“Bullets don’t kill learning, but improper use of bullets kills learning.” –Richard Mayer

I enjoyed reading The Cognitive Load of PowerPoint, an interview by Cliff Atkinson with Richard Mayer.

Richard Mayer relates several principles from his book Multimedia Learning which are applicable to PowerPoint, as well as any type of presentation. While these seem obvious, I often find it helpful and interesting to have good sense boiled down to some basic principles presented in a handy list (is that the signaling principle?).

* multimedia principle, in which people learn better from words and pictures than from words alone;
* coherence principle, in which people learn better when extraneous material is excluded rather than included;
* contiguity principle, in which people learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented at the same time or next to each other on the screen;
* modality principle, in which people learn better from animation with spoken text than animation with printed text;
*signaling principle, in which people learn better when the material is organized with clear outlines and headings;
*personalization principle, in which people learn better from conversational style than formal style.

Imagine if it were no easier to recognize a face than to identify a rock. Face-Blindness (Prosopagnosia) affects 2 of 100 people, making it hard for them to recognize faces, even of people they know very well.

Cecilia Burman makes this unusual condition easy to understand in a funny and enlightening essay explaining some of the challenges we might have learning to recognize stones and how we might overcome those challenges.

Meet Sten

Easy to recognize in his usual spot on the steps:

Harder to spot if you unexpectedly see him in the garden:

via findaface.org via techspace via Ron Jeffries

“In fact, female performance in high school mathematics now matches that of males. If biology were the basis of that, we’ve seen some major evolution in the past decades.”

According to a recent “study,” women are being overlooked or actively ignored for promotion and the committee could find no reason for the discrepancy in gender representation. This committee of experts ruled out “biological differences in ability, hormonal influences, childrearing demands, and even differences in ambition.”