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Submission + - Facebook Guesses What's In Pictures To Help Visually Impaired (cio.com) 1

itwbennett writes: Taking the issue of bad image metadata into its own hands, starting today, Facebook will tell users of screen readers what appears in the photos on their timeline. Jeremy Kirk explains: 'To describe the images, Facebook built a computer vision system with a neural network trained to recognize a number of concepts, including places and the presence of people and objects. It analyzes each image for the presence of different elements, and then composes a short sentence describing it that is included in the web page as the 'alt' text of the image.'

Comment Re:what for? (Score 1) 57

I get that.

What I don't get is why that requires Minecraft. It seems counter-productive due to complexity. A good fraction of people don't have very good 3d imagination and would finding a top-down 2d world much easier to comprehend.

Normally I would agree with that statement. In the past I tried 2D systems such as GameMaker and other block-like languages. I tried Alice the past two years which ventured into 3D. The difference with Minecraft is the kids already know it. I took a poll of the kids on the first day of class and only 2 out of 60 had never played Minecraft. That helps quite a bit with the learning curve so we can just focus on the logic. Their final grades were also much better this year and attribute a lot of that to the engagement Minecraft provided.

Comment Re:what for? (Score 2) 57

I used it in my Computer Science courses to teach kids the basics of loops, variables, if statements, etc. before introducing them to a "real" programming language. The kids loved it and they had a much better understand of those basic programming constructs than they did in years past when I used Alice to introduce concepts. MinecraftEdu comes with "turtles" that the kids can program using a block-like language. Basically simulating the old Logo program.

Comment Re:We need a different term for this (Score 3, Interesting) 145

Pair programming is how you engage in affirmative action without having to spell it out in school policy. You pair up the students who can't/won't succeed with the students who can and will succeed. The successful student will do all the work to keep up their GPA and the shit student can coast his/her way to a passing grade. All while avoiding the political minefield that would come with forcing more girls, more people of color, or more of whatever group is the cause de jour into programming through social promotion and affirmative action.

That's pretty cynical. I use pair programming in my classes, but the kids can choose their pairs. It's not meant to give kids better grades. In fact, I usually only use it for tasks I won't be grading. It's meant so the kids can work with someone else and bounce ideas off each other to see a different perspective and hopefully gain a better understanding of CS. The kids have to take turns on the keyboard so even if one kid is a much better programmer, they are forced to talk about what to do instead of just typing all the code themselves in silence.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 56

I've used Minecraft's redstone logic to teach my computer science students logical reasoning, which they then apply to actual computer programs. I know there have been many failed edutainment options in the past, but they only fail when they are not used in a thoughtful manner. I won't argue that there are probably teachers out there who just throw Minecraft at the kids and think something magic will happen, but it is an incredible tool if used thoughtfully.

Comment Re:Classroom vs self-guided (Score 4, Informative) 47

Colleges definetly use advanced courses such as AP as a basis for admission (Advice From a Dean of Admissions on Selecting High School Courses). Whether it's right or not, colleges consider academic "rigor" in high school to admit students, and the AP courses have a standardized curriculum which makes it easier for colleges to judge their difficulty.

Comment Re:The correct decision (Score 1) 355

Not sure how long their semester is, but most schools would be ending in the next few weeks so he should have stuck it out. If he failed the students he knew were misbehaving he would have been on much higher ground. Most universities have an appeal policy for grades, but the student has a high bar to pass to appeal a grade given by a professor. The university will almost always defer to the professor in a he-said, she-said scenario.

Comment Re:Hard to take sides (Score 1) 355

Definitely agree that both sides are at fault here. Classroom management is one of the toughest jobs for a teacher, and I think professors sometimes feel they don't need to worry about it since college students are paying their way and there won't be the discipline issues you have at lower grade levels. The students clearly demonstrated that isn't true, but the need for security guards showed this was building over a long period of time. I wish I had more details, but this should have been addressed much earlier.

Comment Re:Fabricating a Crisis? (Score 1) 165

MR. SMITH: "One of the things I've learned from all of the various anti-trust and intellectual property negotiations I've handled over the years is this, sometimes when a small problem proves intractable you have to make it bigger. You have to make the problem big enough so that the solution is exciting enough to galvanize people's attention..."

That actually makes my point. The summary states that they fabricated a crisis, but what you just posted shows that they thought it was a smaller problem that just needed to be made bigger to find a solution.

Comment Fabricating a Crisis? (Score -1, Troll) 165

Not sure where the idea comes from that they are "producing a crisis" or "fabricating a crisis." Everything from the articles and PowerPoint appear to show that they were trying to bring awareness to an already existing crisis. At least they believed it was already a crisis. Not nearly as underhanded as TFA makes it out to be.

Comment Re:Instead... (Score 1) 356

That's exactly what they're doing. From the USA Today article:

This means that people who use Google to search on their smartphone may not find many of their favorite sites at the top of the rankings. Sites that haven't updated could find themselves ranked way lower, which in turn could mean a huge loss of business.

Comment Re:Certified != Competent (Score 1) 700

I apparently chose not to read that part. I agree that the classes aren't where you necessarily learn how to be a teacher. I think management is emphasized because that is what most teachers fail at early on in their careers. You learn your pedagogy from your supervising teacher during student teaching, but that can be a bad thing if you don't have a good supervising teacher.

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