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Want a tech job? Study this. Advice from Mozilla, Reddit, Tumblr and more

Students often say they hate group work. I don’t attach a huge amount of points to group work, but I do ask them to collaborate on various projects. Learning how to deal with a team member who isn’t pulling his or her weight, or how to work with a take-charge person who tries to shut out less assertive group members, is a valuable life skill. Critical thinking, self-driven progress in…

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I Quit Liking Things On Facebook for Two Weeks.

She stopped liking, and started commenting. And maybe what she discovered is what old-timer bloggers remember the blogosphere being like before Facebook. Back in my day, we didn’t need someone else’s algorithm to show us what we were interested in. We clicked on insightful, valuable, and compelling comments to see what else the author had written, or we assembled our own RSS feed of authors we trusted. When I disallowed…

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Confuse Students to Help Them Learn

Confusing sometimes helps cats, so why not students? I’m afraid your cat badly needs to be confused. Confusion is a powerful force in education. It can send students reeling toward boredom and complacency. But being confused can also prompt students to work through impasses and arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the world. “Common wisdom holds that confusion should be avoided during learning and rapidly resolved if and when…

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What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos

A readable Wired article about why proofreading is difficult. My father, a technical editor for the U.S. Government, says he was so attuned to seeing typos that his brain would show them to him in a larger type size. Typos suck. They are saboteurs, undermining your intent, causing your resume to land in the “pass” pile, or providing sustenance for an army of pedantic critics. Frustratingly, they are usually words you know how to…

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How Humans Respond to Robots

The play that coined the word “robot,” Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), included violent robots, compassionate robots, and herd robots (who are content to be workers until incited by the violent robot leaders). This article explores a wide range of human responses to robots. Our expectations of robots and our response to their designs varies internationally; the Uncanny Valley curve has a different arc depending where you are. Certainly,…

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The Myth of Multitasking

Psychology Today summary of research that debunks the myth of multitasking, with a nifty little practical test. Much recent neuroscience research tells us that the brain doesn’t really do tasks simultaneously, as we thought (hoped) it might. In fact, we just switch tasks quickly. Each time we move from hearing music to writing a text or talking to someone, there is a stop/start process that goes on in the brain.…