Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Descriptive Statistics PsychSim

For those looking for the link to the PsychSim module on Descriptive Statistics, here you go: PsychSim 5. Click on "Descriptive Statistics" to launch the module.

Also, if you are looking for Standard Deviation calculators online (because you have a bunch of data laying around that needs analyzing), there are plenty available. Calculating standard deviation is one of those mathematical tasks that proves calculators are your friends, of course.

You can just do a Google Search for "Standard Deviation Calculator" but my favorite is Statiscope because you can watch the distribution graph change as each score is added.

Confused about the Brain?

Thanks to Mind Hacks for alerting me to this video clip, featuring John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) explaining the anatomy of the brain. Maybe some of my students can relate to the experience after sitting through my discussion of neuroanatomy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One Proud AP Psychology Teacher

Although my eyeballs are burning from the huge amount of grading I've finished over the past week, I am very pleased with how finals week turned out for my AP Psych classes.

We had great turnouts for both evening review sessions, and I saw considerable progress toward that "team" feeling that is necessary as we support each other to meet our common goal: kicking the AP Psych exam's butt! (assuming it has a posterior) In particular, I know many of us put in lots of hours getting ready for that final and it paid off...bigtime.

Scores on this year's final exams were very impressive, and that speaks to all the hard work you have engaged in to date. We'll go over the exam in class tomorrow so we can see where we will need to go from here. Even if your score is not what you were personally shooting for, I think everyone has some accomplishments to be proud of this semester. And we're on the right track. As long as we continue to work at this level (and not fall victims to senioritis), I think we'll all be ready come May.

Keep on keepin' on! I'll see you all in class tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

AP Info Night Approacheth!

Mark your calendars! Our first-annual AP Info Night is scheduled for Monday, February 1st at 7:00 PM. For all of my current AP students, this will be a chance for you to learn about testing scheduling and procedures for the spring AND to register and pay for your AP exams.

For students returning next year (i.e. juniors and younger), you can also learn about what other AP classes are offered at Chi-Hi and meet with teachers to determine if any of them are right for you.

I will probably be looking for assistants for various duties during that evening, so at our next Psych Club meeting (Friday, Jan 29) I will be doing a bit of recruiting. Also, if you are attending be sure to wear your Psych Club attire & REPRESENT!

If none of the above reasons is enticement enough, consider the fact that yours truly will be there to extoll the virtues of AP...and who would want to miss that?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Upcoming Exam Review Sessions

With finals quickly approaching, it's time to get together to review all the fabulous wisdom that has been imparted to you over the past semester. There are TWO dates I will be offering evening review sessions for interested students:

  • This Sunday, January 17th at 5:00 PM (in my classroom) and
  • Tuesday, January 19th at 5:00 PM (though, we can talk about adjusting the start time for that one, depending on who will be coming).

On Sunday, we will be doing a general review of all topics by dividing into teams and summarizing particular textbook chapters.

On Tuesday, I'm leaving the schedule open to whatever attendees want/need. We can review specific topics or just meet to help each other go over flashcards. Whatever you feel you need at this point is what we will do.

Chat with A.L.I.C.E.

A couple of days ago, our classes chatted online with A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity), a "chatbot" the simulates chatting with another person. Several students have requested the link to try out on their own, so here it is! You can also read up on the history of A.L.I.C.E., as well as find general info about machines and their "thinking" capacities.

Remember, it may seem as though you're talking to a person, but "A.L.I.C.E." is really a machine! And...she's learning from your conversation, so don't be mean and try to confuse her.

And, for (albeit confusing) entertainment: A.L.I.C.E. and Fake Captain Kirk (two chatbots) attempting to have a conversation.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Functional Fixedness & MacGyver

Today in AP Psych, we practiced overcoming functional using a seemingly random assortment of classroom/household supplies to build (or attempt to build) record players. In doing so, I urged students to "be MacGyver."

MacGyver was, of course, the beloved titled character in the popular 1980s television show: a guy who was constantly getting himself into dangerous situations and then emerging victorious by utilizing random things in the surrounding environment. For example, he could diffuse bombs and pick locks with paper clips and chewing gum wrappers. Here's the original show intro for those who are interested.

MacGyver has been spoofed many times over for the predictable (yet unbelievable) plot lines and antics in the show. Below are some great examples.

My recent favorites have been SNL skits featuring Will Forte as "MacGruber", a similar but less successful and more distracted version of MacGyver.