Digital Citizenship ≠ Digital Ethics

Maybe this is just a personal pet peeve of mine but there's a difference between Digital Ethics (ethical and responsible use and behaviour) and Digital Citizenship. The later is really about doing the things a good citizen does: participate in the governance of the community to which you belong, make a meaningful contribution to the global knowledge commons, leave things a little better than how you found them. i.e. participate in the community in ways that improve it.

It seems to me people often confuse ethics with citizenship. Both are important, they may even overlap in some places, but they're not the same thing.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by mars_discovery_district

"60 000 times faster than text" ... Really?

I just got an email from Alan Levine. He's sniffing around for the origin of the quote many folks have often used, myself included, that we process visual information 60 000 times faster than text.

Here's what Alan said:

I need your help. I have found an assertion repeated on thousands of web sites, and repeated so often that it is cited as a fact, yet I have tried and tried and have been unable to locate the actual source of this claim:
Research at 3M Corporation concluded that we process visuals 60000 times faster than text.

In the interest of dogged pursuit, information literacy, and all that we value as scholarship (okay I am laying it on)- can you help me find the answer? Or spread to someone who can?

Here's what I found ...

I started with the search engine by eliminating the first million hits from Google I circumvented the lions share of SEO (Search Engine Optimized) sites and took a first stab at the deeper web.

The 6th & 7th link struck me as worth following, the 7th link included a citation “The Power of Color in Presentations:”. ( I thought the inclusion of a colon here was odd, probably someone doing a quick "cut & paste". I followed the link to a middle school student's paper. In the bibliography she cites a presentation by Ian Jukes. (Not the one I've included in that link. Its a pdf; page 8.) I first heard the "60 000 times faster than text" claim from him several years back in St. Louis at a workshop for administrators.

One more comment about that student's paper, look at where it's hosted; Looks like a software solutions company. Why would a Middle School kid's paper be there? I did a little digging (go look at their About page). I suspect it's likely her teacher's website.

The link to the Ian Jukes reference is dead, I tried several ways of getting at it but didn't work too hard as I really wanted another source although he might have included some bibliographical info in there somewhere I suppose.

Another search and I found the 3M web page for "The Power of Color in Presentations":

There is no mention of the "60 000 times faster than text" research.

I did another regular Google Search for:

3m “The Power of Color in Presentations”
(quotes included; I removed the colon)

I found a link to a Google Books search:

In the book "They Snooze You Lose" by Lynell Burmark she cites the source as:

I looked up the link, which was dead, but the date (May 1998) struck me.

A custom Google Search for dates between 1 Jan 1900 and 31 Dec 1998 lead me to what I thought was the original presentation at 3M where I found this quote (below) in the transcript of a presentation given by Jenn Manalo, Sr. Product Specialist, 3M Corp. This talk was given at St. Louis College Valenzuela on 31 Aug 1998 (I used my browsers "find" command to search for the number 60 and five clicks of "next").

"Humans can process an outstanding amount of visual information. Actually, we can process at 60,000 times faster than text."

Looking up that specific quote using each of the different options at millionshort or a regular Google search returns one result; that very same web page.

Now, let's look up Jenn Manalo, Sr. Product Specialist, 3M Corp.

No fruitful results from or or anywhere really. I found several Jenn Manalos in the Philippines. I suspect Jenn is Filipino because she uses two Tagalog words in her talk "matandang mayamang" (old rich) and the url from the archive of her talk has a Philippines root (.ph). Also, St. Louis College is in Valenzuela, Philippines. None of the LinkedIn profiles I found have a Jenn Manalo ever working at 3M.

Lastly I used the "site" command and Googled:

site: Jenn Manalo


So it seems Jenn said it; maybe even said it first. (Her talk is dated 31 Aug 1998 and the date embedded in the link from the citation in Lynell Burmark's book points to May 1998 ... there's more work to be done here.) She said "research shows …" a number of times in her archived talk but did not say so for the "60 000 times faster than text" fact; although it is in quotation marks as though she's quoting another source. (Then again, it might be the redactor quoting Jenn.) She may have worked for 3M in the late 1990's and she gave a talk on effective presentations at St. Louis College in Valenzuela, Philippines.

Learning Pyramid
Learning Pyramid (Photo credit: dkuropatwa)
It's worth noting that Jenn alluded to someone else saying the "60 000 times" fact and, although she may have been employed by 3M, she didn't say the research was done by 3M.

All this reminds me of the Learning Pyramid hoax and another time I was "awarded" a Top 100? blog.

Good luck with the search Alan. I can't wait to learn what more you find. ;-)

UPDATE: Getting Closer

I realized I hadn't limited my original Google Search to the 1 Jan 1900 - 31 Dec 1998 time frame. So I went back and did that.

First hit was this pdf: Read 180 Aligned to No Child Left Behind hosted at (a subsidiary of the McGraw Hill publishing company). The research collected here is in support of their Read 180 literacy product. Direct from the pdf:

Media Researchers have found that humans process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, and visual aids can improve learning by up to 400 percent (Burmark, 2004).

I looked into Burmark … actually, I had already started that above. She's the author of You Snooze You Lose I mentioned previously. She apparently mentioned this same "fact" in her 2004 Book, Visual Literacy: Learn to See, See to Learn. In this pdf advertisement for the book she writes: "According to research from 3M Corporation, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text."

We've already been down that road.

I'm not closer to the source of the research; I'm closer to saying it's an academic legend of the same sort as the Learning Pyramid hoax.

UPDATE: 14 July 2012

Still scratching away at this. I came across the "Pictorial Superiority Effect." These are the results of my digging around:

"Combining pictures with print or audio generally maximizes learning."

Still nothing about "60 000 times faster than text".

Linked text is different

Reading (318/365)
cc licensed (BY-NC) flickr photo by Jack Amick
A few years back my friend Bud Hunt published an unusual post on his blog; it was titled Going South. In just a few short sentences he shared that he'd be spending a week visiting his grandfather's garden. "As best as I can determine, the first reference on the Internet to my grandfather, a man that I know far too little about, is this one." he wrote. There was one link in the entire post; the words "this one". You can tell from the comments, not every reader followed the link.

I was talking with a couple of English Language Arts teachers today. They're planning to have their classes do most of their writing online this semester. We were talking about how they might use a Mother Blog model to do that. They'll use Google Reader to monitor the community; subscribing to both the posts and  comments of their students' blogs.

I wanted the two teachers I was talking with understand how to help their students learn to read and write hyperlinked text effectively. I shared with them the story of Bud's "Going South" blog post. It's a poignant lesson in reading and writing linked text. (In the privacy of my own thoughts: This will also be a nice memorial to Bud's granddad. In a way, he'll teach and touch the lives of generations beyond his immediate family.)

A Better Metaphor for Life Long Learning
In his book, Everything Is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger talks about the difference between writing on paper and writing hyperlinked text. Paper has physical limitations that digital text doesn't. It starts and ends. It's only so wide and so long. A paper book can only contain so much content. Even if it's one of many volumes in a larger work.

Have you ever started reading an article online, say in Wikipedia, clicked a link, then another? And another. Only to find yourself two hours later having explored a web of ideas unique to your personal interests along the way. Eventually you stop. Not because you're "finished" but because life imposes other demands on your time.

Digital text is different. It's a much better metaphor for life long learning. And you can't write linked text if you aren't reading. Lots. (It's taken me years of reading to write this blog post.)

New Media, New Process
Not too long ago Dean published a post about writing hyperlinked text. He had collected a number of comments in a storify archive and reshared a video Will had made about his writing process. (Think that through as a writing process.) Watch:

This sort of process is another thing I shared with the teachers I was talking with:

  • Using a mind mapping tool, like mindmeister, that includes hyperlinks is different.
  • Clipping ideas contained in text, images and video using a tool like Evernote, which allows you to create web pages & hyperlinks is different.
  • Writing by stitching your ideas together from hyperlinked sources is different.
  • Reading that text is different too. It matters where you publish it, online or off. Different media (paper or digital) carry different messages. 

I'm fascinated to see the student writing that emerges from this semester.

I'm also curious; is there anything different about how you teach reading and writing digital text? Any advice for us?

UPDATE 20 Feb 2012
Check out Bud's thought provoking digital writing workshop (a network of Google Docs): 
Reading 1.0 - How Digital Changes Nothing. And Everything. Is All.

Too Big To Know #edbookclub

Too Big To Know by David WeinbergerImage by dkuropatwaHow'd you like to know "how our concept of knowledge is changing in the age of the Net"? (John Seely Brown quoted from the dust jacket)

Since I first heard David Weinberger say: "The smartest person in the room is: The Room!" I've repeated it often. I've seen it in action. In his new book Too Big To Know he fills in a few more details about this. The room is "smartest" as a function of the networked connections between all the people in it, and out of it, via the internet. I hear echoes of George Seimens and Stephen Downes in that.

Anyway, the book was published on 3 January 2012 and I just got my copy of it today. In the last 10 days or so the idea of an #edbookclub flared up on twitter. So, we're going to do that. We begin this Friday. We've even got a timeline and a list of people reading together. The conversations have beginning times, to help us all stay on track, but they don't have ending times. So really, join in any time you like.

#edbookclub originally grew out of a conversation between Ben Hazzard and Kelly Power. They describe it:

What is it? #EdBookClub emerged from a discussion between educators (@kellypower and @benhazzard) about how using Twitter could encourage professional dialogue.  It will be a discussion about a common book or article, that is voted on via a TwitPoll, by educators and people interested in applying the book's content in an education setting. 
Why? The purpose of this Twitter discussion is to engage in an informed discussion on Twitter that also provides a purpose and audience for educator tweets.  This was informed by #educhat when the organizers in 2008/2009 began posting articles and other documents to heighten the conversation 
  • Participate: 
  • Read the book or article with us (or listen via the audio version).  Follow the #EdBookClub 'hashtag' on Twitter to find out new information.  Then send messages via Twitter with the #EdBookClub 'hashtag' to offer your ideas, questions, and comments.
  • Respond to #EdBookClub tweets to extend, clarify or question to enhance our collective learning
  • Follow along: Read all the #EdBookClub tweets by following that 'hashtag' 

If you'd like to join us message me on twitter @dkuropatwa and let me know. Get a copy of the book; it's only available in either hardcover or kindle format right now. As you read, tweet reflections and quotes from the book that strike you. Use and follow the hashtags #edbookclub and #2b2k. There's already been some talk about chatting in realtime in a Google+ Hangout or maybe in an eluminate room. 

Anyone want to take turns building a storify each week?

The Difference Between Curriculum and Pedagogy

There's a difference between curriculum and pedagogy. Curriculum is all about what we teach. Pedagogy is about how we teach it.

There's also a difference between knowing how to do something and understanding what you're doing. In mathematics there are all kinds of "how-to", or computation skills, that kids learn and promptly forget right after the test; sometimes they forget before the test. The thing is though, it's difficult to forget something once you understand it.

Seven Principles of Learning by dkuropatwa, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  dkuropatwa 

A few weeks ago I was part of a panel on the Richard Cloutier Reports show on CJOB radio here in Winnipeg. There were four of us: myself, Paul Olson (President of the Manitoba Teacher's Society), Robert Craigen (Associate Professor of Mathematics, University of Manitoba) and Anna Stokke (Associate Professor of Mathematics, University of Winnipeg). Robert and Anna are one-half of the group behind the wisemath blog.

There are some things we agree on:
  • All kids can and should learn basic computation skills (how to add, subtract, multiply and divide).
  • It's important for kids to understand what they're doing, not just to be able to perform by rote.
  • Manitoba's recent poor performance on the Pan-Canadian Assessment Programme test is not good news and we have some work to do in mathematics in Manitoba.
  • We'd like to see Manitoba place at the top of future national and international tests of this sort.

Understanding the concept by dkuropatwa, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  dkuropatwa 

Some things we disagree on. I believe:
  • Learning with understanding should precede the learning of rote algorithms in mathematics.
  • To say Manitoba has placed 10th out of 11 provinces and territories in the 2010 PCAP test is a gross oversimplification of the the data represented on page 24 of the report (pdf). (Those confidence intervals are important. A repeat of the same test would likely have Manitoba place somewhere between 6th and 11th place. This isn't good news, but it's a little more nuanced than "10 out of 11". People knowledgeable about mathematics should be helping the public understand these nuances and promote informed discussion.)
So the crux of our differences are two-fold:

(1) I believe Robert and Anna conflate curriculum and pedagogy and are reading the Manitoba Curriculum documents as pedagogical texts when they were never intended to be read that way. Curriculum tells us "what" to teach, not "how" to teach.

(2) Robert and Anna believe the teaching of algorithms should be student's entry point to learning the basic operations (+, -, x, ÷). I believe the algorithms should be closer to the end-game of learning the basic operations.

John Scammel blogged about his take on the views expressed on Robert and Anna's blog. John points out in the comments the clear distinction the wisemath blog draws between Mathematicians and Mathematics Educators and the populations we teach. In K-12 classrooms we teach all students. The student body in University is different. Students taking math at University want to be there. That's not true of many students in the K-12 sector; the challenges are quite different.

On further reflection, there's a third difference: public (and private) debate should be open and sidestep insult.

The wisemath site seems to reject any comments that debate the blogger's views.

What I've read in the comments on John's blog and on Anna's blog (The last sentence of the last paragraph was recently edited; it used to say all future mathematics education research has no merit as a result of the issues Anna took with the article she blogged about. I regard this edit as a positive evolution in her thinking.) seems to hold K-12 teachers in a disdainful light.

Here's the audio from the CJOB panel we sat on together. It was a 2 hour broadcast, without commercials it's about 58 min. I took out the commercials. We talked about much more than was broadcast in the moments we were "off air". That was also an interesting conversation; unfortunately we didn't capture it. Next time I'll bring along my mp3 recorder. ;-)

Download (53.2 MB)

How would you plan a reunion?

How would you plan a reunion with a bunch of people you're terribly fond of, many of whom you've never met face-to-face, who you touch base with only occasionally and live in places scattered across the globe?

A few years back I lead a group of about 120 teachers in a year long immersive professional development experience around leveraging modern technologies to foster deep student learning. This was for Will & Sheryl's Powerful Learning Practice in their 2nd year of operation.

We did some cool stuff together. Stuff like this game of Presentation Tennis:

That grew grew out of a Digital Field Trip we did into Flickr. Here's the group where we shared our pictures:

Flickr was a great introduction to all sorts of ideas: social networking, learning through play, tagging, visual thinking, rss, collaborative learning, portable content, and more. Most importantly it was a way for us to connect personally. We saw where and how we lived and worked. We saw summer while some of were in the middle of winter. We saw little glimpses of each other's lives while we learned and played together. Bonds began to form.

Cary was looking through our photo pool when she tweeted:

So was born this little online reunion. We'll try to share a photo-a-day for as long as we can make it. If it goes all year great. If not that's good too. No rules. If you miss a day no problem; just pick it up again the next day.

We'll share our pics in our old flickr group and if you weren't part of the original group feel free to jump in nonetheless. Let's all tag our pictures: "intplpreunion12". They'll aggregate below ...

I plan to also add my pics to the 2012/366photos group.