This recent 60 minutes clip about autistic folks using iPads to communicate reminded me of a Frontline clip I used to show about facilitated communication (that link takes you to google video, which makes me a bit nervous b/c I thought google video was going away?).
The Frontline clip presents a dramatic and compelling story about how a "revolutionary technique" can take hold of a group of professionals, and then goes on to show how careful experimentation reveals that what appeared to be "revolutionary" was actually just confirmation bias. I used to show the clip up to the point of the experimental design and then have groups of students design tests to gather evidence about the validity of the facilitated communication technique. Word of warning: the clip involves accusations of sexual abuse and some of the language gets graphic.
The more recent 60 minutes clip is a great feel good story, and it might be interesting to show after the Frontline video. Is there any chance some of the folks working with iPads are falling into the same cognitive "facilitated communication" traps? What are the similarities and differences?
image credit: http://tweetbuzz.us/entry/78160135/www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7385402n
posted by Rob McEntarffer