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Comment What's most important to learn? (Score 3, Insightful) 134

I'm all for Open Courses, especially when the Universities, Professors and Research are funded by the state (I'm not talking for US only). However, IMO the issue is, what should the priorities for self-learners be?

Math is considered as the language of science, but sometimes I wonder whether open courses on human relationships, empathy, self-help and helping each other (i.e. things that our parents taught us and are seldom, if ever touched upon by today's parents), and most importantly, detoxification from technology (I'm thinking of the billions of man-hours spent on texting, sexting and the so-called "social networking") might be more important for today's youth.

Comment Re:Why... (Score 1) 106

This had totally escaped me, you are right. In the article on SSD, Wikipedia states "SandForce controllers compress the data prior to sending it to the flash memory. This process may result in less writing and higher logical throughput, depending on the compressibility of the data."

Comment Re:Common Core Standards (Score 1) 232

If it was possible to "standardize curricula" based on "state of the art" educational principles in order to minimize "costs", it would have already have been done 50 years ago, not only across US states, but across countries and continents too.

If you come to think about it, the Sciences (Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Geology, etc) are universal. The only differentiating subjects are language and to an extent, history. So the globalization, standardization and "canning" of knowledge to teach in schools, even in universities, is feasible.

The first company that will patent and produce The Bible for such a globalized curriculum will become as rich as the Church. Pearson is one such candidate.

Comment This explains the Idiocracy documentary I saw... (Score 1) 232

Is the famous USA educational system becoming the pinnacle of consumerism? Where pupils need only to consume hi-calorie concentrate food canned in hi-tech tablets and evaluated only by pressing their fat fingers on multiple choice questions check-boxes?

"Question 1: The rectangular machine you have in your hand at this very moment and reading this question on is:
a) a tablet
b) a computer
c) a calculator
d) a PC
e) an iPad"

Comment Re:Whisky Tango Foxtrot? (Score 1) 230

Please mod this man +1 informative. I have not posted in months but I cannot but admire the accuracy and simplicity of this post. Please note that these channels also are the ones broadcasting a lot of turkish soap operas, which seem to be the official state ideology vehicle in recent years. If the state channel was the one broadcasting the Suleiman series, I'd expect more than three million people protesting in Athens today and several more millions across the country.

PS. Please forgive all the greeks posting as ACs in this thread, due to the past week's revelations we all are in super paranoid mode.

Comment This is a most provovative article (Score 2) 372

Some preliminary thoughts, after having read the full research article:

It is a provocative study and it's going to be either totally ignored (because the author is just a PhD student in a non-technological discipline) or really stir the waters of educational research (just take into account the hundreds of books, tens of journals and thousands of research papers arguing about the benefits of IT in the curriculum).

One weakness of the study that will definitely be used against the author is that he (and, not surprisingly, the interviewees) seem to confuse instructional technology with information technology - these two "IT" are not the same. As an educator, I firmly believe that PowerPoint presentations (except when embedding animations/video) are totally equivalent to plain old overhead transparencies or even 35mm film slides - they are static images and are definitely not Information technology, just because a computer and a data projector are needed to project them.

Another more important criticism is that the author did not seem to investigate (or mention) the professors' insights about the potential learning benefits of using IT. From what I understood by reading the paper, the teachers seem to implicitly or explicitly believe that IT has no useful aspects beyond the motivation of the students (to keep them from falling asleep during class). Apart from the fact that such responses could be argued to be a sign that the sample is biased, the major question is, are the students actually learning better/more by using IT or not? IMO teaching cannot be separated from learning. Therefore, I'd like to know explicitly what these professors think the learning outcomes of IT are, and if possible, interview some of their students too to see if they consider they are benefiting from such technologies.

Finally, I think that four disciplines and 42 teachers are a very very small sample of the USA (and global) academia. However, the data presented should be very alarming to those universities (or secondary schools) that plan providing their students with free iPads just because they are offered free or at a bargain nobody can deny.

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