July 16, 2013
Graphene: the material that is about to change your life
Terry Dawes, ,
, Cantech Letter,
July 16, 2013
In my interview with Nicole Christian yesterday I talked about the carbon future. Here is the sort of thing I was referring to: "(Graphene) is 200 times stronger than steel, and many times thinner than a human hair. It has the potential to accelerate internet speeds by 100 times, and recharge a lithium-ion battery 10 times as fast as a normal battery." What's interesting to me is that this is just the latest discovery to come out of manipulating carbon in interesting ways (remember nanotubes, anyone?).
The trouble with owning your own learning data
July 16, 2013
From Ben Betts today: "In the next couple of weeks we’ll release our beta version of Learning Locker. With this product we’re going to give people an opportunity to take ownership of the data that is created by them when they interact with systems and people. Previously this data has always been locked away in an organisation’s Learning Management System, or is just lost to the ether." This is pretty cool. But he raises some potential issues: "two big changes have collided to change all that; xAPI (Tin Can) and the recognition of less formal learning." These create huge volumes of data which are unmanageable for individual people. And, "owning your own data is boring. It is dull as ditchwater. Like watching paint dry." You need the data to do somethinbg for you before it becomes interesting.
Vouchers hook businesses up with academics
Globe and Mail,
July 16, 2013
I'm not really sure what to make of this program. Basically the idea is that companies apply for research 'vouchers', which when granted hen give them access to research support. For example, "Colleges apply to be providers of the program, while businesses apply separately and the two are connected by OCE. College students then act as 'consultants' to the business." NRC researchers aren't part of the program (IRAP is) but I don't see why they wouldn't be, in the future. And while I don't see any way for citizens or citizens' groups or NGOs to apply (and we probably won't for now) I can see how this would be widened to allow such research to be conducted in the public interest. The program could work to ensure research is conducted in the public interest, but its selection mechanism has to extend beyond mere commercialization of research, and instead reflect the needs and interests of all Canadians.
Facial Analysis Software Spots Struggling Students
MIT Technology Review,
July 15, 2013
OK, so my webcam is about 12 inches from my nose, which means it could have a detailed insight into my mental state if it really wanted. Forget whether I'm passing or failing - I'd rather have it pick appropriate music for me, connect me to appropriate self-help website, and reassure with a knowing nod and the comment, "ah yes, but first you must understand why you are so perturbed today." Yes, perturbed. At such a close range, it should know me better than I know myself. And why would we waste such technology on test scores when there is so so much more we could be doing with it?
Getting it WRONG: The Economist on Educational Technology, Testing and School Reform
Moving at the Speed of Creativity,
July 14, 2013
Wesley Fryer is clear in his criticism of what are on balance outrageous Economist articles: "The articles, E-ducation: A long-overdue technological revolution is at last under way and Catching on at last: New technology is poised to disrupt America’s schools, and then the world’s (contain) misleading statements, falsehoods, and outright lies the articles portray as truth in the name of further discrediting public school systems in the United States as failing, incapable of meaningful improvement or reform, and in need of private companies through charter schools and online programs saving the day after 'evil teacher unions' are finally discarded by an indignant public sick of 'lazy teachers' standing in the way of corporate America’s educational reform agenda." I have long thought of the Economist (partly owned by Pearson) as a propaganda rag; this pair of articles does nothing to alter my view.
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