by Stephen Downes
Oct 22, 2015
MIT discovers the location of memories: Individual neurons
This is reported with all the breathless urgency of an MIT press release announcing something discovered for the first time, but though it's a significant finding it restates what others have been saying for a long time (and just for fun, the headline also gets it wrong). Here's what is said, exactly: "By triggering a small cluster of neurons, the researchers were able to force the subject to recall a specific memory. By removing these neurons, the subject would lose that memory" (note that a "cluster" is not an "individual neuron". And note that they have shown that these neurons are necessary for a specific memory (for that particular brain), not that they are sufficient. But yes: "we finally have proof that memories (engrams, in neuropsychology speak) are physical rather than conceptual."
Social Media Listening: Essential Tool for Both PR & Marketing (and Competitive Intelligence Too)
OK, this is a marketing piece for CyberAlert - they don't post their prices so you can't afford it. I certainly can't afford it. But the idea of the service is that it scans various forms of media and returns you results relevant to your business or industry. The point of the current article is to emphasize the importance of social media monitoring, and to provide a brief outline of how to go about it. You don't actually need their tool to stay connected. Why is this important? It's just a small step from monitoring social media for business and industry to monitoring social media for individuals. And what will that social media say? It's more than just likes and clicks. A deeper social media analysis will look at your words and contacts and deduce what you're interested in and what you're good at. In time, this sort of measurement will be more accurate than tests and assignments at measuring your skills and competencies. It will take a while to get there. But this is where it starts.
Learning and the World of “Apps”
The focus of this post is a report published last March from McGraw-Hill Education, The Impact of Technology on College Student Study Habits, which "found that 81% of US college students use mobile devices to study." You can see their video, "SmartBook Made Success Possible". The value of the current post is foundd in the list of "several apps are designed to support teaching and learning processes for faculty and students alike," including such apps as: ToDoist, which creates to-do lists; My Study Life, which help with scheduling and organizing; and iTalk Recorder, recording software for lectures, interviews, debates, and conversations.
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