/blog > archive > June 2013

culatta

Richard Culatta discusses a different kind of digital divide:  the divide between those who see digital technology as a means of reproducing education as it currently exists (only in a new substrate) and those who have begun to recognize the potential of digital technology to revolutionize education. There’s a danger in talking about how technology can “revolutionize” education (or anything else.) That’s hyperbole, after all. It’s marketing speak. Well, check out the embedded video starting at about the 8:50 mark. Culatta describes a system that not only provides feedback on whether a student answered a question correctly, it tracks the timing and mouse movements that lead to a student’s choosing the right (or presumably the wrong) answer. With that data, we can begin to distinguish between what students know well and what they’re only guessing at. When a student chooses option B right off the bat and it is the…

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purelove

[Oddly enough, this post contains some very out-of-date Game of Thrones spoilers. Just saying.] This is funny and it kind of makes you think: 23 Pictures that Prove Society Is Doomed So the joke here is that we’re missing out on the most significant experiences of our lives while staring at smart phones. I very much doubt that any of the photos depict the life-altering moments described in the captions, but you get the point. We’re throwing our lives away. A few years ago the gag would have been around showing people sitting at desktop computers. When I was a kid, someone from the older generation was always going on about how much more fun and real childhood was before TV. It’s all the same message. And I’m calling bullshit. Before TV (and computers, smartphones, and video games), kids used to play outside. Kids still play outside. Today they do…

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happiness

Owen Sanders at the Frontier Neuropschology blog presents a highly readable summary of what the field of positive psychology has to tell us about human happiness. The findings aren’t terribly surprising (at least they weren’t to me) but it is handy having everything compiled together in one place like this. First and perhaps most importantly, we need to come to terms with what doesn’t cause happiness. Genetics has something to do with it, accounting for perhaps as much as half of our happiness, but then again, maybe less than a quarter of it. Meanwhile the factor we tend to think of as most closely associated with happiness — life circumstances — accounts for a lot less than we think. It turns out that when really bad (or really good) things happen to us, the long-term impact on our happiness — after the initial shock wears off — is about a 10% bounce…

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flag_10

HGTV has committed what in the world of sports is referred to as an “unforced error.” Furor as HGTV uses U.S. flag as tablecloth “No one dies for a table cloth.” That would seem to be an easy concept to grasp, but somebody at HGTV.com suggested the flag of the United States would make for festive decor during July 4 gatherings. “Drape a large American flag over the table as a bright and festive table runner,” HGTV said. “Use a nylon flag so spills can be easily wiped off and the flag can later be hung with pride on a flag pole.” A photo depicts plates, flowers and a jug of lemonade atop the flag. A name card on a plate indicates someone name “Barb” may be the home decorator behind all this. Public outrage over the article and photo on the cable television channel’s website arrived as quickly and…

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futurenextexit

At Huffington Post, Kay Koplovitz writes: To Succeed in the 21st Century, Leaders Need to Apply ‘Exponential Thinking’ Exponential thinking is the discipline that Singularity University founders Ray Kurzweil, author of Singularity is Near, and Peter Diamandis, author of Abundance, teach to incorporate the rapid development of technologies in industry and science. Exposing leaders in industry and innovation to understand the great potential we have at our command today is critical to their mission to improve the human conditions for the 7.2 billion people on earth. It sounds like a lofty goal, but it is possible. Since there will be more progress in science and technology in the next two decades than there has been in the last 200 years, the exponential rate at which technology is changing gives us the tools for advancing the health and well-being of mankind at rates never before seen. So you see, exponential thinking…

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champagne

There’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that the unemployment rate ticked up slightly in May to 7.6% (from 7.5%.) The good news is that 175,000 new jobs were created, beating April’s total of 149,000 and the projections for May of 163,000. Although payrolls increased against expectations, I note that the jump is not described as having occurred “unexpectedly.” As Glenn Reynolds has diligently noted, over the past few years, the preponderance of economic bad news has been reported as having occurred unexpectedly. Now we have some very slight good news to which the word could be legitimately applied, and it’s missing. Meanwhile, check out the interesting spin on the rise in the jobless rate: The unemployment rate rose for the right reasons. More folks are coming back into the labor market, or coming in for the first time, but more important the economy is able…

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vintagesecretary

Because it was intended to determine qualifications for secretaries and because it comes to us from the primitive and barbaric year 1959, this list of self-qualifying behaviors for “business work” is presented by Slate as a curiosity, and evidence of a business culture that devalued and discriminated against women.  And perhaps it is that, but I see something more here. If today, living in the enlightened times we enjoy, one were to put together a list of good characteristics for, say, a consultant, how different would it be from this list? You might need one additional item about assertively, but not obnoxiously, leading a client to understand things about the organization that they currently aren’t seeing. But then, really, that’s item 8, isn’t it? Let’s try another job: how about a management position? The only thing missing from the list is “Getting people to do what needs to be done”…

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DesignersAstronauts

…why this New York design agency makes its employees pose naked for official staff photos. Moreover, even after you read the story linked in the previous sentence that purports to tell you why they do this…you still won’t know why they do it. However, you will find a link within that story to this video (warning: some NSFW content) in which Jessica Walsh, one of the partners with the firm, doesn’t really explain why they do it, but does say that having done it proved to be a “highly functional piece of design.” What she means by this at that when the design firm sent out announcement featuring naked pictures of its staff, those announcements immediately received a huge amount of social media response: blog posts, re-tweets, etc. In other words, these people are taking off their clothes as a means getting attention. My two-year-old often does the same thing,…

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