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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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Mike Smith


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3 ‘Knowns’ in Learning Science
A great opinion post over at EdSurge on complete wins in learning science titled 3 ‘Knowns’ in Learning Science....

posted on: Fri, 10 Jun 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

RGS: Accreditation of university geography programmes
The RGS have announced accreditation of university geography programmes. This is all part of their strategy for professionalising geography and follows on from the Chartered Geographer status intended for individuals, to accreditation intended for programmes....

posted on: Tue, 03 May 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Geography’s place in the world
A really interesting opinion piece over at The Times Higher Education Supplement on Geography’s place in the world....

posted on: Sun, 03 Apr 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Nature Futures
My colleague Kerry put me onto the rather excellent (and free!) Nature Futures which is a growing collection of science fiction short stories. These are sci-fi in the "real sense" as they are intended to be firmly founded on science but pushing and blurring the boundaries with what is real and what isn't. As they say: entirely fictional, self-contained story of around 850–950 words in length, and the genre should, broadly speaking, be 'hard' (that is, ‘scientific') SF rather than, say, outright fantasy, slipstream or horror. And they really are short and focused on a very specific idea. They are often physics based, but there are all sorts of subject areas covered. Some fun reading!!

posted on: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Social Media for Active Learning
I obviously blog!! It's not a vanity project, but rather a whole mix of rationales for presenting my thoughts to the general public....

posted on: Sun, 20 Mar 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Qualification Levels
Yes, it's that time of year again - open days!! Applicants and parents trail around the country getting similar accommodation and finance talks, along with more detail on courses, facilities and location....

posted on: Tue, 08 Mar 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Tired of a £27k degree??
That's about the total cost of a three year degree in the UK... so if this really represents the actual cost, can you go anywhere else that's cheaper?...

posted on: Fri, 26 Feb 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

101 Top Tips for PhD Students
101 Top Tips for PhD Students gets some good reviews over at Amazon, along with one in the current Sensed (although you might have to wait to see the back issue). My PhD student James O'Connor liked it and commented his favourite tip was: You can get drunk at conferences, just not the most drunk! Clearly sage advice, although I might edit that to You can get drunk at conferences, just check who you should be less drunk than! So, buy a copy and help support poor, under paid, academic staff!!

posted on: Mon, 22 Feb 2016 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Tips for Social Media
A helpful article on blogging/use of social media for academics which pretty much hits the spot. You can't ignore it, but it can suck the blood out of you if you are not careful!

posted on: Sun, 25 Oct 2015 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

MCQ Best Practice
Following up on the last blog post, Donald also has a great post on the 10 stupidest mistakes in multiple choice question design....

posted on: Wed, 09 Sep 2015 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Textual Double Header
Donald Clark did a good textual double header last week..... the first piece was on why text actually makes for good learning....

posted on: Fri, 04 Sep 2015 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Tracking down references
A nice brief piece over at the Times Higher Ed on tracking down references with a link through to How To Do a Literature Review. This is good sound advice on how to search and then using referencing software and of course not forgetting to read!

posted on: Thu, 03 Sep 2015 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Dreams of sushi
Always... look ahead and above yourself. Always try... to improve on yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft. That's what he taught me Read more...

posted on: Sun, 10 May 2015 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Treasure the voice
A really powerful talk from Julian Treasure at Ted. He starts with the seven deadly sins of speaking - why aren't people listening to you - before moving on to the four powerful cornerstones of speaking....

posted on: Thu, 19 Mar 2015 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Andrew Stanton: Clues to a Great Story
I came across Andrew Stanton's (of Pixar fame) TED talk ages ago but have only just got around to watching it. Any great presenter needs to take on board the elements of story telling and here Andrew provides a masterclass in both presentation structure, design, delivery and making us care..... can't overstate enough how important these elements are. A MUST WATCH! (and the hook is brilliant!)

posted on: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

"Why Your Students Forgot Everything On Your PowerPoint Slides"
It's nice to see this cropping up in other education circles....

posted on: Tue, 10 Feb 2015 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

As easy as 1-2-3
My PhD student James O'Connor (and by the way, check out his cool 3D model generated from video) reminded me of my (unknown until this point!) mantra/advice for a PhD: 1. Complete ONE PhD thesis 2. Write TWO publishable papers 3. Any talk/presentation will (nearly) always have THREE main points Can't go wrong!

posted on: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

A-Level Students Forget Knowledge
"New students have forgotten bulk of A-level knowledge" reports The Times Higher Ed... well no real surprise there given what we already know about the forgetting curve. In fact its a bland study that has been repeated over and over - Eric Mazur's work has shown that memorisation of facts is dangerous when you need to understand concepts

posted on: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

How to present your data
Two brilliantly simple animated slide decks at Dark Horse Analytics - the first on presenting tabular data and the second on presenting graphical data. I regularly simplify my graphics and tables - many templates overstyle their design so simplifying is good. It also makes your design stand out from the rest because its different. These are REALLY well worth a look.

posted on: Sat, 07 Jun 2014 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

HEPI Student Academic Experience Survey
HEPI published their 2014 Student Academic Experience Survey today with a brief summary over at the THES....

posted on: Wed, 21 May 2014 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

In lectures... *write* notes
Came across this nice piece over at The Atlantic on taking lecture notes.... the short takeaway is that writing lecture notes helps you remember them more easily....

posted on: Thu, 15 May 2014 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Student debt.... pay more to get....less
Interesting article at The Guardian and salutary tale on bad government and how this impacts of student careers, lives and the success of HE more widely

posted on: Fri, 21 Mar 2014 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Let there be stoning!
I can't really add to much more to Garr's blog entry, other than to point you to the short essay/editorial that appeared in Ground Water back in 1985 (Lehr, J.H. 1985 Let there be stoning! Ground Water 23, 2, 162-165)..... in the first instance it makes you laugh, then you can feel the anger and then the wisdom. In short, whilst nearly 30 years ago, the detail of this paper holds the presentation essentials for any academic - it's a treasure trove of wisdom. Read it and compare yourself against his yardstick - there is no excuse for boring your audience to death.

posted on: Fri, 24 May 2013 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Tablets in learning - not fit for purpose?
I'm actively involved in learning technologies both as my role as a lecturer (e.g. Livesribe pen and also as a school governor....

posted on: Wed, 27 Mar 2013 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

What are the "sticky" times tables?
Really, think what's your favourite times table? Say it out aloud.... eight times eight equals sixty four....

posted on: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Livescribe in action
Following on from my last post introducing the LiveScribe pen I wanted to highlight some useful resources and functions, as well as demo my first two "pencasts"....

posted on: Sat, 20 Oct 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Livescribe Echo Pen
Over the summer I bought a Livescribe Echo Smartpen to try out some digital note taking (a review and on Amazon)....

posted on: Sat, 13 Oct 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

BBC In Our Time
OK, think I'm a little slow to the party on this one (and not a great radio listener) but the BBC's "In Our Time" presented by Melvyn Bragg is a great "ideas" discussion programme (Wikipedia entry)....

posted on: Mon, 08 Oct 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

What's a large class size?
How about 100,000?? A really great TED talk from Peter Norvig on how they turned their on-site classroom in to a 100,000 strong virtual class and flipped many of the ideas about distance learning to motivate and engage students. <embed src="http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf" pluginspace="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" bgColor="#ffffff" width="526" height="374" allowFullScreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" flashvars="vu=http:

posted on: Thu, 05 Jul 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Why we lie.....
Dan Ariely has a really good Saturday Essay in the Wall Street Journal on Why We lie. This pulls together (in layman's terms) a lot of his research on the topic (and it's well worth watching him speak on the topic at TED) and, in summary, most people lie/cheat a little bit....

posted on: Sun, 27 May 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Repeat to remember.....
....it's a well worn mantra. Repeat something over-and-over to remember it (or, shout longer and louder and people will believe you!)...

posted on: Thu, 03 May 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

What is education for?
A seemingly innocuous question that is thornier to answer than you might think..... indeed, what *is* education for?...

posted on: Tue, 24 Apr 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Pedagogic History
Donald Clark has started a blog marathon looking at a history of pedagogic practise. Its a self-selected list and will inevitably not include those you think it could or should..... but if you want to get a flavour and feel for the scope and extent then it makes fascinating reading. And in good academic style, there are plenty of references to follow up on. A must read.

posted on: Wed, 21 Mar 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Reforming teaching and learning
Garr Reynolds has combined together a nice selection of contemporary videos on how teaching and learning could happen, the malaise in some areas of education and some of the suggestions for solutions. Ken Robinson's cartoon talk is perhaps the most academic and well founded, but the others all add very interesting aspects, even if you dont agree with them! Well worth checking out and, it goes without saying, that it is universities that come in for the most severe treatment in terms of large lecture theatres and sterile content. However judge for yourself.

posted on: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Happiness and Productivity
A great talk from Shawn Achor on TED.com detailing how happiness leads to productivity, rather than the western view of productivity leading to happiness (aka work hard, earn more, be happy)....

posted on: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

WebDAV for Blackboard
Quite a few years back I blogged about using the CMS on Blackboard to store learning materials for students. A much more flexible system that uses WebDAV for drag and drop file management. Well, yes, there are a few Android WebDAV clients around, my favourite of which is WebDAV File Manager. Log in to BlackBoard merrily and modify your files....

posted on: Sun, 22 Jan 2012 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

CK-12 Foundation
The CK-12 Foundation: "....is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U....

posted on: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Kindle Clippings
As I noted in this earlier post, it is dead useful to be able to mark up paragraphs of interest which are filed under "Notes"....

posted on: Fri, 09 Sep 2011 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

BBP University College Fees Set
Mike baker reports on BPP University College setting its undergraduate fees at.... £5,000 per year. That's a very aggressive price squarely targeted at the public sector....

posted on: Tue, 06 Sep 2011 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry

Make reading the number one skill?
An impassioned plea from Roy Blatchford (on Mike Baker's blog) to make reading a top priority for all schools. From the article: "Provisional figures for 2011 indicate that, in England, one child in five reaches age 11 unable to read confidently. Confident, that is, to access the secondary school curriculum they are embarking on this month." This goes alongside numeracy and writing..... and if children can't access the secondary school curriculum at age 11, what are their chances of studying at degree level?

posted on: Mon, 05 Sep 2011 | path: /teaching | permanent link to this entry