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Education

Gaming the educational system, again.

Another comic on the topic of gaming the educational system, a follow up to the previous Calvin and Hobbes and the original topic of studying for exams. This time from Wondermark (image links to a higher resolution original).

Wondermark 414: In which there may be Shortcuts to Success

I had a student devise an elaborate scheme where he reduced vast swaths of the textbook into a shorthand notation that he printed onto his hands with ultraviolet ink. Then he put a tiny LED blacklight into the bridge of his glasses. Much harder than simply studying, of course.

Actually a brilliant scheme, if this was to work.

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Uhh... nothing else appears to be relevant enough.

Discussion

  1. Posted by Aziz | June 11, 2008, 9:19 am

    “Much harder than simply studying, of course”

    That about says it all. Clever scheme, but not brilliant. Brilliant would be knowing the stuff.

    Reply to comment

  2. Posted by Tony | June 11, 2008, 2:56 pm

    I think another point here (which also happens to be a recurring theme on this blog) would be the practical application of the knowledge, vs. the raw memorization of the textbook.

    Again, knowing the material is being able to apply it. Which I suppose the student has done, since “it was a cryptography class”.

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  3. Posted by Olga | June 12, 2008, 12:04 am

    lol
    That’s much more high tech than taping notes to the insides of our sleeves like Sammy & I used to do. Why didn’t we think of that?

    Reply to comment

  4. Posted by Tony | June 12, 2008, 12:37 am

    Because it didn’t matter what grade you were actually given.

    The the decision to… supplement one’s test writing abilities relies on the benefit outweighing the cost * chance. That is, extra marks that would not be “earned” otherwise vs. chance of getting 0% on the test (assuming high school, where cheating policy is surprisingly lax. Universities assign negative grades, among other penalties, up to expulsion.)

    Since taped notes offer very low data density and are not particularly difficult to spot, it’s only reasonable to conclude that the “cost” was also low.

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  5. Posted by michaelp | June 12, 2008, 2:52 pm

    WE had a science test today on a unit called mechanical advantage and efficiency, and there was some massive “gaming” going on. We have 3 40 minute periods, from 9:11, then a 30 minute recess, then we had our test. Well, during the recess, quite a few people stayed inside to study for the test, right before we were going to take it. And the teacher was inside, knowing that the students were studying. If that’s not gaming, then I don’t know what is.

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  6. Posted by Clayton | June 17, 2008, 7:00 pm

    @Tony: “I think another point here (which also happens to be a recurring theme on this blog) would be the practical application of the knowledge, vs. the raw memorization of the textbook.”

    I think the biggest problem right now, is that many people believe that such a philosophy belongs only to the practical (or more “hands-on”) type of activity. This is not the case. The same principles that one learns in say, a leadership course, also applies to just about every other area (that I have encountered) in life. The basis of leadership, is that you cannot tell someone to do something, unless you have done it yourself. This gives you the knowledge of how something is done, what can be expected of someone, and what is required to be done in the first place.

    This basically translates into: practice.
    Think of me as your teacher. I could give you a sheet with the fifty-some trig identities you are required to learn in Grade 12 University math, have you memorize them, and then give you a quiz on it the next day. This does you no good. Rather, it’s much better to show you how to get these identities, give you the resources to practice, and test you on your ability later. (This is also closely related to teaching philosophy, which is also extremely important, but fit for another time)

    In the end, instead of cramming at the last minute, as a student, you are much better off taking 15 – 30 minutes each night reviewing from that day the notes/examples etc. After reviewing them, cover up the final answer, and do the question again, once. Check your answer, be it right or wrong, do not correct it. The next night, go over that question again (along with your new notes), and I think you’d find you’ll have gotten it correct this time.

    NOTE: This is a very personal thing, these methods are just something I find help a very large majority of students that I have talked to. Nothing is a perfect, “one size fits all” method. Find what works for you.

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  7. Posted by syntax_error | June 27, 2008, 10:22 am

    @ Clayton: “(This is also closely related to teaching philosophy, which is also extremely important, but fit for another time)”

    surprisingly some schools or rather programs in schools are now teaching such forms of philosophy, like I know at my school’s IB program you have to take TOK [ theory of knowledge ] ; then again, its said you can take a horse to the watering hole but cannot force it to drink.

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