I got book edits this week, gave an exam on Thursday, and pre-registration for our spring term classes is just beginning, so I have a parade of students begging to get into this course or that one to deal with. So I have no more time for detailed blogging, but will do a bit of tab-clearing to end the week.
- This piece about bimodal exams resonated well with my experiences in intro classes. I see a lot of the same thing, though with less statistical power, given that our maximum class size is 18. But in general, the “well-prepared students are bored, poorly-prepared students hopelessly lost” thing is universal. The tricks mentioned for trying to deal with the issue are likewise very general– I try to throw a question or a sub-part of a question on exams that will stretch the good students. The trick is doing that without having it completely destroy the weak students. Maybe I should start marking the exam questions with levels of difficulty…
- Adam “2footgiraffe” Taylor is getting evangelical about Twitter, and specifically his monthly student Twitter chat. I kind of go back and forth about Twitter; on the one hand, it’s useful for connecting with scientists and educators I probably wouldn’t reach otherwise. On the other, the character limit makes it absolutely horrible for discussing anything requiring the slightest bit of nuance. And there’s a sort of middle-school social dynamic to a lot of Twitter communities that I waffle between kind of enjoying and finding deeply troubling. So, you know, Twitter. Yeah.
- This article about teaching general relativity to 11-year-olds was interesting. Also, relevant to my interests (one of the many ideas I have kicking around but can’t do anything with yet is a picture book introducing quantum to little kids…). I’m not sure I entirely buy it as a realistic model for education, but it sounds like a cool outreach activity.
- I’ve had this no-math explanation of the Lamb shift open in a tab for months, and keep saying “I should write about that,” but not having time. So here’s a link. Go read it, it’s good stuff.
- Likewise this 3 Quarks Daily post on fitting and overfitting of data. Excellent stuff that I never quite have time to discuss in detail.
- The TL;DR version of this post giving advice on doing “service” activity before tenure: Unless you find it rewarding in some other way, don’t. Also applies post-tenure.
- This post on harassment and compassion was interesting. I don’t have anything particularly coherent to say about it, but it’s an angle I hadn’t heard discussed before.
And that ought to be enough links to prove a point of some sort. So here’s a video of the kids being silly:
We have not one, not two, but three little-kid birthday parties to go to this weekend, plus Kate is away Saturday night. Whee!