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Posts Tagged ‘sociology’

Free Online Sociology Course

Sunday, September 6th, 2020

If you’re looking to give your a-level students a little extra out-of-class tuition, the Saylor Academy

Sociology 101…

a non-profit initiative working since 2008 to offer free and open online courses to all who want to learn. We offer nearly 100 full-length courses at the college and professional levels, each of which is available right now – at your pace, on your schedule, and free of cost” might be worth checking-out.

Although it’s aimed at American Community College students – and the various credits and certifications available for completing the course will only be meaningful and useful to US students – this doesn’t mean that actually completing the course won’t help UK a-level students.

The overall level is broadly in line with a-level studies, as you’ll see if you have a look at the free Open-Stax course textbook. this This will give you a good idea what’s covered in the course whose syllabus covers 5 Units broadly familiar to a-level teachers:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Sociology
  • Unit 2: Culture, the Socialized Self, and the Individual in Society
  • Unit 3: Social Inequality
  • Unit 4: Institutions
  • Unit 5: Social Change and Social Issues
  • Since not everything covered in them will apply to a-level you’ll need to check each out to point your students in the direction of stuff to cover / stuff you might find useful to cover / stuff that’s not on the a-level Spec.

    While the Sociology 101: Introduction to Sociology course doesn’t push any boundaries – a lot of it consists of “reading stuff from the textbook, thinking about it and maybe answering some online comprehension questions” – there are quite a few video tutorials liberally spread throughout the Units that, if nothing else, you might want to consider pointing your students in the direction of if you want them to have a little extra online help / revision.

    Relighting the Streets: Situational Crime Prevention

    Wednesday, July 8th, 2020
    Buy or Rent the film

    Over the past 50 years an increasingly-influential school of criminology has argued that finding “the causes of crime” or “solutions to the problem of crime” is not possible. The best we can do, they argue, is manage and limit the extent of crime.

    Situational Crime Prevention, in this respect, involves a range of strategies based broadly around the idea that many forms of crime – particularly street crime – can be effectively managed through the control of physical space.

    In Britain, Painter and Farrington’s seminal Stoke-on-Trent street-lighting study has been an influential demonstration of the way continuities and changes in the built environment can influence many types of criminal street behaviour and this film draws on exclusive interview data with Painter to both outline the study and explain its implications for our understanding of the management of crime.

    This short film is designed to integrate into crime and deviance lessons by providing a simple empirical example of how situational crime prevention can be applied to our understanding of the theory and practice of crime control.

    The difference between sex and gender

    Thursday, June 25th, 2020

    For most sociology / psychology teachers Robert Stoller’s (1964) distinction between “biological sex” and “cultural gender” is probably the go-to definition to use when introducing this topic – and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using it you might want to flesh it out a little by pointing your students towards some more-contemporary ideas and definitions about the different between the two terms.

    If that’s the case, the Office for National Statistics has produced a simple and accessible primer you can encourage your students to read – or you can cut-out-and-keep just the bits focused on sex and gender (the article discusses these concepts in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which might be a little distracting).

    Either way, the main areas of interest here in relation to sex and gender are probably:

    1. Definitions and differences, as employed by the UK Government. Other definitions are, of course available, but these are, as you might expect, broadly similar.
    2. Variations in sex characteristics: This paragraph flags the concept of “intersex individuals” – people born with “naturally-occurring instances of variations in sex characteristics” who may identify as a man, a woman or non-binary.
    3. Transgenderism or the reassignment of a person’s sex.

    The main advantage of the above is that the information is relatively short and to-the-point, but if you want to extend this into a wider discussion of something like LGBTQ+, this article goes into things in a little more depth.

    Mass Media 5 | Effects

    Saturday, May 18th, 2019

    The final chapter in this series on the Mass Media to accompany the chapters on:
    Defining and Researching the Media,
    The Ownership and Control Debate,
    The Selection and Presentation of News and
    Media Representations

    looks at a range of models of Media Effects: how and in what ways (if any) the mass media affects individual and social behaviour.

    The first – main – section of the chapter covers a number of direct and indirect affects models (from the Hypodermic to Cultural Effects) plus an extensive and updated section on postmodernism / post-effects theory (audience as media, media as audience…).

    The second, much shorter section, moves the focus away from media effects on individuals and groups to look at possible effects – both positive and negative – on society as a whole.

    Update
    This chapter is also now available as an online flipbook.

    Mass Media 4 | Representations

    Friday, April 19th, 2019
    Click to download pdf file.
    Representations…

    The fourth chapter in what’s turning into, for me at least, an interminable churn through reams of notes and dtp design follows Defining and Researching the Media, The Ownership and Control Debate and The Selection and Presentation of News by focusing on Media Representations.

    More-specifically, this set of personally hand-crafted (“artisan!”) notes looks at representations in terms of:

    1. Class, Age, Gender and Ethnicity: The first part of the chapter focuses on identifying a range of key illustrative examples of various forms of media representation.

    2. Explanations: The second part of the chapter looks at how different sociological approaches (Marxism, Pluralism, Feminism and Postmodernism) have explained the meaning of different forms of media representation.

    The original notes that form the bulk of the chapter were produced around 5 or so years ago, but I’ve updated them with more-recent stuff as and where I felt it necessary.

    Update
    This chapter is also now available as an online flipbook.

    Make A Pitch: selling sociological sausages

    Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

    In response to the silent clamour (that only I could hear apparently) for something a little more substantial and pdfeffy, I’ve created a short booklet based around the “Selling Sociological Sausages” Lesson Outline I’ve previously posted.

    It’s basically a pdf version of the post, although it both clarifies the different versions and changes a few bits and pieces relating to the simulation / activity. While these changes are relatively trivial they do, I think, help to firm-up the exercise and, in one instance, make it a little more coherent.

    The other thing I’ve done is change the name of the activity to Make A Pitch, with Selling Sociological Sausages as more of a sub-heading now. It doesn’t really change anything or make much of a difference but perhaps gives the casual browser a bit more of an idea about the nature of the activity.

    The only other thing to note is that although I’m much too lazy (probably) to create a separate booklet, if you’re a psychology teacher it’s perfectly possible to apply the activity to your subject. All you really need to do is change “sociology” to “psychology” (oh yes) and substitute your own favoured perspectives, psychologists, theories or methods.

    Teaching Timelines

    Thursday, September 20th, 2018

    A free, easy-to-use online Timeline creator that allows you to incorporate text, images and video.

    Back-in-the-day, when I was still classroom teaching, one of the techniques I occasionally used was the Teaching Timeline, something I found particularly useful for Introductory Sociology (back when a “History of Sociological Thought” was mandatory) and, for some reason, Crime and Deviance.

    For the latter I always found it useful to create a “Theory Timeline” that helped students understand when different criminological theories first appeared and, more-importantly, how they were connected to and influenced by each other.

    A third type of Timeline – “Dead, White, European Men” – was one I used whenever I wanted to be a bit provocative and promote some discussion about whether or not sociology was basically just about the musings of the aforementioned White European Males who Are No-Longer-With-Us.

    Usually on a Friday afternoon in the deep mid-winter.

    For some reason.

    Anyway.

    The thinking behind Teaching Timelines was, somewhat unusually for me at this time, tied to the idea of anchorage. That is, an attempt to provide a structure for various ideas through a sense of time and place, such that students could understand how theories of crime, for example, developed, why and how they were criticised and what, if anything, came out of this process.

    Back then, Teaching Timelines were created with pen and paper before being stuck to the wall (where they slid slowly and painfully to the floor, were ripped by carelessly passing bags and generally made to look a bit sad and dilapidated after a couple of months wear-and-tear). They were also, if I’m honest, a little-bit-crap in a “felt-tip pen plus a few stuck-on pictures” kind of way.

    Right now, things are a little different because with something like Flippity you can create free, web-based, Timelines that incorporate text, graphics, pictures and video (or at least those hosted on YouTube – here’s a Sociology playlist and a Psychology playlist to get you started if you need it).

    Creating A Timeline

    Creating a Timeline is relatively simple – it’s just a matter of entering text – and any links to pictures and videos you want to incorporate – into a Google Docs template (you can find full instructions about how to access the template, enter data and the like, here if you need them).

    To do this you’ll need to have a (free) Google Docs account (you can create one here if you don’t have one already).

    While Teaching Timelines can, of course, be your own personal creation it’s also possible to turn them into an active-learning, co-operative, exercise involving your students finding relevant text, images and videos for you to add to the final Timeline.

    Or not, as the case may be.

    The Crime and Deviance Channel

    Thursday, August 30th, 2018

    The Crime and Deviance Channel now offers a wide range of free Text, PowerPoint, Audio and Video resources organised into 5 categories:

    1. Theories
    2. Social Distribution
    3. Power and Control
    4. Globalisation
    5. Research Methods

    Each category contains a mix of content:

    Text materials range from complete pdf chapters to a variety of shorter “Update” materials (quizzes, research synopses, items “In the News”) related to key sociological theories, concepts, issues and methods.

    PowerPoint resources range from single slides designed as a high-impact visual background to the explanation of key theories and concepts, to complete Presentations that can be used to introduce or illuminate a particular general theme.

    Audio materials consist of 17 podcasts designed to provide background briefing material, talking points (comparing different theories for example), updates on new research and revision exercises.

    Video resources generally consist of short clips (currently around 30 separate films ranging in length from 1 to several minutes) designed to illustrate key concepts, introduce new research and researchers and stimulate classroom-based thinking and discussion.

    Risk: Ulrich Beck

    Thursday, August 30th, 2018

    If you want the concept of Risk clearly and concisely explained, who better to ask than the person who invented the idea?

    So we did.

    And this is what he had to say.

    That’s about it really.

    Oh. The clip’s only about a minute long.

    Thank you.

     

    Sociology Textbooks From Around The Web

    Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

    A couple of days ago I posted a link to a free, open-source, textbook (Introduction to Sociology), the open-availability of which made me think about whether there were any other sociology books lying around in some dusty corner of the web just waiting to be found, dusted-down and presented to a wider audience.

    And the answer, since you’re currently reading this post, is that clearly there was. I’ve managed to uncover 7 such texts that should be of at least some interest to a-level Sociology students and teachers. There are, however, a few things it might be useful to point out:

    1. The texts I’ve listed aren’t the very latest versions in a series. While I’ve tried not to include very old editions (there’s nothing from the last century…) if you want the most up-to-date versions you’re going to have to buy them.

    2. Most of the texts are from American publishers. They reflect American Sociological Specifications and preoccupations and invariably draw much of their illustrative material from American society. While this is not necessary A Bad Thing (depending, of course, on your view of Americentricity) it does mean you’re not going to find many references to non-American examples and illustrations. You’ll also find that data about areas like crime, marriage, education and so forth is pretty-much wholly-focused on North America. While this may be useful for comparative purposes you need to be careful students don’t assume such data necessarily reflects the situation in other countries around the world.

    3. Following from the above, these texts are not likely to fit neatly with, for example, UK A-level Sociology Specifications. You will, however, find a lot of the content is universal: theories of crime commonly discussed in UK textbooks, for example, are also likely to be discussed in American textbooks.

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    Sociology Revision Booklets: 6. Culture and Identity

    Saturday, April 14th, 2018

    Somewhat surprisingly, at least to me, there seems to be a positive dearth of Culture and Identity related revision material, at least of the Word / Pdf variety (PowerPoint users seem much better served). Why that should be I don’t know but I have managed to find a few resources you and your students might find helpful:

    1. Revision Checklist (K.Birch): I’ve included this because it’s one of the few revision resources I’ve been able to find for the OCR Board and while it’s not particularly exhaustive it does provide a list of key concepts, some simple practice questions and some sample exam-type questions for each topic in the Culture and Identity module.

    2. Sociological Perspectives: Some quite extensive notes dedicated to different types of sociological perspective.

    3. Culture and Identity: This is another set of paged Notes by Mark Gill that I’ve collated into a single document for the convenience of everyone involved. I’ve kept it as a Word document so that you can easily separate-out sections if you want to give your students Notes on a specific topic. As ever with these Notes there’s quite extensive coverage of a range of areas: socialisation, perspectives, identities and globalisation.

    4. Culture, Socialisation and Identity: This combines short Notes focused on the concept of culture with simple student exercises (and in case there’s any confusion, it’s the exercises that are simple, not the student).

    5. Culture, Identity and Agents of Socialisation: Short Notes mainly aimed at illustrating the relationship between different identities (gender, age, ethnicity, etc.) and different agencies of socialisation.

    6. Facebook and the Presentation of Self: This is an article originally published in Sociology Review (2017) that uses the example of Facebook to illustrate arguments about structure and action. While it’s not exactly a revision piece it might help students clarify this relationship if they need it. It also looks at how personal and social identities relate to structure and action.

    Leave Nothing to Chance: An Education Simulation

    Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

    “Leave Nothing to Chance” is, unless I’m very much mistaken (and I probably am), my first real attempt at a “proper classroom simulation”.

    I’d like to say I’m excited about it, but when all’s-said-and-done it’s only a simple simulation.

    On the other hand, I very much hope you like it, use it, develop it and share it.

    Not necessarily in that order, but you probably get the idea.

    Aside from this, if you need a bit of convincing about the content, the sim is designed to illustrate differential educational achievement and uses the mechanism of a lottery – or to be more-precise, a series of Key Stage lotteries – to explore how differences in achievement are, for sociologists, the result of material and cultural factors that occur both inside and outside the school.

    The lotteries, although a central feature of the game (there can only be one winner. Unless you decide otherwise), are the device through which students are encouraged to explore, with your help, direction and guidance (you know, the teaching stuff), how and why different social groups achieve differently in the education system. They are, in other words, the glue that holds the lesson together.

    (more…)

    Learning Mats

    Sunday, February 25th, 2018

    Learning mats – originally laminated sheets containing simple questions, learning prompts and drawing spaces – have been around for some time at the lower (particularly primary) levels of our education system, but with the increasing interest in Knowledge Organisers, which in many respects they resemble, they’re starting to gain some traction at both GCSE and A-level.

    Having said that, I’ve only managed to find a couple of examples of their use in A-level Sociology and none at all in Psychology. This may reflect a lack of knowledge about Learning Mats, a lack of interest in their application to A-level study or, more-likely perhaps, a lack of time to create them.

    (more…)

    The Memory Clock

    Friday, February 23rd, 2018

    Although revision, in all its different forms and guises, is an integral part of any a-level sociology (or psychology) course it’s sometimes difficult to know how to help students revise in the most efficient, effective and productive way – and this is where the Memory Clock comes into play.

    The Memory Clock is a revision system developed by Dr Caroline Creaby of Sandringham School, a mixed Comprehensive situated in St Albans, Hertfordshire that’s fast-developing into a hot-bed of interesting teaching and learning research led by practicing teachers.

    If you want to know more about the work they do inside and outside of the classroom have a look at the Sandagogy web site. The excellent Learning Journals they publish are well worth a read.

    Anyway, back to the main point of this post.

    The Memory Clock is an easy-to-learn revision routine designed to help students structure their time in such a way as to make revision focused and productive. The pdf I’ve posted is a cut-down version of Training Manual that focuses on three things:

    1. The various elements in the clock.

    2. A short explanation of these elements.

    3. A practice session based on a Sociological question. Although this example is “the future of childhood” you can obviously change this to whatever question you want your students to practice. Similarly, if you’re teaching Psychology just substitute your own question of choice.

    Try it.

    You (and your students) won’t regret it.

    Update

    If you want to save a bit of time (pun intended) there are a lot of “Memory Clock Templates” dotted around the web. Given the constraints imposed by having to stick to a clock system, however, these are much-of-a-muchness, so there’s probably no great advantage to be had searching for them. However, since some kind of pre-prepared template is better than none (unless you’re really into revision procrastination – making the materials you need to “properly revise” means you have to spend less time actually doing the boring revision part) I’ve found some examples you might find helpful:

    Revision Clock PowerPoint
    Revision Clock Picture
    Revision Clock PowerPoint templates (a selection of slightly different templates).

    Example Revision Clocks

    Sociology Revision Clock

    If you want an example or two of how the Memory Clock can work, Vicki Woolven has created a set of Sociology clocks in both PowerPoint and Pdf formats you might find useful.

    These cover major course areas – Family, Education, Stratification, Methods, Crime – subdivided into 5-minute revision segments.

    Completed Revision Clock

    You can, of course, tailor these to the specific requirements of your particular course by editing the PowerPoint…

    If you want to see an example of how a teacher has used this particular Revision Clock in the context of the sociology of education, you’ll find a nice one on Kate Flatley’s Instagram feed

    NotAFactsheet: More Deviance

    Thursday, May 18th, 2017

    Three new NotAFactsheets to add to your growing collection covering:

    1. Interactionism (labelling theory, personal and social identities, master labels)
    2. Deviancy Amplification (an outline of the model plus the role of the media)
    3. Critical Theory (Instrumental and Hegemonic Marxism, Critical Subcultures)

    Each NotaFactsheet is available in two flavours: with and without short (1 or 2 minute) embedded video clips:

    D4. Interactionism | Interactionism with short video clip 

    D5. Deviancy Amplification | Deviancy Amplification with short video clip 

    D6. Critical Theory | Critical Theory with short video clip

    Sociology Shortcuts: NotAFactsheets

    Sunday, April 9th, 2017

    Over the past few weeks I’ve published a small selection of Curriculum Press Sociology Factsheets and the response to these set me thinking about creating some of my own, using a similar format – although I’ve decided not to call what I’ve produced “Factsheets”, mainly because they aren’t.

    Anyway, I posted my first attempt at a NotAFactsheet a week or so ago and since then I’ve been developing and refining the format in terms of both design and content. Whether or not I’ve managed to capture something useful is something for you to judge but I thought I’d post my first batch of NotAFactsheets anyway.

    The basic idea, in case you’re not familiar with the general format, is to use NotAFactsheets in a range of possible ways, as:

  • basic introductory documents.
  • an extra source of student Notes.
  • a source of information when students miss part of a course.
  • a revision document.
  •  
    These are all based around “Approaches to Research” and, in the main, focus on an outline of different approaches. I have, however, included one on research methods to see if and how that works (at 5 pages it’s significantly longer than each of the others and I’m not sure if this format works as a NotAFactsheet).

    You can download the following NotAFactsheets:

    Positivism

    Positivist Research Methods

    Interpretivism

    Realism

    Feminism

    Sociology ShortCuts F’sheet

    Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

    I’ve posted a couple of times about the Sociology Factsheets produced by Curriculum Press –  particularly about how it might be an idea for teachers to get their students to make their own versions as both a revision aid and teaching resource for future sociology students – and I thought it might be interesting to have a go at something along these lines myself: particularly because having written a number of books for different exam boards over the past 10 or so years I’ve accumulated a large stock of words that could possibly be put to some more – and probably better – use as a revision-type resource.

    The upshot of playing-around with various words and pictures is my first ShortCuts Sheet on “Approaches to Research: Positivism” (for no better reason than the fact I had some underutilised text lying around that I thought might be easy to adapt to this format).

    If you’ve got any comments, suggestions etc. about why it’s brilliant / shite / could be improved please don’t hesitate to let me know…

    Left Realism

    Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

    A relatively easy way for students to get a handle on Left Realism is through three simple visualisations that can then be used to build-up a picture of this general approach to both explaining crime and deviance and suggesting solutions to the problem of crime. These visualisations involve:

    • A three-cornered approach to deviance
    • The criminogenic triangle
    • The square of crime.

    A PowerPoint version of the above is also available for download.

    We can explore these ideas in more detail in a number of ways.

    (more…)

    Updating Crime & Deviance

    Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

    Day Workshop with renowned sociologist and film-maker, Dr Steve Taylor

    Strain, Labelling, Realism etc. are still important because they underpin a lot of research in the contemporary study of Crime and Deviance. But supposing your students could demonstrate this with new concepts & 21st. Century research examples?

    This Workshop consolidates the key theories and concepts and then illustrates their application with clear, easy to understand up to date research.  For example, students read about moral panics, but how much more impressive could an answer be if they were able to bring in the recent concept of ‘amoral panics’?

    Content: 

    • Crime, Deviance, Order and Control: clarifying sociological approaches.
    • Globalisation & Crime: filling the gaps by linking to familiar sociological approaches
    • Researching Crime: methods clarified, evaluated & illustrated with new ideas & interactive Q & A practice.
    • Theory & Method: this challenging topic laid bare, simplified and illustrated.

    Free Crime and Deviance films provided!

    Additional Sessions on Family, Youth Culture & Research Methods, if required.

    What Teachers say 

    “Delivered with a real affection for the subject with pace and professionalism   Partly as a consequence of working with Steve we had an excellent set of results”: Stephen Base Verulam College

    “Excellent day. He brings in contemporary evidence and great links to exam skills”: Ann-Marie Taylor Coleg Cambria

    “Brilliant exam focused training”: Mandy Gordon, Highfield School

    “Our students loved it, Steve got them to think outside the box”: Pauline Kendal, Bedford Sixth Form

    What Students Say

    ‘He was even better than in the videos. Loved it.’

    ‘Makes the theories come alive by linking them to the studies’.

    ‘Liked learning about the new studies, especially the gang ones.’

    ‘I feel so much more confident after Steve’s class.’

    ‘I could never understand theory and methods and now I do.’

    Cost: inclusive & regardless of number of schools attending

    Day: £500

    Half day: £300

    For more information, contact:

    Email: steve@shortcutstv.com

    Tel: 07771-561521

    Seven Sims in Seven Days – Day 5: Trial by Jury

    Saturday, October 1st, 2016

    sim_trailAs with some of the others in this series, “Trial by Jury” is a building block sim that gives you a basic template that can be used to organise and run a wide range of possible simulations. In basic terms if there’s an area of the Sociology / Psychology course that involves comparing and contrasting two opposing viewpoints it can be adapted to the Trial by Jury format using this template.

    As a way of exampling this the package uses the (sociological) example of “Positivism On Trial” (effectively a debate between Positivism / Interpretivism at As-level).

    This is quite a time-consuming simulation and it’s probably best-suited to occasional use (unless you’ve completely flipped your classroom, in which case it’s something you could frequently use).

    For example, it could be used at the end of a specific teaching session (such as “secularisation”) as a way of bringing all the different arguments and evaluations together. Alternatively you might find it useful for a series of “end of course” sessions as a way of structuring student revision.

    “It’s just banter”: Applying Matza’s “techniques of neutralisation” to ‪#‎everydaysexism‬

    Monday, March 14th, 2016

    Although Matza’s ideas about “Delinquency and Drift” are 50 years old, this doesn’t mean they can’t be applied to contemporary examples in the A-level classroom – as this video with its examples of “Misogyny in British universities” probably attests.

    This kind of material also illustrates two further ideas that are worth exploring:

    a. The rarity of overt examples of middle-class deviance in the media.

    Does this flow from the fact such deviance is actually quite rare?

    Or does it stem from a media preoccupation with “crimes of the powerless”?

    b. The particular technique of neutralisation employed by the perpetrators (“condemning the condemnators”) is itself interesting for what it tells us about the power of middle3 and upper class deviants to “fight back”. By “accusing the accusers” in this way (by suggesting they’re failing to understand “it’s not misogyny, merely humerous banter”) there is an attempt to shift the balance away from the perpetrator and onto the victim. The perpetrator, in other words, as victim.

    NGfL Cymru (The Finding of The Hub)

    Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

    While previous posts about the very wonderful Welsh National Grid for Learning have pointed you to different parts of the site, these links now point to the “Hub Home” pages for:

    1. Sociology
    2. Psychology

    There’s a lot of A-level resources here to explore – from textbooks through PowerPoints to online materials – and, best of all, they’re absolutely free.

    An Alternative to A-level Sociology 2015

    Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

    September 2015 in England and Wales sees yet another educational change in the shape of “new A-levels”- which are sort-of “new old A-levels” in terms of a structure that harks back to the “Good-old-Bad-old days” (pre-2000 in new money).

    Although it will still be possible for students to take both an “AS-level” qualification and an “A-level” qualification the situation, if you’ve given it even a passing thought, is likely to be a logistical nightmare for students, teachers and, equally importantly, schools.

    This follows because, in a situation where school resources are likely to become ever-tighter and ever more stretched over the next five years, hard decisions are going to have to be made about the type of A-level qualification schools can offer.

    For most maintained schools this is likely to mean the AS qualification will effectively disappear as a standalone offering; students enrolled on the 2-year “full a-level” will see AS incorporated into the A-level and won’t take a separate qualification (since there’s little point entering for an exam that will be worth nothing in the context of the full exam – they will have to sit both AS and A2 at the end of their 2-year course).

    While there’s nothing to stop students who intend to only sit the AS exam being in the same class as those who intend to do the full A-level, things may become a little tricky the closer they get to the AS exam, in terms of revision etc. A further, perhaps more significant, problem here is that students who do well in the AS exam might then decide they want to complete the full a-level; their AS success then counts for nothing since they effectively have to do the exam again (at a higher level) at the end of their course.

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    Recipe Card: Word Template

    Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

    While it’s possible to edit the blank pdf Recipe Card template, you need to have the right software. If you haven’t got it this can be a complete pain and also reduces you or your students to adding the ingredients to the card by hand. This is likely to cause problems when students make mistakes when adding ingredients or if they have large handwriting (there’s not that much space on an A4 document).

    To give you more options, therefore, we’ve created a blank Word-based Recipe Card – one that can be quickly and easily edited using any .docx compatible word processor.

    New Media: 2. Issues

    Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

    The various features of new media raise a new set of issues for both producers and consumers. In terms of the former, for example, the development of global computer networks have presented problems for media industries whose products are relatively easy to copy and distribute, with no loss of quality because of digital reproduction. The development of peer-to-peer networks, for example, has led to the rise of global forms of intellectual property theft (“piracy”), to which media conglomerates have responded in a range of ways:

    • legal prosecutions of individual offenders and attempts to shut-down illegal providers, such as Napster and Megaupload.
    • the development of new economic models. “Freemium” models, for example, provide a free service, such as software or a game, but users then pay a premium for “added extras”. Popular Facebook games, such as Farmville, have successfully taken this approach..

    A further issue involves the “unauthorised access to computers and networks” (“hacking”), something that involves:

    • governments: cyberwarfare, for example, involves governments engaging in the politically-motivated hacking of rival government computer networks for reasons that range from espionage to sabotage.
    • organisations: In 2010 the American government claimed the cybertheft of copyrights and patents by China remained at “unacceptable levels”.
    • individuals: viruses and malware designed to damage computers, extort money or steal information.

    Specific issues for consumers have a number of dimensions, particularly those surrounding personal privacy. Social media such as Facebook make money through advertising, which can now be individualised, personalised and targeted through the sale of users’ personal data to third-parties; users, therefore, exchange “free” services for some loss of privacy. While corporations such as Facebook simply monitor how their network is used in terms of what an individual likes or dislikes, discusses or avoids in order to deliver adverts matched to these behaviours, Kosinski et al. (2013) have shown it is possible to accurately infer a wide range of personal information, such as ethnicity, IQ, sexuality, substance use and political views, from an analysis of an individual’s “likes”.

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