Friday, 15th October

1. I’ve mentioned the OASIS database from York University before https://oasis-database.org/?locale=en OASIS stands for Open Accessible Summaries in Language Studies (so, no, not quite a true acronym) and its mission is to make “research on language learning, use, and education available and accessible to a wide audience”.

Stacks of stuff on every linguistic subject under the sun in OASIS. Try a search for ‘effectiveness of teaching’: https://oasis-database.org/catalog?utf8=%E2%9C%93&locale=en&search_field=all_fields&q=effectiveness+of+teaching

2. I think I played with Lego as a child. (I’ve just checked that it wasn’t invented only fifty years ago.) The LEGO Foundation – funded from the profits on plastic bricks – promotes the development of all children everywhere through ‘playful learning’ https://www.legofoundation.com/en/

They’ve just published a report https://www.legofoundation.com/en/learn-how/knowledge-base/learning-through-play-increasing-impact-reducing-inequality/ on reducing inequality through play, of which they claim “this review expands both the geographic breadth and the scale of this evidence and explores the use of play in early childhood classroom and home-based educational interventions that have demonstrated causal impact on learning and the closing of achievement gaps.”

Their CEO, Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, was interviewed recently by ECW https://ecw.exposure.co/qa-lego-foundation I like the phrase ‘playful learning’! PDF of both summary and full reports below.

 3. A reminder, neither polite nor impolite, that if you’d like to attend BBELT for free next year, you need to submit your paper proposal by 7th November: https://www.britishcouncil.org.mx/en/events/bbelt-2022-connecting-teachers-empowering-learners

‘Polite reminders’, especially faux-polite reminders drive me mad …

4.And, finally, two bits of longer reading for the weekend.

The first, an accessibly technical piece on algorithms and the Facebook whistle-blower, Frances Haugen from the Technology Review https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/10/05/1036519/facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugen-algorithms/

Second, an Alun Francis piece on social mobility for the Policy Exchange thinktank that concludes that the solution is NOT just about getting disadvantaged pupils into elite educational establishments – well, not here in the UK at least! “There are evidently many examples of unfairness and inequality, but if social mobility is going to improve, policymakers are going to achieve little if they remain locked into a discussion about elites, and policy focusses only on who becomes part of it. They have to ask harder questions about the supply of opportunities and how they can be extended to a wider variety of people.” https://wonkhe.com/wp-content/wonkhe-uploads/2021/10/Alun-Francis-paper-for-media.pdf PDF below.

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