Immersed in the work of full-time teaching and so much more, I am grateful that March brought a much-deserved spring break. Without that opportunity for rest, relaxation, and renewal, I might not have discovered a whole new slate of favorite things to share. Here it goes…
My Favorite Book
If you have not watched the late Hans Rosling’s provocative TED Talks, do so now. I bet the talks alone will be motivation enough to read his 2018 bestselling book, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think. If you’re still not convinced, check out Bill Gates blog, Why I want to stop talking about the “developing” world. The book was published after Rosling’s death, so Gates writes, “I wish I could tell Hans how much I liked it. Factfulness is a fantastic book, and I hope a lot of people read it.”
The book, which is the focus of this semester’s Lifelong Learning Book Club on my campus, offers an excellent starting-off place for discussing two critical life skills: critical thinking and global citizenship. It explains why people around the globe perform so miserably on Rosling’s Gapminder Test, a 13-item test updated annually to assess knowledge about basic global patterns and macro-trends. Rosling asks, “How can so many people be so wrong about so much? How is it even possible that the majority of people score worse than chimpanzees? Worse than random!” He adds: “It is not a question of intelligence. Everyone seems to get the world devastatingly wrong… Every group of people I ask thinks the world is more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless – in short, more dramatic – that is really is.” (p. 16)
Rosling offers the notion of Factfulness as a fact-based worldview, a habit of critical thinking, necessary to overcome ten dramatic instincts that lead us to misperceive the world, including:
Each of the ten instincts is the focus of a chapter. A final chapter outlines how to practice factfulness in educational, in journalism, in our organizations, in our communities, and as global citizens.
Rosling offers a wealth of open educational resources you can use to convert what you learn to curriculum to share in your courses, including:
Looking for a good book relevant to curriculum design? Check out Creating Wicked Students: Designing Courses for a Complex World, by Paul Hanstedt. Paired with reading Factfulness, Creating Wicked Students offers a road map for cultivating students capable of changing the world. As Hanstedt writes, “When a student leaves college, we want them to enter the world not as drones participating mindlessly in activities to which they’ve been appointed, but as thinking, deliberative beings who add something to society.”
To sample the book, read Chapter 1 today.
My Favorite Podcast
Garth Neufeld and Eric Landrum co-host this superb podcast that features deep conversations about the teaching of psychology. So far, the duo has posted 56 interviews with psychology educators at the college and high school level, including some of my favorite episodes featuring Stephen Chew, Regan Gurung, Anna Ropp, Beth Morling, Melissa Beers, Bridgette Martin Hard, and the late Charles Brewer. By far my favorite so far was the series of brief podcasts Intro Psych Sessions, featuring a nine-episode series of brief “back-to-school energy booster shot discussions” about teaching introduction to psychology.
My Favorite MOOC
Learning How to Learn (offered by McMaster University & the University of California, San Diego)
Learning How to Learn for Youth (offered by the University of Arizona)
While first released more than five years ago, Dr. Barbara Oakley still leads the pack with the most popular massive open online course (MOOC) in the world, Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects. The course four-week course offers a fantastic summary of evidence-based learning strategies with more than fifty vide lectures, several readings, and provocative but fun multi-answer assessments. Encourage your students to complete this MOOC and attempt it yourself to better appreciate the potential for high quality online courses on this and other topics.
Dr. Oakley also has two additional MOOCs on Coursera, including Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles and Discover Your Hidden Potential, and Learning How to Learn for Youth. She also has published companion books, Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School Without Spending All Your Time Studying – A Guide for Kids and Teens, A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science, and Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
My Favorite New Learning Resource
Recently, Dr. Andrew Cole and I presented a session, Open Educational Resources to Help Transform Students to Learners, at the Learning Technology Development Council’s Virtual Showcase 2019. As part of the presentation, we shared dozens of our favorite open educational resources relevant to the science of learning, including these gems: Retrieval Practice and The Learning Scientists.
Retrieval Practice - created by Dr. Pooja K. Agarwal, features several excellent guides relevant to the science of learning, including:
The website features curriculum used to support a book club discussion of the popular book, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, including chapter sketchnotes and engaging discussions in Facebook and Flipgrid. The website also recommends some great books and reports relevant to the science of learning.
Trust me, you will find yourself returning to this website many times.
By now, I suspect everyone knows about the wealth of resources on evidence-based learning strategies available at The Learning Scientists. But no list of favorite resources to help transform students to learners is complete without this website. The website features downloadable resources to help master and teach six evidence-based learning strategies, including:
The website also features a regular blog and podcasts.
The Learning Scientists team currently includes Megan Sumeracki, Cindy Nebel, Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel, and Althea Need Kaminske.
My Favorite Media
One Nation Under Stress, an outstanding HBO documentary released last month, offers an outstanding overview of the escalating problem of stress in America. Thank goodness for the research database, Films on Demand. I am eager to share this documentary film in my Introduction to Psychology course.
The OA, a Netflix Original Series now in its second season, is a deep, dark, and engaging thriller featuring brilliant acting and a puzzling storyline. The question, should you choose to watch this series: Is “the OA” truly an angel or is she living with severe mental illness? I’m still not sure and eagerly await the third season
If The OA doesn’t seem inviting to you, you might also enjoy the new Netflix Original Series, The Umbrella Academy. It’s equally deep, dark, and engaging, but less puzzling.