Mirror, mirror, on the web

Filling the pail


Dr Jonathan Sharples’s opening gambit was pretty odd and pretty interesting. For some reason he wanted us to decide between real and fake names for shades of paint. Imagine if this was a key curriculum objective (bear with me). How would you teach children to pull this off successfully? Perhaps you might ask them to visualise the shade – does it make sense? What colour would it be? Would it appeal to someone likely to be purchasing paint? We might describe the deployment of such questions as a ‘meta-cognitive strategy’.

The first three paint names popped up on the screen: Elephant’s Breath, Churlish Green and Norwegian Blue. Unlikely as the other two sounded, I immediately knew that the fake colour was “Norwegian Blue” because that is the breed of parrot in Monty Python’s dead parrot sketch. Which, when you think about it, is a pretty nifty demonstration of the…

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