Can Twitter be used as an educational tool?

A paper recently published online in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (JCAL) has generated lively discussion on how the educational use of Twitter can affect college student engagement and grades. The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades by R Junco, G Heiberger and E Loken was published in November last year. The paper ‘provides experimental evidence that Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students and to mobilise faculty into a more active and participatory role’ (quoted from the abstract).

However, a JCAL reader, Dr Ellen Murphy, has raised some interesting issues about the paper, particularly about the language that is used to describe cause and effect, in a letter she wrote to the JCAL Editor, Charles Crook. Rather than being published in JCAL itself, we think the debate and correspondence between the authors, Dr Murphy and the JCAL Editor is better aired via this blog.

Read:

Charles Crook (Editor, JCAL)

JCAL Editor’s response
Letter to the Editor in response to The effect of Twitter on  college student engagement and grades (E. Murphy)

This letter was submitted with a view to publication in the journal.  Our advice on submissions does include the possibility of such correspondence.  However, in my 8-year tenure as Editor, this is the first time I have had to consider that possibility.  Moreover, ‘letters’ seem scarce items across the whole history of the journal.  On the other hand, it is certainly Continue reading “Can Twitter be used as an educational tool?”

Interview: Meaning and Mystery: What it Means to Believe in God

We recently caught up with David Holley, author of Meaning and Mystery: What it Means to Believe in God. David talks about his motivations for writing, and something unusual about his writing style…

Philosopher’s Eye: Why did you decide to write Meaning and Mystery: What it Means to Believe in God?

David Holley: The beginnings of the book go back to an experience of listening to a very bright high school senior talk about how he was trying to decide whether to continue believing in God. The young man had grown up in a church environment, but had come to the point where he thought he needed to decide things for himself. The type of reasoning he pursued would be familiar Continue reading “Interview: Meaning and Mystery: What it Means to Believe in God”

Traces of Dinosaurs

If you’re curious about the particular coloring pattern on a puffin, say, you can just go and look at one (or look at a photo someone else took of one).  If, however, you’re curious, not about a puffin, but about Anchiornis huxleyi, a small, flying dinosaur that lived between 160 and 155 million years ago (and you don’t happen to be a scientist in the movie, Jurassic Park) things are not so easy.  Paleontologists who study dinosaurs that have been extinct for millions of years are at quite an evidential disadvantage.  They have to base their theories on traces of dinosaurs, such as fossilized bones, footprints and feathers.

David Lewis argues that past events leave multifarious traces which radiate outward, like the ripples in a pond.  David Albert argues that we know such traces are reliable records because the universe Continue reading “Traces of Dinosaurs”

Memory as storage space

DrawersFindings published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, and reported in Wired, add to the evidence that remembering ought not be conceived as the retrieval of an item from a store.

Psychologist Kimberly Wade performed an experiment in which subjects played a gambling task, in pairs. Each member of the pair was entrusted to keep track of her own score. Afterwards, footage was doctored to give the impression that one member of a pair had cheated. The partner of the framed subject was found to show a strong willingness to testify that they themselves had seen their partner cheat, once shown the doctored footage.

The results add to the evidence against a conception of memory as storage of passive vehicles of content. The misremembering in this experiment is not the result of deteriorating memory but rather of further experience. This suggests that what one experiences after the event is perhaps as epistemologically relevant to the quality of the memory as the conditions at the time the memory was formed. Nonetheless, the store metaphor is still popular in fields like philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. Is that a mistake?

For the article in Wired go here.

Related articles:
£1.99 - small Neuroethics: Ethics and the Sciences of Mind
By Neil Levy , University of Melbourne
(Vol. 3, December 2008)
Philosophy Compass