Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Quality control ignores creativity

Quality control fixes everything in static IF THEN format rules, but what about creativity? The systematic flaw of quality management is it's disability to recognize what it does not know.

What about creativity?

My husband who works in education told me this very smart metaphor for building a curriculum. Imagine we put all quality content in a curriculum in bricks to build the curriculum building. All bricks are labelled for content: A, B, and so on. Then we look at the heap and everyone that went through the pile of bricks gets the certificate. But if we take a look at the heap, it is no building, just a heap. A building is characterized by the relationships between the bricks, it is not merely a heap of excellent building material.

Now look again at parameters.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

2 steps to organize

Some more of the hackzine magazine: read about how to make post-its to organize. ±Two steps: first print a page which says where to stick the post-its to print over, second print over the page while the post-its are in place.
This way you make own organizing tools. No, no, this is not procrastinating...
I have a all-in one printer, so I think I might print the second page and copy over the post-its.

Can you really follow me?
Never mind, read the article then, I'm sure you will understand that. You need to scroll down the page a bit.

what the hacks?

Part of my time as a blogger goes to read interesting technical blogs. Hacks is not about Psychology, not about Biology but it does say something about parenting, math and mind performance.
Do you understand this?
find . -name "*.php" xargs grep -i "special"
That'll find only the php files and grep them for special.
You could also pipe ps through awk and use xargs to kill all of a certain process...
But everybody probably already knew that.
Posted by: A.Nonny.Mouse on February 25, 2007 at 08:26 AM
I found this new speak on a topic about commands for programmers. Imagine how my spellchecker reacts...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Puzzle Sunday (4)

How are your visual-spatial skills? Can you perform rotations in your mind? Can you recognize the angle from which a picture has been taken? This puzzle Sunday takes you to a program that is designed to create three dimensional programs.
Another program -I don't know if this one will do, Chris... I hope so.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

On television

I have an agreement with myself that I can participate in a forum only if I really relate to the topic. The topic of the forum I joined yesterday is 'not belonging'. I found the forum through google alert. I can relate to this easily, because I have a lot of characteristics that make me different. So I started writing and responding.

Suddenly I got a mail from a journalist.

If I was interested to appear at an actuality program at the television. I quickly recovered from my first defensive reaction and realized that a lot of people would step out of their loneliness if I would show that I am willing to show. The truth is that I took this step first a few years ago, and that I take this step ever since. At first it is a huge step. Then it seems much smaller. I hope many people reach out.

That's my existentialistic trait.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

brainloneliness & other neologisms

I tried to add a new word to Wikipedia: brainloneliness and even provided an article link to a times article on pain measured in the brain when lonely. But I was very soon sent a message about how young editors cannot resist the urge to invent new words and submit them to Wikipedia. Feeling very brainlonely, I googled for neologisms on the WWW and found a little collection. Needless to say it did not contain brainloneliness. Never mind, I probably misspelled it anyway.

about links and visitors

Before I forget I have to blog about it. I found a tool today on Internet that finds links to a site and compares it to sites in about the same category. The reason I prefer it to the tool I put on my blog before is that it is more interesting for bloggers who prefer relatively small audiences. You might want to check it out. Remember that having many visitors is not the principle goal. I rather have content visitors (in Dutch, content = satisfied). I also love to comment on other blogs and love it when they leave comments here. Finally, I'm thrilled when someone in Asia or Africa reads my blog. Somehow, it makes me feel as if a little bit of peace and friendship just happened.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Understanding a restless child

Why is it that children are sometimes restless and at other times are concentrated? Is this because of bodily changes or are there other explanations?
I thought I might look for an answer using Google and found there is a relationship between insulin and restlessness in diabetes, which suggests that restlessness and eating are interconnected, because insulin regulates the intake of sugar in the cells of our bodies. So I searched further including the word "schedule" and got advice over how eating small meals over the day and not eating before sleeping is healthy. The blog with the most common sense I quickly found is here. Making the meal an enjoyable family happening is important but it is easier said than done... Try eating with someone that you're mad at or when you're angry at something. It's not that easy to leave problems behind at the table. In my experience other people can help a lot to change eating habits just by being there and bringing their positive thinking into the equation.
But then, maybe my three-years-old was just being jealous when I tried to teach a neighbour woman some French...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Puzzle sunday (3)

Discovery (from discovery Channel) offers knowledge based puzzles and homework help online. Part of the site is commercial. The homework help is. The CD-ROM to make your own crossword puzzles (for learning words) is too. Some reasoning puzzles are listed in categories under reasoning. There are other categories: lateral thinking, spatial awareness, number and math play. I'm going to give some of the puzzles to my children, I'm sure, if not to adults.
The site is an example for education. Schools need maps of activities at different levels to make it easier for teachers to choose the right exercises for a particular child, taking in account deficits, strengths and special interests.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Icerocket: sexy is less sexy than thinking

According to the icerocket sexy is less sexy in blogs than thinking. The last few months, there are many more blogs with the word "thinking" in it than with the word "sexy". This reminded me an article that I read about how blogs are attractive for brains. After reading this article I thought about brain loneliness... Virtual brain meetings... brain creation meetings... brainy debates about brains...

standard versus brightness

I've been thinking about how to solve the problem that some children start with more comprehension than others but still need to learn how to read and write. How can schools give each child the material that fits it when there are huge differences between children, to start with on text comprehension. There is differentiation on the level of technical reading, but not on the level of comprehension. This would mean the necessity for a complete new line of schoolbooks that are high on comprehension and low on technical reading.
Standard levels may be useful for schools, they may be useless for society. There are complaints at Universities and colleges about the levels dropping. What I observe is that the brightest children drop out and the level at the end of the secondary school is too low in the eyes of the Universities.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

new government, knowledge based education

Yesterday in the Netherlands we were presented with the new government. It was a pleasurable surprise to find out that the education department will now be in the hands of not only a scientist, but a critical thinker. A scientist who engages in discussions over intelligent design versus evolution. Although he is an advocate of evolution, he promised it will not affect the freedom of schools, meaning the special schools will not be affected. I am happy that we have a very intelligent minister at this post. This means I hope better policies and a signal that education will be taken seriously. Now is the chance to accomplish what Piaget pleaded for, more use of science and knowledge in education. Let's hope we will see a change in the curricula that takes more into consideration learning styles and more favorable conditions for all children. I hope the emphasis will shift towards learning strategies and problem solving against reproductive skills only.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Puzzle sunday (2)

Today I was strolling in the windy polders. The polders in the Netherlands (picture is an example) are land won over the sea more than a century ago, at the cost of lives. My son believes that the climate will cause the sea level to rise, I am not so sure it will rise more than the 10 to 20 centimeter every ten years or so, the same as always, with fluctuations. The wind is very cold and the sheep are coming towards us, as if they expect something from us. Then one sheep turns around. The other sheep watch her and one after the other turn around and walk away.
It is no weather for sheep in the wet clay, it is time for children to do puzzles: visit Jurassic Park? And to read books, books and books...

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Difficult puzzle, scaffolding & automatisation

Difficult puzzles need a strategy to be able to solve them. Smart children just try solving them, trusting their solving skills rather than a strategy. This works until they face a puzzle that seems not to work in that way. Then they have to try something called multilayered strategy. This is exactly the aim of scaffolding, getting insight in structure of solution, rather than being able to just solve the puzzle without having to worry how they did it.
In the midst of this comes emotions that are new to smart children: failure, frustration, stress... These emotions are often successfully avoided because smart children often can solve problems easily. When the puzzle is difficult enough, they get the chance to experience these emotions. A good teacher knows that emotions are a part of education. It is good to reflect on the emotions. What happened? How did you feel?
Then the child has to finish the task anyway. This means perseverance. The more perseverance, the better the child will feel when it does succeed to solve the problem in the end.
When they succeeded to solve the difficult puzzle, accompanied with the necessary frustration, the next step is to teach the child to automatize the puzzle.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

neurology à la carte

For more depth on neuroblogging, I suggest you try the à la carte of Olivier.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

coffee, no regularity

Does coffee influence sequential thinking? I wondered after seeing pictures of spiders that made webs after drinking coffee. I was shocked to see how much effect coffee has on the pattern made by the spider.
I already quit drinking sugar in my coffee. Maybe I should quit coffee and drink herbal tea instead.
Maybe my coffee drinking behaviour is responsible for my "but first syndrom", rather than a chaotic nature?

Monday, February 5, 2007

binary principle and elephant puzzle

How is a puzzle like the elephant puzzle used to scaffold? (in education, but you can do it among friends too) Well, for one the trick is that you don't need to know how to solve every independent puzzle (exceptions disregarded) to know how to solve a puzzle. For some puzzles, understanding laws is necessary or useful. How switches can be written down as either on or off may be helpful for solving a binary puzzle. Also, the idea of how to list numbers may be important. 00001 comes before 00010 and after 00000.
In the list 00, 01, 10, 11, 100, 101, 110, 111 notice that the last digit changes every time from 0 to 1, before the left digit can change. This also is the case with the elephant puzzle.
This is how a puzzle gives deep insight of maths and logic. Deep because it is a direct experience. It makes a connection between a concept in your head and a visual tactile experience in your hands.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

puzzle sunday (1)

I love thinking puzzles and my children do to. Here are some of the ones we enjoyed.
Elefant spinout is great for automatisation. This is a process wherein the solution is not only mastered by solving the puzzle, but by making it route. This is very important for some children that tend to find a solution easily and try to avoid route. Also this puzzle is a good model for binary maths. The elefants have two positions while solving the puzzle, 0 and 1, or facing the exit or to the side.

U = E x V / I x D

A few weeks ago I gave you this difficult puzzle: what does the equation U = E x V / I x D signify? hint: (probably Social) Psychology.

I gave a hint: E is for Expectation of success
Another hint is that V is the value of completion of a task

Who finds out what is the answer gets on top of my blogroll.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Bayesian maths for intuition

I read an article today that reflects my ideas on thinking. Brain patterns make noise, says Pouget, but the noise makes sense, he calls it "variability". The noise follows a pattern that can be predicted through Bayesian mathematics. It would explain why intuition appears after some time. It would be the result of an accord between neurons. These Bayesian patterns would make sense without looking as if they make sense.
This remembers me the time I was learning mathematics. One teacher made me sigh and I didn't understand much that year. Another teacher was able to explain the amazing relationships that I failed to see the year before. I learned maths and I learned that who teaches makes a difference and changes whether you perceive yourself as a possible mathematician or not.

*new* item at Chez Odile is the metachat where Creatives and Thinkers meet.

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