This is why your should have a video on your web site. Let us help you today. Here are some examples of work we can do. What would you like and what is your budget? Please email George@apibestinclass.com manager of video productions to help you.
Video like other content formats, needs to be thought of as just another piece of the puzzle and that means giving it the same amount of attention as content like text and static images. Granted, it’s not always the easiest thing to accomplish, full integration.
Archive for Social Networking/Web/Education
This is why your should have a video on your web site. Let us help you today. Here are some examples of work we can do. What would you like and what is your budget? Please email George@apibestinclass.com manager of video productions to help you.
Dale J. Stephens leads UnCollege, the social movement changing the notion that college is the only path to success. His first book, Hacking Your Education, will be published by Penguin in 2013. Also see the three related posts today (below).
“What about student/teacher interaction? What about building a social and professional network? How can you get a job without a degree? How will you know you’re succeeding without grades?”
Every seasoned supporter of self-directed education has faced questions like this. If you haven’t yet, you will. Trust me. People often have a hard time understanding how certain elements of education can flourish outside of classrooms. Homeschoolers and unschoolers have found creative solutions — cooperative classes for varying subjects, speech and debate leagues, field trip groups — that decentralize and expand the learning experience.
But what about higher education? Can all the benefits that society associates with traditional higher education be provided and even exceeded with non-traditional methods? The purpose of this post is to look at how startups are doing just that.
UnCollege has written posts with an in-depth look at specific startups, such as Udacity, but here we’re going to take a high-level approach and see how the startup community is providing benefits that traditional higher education institutions claim to have a monopoly on. We’ll do this by focusing on their solutions for content delivery, social interaction, professional feedback, and certification.
If you’ve been following trends in higher education at all, the idea that universities don’t have an edge on content delivery won’t be surprising to you. Institutionalized-ed says that students should learn in a way that allows them to successfully regurgitate information via testing and exams.
Decentralized education says let the student learn in a way that allows them to master the information, not just regurgitate it.. The content is the part of the university that has become most decentralized – it started more than 10 years ago with MIT’s OpenCourseWare and has continued from there.
- Code School is all about not just learning but creation.. Students have a chance to learn and then implement their knowledge throughout the course, so that upon completion the student not only has a workable knowledge of the material, but also the tools to apply it in the real world.
- Udacity emphasizes mastery learning to make sure that students have multiple attempts to demonstrate their new knowledge and only move on when they have completely mastered a subject.
While the content exists, one problem that hasn’t yet been solved is curation — when exploring the Internet, how do you find learning content?. And more importantly, what is good and true?. Startups like LearningJar.com or Learnist are starting to make headway in this area but it’s still a very young space.
Building a community
Campus settings give students the benefit of socializing and networking with other students and teachers. Startups take on this challenge in a variety of ways.
- Livemocha is an online language learning platform. Cultivating a community of language-learners is an important part of their model. They provide a stimulating and safe environment for students to practice their skills with native speakers or tutors.
- Meetup.com is an online network of local groups. You can start or find a group in your area with a huge variety of interests — everything from languages to dancing to education to politics, and lots in between. Udacity even has meetup groups in 292 cities where students can interact and supplement their courses.
- The Open University offers 600+ online courses. They have student forums where students can share and discuss any topics of interest to them.
- Hoot.me lets you convert facebook into study mode to connect with students and tutors around the world.
- Openstudy.com is a social learning network where students can ask questions, give help, and connect to other students studying the same subject.
It’s easy to see that startups actually have the potential to connect students to a much wider network than is available on campus. Students are able to communicate with other students and teachers all around the world, and can also access face-to-face groups using meetup.com. However, this space is still very young.. I envision a day where you can pull out your iPhone, open an app, and walk down to your local coffee shop for a class discussion.
Feedback in this case is any way for a student to track and interpret his or her progress. Most non-institutional courses don’t involve grades. How can students evaluate their knowledge?
- Livemocha students receive instant feedback through their interaction with native speakers and tutors.
- Udacity has quizzes built into their videos to ensure that you are understanding the material along the way. There are also problem sets but both quizzes and problem sets are optional and are meant to enhance your learning. Also they offer final exams at the end of the course.
- Code Hero has interactive exercises built into their courses that students must successfully complete before moving on. This allows the students to know they’ve mastered the content before moving on.
In reality, the feedback loop in non-traditional courses tends to be much shorter and more meaningful than a traditional grading system. Students are able to keep a much closer track of their progress, and the feedback is generally more effective. Correction from a native speaker is far more beneficial than an A to F grade on a language exam. Review from multiple sources is much more beneficial than a grade from one instructor.
One problem in the feedback system that has not been addressed is the role of mentoring and coaching traditionally provided by a teacher.. Companies like Clarity.fm are starting to work towards a solution on this but are a long ways from ubiquity.
This is a big one. Most people would argue that taking online courses that don’t confer college credit is not a very smart move. After all, credits lead to degrees. All employers are looking for degrees, right? That discussion is for another time, but startups are providing records and certifications in a variety of ways.
- Smarterer allows you to take tests in order to prove your skills in a wide span of subjects — from facebook to CSS to English for Business. You can share your scores, and recruiters can even evaluate candidates by comparing Smarterer scores.
- Udacity will give students’ resumes to over 20 partner companies. Their course certifications are recognized by major technology companies who are actively recruiting from the Udacity student body.
- edX, a joint venture between MIT and Harvard, is awarding certificates to students who show a mastery of the subject of their course.
- Coursera offers a certificate of completion for some of their courses.
- Code Hero awards badges when a course is completed.
All these certifications can be compiled into an online or hard copy portfolio. This portfolio can function as your education transcript for personal use or to provide to future employers. Alternatively, it is also possible to take free courses and then take an exam to receive college credit in those subjects.
Are you a Facebook addict? Take the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale test, developed in Norway, and find out.
Do you (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, or (5) Very often:
- Spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook.
- Feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
- Use Facebook to forget about personal problems.
- Try to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
- Become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
- Use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.
After adding these up, your full score correlates with your addiction level. Did you score “often” or “very often” on at least four of the six items? You’re a Facebook addict.*
At least that that what psychologist Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen, who heads the Facebook Addiction research project at the University of Bergen, suggests. Her study also found that symptoms of Facebook addiction resemble those of drug and alcohol addiction — and unsurprisingly, Facebook addicts have sleep-wake-cycle problems. The study also found:
- Facebook addiction occurs more regularly among younger than older users.
- People who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face.
- People who are organized and more ambitious tend to be less at risk from Facebook addiction. They will often use social media as an integral part of work and networking.
- Women are more at risk of developing Facebook addiction, probably due to the social nature of Facebook.
The researchers are also working on measuring other addictions, such as the Bergen Work Addiction Scale. (I’m guessing there’s a high negative correlation between Facebook addiction and work addiction.)
* Personal confession: if you substitute “email” for “Facebook,” I definitely have a problem. If they invent a way to check email while you sleep, let me know.
Ref.: Cecilie Schou Andreassen et al., Development of a Facebook addiction scale, Psychological Reports, 2012, DOI: 10.2466/02.09.18.PR0.110.2.501-517
Dale J. Stephens, age 20, is a Thiel Fellow and leads UnCollege, the social movement changing the notion that college is the only path to success. His first book, Hacking Your Education, will be published by Penguin in 2013.
The idea that the world is constantly changing — and faster than ever before — is nothing new. But what’s new is that companies and organizations are starting to realize that our generation needs to be educated — through action, not theory — on just how this new world works.
Imagine that, instead of college, you worked directly in a field that interested you, learning how someone before you has been successful in that field. Learning the critical responsibilities that are only learned from actually doing, no matter how much theory you understand. Imagine if you lived in a community with other inspired, ambitious apprentices, where after work you’d get together and share your experiences with one another.
E[nstitute], a New York City based organization, will provide fifteen fellows with apprenticeships and living space in NYC. The cofounders of E[nstitute], Shaila Ittycheria and Kane Sarhan, are focused on providing E[nstitute]’s 15 fellows with the knowledge necessary to adapt to an unpredictable future. The fellows will be placed in positions to learn and work directly from some of New York City’s most innovative entrepreneurs.
E[nstitute] will serve as a building block for future entrepreneurs and innovators by teaching its fellows how to create a tangible result from an idea—to take the back of a napkin and turn it into the next Twitter. Most of know that ideas are abundant—what’s often lacking is the discipline and knowledge to turn that idea into a business, organization, movement, or whatever it is that you want to build.
It’s great that a few organizations — the Thiel Fellowship, now E[nstitute] — are providing apprenticeships and resources for alternative sources of education, incubating ideas and proving that college is not the only path to an education, much less to success. It’s a start. But this needs to scale.
We need apprenticeship programs in every city that ambitious “students” can partake in. We need companies and organizations to team up with high schools to provide an alternative route. We need this to be accessible to anybody — not just the select few who are admitted to these currently limited and exclusive programs.
A few companies, such as Groupon’s Dave Hoover, Senior Engineering Manager, are working to make apprenticeships broadly available. He’s been running an apprenticeship program since 2007 which is now being implemented at Groupon. At Groupon, apprentices are given a stipend and living quarters and expected to learn the ropes in six months. Dave is currently working to implement this apprenticeship model at other companies.
If you or your friends will be in Vancouver this weekend, please join me Friday evening (March 23) at VEF Momentum Connect, where I’ll be delivering a talk about UnCollege. You’ll get a sneak-peek at my forthcoming book, and I’ll share some of the secrets I’ve learned about self-education after interviewing 50 people.
The deal used to be that if you went to college, gave up four years of your life and incurred tens of thousands of dollars in debt, tuition, and foregone earnings, you’d be set for life with a cushy job.
That’s no longer true.
The Occupy movement has shown us that the rising cost of college is not a trivial issue. Thousands of people were willing to take to the street to protest the tens of thousands — and sometimes hundreds of thousands — of dollars in student debt they carry. Knowledge about the true cost of college — and the risk of taking on debt — is now mainstream.
In the United States, 70.1% of high school seniors go to college. A college degree has become the new high school diploma. Academically Adrift found that 36% of students showed no improvement in critical thinking, complex reasoning, or writing after four years of college, and less than half of students surveyed had taken a class that required more than 20 pages of writing over the entire semester.
In college, failure is punished instead of viewed as a learning opportunity, even though the courage to try, fail, and iterate is vital for innovation. Too often, college teaches us conformity rather than innovation, competition rather than collaboration, regurgitation rather than learning, and theory rather than application.
If college were teaching the skills required for success, 22.4% of college grads under 25 wouldn’t be unemployed, and another 22%wouldn’t be working jobs that don’t require a college degree. When we graduate college with astronomical debt — an average of $27,000 in the U.S. — we’re stuck in a narrow track, needing to find a job to pay off the debt. We’re mortgaging away our freedom to innovate in exchange for a degree.
No longer a good investment
If you want to be a doctor, medical school is a wise choice — I don’t recommend keeping cadavers in your garage. However, for non-licensed professions, college may no longer be a good investment. Since 1980, college tuition has risen more than 350% adjusted for inflation. Yes, the College Board will point out that there is a wage premium for college graduates: each year of college education leads to an 8% increase in overall lifetime earnings. And yes, this is true today, but will it be true in the future?
In 2010, student loan debt outpaced credit card debit and it was projected to top one trillion dollars by the end of 2011. We’re facing a crisis that will be as bad, if not worse, than the housing bubble crash because in the U.S., student loans are unforgiveable in the case of bankruptcy.
What happens when students begin defaulting on their loans? The bank can repossess your house, but they can’t repossess your education. We may think higher education lives in an ivory tower of BA, but it really lives in a glass castle of BS. When that glass castle shatters, university will never be the same.
Start your own company or cause
The problems I’ve outlined reflect a cultural shift from college being a vehicle to gain knowledge to a right of passage to adulthood. We don’t go to university knowing exactly what we want to major in — we go because our parents went, our peers are going, and society expects it. I know. I experienced the same thought process.
When we 18-year-olds embolden ourselves in this manner, we think of ourselves as customers. We expect certain things from college. We’re interested in the end product — the credential — not the intellectual journey that leads there. And in capitalism, the customer is always right. What students demand, we get. This leads to schools building lavish dorms instead of hiring professors.
Imagine if the millions of 18–22 year-olds currently sitting in class, copying their professor’s words verbatim off the blackboard, started their own companies, their own causes, their own initiatives. Imagine if we approached learning like French Salons, gathering to discuss, challenge, and support each other in creating tomorrow.
My goal isn’t to take down the academy, but I believe we have enough universities.
We can do better. We can unleash the power of youth to change the world.
Got a cool idea for a research project, but need funding? Check out Petridish.org, which has just launched crowdfunded science and research projects. I think this is a really great idea that could open up funding for some amazing research ideas.
On Petridish.org, researchers post materials about themselves and their research, and the public can discover projects that are exciting to them. In exchange for contributing to the project, backers receive insider updates on the research, naming rights to new discoveries, and other exciting souvenirs from the work.
Here’s a list of projects: blog.petridish.org.
I especially like this one: Help us find the first exomoon (outside of the solar system). “Not only will the study of exomoons enhance our understanding of planets and solar systems, but because moons are potentially habitable, our project would advance the search for extraterrestrial life,” says the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics project description.
The goal: $10,000 for a small supercomputer working 24 hours a day to sift through the Kepler data.
This is the most interesting event at SXSW I’ve heard of so far: “Robot panelists, AI and the future of identity.”
LifeNaut is a free online service (and experiment) for personal data storage and avatar interactivity, says Duncan. “It allows people to build a rich personal profile that preserves their essential, unique qualities as ‘mindfiles.’” (They also allow you to store your DNA.)
“Mindfiles are database files with uploaded digital information (videos, pictures, documents, and audio recordings) about a person’s unique characteristics (such as mannerisms, attitudes, values, and beliefs),” he explains.
Mindfiles (there are about 12,000 so far) are stored online at lifenaut.com. Future AI programs, Duncan believes, will use a mindfile and a person’s DNA to create a digital clone of that person that can interact with future family members and others.
As an experiment, the Terasem Movement Foundation has created Bina48, an android based on the mindfile of Bina Rothblatt, cofounder of the Terasem Movement Foundation. (Full disclosure: I introduced Terasem to Hanson Robotics to build Bina48.) Bina48 has gigabytes of information uploaded to a database. “She” continues to acquire new experiences and knowledge by interacting with people (using vidcams in eyes, face-recognition software, and Dragon voice-recognition software).
(Ray Kurzweil has developed a similar avatar called Ramona that exists as a software chatbot on KurzweilAI.)
Creating an intelligent clone
Taking it a step further, AI researcher Stephen L. Reed will describe how his Texai AGI (artificial general intelligence) system could (in theory) one day be used with Lifenaut mindfiles to emulate human intelligence. Reed was formerly a project manager at the famed Cycorp, where he developed OpenCyc.
“Texai’s software uses a dialog to acquire facts and incorporates them into a sort of knowledge base,” he explains. “Texai also uses natural language processing, as in Siri, except that Siri is only used to contextually disambiguate a user’s query or utterance, to plug into a particular iPhone service, Wolfram Alpha, or web search.”
In contrast, Reed created a lexical (dictionary-like) knowledge base by merging WordNet, Wiktionary, and OpenCyc software. “From the latter, Texai has mapped about 12,000 noun-word senses to OpenCyc semantic concepts. WordNet and OpenCyc provide taxonomic relationships between these terms. The system will seek to map additional word senses to noun, verb, adjective and adverb concepts, in a semi-automated fashion, via dialog with an expert user.
“One could imagine that LifeNaut might seek to preserve a user’s skills, so that the avatar could ‘do stuff’ even after the user is deceased. If those skills included the skill of learning, the avatar could subsequently improve itself.”
Reed also intends to pursue the method Alan Turing recommended in 1950: “Instead of trying to produce a programme to simulate the adult mind, why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child’s?” said Turing. “If this were then subjected to an appropriate course of education, one would obtain the adult brain.”
Yet another brain myth bites the dust, joining “we only use 10 percent of our brain,” and other pseudoscience nonsense that tries to cram people in nice neat boxes.
The left hemisphere of your brain, thought to be the logic and math portion, actually plays a critical role in creative thinking, University of Southern California (USC) researchers have found, at least for visual creative tasks (and musical, as previously found).
“We need both hemispheres for creative processing,” said.Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, assistant professor of neuroscience.
The research team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of architecture students, who tend to be visually creative.
While being scanned, the subjects were shown three shapes: a circle, a C and an 8. They then were asked to visualize images that could be made by rearranging those shapes — for example, a face (with the 8 on its side to become the eyes, the C on its side to become the smiling mouth and the circle in the center as the nose).
The students also were asked to simply try to piece three geometric shapes together with their minds and see if they formed a square or a rectangle — a task that requires similar spatial processing but not necessarily creativity.
Even though it mainly was handled by the right hemisphere, the creative task actually lit up the left hemisphere more than the non-creative task. The results indicated that the left brain potentially is a crucial supporter of creativity in the brain.
Aziz-Zadeh said she plans to explore more of how different types of creativity (painting, acting, singing) are created by the brain, what they have in common, and what makes them different.
Deconstructing the right-brain myth
The “creative right brain” myth apparently originated from misinterpretations of Roger Sperry’s split-brain experiments on epileptics in the 60s, which earned him a Nobel Prize in 1981. It has already been debunked.
See, for example, University of Washington neurobiologist Dr. William H. Calvin’s excellent 1983 book, Throwing Madonna:Essays on the Brain (the text of chapter 10, “Left Brain, Right Brain: Science or the New Phrenology?” is accessible here).
Despite that, there are still lots of suppliers of education and training materials based on this myth, and lots of bureaucratic teachers, self-help writers, financial charlatans, polarizing politicians, and quick-buck counselors eager to put people into programmed slots where they can be easily manipulated and controlled.
Ref.: Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, Sook-Lei Liew, and Francesco Dandekar, Exploring the Neural Correlates of Visual Creativity, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2012; [DOI: 10.1093/scan/nss021]
I introduced the event by asking: “What kind of future do we want to design? In what diverse directions are the set of emerging and speculative technologies heading? What types of societies and cultures can be developed and what types of people will inhabit them?”
I believe this future cannot be developed by just science and technology, although they’re crucial building blocks. “The future is a story — a narrative and we are the strategists, the scenario makers of our own lives.”
I spoke about being bold in a world of caution. I said that there are plenty of naysayers — those who discount innovators for not being practical enough. Instead we need more innovators, not less.
“Nature has its many surprising, unexpected, uncertain events that can turn our plans inside out. We need continually ask questions about what we are attempting to create and challenge our own intentions. One necessary tool is speculation, and what could be called ‘emerging and speculative design.’”
Martine’s talk (via text chat) suggested each person could bring Future Day into her/his life making commitments to working toward better cooperation, a broader outreach across the world, more compassion and giving. She also suggested projects that we could work on and the concept of a film came up. What a wonderful idea! We talked about many of Martine’s projects, include the “Bina48” robot head. We also talked briefly about the Alcor Life Extension Foundation and the backup technology of cryonics being timely.
Giulio Prisco said the future is not fixed in stone, and that the positive Singularity that we want to see will only happen if we work to make it happen, which requires enthusiasm and positive thinking. He also proposed a film project, with positive visions of the future to stimulate enthusiasm and drive.
Howard spoke jubilantly about pushing forward, not accepting the naysayers, and in fact being every more selfish about our own futures: “It’s our life and we should create it in the visionary way we desire — no holds barred. We can be the future!”
Adam A. Ford’s talk (from Australia, where he had just organized Australian Future Day) was a recipe for preparing for the future, knowing the skill set, and using it. “Let’s go negative with caution. It is very important to empower people to help, instead of giving the impression that we are helpless or that making a better future is intractable. If we scare with scale, we’ll lose a lot of the people we are trying to connect with. If we empower with feasible steps, we’ll make social change. And what we are really after is social change around thinking about the Future.”
Ben Goertzel in Hong Kong had a bandwidth problem, but sent an audio file: “Welcome to Future Day 2012. I conceived the idea of a Future Day holiday because I think it’s important for us all to focus our attention on the future. We shouldn’t forget or ignore the past, but this is a critical juncture in human history — the next few decades hold the possibility of amazing transcendence or terrible destruction for humanity, and we need to be focusing our attention on how to guide things in a positive direction… and reveling in the amazing positive possibilities. A Future Day holiday is one fantastic way to do this. So thanks for joining the celebration!!”
As I noted in closing remarks, “Future Day is a day for action! If all matter in the universe is comprised of patterns, let’s redesign what doesn’t work and form new methods for approaching the future with fluidity. Let’s grow neuromolecular wings for deeper perceptions in our flight in fostering a world of diversity and compassion.” And I closed with a quote from Sonia Arrison: “Future Day is important since it reminds us that a great future does not create itself. In order to realize our hopes and dreams, we have to actively work to make them happen. One of my dreams is to see a day when disease, and the suffering associated with it, is obliterated.”
We look forward to next year’s March 1 Future Day!
Yeah, you knew that already. How else to explain the zombies who text while driving or randomly jaywalking in traffic, AGKWE*?
But now there’s a reason: they have a tiny vocabulary.
Or so says says University of Calgary linguistics researcher Joan Lee, who interviewed texters in research for her master’s thesis. Texting is associated with rigid linguistic constraints that caused students to reject many of the words that non-texters knew, she found.
“Textisms represent real words which are commonly known among people who text,” she says. “Many of the words presented in the study are not commonly known and were not acceptable to the participants who texted more, or read less traditional print media.”
Lee suggests that reading traditional print media exposes people to variety and creativity in language that’s not found in the colloquial peer-to-peer text messaging used among youth or “generation text.”
She says reading encourages flexibility in language use and tolerance of different words. It helps readers to develop skills that allow them to generate interpretable readings of new or unusual words.
Yeah, it’s called “education.” SCNR**
* And God knows what else
** Sorry, could not resist
Ref.: Lee, Joan Hwechong, What does txting do 2 language? The influences of exposure to messaging and print media on acceptability constraints, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2012; [link]