Monthly Archives: August 2011

Stanford Teaches CS to the World (well, around 120K)

Source: MindShift, Aug 2011

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence is one of three classes that the Stanford computer science department will offer as a free online course this fall. As of yesterday, more than 124,000 people had enrolled: high school students, professionals and retirees from North and South America, Europe and Africa.

This time students can follow and attend a class online and get a Statement of Accomplishment when they participate regularly. “But it will be tough,” professor Thrun warns. “I want to keep up our Stanford level. The students have to deal with linear algebra and probabilistic methods. And they have to be willing to work 10 to 15 hours a week, do their homework, and pass tests. We’ll have strict deadlines.”

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Digitally Enriching Education

Source: RWW, Aug 2011

Technology Enables Personalized Instruction

The Future Classroom

The Beautiful Tree

Source: The Cato Institute

An inspiring journey into the lives of families and teachers in the poorest communities of India, Africa, and China who have successfully created their own private schools in response to failed public education.

Named after Mahatma Gandhi’s phrase for the schools of pre-colonial India, The Beautiful Tree is not another book lamenting what has gone wrong in the Third World. It is a book about what is going right, and it offers a simple lesson: both the entrepreneurial spirit and the love of parents for their children can be found in every corner of the globe.

The Cato Institute has a 3-part series by James Tooley, the book’s author.

US education: Traditionalists & Reformers

Source: WSJ, Aug 2011

The debate over education broadly divides into two groups. On one side are what might be called “traditionalists,” consisting largely of unions purporting to represent the interests of teachers. The members of this group argue that poverty is the great impediment to educational success and that we must lift people out of poverty if we are really to better educate our kids—and in the meantime we can’t expect schools to perform miracles. The traditionalists propose that we pay teachers more, hire more of them and spend more dollars on public education overall.

On the other side are what might be called “reformers” (some traditionalists refer to them as “deformers”). This group is made up largely of policy analysts skeptical of the status quo and young idealists, many of whom came to education through Teach for America, the nonprofit program that places talented college graduates in high-poverty, urban schools.

The reformers acknowledge that poverty is an impediment to educational success but argue that teaching itself can still have a big effect. They point to specific classroom achievements, as well as to various studies, to show that different schools and different teachers get very different results with essentially the same kids.

The reformist agenda includes two key components. First, teachers and principals must be held accountable for their impact on student achievement—rewarded with pay and promotion or punished, at the extreme end, with the loss of a job. Second, the current public monopoly in K-12 education needs to be disrupted, by offering more choices. These include privately operated, publicly funded charter schools—schools that are not bound by the usual public-school rules and regulations—and publicly funded vouchers that can be used to pay for private schools.

Mr. Moe sees reason for hope. He believes that new technologies have the capacity to stimulate reform as well as alter the dynamics between labor, management and public policy.

 According to Mr. Moe, education technology will customize learning, so that individual students’ needs can be better addressed, as well as offer new instructional approaches through interactive software and distance learning.

For things to really change, though, parents must become more engaged and enraged. When they are no longer willing to accept bad schools and teachers—and when the poor start insisting on choice just like the middle class and affluent do—the political dynamics will shift accordingly. The unions can’t beat the parents.

Meanwhile, the reformers need to enlist the support of a new generation of educators, as Mr. Brill argues, by persuading them that teaching is less a trade-union job than a true profession, deserving better compensation and greater status but also delivering a higher level of classroom competence.

Last, the public must be persuaded to favor an aggressive reform agenda and support politicians who will make it happen. That’s the hard work of democracy, never more needed than now.

Matrix Multiplication – Part 2 (with Malay subtitles)

Matrix Multiplication – Part 2

For instructions on accessing the Malay sub-titles, please see HERE.

Matrix Multiplication – Part 1 (with Malay subtitles)

Matrix Multiplication – Part 1

For instructions on accessing the Malay sub-titles, please see HERE.

Introduction to Matrices (with Malay subtitles)

Introduction to Matrices (Pengenalan Kepada Matriks)

For instructions on accessing the Malay sub-titles, please see HERE.