It seems reasonable that an AI could author this sort of book. The prototype "provides a compelling machine-generated overview about the latest research on lithium-ion batteries, automatically compiled by an algorithm." Scientific papers have a fairly rigid structure, and so it should be reasonable straightforward to create a literature summary. More tricky would be identifying relevance of individual results and placing them into a wider context. No word on whether the unattributed marketing article was also AI-produced.
This is a look at a number of the lesser-known federated social networking applications (known collectively as the 'fediverse', and known as 'federated' because there is no central website, but rather a 'federation' of interconnetced websites). Belshaw looks at Misskey, Socialhome, and Pleroma, among others.
"Just a few years ago," writes Kevin Carey, "universities had a chance to make a quality education affordable for everyone. Here's the little-known and absolutely infuriating history of what they did instead." I'm not sure how little-know it is; after all, the sector's failure has been chronicled over 20 years in these pages. But the core observation is dead on. Universities "outsource much of the work to an obscure species of for-profit company that has figured out how to gouge students in new and creative ways. These companies are called online program managers, or OPMs, an acronym that could come right out of 'Office Space.' They have goofy, forgettable names like 2U, HotChalk and iDesign."
The initial concept is laudable. "What Anbar has in mind is something he calls "active OER." That's taking the standard digital textbook and expanding it with the addition of digital resources, including simulations that are both interactive and adaptive." So is the committment of $25 million to the project. But why then would it be narrowed down to one commercial provider? "That's where Smart Sparrow comes in: The company produces aero, a learning platform that allows the instructor to pull together lessons from a set of templates." This is in many respects the opposite of extending OERs with interactive resources. Rather, it looks like another case of open-wrapping - taking open content and wrapping it with a proprietary interface.
This is a study of YikYak in education. "Yik Yak was a social media application which was designed according to the three principles of anonymity, hyper-locality and community moderation, and focused specifically on user appeal on university campuses." The potential for problems was clear. "There were several well-publicised incidents of hate and victimisation over the period of the life of Yik Yak." But did the value make up for that? "Yik Yak was not for the most part a toxic environment." And when in 2016 YikYak curtained anonymity its popularity plummited. The authors suggest that unreachability holds significant social value for students" and that there is a need for "thinking in a more nuanced way about the social media ecologies of students and re-framing them in terms of what Haber has called ‘the complex desire for diverse temporalities of interaction – different speeds of communication at varying levels of intimacy and exposure’."
I've been playing No Man's Sky since almost the day it launched and this is the upgrade I've been waiting for: VR. The game had a rocky launch; it was basically just a sketchy universe and some controls. But the potential was obvious even then. No, according to this report. this summer's update will include for virtual reality. "If the goal of No Man's Sky is to make players feel, full-stop -- then VR is the best way to play."
The best line in this post is this: "each year in the US, we turn out thousands of students who have learned the rules Bach used to write four part chorales... but even though we train thousands of students, year after year, we haven’t seen another Bach." Of course, part of the reason for this is the same as the reason we can make most students above-average: the second person who is equal to Bach, even if equally talented, can't be Bach. And of course the United States has produced acres of brilliant musical talent over the years, as original and creative as Bach, but of course, not Bach. The pedantry aside, I agree with Wiley's overall point, that any discipline is a mixture of art and science. And so, "the choice between a research-informed, data-driven classroom and a classroom centered on relationships of care and support is a choice we don’t have to make."
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