GOOD

How to Bring Along Digital Teaching

Technologist Jaron Lanier warns about using new technologies that suck the wonder out of education-and human instruction.


It's rare to see a technologist—much less one with the profile of Jaron Lanier—warning about the misuse of technology, but, in an essay, appearing in this past weekend's New York Times Magazine, that's just what Lanier did. The thrust of his argument: education technology is creeping into the classroom, but we have to keep learning from becoming too algorithmic and keep the brain thinking creatively.

Lanier's father began teaching sixth-grade math in middle age. And, in his days, there were no standardized tests that he needed to prepare his students for—thus he was able to eschew a textbook he found riddled with mistakes in favor of teaching his students math via the building of a spaceship. But, today, the specter of the data-driven education system would make it very difficult for Lanier's father to teach a class in that manner.


The future of education in the digital age will be determined by our judgment of which aspects of the information we pass between generations can be represented in computers at all. If we try to represent something digitally when we actually can’t, we kill the romance and make some aspect of the human condition newly bland and absurd. If we romanticize information that shouldn’t be shielded from harsh calculations, we’ll suffer bad teachers and D.J.’s and their wares.

\n

He worries that technology appearance as an endless data stream—think Facebook profiles and the synthetic experience of having Pandora choose music for you based on your likes and dislikes—will condition kids to assemble data from different sources and pass off those amalgams as ideas of their own (rather than sitting down to really consider a subject and form their own thoughts).

When you see programs, such as New York's Quest to Learn—which teaches its students primarily through video games and is also profiled in this week's Times Magazine—you get an idea of Lanier's hopes can be enacted mostly correctly. These kids are designing video games (as well as playing them) and learning how to make podcasts as part of their curriculum.

It's an exciting pilot program that unfortunately may be held to one data driven standard: Can these kids pass proficiency tests?

Photo via Gillian Laub for The New York Times.

Articles
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News