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Comment: Speaking as a former yearbook adviser (Score 5, Insightful) 379

by Pollux (#49746449) Attached to: Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos

This guy would be -any- yearbook adviser's dream to have. Look at his photos...they're incredible. He gets in close to his subject, captures the action vividly, and makes very good use of lighting. And for a sophomore? Simply amazing.

This district is handling the situation all wrong. Regardless of whether or not they can or cannot make a claim to the ownership of the photos, they should be lifting this young man up for the talent he has and putting him on a pedestal. Enter him into national photography competitions. Get national recognition for his work, and put the trophies in your trophy case. And make him proud of his talent. He deserves it.

Suing him? Simply ridiculous.

Comment: Dear Microsoft (Score 2) 387

by Pollux (#49724913) Attached to: Microsoft To Teachers: Using Pens and Paper Not Fair To Students

I've been a mathematics teacher for nine years. And with the utmost sincerity, let me say this: Shut the fuck up.

Take your baseless opinions regarding educational matters and keep them to yourself. Microsoft has had as much success running schools as they had selling MP3 players. Note taking has been proven time-and-time again to be a very effective and powerful mnemonic device for learning. Studies have also shown that note taking with a pen/pencil and paper is more effective than note taking with a laptop. Furthermore, I can ask my students to have a notebook and pencil the first day of class, and for those who forgot or cannot afford it, I have plenty of spares to give them. I cannot expect the same out of a laptop or other digital device. Until you have research clearly demonstrating that any digital device is superior for learning development and comprehension, stay out of my classroom.

Comment: Obviously (Score 3, Informative) 66

Of course it will deter them! Obviously, when you admit that you did wrong and accept responsibility for your misdeeds, the guilt and shame must be overwhelmingly embarrassing! Let's see how hard the hammer of the FCC came down this time...

This Consent Decree resolves allegations that Verizon charged consumers for third-party products...The Bureau...contends that Verizon violated the law...To resolve the Bureau’s investigation...Verizon will provide a total of $90,000,000 in payments and funds for consumer redress...the public interest would be served by adopting the Consent Decree and terminating the referenced investigation.

Hmm...I'm confused...[CTRL]-[F]..."Guilty"...No Results Found? ...

Serving the public interest my ass. Ninety million bucks says Tom Wheeler goes to work for one of these companies the moment he leaves office.

Comment: It's not recycled sewage (Score 2) 278

Stop calling it recycled sewage. It's recycled water. And everyone drinks it.

As this page eloquently explains (or you can go to the Wikipedia page to get a lot more details), the wastewater that flows out of your house goes to a water treatment plant where it goes through four stages:

1) Pre-Treatment - large objects (tampons, leaves, wet wipes, etc.) are removed
2) Primary Treatment - fat & grease is removed; organic solids are removed
3) Secondary Treatment - remaining organic matter is broken down and removed; soaps & detergents and other contaminants are removed
4) Tertiary Treatment - nitrogen & phosphorous compounds are removed & oxygen levels are balanced; further processing & cleaning (depending on state laws)

What remains is dumped back into a river, which, surprise, gets pumped out to supply water to the next urban community downstream!

Again, it's recycled water. Whether it's pumped out of the river for tap, or whether it's pumped, filtered, bottled, and sold at your supermarket, it's recycled water.

Comment: I'm confused... (Score 1) 227

"We believe that every child should have access to an exceptional, personalized education that enables them to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world," reads AltSchool's mission statement.

Then why have you set yourself up as a private school? If you want to reach every child, why not set yourself up as a public charter school and allow every student equal opportunity to apply? Currently, only children whose parents have $28,750 to spare have access to this "exceptional" education. That's not every child.

Eventually, the plan is for the billionaire-bankrolled education magic to trickle down. AltSchool's pitch to investors, according to NPR, is that one day, charter schools or even regular public schools could outsource many basic functions to its software platform.

Good luck with that. At $28,750, you cost way more money than what every state in the nation pays to educate a child. And all those lucky kids still get a teacher in the room! You better have a really, -really- good return on investment for that kind of money!

Comment: Paying for channels we don't watch (Score 4, Informative) 329

by Pollux (#49564155) Attached to: ESPN Sues Verizon To Stop New Sports-Free TV Bundles

You pay for channels you don't want so you can watch the few channels you do want.

The communications director at a local cable service provider once told me the problem with ESPN: it's the most expensive channel in their entire cable lineup. They would love to separate it out and treat it a-la-carte like HBO, but their agreements don't allow for it. Either everyone gets it, or no one does. And he said everyone gets it, because whenever the feed goes out for that channel, their switchboards light up like a Christmas tree. (He also mentioned that the other channel that customers most hate to lose is Lifetime, though that's not nearly as expensive.)

It's extortion, plain and simple. Though ESPN is only partly to blame...the NFL, NBA, and NCAA are also guilty for making game broadcasting rights so pricy.

Comment: I got this far into the article... (Score 2) 352

by Pollux (#49557549) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

I describe what I think the public-school classroom will look like in 20 years, with a large, fantastic computer screen at the front, streaming one of the nation’s most engaging, informative lessons available on a particular topic. ...And I stopped. This guy doesn't get it.

You could have the most engaging, informative lesson on the face of the planet, and kids may still not listen to it. Maybe they didn't get much sleep last night. Perhaps they ate at McDonalds for breakfast and have a sugar rush. Sometimes they feel depressed, because they just broke up with their significant other. Maybe the topic is about mathematics, a subject that's just difficult to understand. There's a possibility the student is dyslexic. And this is not even the tip of the iceberg.

Generally, humans need inspiration, and they are best inspired by other humans, education no exception. There is a small subset of students who possess enough initiative and tenacity that, even at a young age, they find success by their own merits. But the majority of students face challenges that interfere with their motivation to learn. They need to be coached through these challenges, actions requiring insight into the human psyche, something computers have yet to achieve.

To draw a parallel, do we yet see any high school sports teams being coached by a computer? Shouldn't a computer be better equipped to analyze plays, to determine strengths and weaknesses of players, and to determine strategies that have the greatest probability of success? What does the coach have that the computer doesn't?

Comment: Past NSF involvement (Score 4, Informative) 19

by Pollux (#49426801) Attached to: The Cyberlearning Technologies Transforming Education

For those who can't remember this far back, we have the National Science Foundation to thank for CORE-Plus, SIMMS, The Interactive Mathematics Program, and the Connected Mathematics Project, along with other curricula otherwise known as "Leftist Math" that really caught on in the late 90's. While their intentions were good, and their involvement in creating new math programs helped reshape much needed reforms in how mathematics was taught, the programs pushed the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. (I'm speaking as a mathematics teacher who instructed students in CORE-Plus and CMP.)

As much as I am frustrated with the current methods of "integrating" technology into classrooms, given their past track record, I'm skeptical as to how the NSF can improve it.

Comment: Don't Blame the DoE (Score 2, Interesting) 201

Corruption is "massive in the DoE"? Really? I don't think your premise is common knowledge, so please cite a few sources.

The DoE doesn't pass any laws; it enforces the ones passed by Congress. And as it's a cabinet-level department, Congress approves all cabinet appointees, so blame them on both fronts. And while the DoE does a lot of things, its central mission, and its reason for its establishment, is to assure access to equal educational opportunity for every individual. Take the DoE away, and we've lost the primary means of enforcement against educational discrimination of children in our nation. Even if you do happen to somehow prove that the DoE is full of corruption, I don't think you want to throw that baby out with the bathwater.

Speaking with 10 years of experience in public K-12 schools, blame lies with the superintendent. Superintendents are the leaders of a district, and they can and often do set a strong tone of expectations that are carried out by administrators, including principals, which then trickle down to teachers and support staff. There's no doubt in my mind that the superintendent, tacitly if not directly, created this cheating culture in Atlanta. We can blame the law all we want for encouraging the genesis of such an environment, but that's like blaming cheese for mold growth. Yes, an optimal environment was created for this cheating scandal to take root and grow, but it was disgusting school leaders like Dr. Hall that caused it to happen.

Comment: 4/1 Story Recommendations (Score 3, Funny) 60

by Pollux (#49387589) Attached to: Mutinous Humans Murder Peaceful Space-going AI

Let's help out our editors! Let's propose 4/1 stories that we'd like to see, and we just mod up/down good ideas & bad ideas. Maybe they'll take notice.

Good 4/1 stories:

Slashdot Beta code adopted for official North Korea website.
Bill Gates first in line at Apple Store to buy Gold iWatch.
World returns to normal as Hell, Michigan, begins to thaw.

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. -- Isaac Asimov