The Behavioural Phenomenon

Barky: Science of Education

We are the angry mob, we read the papers every day. We like who we like, we hate who we hate, but we’re oh so easily swayed.
– Kaiser Chiefs

’By itself,’ he said, ’pain is not always enough. There are occasions when a human being will stand out against pain, even to the point of death. But for everyone there is something unendurable — something that cannot be contemplated. Courage and cowardice are not involved. If you are falling from a height it is not cowardly to clutch at a rope. If you have come up from deep water it is not cowardly to fill your lungs with air. It is merely an instinct which cannot be destroyed. It is the same with the rats. For you, they are unendurable. They are a form of pressure that you cannot withstand. Even if you wished to. You will do what…

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Why Angry Birds is More Fun than Math

Barky: Science of Education

Flow is a psychological concept that explains how people can focus and learn when teaching is properly suited to ones needs. I critically review and explain a game called ‘Frequency 1550’, and social connectivist learning platform used to educate school children in Amsterdam.

Frequency 1550, the referenced intellectual resrarch and all other potential trademarks or copyrights are property of their respective holders.

The official website for ‘Frequency 1550’ can be found at

Admiraal, W., Huizenga, J., Akkerman, S., & Dam, G. T. (2011). The concept of flow in collaborative game-based learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(3), 1185-1194.

Why Angry Birds is More Fun than Math by C. James Barker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Creative Commons License
Why Angry Birds is More Fun than Math by C. James Barker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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From Corporation to Classroom

I think this one might actually be the best one yet!

Barky: Science of Education

Right, so Ken Robbinson tells us that classroom compliance squanders creativity. Donnald Clark tells us the psychological contract with society is broken, that’s why we have youth on the dole, since organising riots on twitter and smashing up electronics shops is more exciting than manual work. Bjork declares that exams and league tables are of the devil, and if that wasn’t all grim enough, Newcombe reminds us that there is no widespread movement for teachers to use evidence based methods.So, anybody feeling optimistic? ‘YES!’ Said Harold Jarche! ‘I AM!’*

Harold Jarche has taught for a number of years about the issues of separating learning from work. In today’s world, especially in the western world where our industry is largely academic/tertiary, more and more of the money making work is intellectual.

According to Jarche (2013a), such organisations prosper far more effectively when it is the people on the ground who…

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Get wid’ the FLOW! Yo!

Barky: Science of Education

While commenting on blogs last week, I looked several times for a way to argue that unstructured learning moments have greater impact than the conventional teaching tools and their measurements. In my search for evidence, I came across ‘flow’. Today, I wish to evaluate the efficacy of flow. If you’ve watched Diana Laufenberg’s talk on how much better students worked making youtube videos and posters, than when they were copying down in their exercise books; or if you have contemplated why it is that children with ADHD are never distracted from Angry Birds, ‘flow’ answers this question.

Flow is part of a four channel model. If the balance between challenge and skill is correct, flow takes place. Otherwise, the student will experience apathy, anxiety or boredom (see diagram). The result of flow is that the learner works entirely out of intrinsic motivation and becomes absorbed in the moment. It creates its own…

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The Power of College Football

Barky: Science of Education

I came across an article this week that argued against the case for High School Sports. Amanda Ripley (2013) put together evidences in how nations like Korea are producing better qualified Maths students, and how several schools across the US have also fostered higher academic achievement through a vastly reduced emphasis on High School Sports.

Before I continue, let me clarify some terms. ‘High School Sports’ does not refer to the ‘PE’ or ‘games’ lessons we remember from High School, but in this context we are talking about Varsity tournaments and the like. My honest reaction was a measure of amazement that someone would make such effort to fight against something that in my mind yields such dividends. After all, logically if you put more effort into mathematics grades, you will have people who are better at doing mathematics. Yet the High School Sports programs invite a sense of unity…

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Reading Papers

Yesterday I started reading a paper on the neurological correlates associated with memory. I’m sure it was fascinating stuff, but after half an hour of plugging through it I honestly felt I was learning nothing.

I believe it must be a debate that every student goes through. Doing something that seems to yield nothing is ineffective. Doing nothing is neglectful. So what’s the win win?

Well, here comes captain obvious, with his wisdom: I stepped back, and asked myself why I was reading the paper? The answer was: academic recreation. The paper is due to come up in next weeks lecture, and it is supplementary to the course. I’m not trying to answer a specific question, and there’s no way I’ll be remembering every detail contained therein.

So I looked down the paper at the headings. I re-familiarised myself with the abstract. I took my reading down a pace and got an image in my head of what I was reading about. While my time was short, the next 10 minutes reading was more effective than the last 30.

Reading with purpose and reading for meaning are the bridge to that gap.

Introduction/Test Post

We got started this week on our blogs for our science of education module. I wrote a cheeky first post to test mine, but I like it so I want to share it now.

Barky: Science of Education

Note to PSP3003 Students: This is not my first blog post, it is NOT to be marked or commented on. Please see the next post.

Take a look around you. As our nation has grown in academic and economic prosperity you would have thought that we might be able to share the wealth.

Yet still we have children who don’t understand why they should engage, university students who complain that they have to think dynamically and adults with the problem solving abilities of a shrew.

Like our nations sewerage system our education system was designed by the victorians, and also like our sewerage system, our education system has worked well enough for a long time. But as we have entered the age of information abundance, and dare I say the revolution of machinery, the playing field has changed. And what’s worse, no-one in society seems to have recognised.

We send…

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