"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." - Henry Ford

Learning, Love, Math

Also Common Core, Global Economic Crisis, Mathematical Models --

Weekend Confidential: Learning to Love Math - WSJ.com: "He is also an advocate of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a set of academic standards he thinks should be applied nationally. He complains that varying state requirements make as much sense as doorways of different heights. And if more schools abolish core curricula—an idea proposed by some academics lately, to allow more focused students to take only the classes that interest them—he fears private schools would become the only ones to make difficult subjects like algebra mandatory. "So what's going to happen if you eliminate math or make it selective? The 1% is going to know mathematics," he says. The other problem with the public's meager mathematical knowledge is its role in the global economic crisis. "Mathematical models were misused" by financial institutions, says Mr. Frenkel. "People who were in charge did not fully understand them but were using them anyway."" (read more at link above)

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Mark Edmundson Essays Ask Why Teach?

In “Why Teach?” Mark Edmundson, an English professor at the University of Virginia, defends the mission of higher education against the contemporary “corporate university.”

Mark Edmundson’s Essays Ask, ‘Why Teach?’ - NYTimes.com: "According to “Why Teach?,” inspiration is in short supply these days on campus. In the book’s first section, Mr. Edmundson describes the growth since the mid-1990s of a more commercial, profit-oriented university culture. Like many other contemporary commentators, he sees a confluence of forces in higher education leading to greater conformity and consumerism at the expense of inquiry, inspiration and challenge. Mr. Edmundson’s critique is both personal and idealistic, drawing on his deep belief in the democratic mission of liberal education and on his practical experience as a teacher. He knows the studies showing that students spend less time than ever on their classwork, and he writes of an implicit pact between undergraduates and professors in which teachers give high grades and thin assignments, and students reward them with positive evaluations. After all, given all the other amenities available through the university, the idea that “the courses you take should be the primary objective of going to college is tacitly considered absurd.”"

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Massive Open Online Courses Evolve

education as a data-driven science --

As Data Floods In, Massive Open Online Courses Evolve | MIT Technology Review: "Ng says he doesn’t think a grand theory is needed for MOOCs to succeed. “I read Piaget and Montessori, and they both seem compelling, but educators generally have no way to choose what really works,” he says. “Today, education is an anecdotal science, but I think we can turn education into a data-driven science, where you do what you know works.”"

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Udemy, online learning marketplace

Udemy's online learning marketplace has 8k courses, 800k students, and ...
The Next Web
Online learning marketplace Udemy today revealed new statistics concerning the usage of its service. It shared that it now has more than 8,000 courses being taught to 800,000 students. Udemy says that its instructor acquisition growth rate has grown ...

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Google Play, Discounted Textbooks

Google Play Launches Line of Discounted Textbooks | News & Opinion | PCMag.com: "College is all fun and games, until you try to lift that 20-pound bag of textbooks. But Google wants to lend a hand.
The Web giant is joining the e-textbook revolution, this week rolling out a new Google Play feature for purchasing and renting digital textbooks."

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Minerva vs Harvard

The Weekend Interview With Ben Nelson: The Man Who Would Overthrow Harvard - WSJ.com: " . . . Any education startup must also brave a regulatory swamp. By opting out of government-backed student-loan programs, Minerva won't have to abide by many of the federal rules for so-called Title IV (of the relevant 1965 law) schools. Americans won't have an edge in admissions and Minerva expects most students will come from abroad. But Mr. Nelson wants to be part of the club whose price of entry is accreditation. A cartel sanctioned by Congress places a high barrier to entry for newcomers, stifling educational innovation. Startups face a long slog to get accredited. So last month Minerva chose to partner with the Keck Graduate Institute, or KGI, a small school founded in 1997 that is part of the Claremont consortium of colleges near Los Angeles. Minerva degrees will now have, pending the regulatory OK, an accreditor's seal of approval. . . ."

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Coursera partners with Chegg and 5 publishers to give students free textbooks

Coursera leaps another online learning hurdle, partners with Chegg and 5 publishers to give students free textbooks - The Next Web: "The high-quality educational content, as the company puts it, consists of eTextbooks and supplementary materials will be delivered via Chegg’s DRM-protected eReader. The DRM limitation will allow for the content to be offered gratis only during the duration of the course. The list of participating publishers includes Cengage Learning, Macmillan Higher Education, Oxford University Press, Sage, and Wiley. This is the first time these publishers have made a commitment to online education of Coursera’s caliber."

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Google teams with Asus on upgraded Android 4.3-based Nexus 7

Google teams with Asus on upgraded Android 4.3-based Nexus 7 | ZDNet: "Just in time for the back-to-school season, Google is adding a much-needed section that helps it further compete with Apple iTunes. That is the addition of selling digital textbooks. Set to roll out in early August, Google Play Textbooks will host digital titles from "all five major publishing houses" with the ability to purchase or rent books for up to six months with up to 80 percent off in potential discounts."

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The Fight for Syrian Schools (video)

The Fight for Syrian Schools: "With Syria's population struggling just to stay alive, the education system has fallen apart. The Times's Mac William Bishop visits volunteers who run unofficial schools for Syrian refugees."

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Textbook publishers revamp e-books to fight used market

Textbook publishers revamp e-books to fight used market | Reuters: "A booming market in recent years for selling and renting used college textbooks has saved students across the United States a ton of cash. But it has put textbook publishers in a bind. They don't make a cent unless students buy their books new. So increasingly, publishers like Pearson Plc and McGraw-Hill Education are turning to a new model: Creating online versions of their texts, often loaded with interactive features, and selling students access codes that expire at semester's end. Publishers save on printing, shipping and process returns. The e-books are good for learning and good for their bottom line. There's just one catch: Persuading students to go digital isn't easy. Online products accounted for 27 percent of the $12.4 billion spent on textbooks for secondary schools and colleges in the United States last year, according to research firm Outsell Inc. But the publishers expect that percentage to grow, and are retooling their businesses to compete in what they see as the future of the industry. Half of Pearson's total revenue last year came from digital products and services (not all of which are digital), and executives expect that to increase. The company recently announced a restructuring to emphasize online content. . . ."

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Helping kids beat the college-loan trap

Michelle Singletary: Book will help kids beat the college-loan trap - Personal Finance - MiamiHerald.com: " . . . Just a little more than 50 percent of those who enter college leave with a bachelor’s degree, notes Jeffrey J. Selingo, editor at large for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Selingo has written a compelling book looking at the state of higher education: College (Un)bound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students (Amazon Publishing/New Harvest, $26). “American higher education is broken,” Selingo writes. “Like another American icon — the auto industry in Detroit — the higher-education industry is beset by hubris, opposition to change and resistance to accountability.” Part of the reason higher education is in trouble can be traced to the “Lost Decade,” as Selingo calls it. He defines this time as the period from 1999 to 2009 when colleges were “chasing high-achieving students, showering them with scholarships to snatch them from competitors and going deep into debt to build lavish residence halls, recreational facilities and other amenities that contribute nothing to the actual learning of students.”. . . "

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Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction

Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction | DVICE:
"We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He'd never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android."
"This experiment began earlier this year, and what OLPC really want to see is whether these kids can learn to read and write in English. Around the world, there are something like 100,000,000 kids who don't even make it to first grade, simply because there are not only no schools, but very few literate adults, and if it turns out that for the cost of a tablet all of these kids can simply teach themselves, it has huge implications for education. And it goes beyond the kids, too, since previous OLPC studies have shown that kids will use their computers to teach their parents to read and write as well, which is incredibly amazing and awesome."

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Bill Gates on the future of education

Gates talked a lot about the issue throughout the Q&A session, and his hypothesis is simple: Education in the United States is broken — it has the highest higher-education dropout rate among rich countries — and MOOCs can help fix it. In fact, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested a lot of money into the education field (to the chagrin of some experts), including strong support of Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, startups such as the Khan Academy. (source infra)

Bill Gates on the future of education, programming and just about everything else — Tech News and Analysis: "But, Gates acknowledged, we’re also a way out from online education achieving its full potential. We need to develop better understanding of what makes a good online course (“just sticking a camera in front of someone … who has a captive audience [won't cut it]“) and how to replicate non-lecture experiences like lab time and study groups. We also need to figure out how to supplement the cognitive and social development that comes along with attending school in person (although, he noted, MOOCs might also be able to help teachers focus on these things).

“We’re at the beginning of something really quite profound,” Gates said, “even though the temptation to oversimplify it is really quite great.”"

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