels to be a voter'

The same approach has now been applied to children, and rather than asking them to vote, they were asked to help them.

The experiment involved discussing the topic of helping with three groups of children: 1 group discusses that ‘some kids are helpers' and the other group discusses that 'some kids choose to help’, and a third group did not discuss anything about helping. These groups were then put into a situation similar to home (surrounded by toys), and 4 different ‘help tasks/situations’ (put away toys, open a container, clean a mess and pick up spilled crayons) were simulated and the researchers counted the number of occasions of kids actually helping. Of course, this was done experimentally, so two groups were tested, one of which used noun-phrasing, the other one just ‘asking kids for help’.

The outcomes, as you would expect, indeed show that kids respond much better to the noun-condition than to the verb-condition - 29%. There was no difference between the two other groups, making the noun-based intervention even more significant.

Why does this work? The basic hypothesis of these two studies are explained below:

This is one of the most powerful ideas driving MOOCs; data-driven education. Not for administrators finding out which schools perform better than others, but for course designers, teachers, and developers who continually can improve online lectures, digital content, and facilitation strategies.

We will be doing this with another 8 to 10 MOOCs this year.

via @timokos