Robots in the classroom

“While some of my esteemed colleagues are heralding the imminent arrival of robot teachers, stating that current advances will bring “the greatest revolution in education since the printing press”, I have to disagree. [Source]

This is not because I am a latent technophobe. Regent’s University London, for example, is currently investigating the very latest assistive technologies, including how indoor navigation systems will support the visually impaired.”

Read more.

Comments welcome – from Robots or humans!

Control

I remember, as a kid in Lutheran catechism class, the following conversation:

Bob: “The Lord thy God is a jealous God” – but Reverend, what would God have to be jealous of? How could an all-powerful, all-knowing being be jealous of anything?

Reverend: “You need to memorize the material! So, please stop asking questions and just memorize the answers in the catechism.

I think now that was the moment I began to doubt that the church had anything to offer me. Later on I would learn about the fallacies used to win arguments and to shut off learning. [Check out the fallacies in the side bar.]

This morning I read two newspaper articles that reminded me of that long ago attempt by a figure of authority to shut me up. Both are from the USA. One from Texas. One from Florida. Both attacks on education and freedom.

From Florida:

Any resident in Florida can now challenge what kids learn in public schools, thanks to a new law that science education advocates worry will make it harder to teach evolution and climate change.

From Texas:

But here in Texas, the bigger battle over tree ordinances is whether they represent a form of local government overreach. Gov. Greg Abbott (R), citing grave worries about “socialistic” behavior in the state’s liberal cities, has called on Texas lawmakers to gather this month for a special session that will consider a host of bills aimed at curtailing local power on issues ranging from taxation to collecting union dues.


Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. 


Birds, Anyone?

Teaching in the Marshes: VIU’s Bird Banding Classroom

Presented by: Eric Demers, Biology

Learning happens everywhere at VIU, not just in the classroom. For faculty member Eric Demers and his volunteer students, learning is happening at West Buttertubs Marsh, early in the morning, before many of us are even out of bed. Eric is a member in VIU’s biology department and a bird bander. His passion for providing learning opportunities for students, along with his passion for birds, has turned into a rich co-curricular opportunity for students and the community.

From April-October, you can find Eric and his volunteers setting up nets, catching and banding songbirds, collecting data, and releasing them back into the sky, all at the break of dawn.

Eric and his students are inviting faculty, staff, students, and anyone else who would like to join to visit his bird banding station on Thursday, May 25th at 9am (map of meeting place to be provided).

This is a fantastic opportunity to come out and see first-hand the inspiring work being done by faculty and students here at VIU, or rather, just off-campus.

Eric and his students want to share this experience with as many people as they can, and contribute to the community’s understanding of birds and the ecosystems that exist right here in Nanaimo.

Wear good outdoor footwear. Bring binoculars if you have them. If you’re lucky, you might be able to release a bird yourself. Find out more about the project at their website: http://wordpress.viu.ca/viubirdbanding/

Date | Thursday, May 25

Time | 9:00 – 10:30 am

Location | Meet location to be sent to participants a few days prior

Questions | Kathleen.Bortolin@viu.ca | Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialist | Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning

May 25, 2017 – 9:00am to 10:30am

Facts

I hate to break it to you, gentle reader, but fake facts are nothing new. We are designed by evolution to invent fake facts, fervently believe in them, and even defend them to the death. Still, there is something about the current epidemic of fake facts that should scare us into action.

Imagine grading everything you ever said according to two criteria: 1) How well it corresponds to what’s actually out there, and 2) what it causes you and others to do. These can be called factual realism and practical realism, respectively, and they are so familiar that we use the word “realistic” in both senses without needing to think about it. If we’re at an art gallery and I comment on how a portrait is realistic, I mean that it corresponds closely to the person being depicted (factual realism). When you outline your latest get rich quick scheme over lunch and I call it unrealistic, I mean that it probably won’t work out well for you (practical realism). All of us are experts at toggling between factual realism mode and practical realism mode as warranted by the situation.

Read the essay at the source : The Evolution Institute.