Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryEducation

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Canadian Province to Ban Cell Phones from Classrooms

Education experts are cautiously hopeful about reducing distraction and cyberbullying
France and a number of jurisdictions in Britain, as well as some American ones, have already instituted such bans and several studies have identified subsequent improvements in schoolwork. Read More ›
Stack of books with laptop

Has Aristo broken bounds for thinking computers?

The Grade 8 graduate improves on Watson but we must still think for ourselves at school. Here’s why
Aristo combines questions and answers on a multiple-choice test to decide on the best answer without understanding any of the information. Read More ›
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Tell Kids the Robot Is “It,” Not “He”

Teaching children to understand AI and robotics is part of a good education today

We are not truly likely to be ruled by AI overlords (as opposed to powerful people using AI. But even doubtful predictions may be self-fulfilling if enough impressionable people come to believe them. Children, for example. We adults are aware of the limitations of AI. But if we talk about AI devices as if they were people, children—who often imbue even stuffed toys with complex personalities—may be easily confused. Sue Shellenbarger, Work & Family columnist at The Wall Street Journal, warns that already, “Many children think robots are smarter than humans or imbue them with magical powers.” While she admits that the “long-term consequences” are still unclear, “an expanding body of research” suggests we need to train children to draw Read More ›

Classmates using their smartphones heavily during classes

The Prof Banned Phones in Class. What Happened?

Not a walkout. No riots. No revolution. Some insights though, that match up with other research
Essentially, the user keeps the phone but must leave the venue to unlock it. Barring a reasonable excuse, that might be like excusing oneself to go outside to smoke. Read More ›
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Mathematics Gives Us Life Skills and Mental Tools

Unfortunately, some professors, like the one who attacked my recent article, seem to prefer pedantry
What makes you an expert today is not your clarity of thought but rather your ability to conform your thoughts entirely to the constraints of your profession’s vocabulary. Read More ›
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Doing the Impossible: A Step-by-Step Guide

Often, in life as in calculus, when our implicit assumptions as to why something can’t be done are made explicit, they can be disproven
Calculus textbooks are the most dry and boring presentations of mathematics I have ever seen, even though calculus offers some of the most amazing insights. Unfortunately, most mathematics texts teach only the mathematics, never the insights. Read More ›
gud

Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene: How to Spell Gud

Also, Google and Apple ditching college degree requirements is not really that new

Twenty years or so ago, when I worked in Seattle, Microsoft was famous for the testing coding skills of their applicants and asking Mensa-like questions. Degrees were secondary.

Read More ›
New Hacking Tactics

Many Parents Ignore Risks of Posting Kids’ Data Online

The lifelong digital footprint, which starts before birth, makes identity theft much easier
The recently discovered “design flaw” in Facebook’s Messenger app, aimed at kids, was a wake-up call. Keeping a child’s data out of the wrong hands is just part of good parenting today. Read More ›
Balancing A Male And A Female Worker In The Cloud

Why It’s So Hard To Reform Peer Review

Robert J. Marks: Reformers are battling numerical laws that govern how incentives work. Know your enemy!

Measurement creates a temptation to achieve a measurable goal by less than totally honest means. As in physics, the simple act of measuring invariably disturbs what you are trying to measure.

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Students, Don’t Let Smart Machines Disrupt Your Future

Three ways you can avoid life in Mom’s basement and the job pouring coffee

At first sight, the number of options might seem bewildering. The key question is: Will you ignore the coming job disruption, fear it, or treat it as an opportunity?

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The Smartest Phone Is Silent in Class

While academics debate smartphones’ effect on teens, some hard facts begin to emerge
What if we focus on something more easily measurable than emotional well-being?: grades. There seems to be a growing consensus that students get better grades when separated from smartphones in learning environments. Read More ›
Abstract Visualisation of data and technology in graph form. 3D Illustration
Abstract Visualization of data and technology in graph form. 3D Illustration

Machine Learning Tip: Set Boundaries for the Problems

We cannot take a giant pile of unorganized data, shove it into a machine, and expect useful results

Humans intrinsically understand causation and, therefore know which pieces of data likely have some correlation. Therefore, when we select data for computers to analyze, we are drastically reducing the size of the problem for computers.

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Close-up Of A Man's Hand Holding Mobile Phone Showing Electric Meter Reading And Holding Flashlight

Scientific American: No Consensus on Smartphones’ Effect on Teen Brains

Others continue to wonder why teens seem comparatively fragile
The editor's view is that "change is unceasing, and different does not necessarily mean worse – despite the fears of the “cluck-cluckers." We recommend several other sources for alternative context and background. Read More ›
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Quell the Cell and Kids Do Well?

That sounds simplistic but it worked at a girls’ school in New Zealand

High goals, discipline and, perhaps most critically, a ban on cellphones, have seen St Joseph’s Maori Girls College reach the top 10 for University Entrance in this year’s high-school league tables, the NZ Herald reports.

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Children are watching much less TV

But what we learned from children’s TV is coming back to haunt us
Maxwell King: Sesame Street's pacing "was set to be as fast as the times, with some emulation of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and the television serial Batman." Read More ›
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Maybe iGen really IS fragile

Did social media's troll frenzies trigger the campus war on ideas?
Twenty-four-year-old fashion blogger Scarlett Dixon  posted a picture of herself having breakfast, “looking flawless on a freshly made bed flanked by heart-shaped helium balloons.” The orcs burst suddenly through the virtual gate. Read More ›
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Smartphone 10 Conversation 0

We need to be more honest about the addictive nature of the device, for some.
A guy on a date is not checking his phone three times in ten minutes because the world outside the restaurant is changing that fast. He is in the grip of an addiction. Read More ›