I just want to point out that while this article depicts the 'culture wars' as a battle between 'freedom of expression' versus 'freedom from harm', this is very much a misrepresentation. In fact, both sides have very distinct things they want to be allowed to express, and they both have very distinct harms they wish to reduce. And when people argue (say) that universities should support 'freedom of expression' what they mean is that 'universities should say (or allow to be said) these things' and when they argue that universities are are biased or prejudiced they are saying 'universities should not do those things'. It's not about freedom of expression, it's about what kinds of expression are allowed, and it's not about freedom from harm, it's about what kinds of harm are tolerable. Why would WonkHE misrepresent it this way? You tell me.
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WonkHe, 2022/06/17 [Direct Link]
People think of things like language and mathematics as basic and foundational, but they're actually examples of very high level abstract thinking. That's what you should take away from this post (while ignoring the fact that it's marketing for a math skills company). And why is this important? It informs our understanding of AI. Consider this claim: "While deep learning require large amounts of training data to perform at the level of humans, children can learn from a small number of examples. A few storybook pictures can teach them not only about cats and dogs but jaguars and rhinos and unicorns... One of the secrets of children's learning is that they construct models or theories of the world. … even 1-year-old babies know a lot about objects."
Well, that's old-school constructivist thinking, and it's not wrong, exactly, but we need to remember: a 1-year old baby has had a year's worth of near-constant data input. The ability to construct models or theories, like language and mathematics, is a high-level skill. We don't get to it without a lot of pattern-recognition having happened first. It's just that we pretend it hasn't happened in the child, while in AI it is explicitly done. Via Doug Peterson.
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Make Math Moments, 2022/06/17 [Direct Link]
This is a continuation of Jim Groom's thoughts about edtech (I could have combined them into one post I suppose, but I didn't). The term 'edtech' feels a lot like the term 'open', he says. "More recently when folks talk about edtech it's often associated with venture capital buy-outs, start-ups, and the broader LMS market," write Groom, "Edtech, on the other hand, was a brave new distributed community of bloggers that were narrating and sharing their practices for others to benefit from freely." But "To see the avant garde of that movement so willingly consign themselves to venture capital and the inevitable professional perdition that follows is a shame, but it's also a choice. There are a lot of edtechs, in the true sense of that word for me, that have willingly resisted the lure of exchanging cachet for cash (and embrace) edtech as an approach that is exploratory, experimental, and creative, not to mention generous and unbolted to the logic of licensing and litigation."
As someone who has spent some 30 or so years in the field, I can say that as you become successful (or if you start successful by graduating from some elite university) there's a lot of pressure, both internal and external, to become a 'success' by launching a startup, partnering with industry, signing a publishing deal, filing a patent, etc. But I also see is that this is also the end of that person's creative career; now they're just profit-taking. And it's a choice, and it's OK, but I douldn't look to them to define the field any longer. There's an old saying, "You can create change or get credit for it, but not both." I think it could be adapted to say "You can create change, or create profit, but not both." I know it looks like teach billionaires have created a lot of change, and they did, before they got rich, but they got rich by entrenching existing structures of power and wealth, not by challenging them.
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bavatuesdays, 2022/06/17 [Direct Link]