by Stephen Downes
Jun 19, 2015
Intelligence Deficit Syndrome
Blue Skunk Blog,
Doug Jognson riffs on a post from Dilbert author Scott Adams on what he calls Complexity-Induced Mental Illness, The point is that there are so many numbers, controls, options and doodads in society that it's causing people to stop being able to cope. But what about the 25% who do cope? I think there's an attitude here that's important, and it's one of letting go. Focus on what you need, forget the rest. It's OK if your VCR blinks 12:00 on and off if you are not using it to tell the time. It's fine if you don't understand file format options if you're happy to read and write regular Word documents. If you know which button makes the door go up and down and what's all you want to do, who cares what the other buttons do? And if you can't let it go, experiment and simplify. When I meet a new faucet in a new hotel room (something I've done hundreds of times) I just fiddle with it until I've figured out hot-cold, fast-slow and shower-tap. Letting go, experimentation and simplification are cognitive skills, and we should teach them.
Valedictorian Made A Secret Instagram Account To Write A Personal Note To All 657 People In His Class
OK, so he did this before he ever became valedictorian, and he did it anonymously, which makes it even better. I love stories like this. It's a case where someone sees that people are doing their best, that they're genuinely good, and that there's a way to speak to each person. I don't always remember that. And more, when someone says something like this to you, about you, don't you want to be that person they're describing: "You are always so helpful and kind and are willing to be there for a friend in the blink of an eye." It's pretty hard not to be this when you know other people are reading this and saying this about you. Via a bunch of TV website (I guess this has made the rounds in the U.S.).
Deep Learning Machine Beats Humans in IQ Test
Some stuff on analytics. In this item, a 'deep learning' machine is reported to have beaten humans in IQ tests. Well, some humans. “To our surprise, the average performance of human beings is a little lower than that of our proposed method,” they say. Also, in an online lecture, Timothy McKay describes what can be learned by analysing students' revisions to their essays. Technology Review also describes a study showing how Google 'deep learning' has taught a computer to read. In this case it's able to cluster words by studying articles from the Daily Mail and the short synopses unrelated authors write about them. Here are four (very superficial) lessons about Google's deep learning program. Finally, Foreign Affairs on the limits and dangers of big data. "If algorithms represent a new ungoverned space, a hidden and potentially ever-evolving unknowable public good, then they are an affront to our democratic system, one that requires transparency and accountability in order to function."
Something has gone very wrong with science
The Irish Times,
Brian Mulligan asks on Facebook, "is educational research even worse?" From my perspective, it is. Because all this is especially true of the 'research' published in journals of education: Read Richard Horton, editor in chief of the Lancet: "The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, ‘poor methods get results’ . . ." And not, contra Campbell Collaboration, this isn't going to be fixed by turning education research into pseudo-medical research. We need to re-evaluate what we're trying to accomplish with research publication (hint: something not related to 'tenure' and 'funding').
Our Logo - Your Statement!
This is fun. Openlearning.com is encouraging people to create their own versions of the openlearning logo (which is just a paintbrush 'O'). It's to underline the site's emphasis on social connections in learning. Their site states, "We understand that for students to learn deeply, they need to be active, engaged, inspired, involved. They need to interact with their peers, connect dots between new and current knowledge and they need to have fun in the process!"
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