I have been wailing away on research about extensive reading. I was able to collect data from 232 students over the course of a year. Because they used a software platform (Xreading) to access their books, I was able to get very specific data such as how many words they read, reading speed, the level of difficulty of the books, even when they logged in to read. But trying to see if there is any relationship between that and a measure of general language (TOEIC) is difficult. Almost nothing is significant, lots of noise. My main problem is the TOEIC scores, which vary widely among the 3 times students took it that year, especially the reading portion. It’s like trying to hit a moving target.

But I have discovered a great new way to analyze the stats. JASP is open-source software that allows you to look at many different relations, from correlations to regression all the way back to simple descriptive statistics. The only word that comes to mind is flexible, you can use the data in so many different ways, so easily, and then port the results into already formatted tables in your article. It is light years better than using SPSS or Statistica. Try it out.

The Proceedings of that great conference I went to at MIT last August is now out. The Connected Learning Summit brought together groups in education, technology and gaming. I keep remembering the presentations I went to. Now I can refer back to their specific content.

Another conference I just got back from was Moodle Moot Japan (a moot has something to do with a meeting in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, I think). But here it is an annual conference. This year founder Martin Dougimas spoke and it blew me away. I have been using Moodle for about 20 years, and it keeps improving. This year he showed new directions for Moodle Workplace (adapting to corporate learning) and use in NGOs across the world, from Germany to Cambodia. It is a great example of open-source software and the people helping to make it better. Certification is coming soon for training. I am considering doing the courses to become a trainer as a way to keep my hand in after I retire in a few years. I am also helping in a small way with feedback their new Moodle.net social application where teachers, admins, users can get together online. Think of it as Facebook for Moodle, but in a much better light.

Reading list for the week

It pays to read the fine print. One woman did and discovered that she had won $10,000 (NPR). Light bulbs have gotten a lot more efficient, and you can see how much (NYTimes), unlike leaf blowers, whose 2-stroke engines continue to pollute the air and with noise. James Fallows shows through local political work, the gas versions can be banned, better to use the electric versions (Atlantic). Good in-depth coverage of Huawei and why it is such an important company. The scientific paper is obsolete (Atlantic), use online notebooks instead, like Jupyter, an open-source alternative to Github. Opinion in the NYTimes about the oppression of the supermajority in the US. Government is broken. Wait a minute..Walmart and socialism? Will one lead to the other? A book, on my reading list (BoingBoing). Praxis, kind of like curiosity in your professional field. Never stop learning (blog).

Google slides is great for more than just making presentations. You can make a choose-your-own-adventure story or make a jeopardy game. Learning vocabulary is easier with a system. Here is one. I think it needs an extra step at the beginning where you decide whether the word is worth learning (Ferlazzo). Measuring motivation: Use this manual (pdf)as a basis. There are ones specific to language learning, but this you can apply in more areas. A good resource on how students search for information online, important for Connectivism. Another about Connectivism applied to EFL (pdf) (English as a Foreign Language) in Iran.