Monday, March 18, 2013

No Significant Difference



So, I took the BingItOn challenge and it came out a draw.

You search five times and choose which results you like better.  Here are my searches:

Things to do near dallas - draw, neither one jumped out at me.
most wanted billboard locations - Google (I was asking about the game, not actual billboards)
popped in my head - Bing (the name of this blog. Ironic that I didn't choose Google)
davidinark - Google (the username I use most often)
addison, tx - Bing (where we are hanging out for a few days)

That says to me that there is no significant difference and there is no reason to change away from Google as my primary search tool. I have always seen the phrase "no significant difference" as one to mean "keep doing what you're doing because there is no reason to change it."

Don't ever tell me there is no significant difference. Instead, show me the difference and that it DOES make a difference.

That phrase is used most often in the world of distance learning/online education. It's used to justify using DL in conjunction with, or in place of, tradition classroom education. Frankly, I wish there was a significant difference - one way or the other. I mean, if there is no significant difference, then why bother using it?  Oh, I know, some students love online classes. Some hate them. Some are forced into them and thrive while others are forced into and fail miserably. Again, why bother?

I spent several years as a Distance Learning Coordinator and I am certified to teach online courses through PBS Teacherline and also as a CDLR facilitator. I know what I'm talking about. I know what I have seen in classes. I know what I've seen as a parent of a student who had some great DL experiences and some awful DL experiences. Likewise, I have seen both sides of the coin in traditional classrooms.  And, I agree: there is no significant difference. And, again I ask: why bother? Ironically, I wrote about this very thing back in 2011: "No Significant Difference"

Whether it is a search engine, a different way to prepare chicken, or distance education, if you can't show me a significant difference, then I'm not convinced it's worth changing.

Sorry, Bing, but 300 Bing Points (whatever those are) just aren't enough to make me switch. Good luck, though, and come back when you can show a significant difference.

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