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Where is the Humanity in the Computer Science Curriculum?
Maha Bali, DML Central, 2017/10/26


The only criticism I have of this post is the idea that you can put 'humanity' into the computer science curriculum and that students will learn it and all will be good thereafter. That's the solution implicit in this tweet: "If I have to learn to code, why don't the geeks have to learn social theory?" And it's the solution implicit in this suggestion: "I think there should be an element of infusing discussions of ethics, humanity and social consequences into computer science curricula." And this: "There has been far too little focus on enabling young people to appreciate the social consequences of code and algorithms…" So while I certainly agree that coding without an eye to the social consequences is a problem, I think that our appreciation of the way to address problems like this has to be deeper than "teach them social theory."

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The Epistemology and Auto-Epistemology of Temporal Self-Location and Forgetfulness
Wolfgang Spohn, Ergo, 2017/10/26

This is a really nice post about something called the 'sleeping beauty problem' in philosophy. It poses two intuitively strong but different calculations of probability, and in so doing identifies some key issues:

Yes, these are pretty abstract. The sleeping beauty problem makes them concrete, so we can genuinely see the issues in a concrete way. "It plays an important role everywhere in everyday life. We continuously fight not only to improve our epistemic situation, but also to avoid worsenings. We fight forgetting on a small scale everyday and on a large scale with expensive historical institutions; we fight against drugs, because they ruin ourselves and our epistemic perspective; and so forth." These are core issues in education.

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How to Improve Brain Function and Reverse Poverty's Impact on Student Learning
Eric Jensen, EdSurge, 2017/10/26


If EdSurge continues to publish articles like this it will lose whatever credibility it has. The article feels like paid placement, though there's no indication that it is so. It is most certainly marketing trash. How do students "reverse poverty's impact?" In a nutshell: "pay attention and work harder". The author's secret? "Instead of telling students what to do—like 'pay attention' or 'work harder'—teach students how to do it." There's a lot of jargon but no actual evidence. We aren't actually told what the program is - for that you would have to go to the author's website and pay $79 for some PowerPoint slides. Or maybe buy the product being marketed in the article (it's the only link - easy to find). I sincerely doubt it is endorsed by the academic institutions it lists, and I know (because I checked) that its not even close to the top intervention in the What Works Clearinghouse. Garbage. Just garbage.

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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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