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  • 20:42 I changed my username. Just FYI #
  • 21:57 @softasylum: yeah, the hardest part is finding a name that isn't taken! #
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  • 19:08 OMG silly fangirl Buffy musical reference squee! RT @alydenisof: Anytime I sing, it will be mostly filler. #

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  • 15:33 @mactavish: me too #
  • 15:35 @mactavish: I am sitting here nodding off while reading about appendicitis. #
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  • 19:35 For some reason, the book Into The Dream by William Sleator is my strongest association with Nevada. Not sure what that says. #
  • 19:36 (In Reno currently to help Koyote sell knives at a show) #
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  • 17:58 @mactavish: for something neither I nor my family experiences, that (tonsiloliths) word pops up in my life disturbingly often. #

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Nov. 8th, 2009 12:32 pm
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Oh MDC, you Den of Iniquity...

Read more... )
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A question with one right answer is not a "discussion question", even if the question is relatively complex and multipart. You're still going to get everyone answering the same way (or incorrectly), especially if you require the use of a specific source and disallow personal experience.

If you still feel the need to do it this way, don't require that people respond to another person's post. There's nothing to discuss. You're going to get sixty responses saying either "Great response!" or "You forgot this little nitpicky detail."

There's nothing really wrong with this sort of question - it's just not a discussion question. Either write a question that's appropriate for a discussion, or break the mold that says a message board posting in an online class must always consist of one original posting and two responses.

If you actually want to promote discussion and actual consideration of the topic, rather than regurgitation:

1. Provide a choice of discussion topics, or allow the students to choose one part of the subject to address so that not everyone is covering the exact same ground.
2. Allow students to do their own research, rather than requiring specific sources.
3. Include controversial issues, request personal opinions and experiences, and otherwise provide fodder for actual discussion.
4. Participate in the discussion yourself. An online instructor can still guide the discussion, just as in a classroom discussion, and a good instructor will do that. Provide your own insights. Give correction when people are providing information that runs contrary to the course teachings, as is likely to happen when the discussion is more open-ended.

I wish I could say that this post was prompted by a single instance of this type of question, but it seems to be more the rule than the exception in online courses I've taken from many different instructors, in many different subjects, at 3 different schools.
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  • 18:03 @mactavish: took me a while to figure out that the 0 was an O. They appear the same on my phone screen. And, um, not the same thing! #

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  • 10:51 This weekend is really getting up there on my Personal Improbability Scale. #

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  • 09:23 @mactavish: thanks! I was just wondering about radar maps when you sent this. #
  • 20:24 @softasylum: that depends very heavily on the brand. Soy Delicious is a good one, iirc #
  • 20:31 @softasylum: i'm sorry :( that sucks #
  • 20:47 @softasylum: yes. In my opinion, the flavors vary a lot in quality. I think the mocha fudge was good, but overall I prefer good soy cream #
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  • 12:56 @mactavish: re: understanding or bigotry - both! #
  • 12:57 @mactavish: er, misunderstanding. I hate typoing tweets. #
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The one thing I'm absolutely unable to suspend my disbelief about in the Twilight books...

What happens when Bella (or, for that matter, any female in the town) gets her period?
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  • 12:22 I just love listening to people talking abot TV shows i've never seen! (ie. Anything in the last 6 years) #

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  • 07:31 My internet is down. Probably due to the blown transformer we heard last night. Woe! #

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There are some marks on my desk. They look like an indentation left by the bottom of a box or keyboard or something.

Kind of like this:

|    o     |
|__      __|


Astrid looks at it and says, "L.... O... L...!"

At which point I LOL.

Then she says, "L... O... L... spells lollipop!"

My child is figuring out phonics. Or turning into a lolcat. Or both.
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  • 09:30 @mactavish: currently thunder and sprinkles here in Davis, and looks to be picking up. #
  • 09:43 Gosh, it feels good to stand outside in the rain and cool wind after the recent temperatures! #
  • 11:44 @mactavish: that does worry me a little, as Christof and Leif are currently camping up near Auburn #
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  • 14:23 @softasylum: Is there a big overlap between those in favor of single-payer healthcare and those in favor of covering up while breastfeeding? #
  • 16:39 @softasylum: bit.ly/2Uaf12 bit.ly/e8OPF bit.ly/XmPFp #
  • 16:39 @softasylum: It appears to me that states with higher breastfeeding rates were more likely to go for Obama. #
  • 16:41 @softasylum: Not that rates are a perfect indicator of attitude towards NIP, but social pressure is a big factor in breastfeeding. #
  • 17:38 @softasylum: That was my experience in VA, too. I'm surprised they rate so well on the map. I wouldn't consider VA extremely liberal though #
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I've been reading a lot about math curriculums recently.

Everyday Math, the curriculum chosen by our school district, and an example of what is referred to as "new new math" or "fuzzy math", is highly criticized. It's a spiral curriculum, meaning concepts are taught in short bursts, quickly moving from one topic to the next but revisiting the same concepts over and over, with no expectation that the child understand the concept at any particular point as it will be revisited in the future (whereas more traditional math curriculums are mastery-based - you master one topic before moving on to the next). It emphasizes teaching "mathematical thinking" and different ways of doing things over rote memorization of formula. Algebraic and other more advanced concepts are integrated from the start. There is a heavy emphasis on classroom teaching over textbook teaching - kids have a workbook, but no textbook with examples.

Common criticism is that it moves way too fast from one subject to the next to the point of distraction, doesn't teach concepts thoroughly, that kids don't actually learn how to do basic math, and that the parents are unable to help with homework due to differences from the way they were taught. Apparently tutors do great business in areas that adopt this curriculum.

Mathematics Enhancement Programme is a curriculum used in Great Britain (and amongst the homeschooling community in the US, as the entire 1-12 curriculum is available for free online). It's a spiral curriculum, meaning concepts are taught in short bursts, quickly moving from one topic to the next but revisiting the same concepts over and over, with no expectation that the child understand the concept at any particular point as it will be revisited in the future (whereas more traditional math curriculums are mastery-based - you master one topic before moving on to the next). It emphasizes teaching "mathematical thinking" and different ways of doing things over rote memorization of formula. Algebraic and other more advanced concepts are integrated from the start. There is a heavy emphasis on classroom teaching over textbook teaching - kids have a workbook, but no textbook with examples.

It seems to be nearly universally loved. I can find very little criticism of it. The worst seems to be "not for us" or "The teaching takes too much effort." It's based on how math is taught in many high-ranking countries.

This intrigues me. Is it simply because it isn't as widely distributed? If it were being adopted across the US, would there be a huge outcry as with Everyday Math? Or is it because USians are whiners and Brits aren't? Is it because Everyday Math is flashy (actually, it's not really that much, especially compared to textbooks for other subjects), and MEP isn't, and there's backlash against flash? Or are they actually a legitimate example of effective vs. ineffective implementation of a concept?

An interesting note I ran across in my reading is that California started switching to the new mathematic framework, which was the forbearer of "fuzzy math", started in 1992, influencing textbook choices and teaching methods (heavy reliance on calculators, for instance). That's the point where I started having increasing trouble with math. I don't know if there's a relation, as there were other factors involved that definitely had a negative effect. But I am now curious if there was any relation.

Another point of research: the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of "fuzzy math" in teaching kids with autism.
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  • 19:01 @levarburton: Thank you for the wonderful childhood memories (both trek and Reading Rainbow!) #

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