A Few of Our Favourite Things: March 2023

March had us thinking a lot about education, learning, and how we can prepare for the future. Whether we're talking about professional development or the future of education, one thing is very clear: things are changing fast and it's going to take a lot of curiosity, resilience, and creativity to meet the challenges that are starting to emerge. If you're hoping to take a peek into the future, we've got you covered!

A student is writing on a sheet of paper at a desk.
Photo by Ben Mullins via Unsplash

How "Grade Obsession" is Detrimental to Students and their Education

We've talked before about the fact that grades aren't a good tool to make hiring decisions, but this article about how grades actually have a negative effect on education got us thinking. Sometimes the information that we think we're getting from something like grades isn't actually telling us what we want to know. We also know that the skills related to formative assessment, like self-assessment, providing feedback, and setting clear and attainable goals, are much more useful in life outside the classroom. Hats off to the teachers who are providing more opportunities for this!

“When students are mainly motivated by getting good grades, they tend to focus on memorizing information instead of deeply understanding new concepts, establishing connections and making creative extensions. They are also less likely to take risks in their learning — an important part of growth and development."

- Dr. Danielle LaPointe-McEwan, Dr. Christopher DeLuca, Dr. Andrew Coombs, and Nathan Rickey, MEd
Two rows of burnt matches on a grey background.
Photo by Anne Nygard via Unsplash

Where to Start If You Feel Burned Out At Work

If you're feeling burnt out, you're not alone. The good news is that Dr. Christina Maslach is optimistic about the opportunities that we have as individuals and as organizations. In this article, she suggests some ways that we can all look for ways to make things better, especially if we're willing to start from a place of curiosity, empathy, and a willingness to think outside of the box

“If you think of the mantra that has been around forever—If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen—it’s a recognition of a gap, a mismatch between the job and the person. But it’s saying, “It’s your problem. If you can’t do it, then go away. Don’t be here.” Meanwhile, nothing is being raised about the space itself. Could the heat be turned down? Could we redesign the kitchen to be a better place?”

- Dr. Christina Maslach, Psychology Professor Emerita at UC Berkeley
An upturned white robot hand reaches toward the camera.
Photo via Unsplash

ChatGPT and the Future of Work

If you've been trying to follow along with the impact of AI Chatbots like ChatGPT on the future of work, this webinar goes way into how the systems work, how they're advancing, and what it might mean for the workplaces of the future. This technology is advancing very rapidly and becoming more effective, so if you have a bit of time and have about 90mins in your schedule, this is definitely worth checking out.

“This technology is incredibly malleable, it can do many things. [...] We have a shared interest in directing the technology in a way that will be complementary to us and therefore more advancing societal goals, helping us solve some of our hardest problems [...] and doing less of replicating human capabilities. Because let's face it, we have human capabilities. Those aren't scarce. Let's figure out the best way we can use [the technology].”

- David Autor, Professor of Economics at MIT
A close up image of a variety of video game controllers.
Photo by Enrique Guzman via Unsplash

How Video Games Can Level Up the Way You Learn

The opening of this TED Talk made us laugh, but it also got us thinking about the different ways that people learn, process information, and remember the things that they are learning. There's a lot that we can learn from video games and the way that we can intensify focus, increase motivation, and provide feedback. We're not surprised that the tools and features of games and play turn out to be some of the best ways to help people learn.

“The video games industry is not just made of players, but made of you. [...] I'm advocating for the components of video games, especially the engaging ones, to be ported into classroom instruction because the audience, the students, clearly understand the medium. There are roughly three billion video game players worldwide. [...] If we can start showing students how their passion for playing connects to their futures, we will have done our jobs. The next generation of teachers are those who can connect the path of study to profession via passion.”

- Kris Alexander, "Video Game Wizard" and Professor, Toronto Metropolitan University