Oh, Oh — That Doesn’t Play Out Well For Me
The “science article” I just finished reading was making this claim about intelligence as part of its attention grabbing title. So, I suppose that now means I have a new personal goal for 2018. My new focus for professional growth is to stay awake for 2-3 more hours every night. I’m thinking this simple change in my bedtime should boost my IQ score by at least 20-30 points.
Here’s the entire title of this article which had some pretty interesting claims about intelligent people:
I found it on a Facebook post — that social media bastion of verified scientific results. You’re probably familiar with many of its scientifically accurate proclamations including UFO sightings and the miracle results from truly outstanding face cream.
Surely, the science being mentioned in this particular article is unbiased, peer reviewed and contextually accurate. Ummm … perhaps not. Now don’t get me wrong — I like Facebook. I use Facebook. I find it highly entertaining. I just don’t typically go there for my reliable science information.
As I read the above “science article” I noticed a couple of additional interesting features:
- It prevented me from copying anything from the webpage — not even the title.
- It’s as if they didn’t want me quoting them. Weird.
- It had an embedded link to take a “Professional IQ Test – Take the Highest Rated On-line IQ Test“.
- Wow! It’s professional AND it’s highest-rated! It must be really, really good. And to think that I was considering taking one of those amateur and low-rated IQ tests. This one seems much better.
In my rather abbreviated blogging career I’ve already shared with you my love of science (Brain Research: How It’s Revolutionizing Learning) and the important changes happening in our BC education system (The Great BC Education Change). So, what if I combined those two ideas and looked at how science has influenced educational change.
What would be the most important issue to keep in mind about ‘scientific research’ and educational change?
What is it that we need to be careful about?
Well, science should be an essential component of evaluating our current educational initiatives, but we need to be extremely careful on whether that particular science is applicable, contextually appropriate and relevant to our current circumstances. It is incredibly easy to find someone, somewhere promoting an opinion opposite to what we’re currently doing in education. And while it’s important to be open to conflicting advice it is equally as important, if not more so, to consider how this ‘scientific research’ was done, who was doing it and with what motive.
Science can be a useful link to understanding our world, but we must teach our students to use a critical lens when assessing sources, especially those from the internet.
The internet is filled with headlines and drama. Statistics and information presented as ‘fact’, aren’t necessarily so.
Where we once did our research at the local library looking through books already critiqued by the librarian and others, today our children have an unlimited amount of information at their fingertips — information that can be posted by anyone on anything with their own bias — reviewed by no one, critiqued by few. It can be a dangerous world out there with ideas purporting to be unbiased and objective, but in reality are based on spotty science, inappropriate assumptions and poor methodology.
Today, an important part of the educational experience for our students is teaching them to be discriminate learners and critical thinkers, especially when it comes to the almost limitless claims being made on the internet:
- What are the author’s motives?
- Are they trying to sell you something? (Hint … it might be “professional” and “highest -rated”)
- Is the science valid?
Being a critical thinker, challenging the reliability of the information you’re reading, making sure that you use multiple sources of information before drawing conclusions are some of the skills we are imparting to our students in 2018.
It really is about shoving less content into their heads, and more about about providing them with the skills they need to discriminate fact from misinformed opinion.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to:
- drink a few cups of coffee,
- mess up some stuff around the room, and
- say an inappropriate word or two.
I anticipate being MUCH smarter by tomorrow morning.