Date: Jan 16, 2013 6:57 PM
Author: kirby urner
Subject: Re: Update about "The community of mathematics educators: Join in<br> defending fun

On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 7:57 AM, Michael Paul Goldenberg
<mikegold@umich.edu> wrote:
> It is trivial to make up what "education researchers do" and then apply it equally to every education researcher, regardless of accuracy. This is particularly easy to get away with on a forum which with one or two exceptions has no education researchers and no one trained in education research.
>


I suggest we be liberal about what it means to do research in education.

My neighbor does early childhood development studies, raises posses of
kids, parents delighted with the results, and she teaches on-line, had
mentors. That's "education research" in my book. She may not
publish, but she has students and a lifestyle that provides continual
real world feed back (reality checks). She's not just "arm chair".

It could be that those typifying the mainstream in this field are
advancing too slowly and not working closely enough with neuroscience.
Who knows? Schools aren't always self checking. Since when did the
AI camp heap skepticism upon itself? Checks and balances don't always
come from within. "Peer review" can't always be the final arbiter.
If you're in the classroom teaching, you're in a research role in some
sense, in having access to lots of feedback.

Now is the time to keep constructing that reality of yours. It's not
like that work is ever finished. Some are down to routine
maintenance, while others are adding that "new wing".

The lay public should not be told to stand back and let the masters do
their magic. Not yet, when we have too much bunk still in the
pipeline. There's lots of squabbling. Lets be open about the warts
here.

This is not the time to circle the wagons and huffily assert one's
professionalism.

> Since you, Robert, have no such training, nor do the members of your chorus, it is unsurprising that education researchers and would-be education researchers do not flock here to discover your version of what it is education researchers do, what they believe, what their methods are, what the theoretical frameworks are in which they conduct their research, etc.
>


Lets not forget the NSF has already changed / updated it policies in
light of this Stanford family froo-frah, in that your plan for sharing
access to data must now be built in to the study you want funded.

http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7907175 (one of Haim's)

Lets head off future fires of this kind, by agreeing on some criteria
in advance. The fact that this kind of rule-making is still happening
suggests an infant science.

Likewise, in coming from medical research, which I would think is
related, in that statistics and human subjects are involved, I'm
cognizant with how doctors are making it easier to study public data
sets, scrubbed of traceable information.

The education research community seems to lag the medical community in
this respect. In any case, I'm aware of what's possible. Being able
to dial up lots of tests scores from across the land: could be useful
to make that easier yes?


> Meanwhile, you and your chorus tell each other that your views are precisely the way things "really are." How fun it must be to find three or four likeminded individuals who can all squawk the same falsehoods loudly and repeatedly, seemingly ad infinitum.
>
> I am impressed with the individual and collective chutzpah, but not with the accuracy of any of your tales.


I'd say I'm involved in education research too, not so much medical
anymore. And when it was medical, I was just in a janitorial role,
piping data from A to B, getting grist to the mills.

Anyway, ideas about how to use technology to promote education -- we
can't help but experiment, i.e. if that's the business you're in, then
you can't help but do one thing at the expense of something else.
Coursera is into identity checking by means of keystroke patterns.
But if you're not doing robo-grading, then you get to probe your
students more to verify in other ways. You can go off script, as the
human mentor.

"What's their incentive to cheat anyway?" (a good research question).
Who wants to be the faux brain surgeon asked to scrub up? Where does
that go? So what you fooled everyone? "Duck typing" better mean more
than just getting you through the front door, if you don't want your
program to crash. ** Of course if you're a screenwriter you may have
thought of some angles.

Just saying: in the wild real world, we can't just all sit back and
wait for multi-year longitudinal studies to tell us which curriculum
does a better job of communicating 1800s type physics. Or what about
that study of what computer languages lead to productive careers?
Obviously if there were such a study it would have a host of problems.
Too big a question. What's "productive"? Languages in what domain?
Just to talk about a computer language is to say nothing about what
it's "about". So maybe the question was just not the right question.
So much research is just a waste of time.

We can't all stand around paralyzed waiting for "education research"
to tell us how to most wisely use our energy time. Or rather, we're
open to the voice of experience, but when it comes to longitudinal
multi-year studies, please understand that we can't be bound to wait
for those outcomes. Our multiple generations / cohorts move forward
relentlessly and time pressure is no joke. Time waits for no one.
"Doing nothing" is a radical option and usually the wrong choice.

Bottom line: lets not let education researchers fault us for "doing
something" they haven't had time to fully research and support what
we're doing. Sorry charlie, but it was never an option to "just
wait". Great if you can provide relevant advice however. Not saying
I just want quacks on my advisory team.

Kirby

** "duck typing" is used by dynamically typed languages such as Python
to keep a scripts egalitarian, judging individuals by their
capabilities and not by their titles. You're allowed to participate
if you can do the job. Statically typed languages, on the other hand,
need up front stipulations and aren't about to "audition" any wanna be
ducks as to whether their quack and walk is "like a duck" enough.