Category Archives: This blog

A personale note on the US today

I have something to admit: I love being in America. I’ve been a couple of times in NY, I drove from Chicago to LA with my wife on our honeymoon with unforgettable detours via Memphis and Nashville. 2 years ago we drove on route 1 with our sons, 10 years after our honeymoon and I’m afraid they’ve fallen in love too.

When I started to think how much the United States have influenced my life, I found out very quickly that there is no end. From the classic movies I watched as a child with my grandfather, the Fender guitars that I use for my own music that is heavily influenced by the blues, jazz and country, heck my overweight is largely due to Coca Cola. Last year I was so honored to be able to have a first talk in DC, and you can’t imagine the big honor it was to be published by an American publisher and to have an article published in American Educator. I still have to make it in NY, because you if you can make it there… But it all goes much deeper. The first time I visited Ellis Island, the first I did check were the immigration-records for the brothers of my great grandfather Herman and my dear great uncle Clement who left Flanders to live in Detroit. They were a couple of the many, many immigrants leaving on the Red Star Line.

My wife knows that when my head is getting overcrowded, I only long for one thing: a wide open road, somewhere between the two coasts.

Now I don’t want to tell stupid things about politics and how wrong they are. Who am I to tell a country something? I don’t want to make comparisons as many do with the Thirties, it only reminds us how many mistakes we’ve made in Europe too.

The only thing I want to share, is this: damned, many news stories I read and hear today hurt.

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2016 and The Economy Of Meaning

The end of a year is always a great moment to look back at what were the most popular 2016-posts on this blog:

  1. Second funny on Sunday because too funny: a science paper written by Donald J Trump (no comment)
  2.  Devil’s advocate. A plea against Prince Ea (Casper Hulshof)
  3. Gartner’s hype cycle for education 2016
  4. Howard Gardner on his ‘multiple intelligences’: the theory is no longer current!
  5. Famous psychology study ‘killed by replication’: does a pencil in your mouth make you feel happy?
  6. Why the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless (video)
  7. Maybe the most relevant Figure from PISA, imho

But there are also classics, posts from before 2016 that remain very popular:

And what to expect for 2017? Many more blog posts, a Swedish translation and Chinese translation of our book, and hopefully a lot of nice people to meet along the road! Have a great New Year, dear readers and friends!

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Just an idea for Microsoft: put a factcheck-button on LinkedIn

The past 2 years I’ve seen a steady rise of people using LinkedIn. I receive daily invites to connect and I also noticed that a lot of people visit this blog via this social media platform. In my experience LinkedIn is the more serious, older brother in the social media landscape. This is of course because the clear focus on professional connections.

At the same time people want to look smart and sharp because of this function, so more and more people start to share stuff. And that’s where things can become a bit nasty. The past months I was dragged into several LinkedIn-discussions because people where sharing again that +*%666*% learning pyramid.

Maybe it could be an idea – now that Microsoft bought LinkedIn – to introduce a factcheck-button answering the question: ‘is this claim or advice correct’.

But while waiting for this button, if you see somebody mentioning that pyramid, the 70-20-10-rule or learning styles on LinkedIn, tell them to get their story checked and feel free to share these links (or to tell them to buy our book 🙂 ):

 

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2 days ago… #Brussels

I returned from the fabulous ResearchED Scandinavia in Gothenburg. I landed in Zaventem, run for my car to see my loved ones asap. Today I see the images of the place were I come so very often. Scattered, ruined with lots of people in pain, many people killed. It’s a stupid thing to say, but we all knew that it wasn’t a question if an attack would come, the questions were when and where.

Now we know.

I’m at home because our institute asked – due to a question of our government – not to come to our school. So, while I wanted to discuss what’s happening with my students, I’m at work at home. We received a mail from the school of our kids, that they will inform our sons about what has happened. They will have many questions and I know that it will difficult to convince them in a few weeks tile to go to Zaventem to take a plane for a holiday together.

And what’s next?

Well, I don’t know.

I’m afraid this will have a long impact on our lives. Just like 9/11 and all those iconic dates that followed.

I’ve seen it in concert halls after the Bataclan, the mood has changed.

But we still need to go to concerts, we still need to have fun, we still need to show our kids that the world can be a great place.

It’s therefor also hearth warming to see how much solidarity there is at this dark moment in our little country by the Canal.

Btw, hope to see you all soon here, we still have the surrealism, the great good, beer and chocolates.

(image found via this tweet)

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My keynote at #MandL16: Media, learning and Urban Myths

This is the keynote I gave at the Media & Learning conference, Brussels, March 11th, 2016.
Parts were based on our book ‘Urban Myths about Learning and Education”, by myself, Paul Kirschner & Casper Hulshof

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A bit of a different post: let’s talk about Belgium for a minute

I’ve been blogging for quite a while in a sometimes very personal version of English. If I look at my visitor stats, a lot of people visit this blog from throughout the world. I’m living in Belgium and we have been receiving some bad press lately. Now, it’s not typical for someone coming from Belgium to be chauvinistic. I always say jokingly that it’s no surprise that Magritte – master of surrealism – lived here.

Do we have issues? Of course, show me a country who doesn’t. I could list up a lot of things that need some action but while we have seen a lockdown because of the terrifying things that happened in Paris, we all still live in a great country:

  • with the best national football team in the world according to FIFA (and no, we didn’t bribe them)
  • we definitely have the best beer and chocolate
  • we have one of the best health care systems in the world

The first time that I guided foreign students – I remember they came from Canada – through the city of Ghent, I fell in love with this city because of the reactions of those students. They asked me if I felt privileged to be able to walk through history on a daily basis. I admitted that I didn’t noticed it. Now I feel privileged. Not only when I visit Ghent, but also when I’m in Brussels – no mr Trump, not a hell hole – for work or another great concert.

Since that day many students and colleagues followed. They do mention that we’re not the most easy people to connect with. We’re a bit reserved, some say even a bit shy. But they all agree we have great food and that when you take your time to get to now us you’ll see we still have a great sense of humor. Remember the cats?

And now back to business, the next post will be again about education and learning, trust me!

 

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Our book “Urban myths about learning and education” summarized on one page

Yesterday I discovered this one-page summary of our book by Oliver Cavigliol and it looks great (note to myself, be careful with the Coca Cola…). This is a new updated version, including my 2 co-authors Paul & Casper. Some people noticed that the link to the Daniel Willingham-video doesn’t work, check here.

pinpoint-urban-myths

If you like what you read,  you can order the book here both in paper and as e-book, but you can buy also at

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Missing… presumed having a good time

When Mark Knopfler wanted to refuel, tired from touring with Dire Straits after their very successful Brothers in Arms-album, he recorded an album with some old friends called “Missing… presumed having a good time”. Their band was called The Notting Hilbillies.

Well, the past 2 years have been a great ride, blogging almost every single day about education and research and publishing our book on Urban Myths.

But it’s time for me also to refuel a bit, so this is the last post before August. Have fun, be aware and…

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Who presses play for learning? (presentation)

This is the presentation I gave at the SIRikt-conference in Slovenia, 2015, May 28.

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Best wishes for 2015!

Well, I’m not Casper, so I do have some good intentions for the new year, one of them is ‘keep blogging’.

Best wishes for the new year!

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