Tag: learning


What technologies should be used?

Initially due to budget constraints, space, health and safety issues, the initial community should focus purely on computer and IT technologies. These provide the most utility for the lowest costs.

As for software a primarily open source approach fits in line with an organisation trying to help the world and future generations without extending  the price tag.

As the community expands, gains members and space more labs and additional technologies can be integrated.

For the sake of expansion and diversity of members these labs should initially be multi-purpose.

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What methods of teaching will be employed?

There are various themes in pedagogy that cater to different types of learner so classes should do their best to reflect these types in the classroom.

There should be a division between lectures and seminars/lab work, or theory and practice/debate. This means information is distributed en mass initally and the discussed in smaller groups for clarification.

As stated earlier (e8) students who are proficient in a topic, mitosis for example, should be able to help assist teaching those of a lower level covering that subject. By explaining a topic one comes to understand it better.

Each high level student will have a mentor he can refer or defer to in times of need and have dialogues with. A mentor must be at least a number of grades above the student.

E-learning will be progressively worked on as will videos created to explain all topics in the subject, complete with questions to assess comprehension and open questions that students might consider writing experiments for, contemplate on or engage in dialogue about.

New methodologies of teaching should constantly be assessed and debated. Also all new members should have some exposure to teaching seminars and lectures [not just participating].

[Note: In the years since I’ve written this the rise of MOOC’s and available resources for learning everything from code to languages has exploded across the internet, in this case these give the community nearly all the material required to created an extremely nuanced hierarchy of grades without lifting a finger. However, all free open projects should be given as much support as possible via the community to continually help and improve their services. I know these initial thoughts were written on buses and trains around town, each one of them could be the basis of whole books in themselves, however the good news is there is a huge wellspring of available resources now to help any community member learn an incredible amount even if they are the first in the community to express an interest in the field.]


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What methods will be used to monitor and decide the continuation of projects or research?

Some channels of research can take a long time to prove, disprove or found to be impossible or pointless. If time is the only issue this should not be considered an issue. Members have left the normal way of living to exist in a place of study and research, if they wish to spend 30 years of their life investing, time and effort into a theory it is their choice. However, should a commanding piece of evidence occur to completely negate their work or through its success make other other projects redundant the research / product is subject to review. Regular meetings and conferences should be organised meetings and conferences should be created where peers can discuss informally or to an audience the trials and results of their research all research and results are posted automatically online to the community and after the study is completed to the world for peer review.

All studies should be part of an open peer review service held within an extremely searchable format allowing people to quickly find relevant studies or similar experiments in the same area. These studies can subsequently linked to by on-line writers to show references the critiques of the paper, similar studies that have the same conclusion papers that have alternative or conflicting results.

The only significant barrier to continuing or starting research then is capital and the cost of obtaining the necessary equipment or tests (a CERN sized LHC is hard to find). In such cases it will depend of the size of the community, the R&D teams within the community and the importance of the research.

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What fields of science, technology and education will the community endorse?

Due to primarily working on a practical development, skills and reasoning platform, there will initially be a focus on the areas of science, research and engineering (computer/electrical). With a broad base of the basic sciences mathematics and logical reasoning. Ultimately, the community should endorse, teach and promote all the legitimate forms of science and even assess the claims of things considered pseudo-sciences as well.

Initially the organisation will be small and this so this may result in certain certain subject or entire departments having only one person. In time these will fill to reasonable sizes and have more members to spread the duties among, the more time can be dedicated to unique and specialist areas.

There should be a special interest in promoting programming and computer science skills to every member as the ability to develop software is useful in almost any scientific discipline.

[note: computer science skills should also be taught as they should be the bread and butter skill of the community, allowing the community to work en mass on projects to improve them imagine having 5000 community members working on improving a project like Ubuntu or LibreOffice and the amazing strides those projects could make with simple bug fixes being implemented.

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Mindfulness and Education

So I saw this article on neural studies of Monks doing meditation and it’s effects on the brain:


I’m presently reading a book on some of this, it’s really quite amazing. There is a sizeable amount of scientific literature which shows that meditative skills and methods have a huge number of positive benefit to the way we think. With that in mind, I wonder how long it will take to get meditation programs into schools. We are all about training the mind but really we’re mostly just teaching facts and not creative ways to think or solve problems.

In present education systems, at least the ones in the west that I am familiar, there is a focus on how much you ‘know’ as opposed to teaching students how to learn it, use it and retain it. I honestly remember very little of my schooling before University, just like most people we retain relevant pieces here and there but the bulk of it has very little use, outside of a pub quiz. Of course it’s good to have a wide spread of subjects at school to help us find what we excel in or enjoy, but what we need is to teach our children some methods ‘of learning’ rather than making them simply ‘memorize facts’

To clarify, there are a number of teachable skills and methods that we can raise attention levels, memory retention and enhance cognition among people. Even a regular 30 minute exercise and 20 minutes of meditation before schooling, every day, could have dramatic results. Mnemonic techniques have also existed for centuries and while they are a way of ‘memorizing facts’ they are a method which would help in every subject, not just one. Conceptual framing, lucid dreaming and many, many more techniques exist, they work, we already have them, they just aren’t taught in schools.

We need to teach the next generation how to think, not in George Orwellian kind of factual dictatorship kind of way, but in a vibrant, dynamic, constructive way. From memory palaces in primary school to meditation and dialogues at college. Let’s try and create better people and better learners and work from there. Let’s try  make a better student rather than a more comprehensive exam, in all honesty none of us have a clue what the world will be like in 20 years anyway, so what the exam is testing for is really to give you grades to get you into the next level. It’s measuring your capability at the time it was taken. Something which will never reflect your ability in the future, nor prepare you for it.

For those worried about religious aspects or indoctrination into a particular faith, like Buddhism for example. Don’t. While religions were the initial creators of these methods they are now firmly being understood and in the realm of science. Just like we don’t teach kids Islamic algebraChristian science or even Hindu Yoga the religious underpinnings have been clipped from these subjects and we focus on the problem solving methodology  or physical benefits they offer. In the future meditation will also be stripped of its religious elements and join the world alongside other subjects.  Meditation is to the mind what the gym or an exercise regime is to the body.

So now that I’ve got that off my chest, any ideas how do we go about getting these methods and meditations into schools?

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les sites educatif

aujourd’hui j’ai fait beaucoup. J’ai utilizé les sites-web duolingo et aussi trésbienFrench pendant 3 heures. Ils étaient un peu durs, néanmoins j’ai persévéré, et dans le processus que j’ai vu  il y a un long chemin à parcourir!

En fait, c’est pas tout mauvais, j’ai vu beaucoup l’amélioration aussi; Je suis sûre; si je continue finalment je gagne.

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zut alors!

OK, aujourd’hui c’était un cauchemar ou puet-être une catastrophe. Il a commencé avec une erreur de planification. Pas mon erreur, mon client trompe, cependant, il était de mon devoir pour réparer les dégâts. Il a commencé avec le problème que nous n’avions pas de salle, parce qu’il n’etait pas reservé par la gestion. Mais bien que d’être d’une erreur d’accepter mon patron exigeait signatures et a créé une situation embarrassante pour moi et mes élèves; de plus il est créé une mauvaise image de notre école. Je suis tellement fatigué de la politique scolaire, il est temps de réinventer la roue.

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Upcoming test = Mad panic

So I have a test in 13 days for my French. Which has put me immediately into panic mode. I think perhaps I should have skipped this one as my level isn’t to a standard where I can truly benefit from the grade I’ll receive.

However, it’s a good exercise in desperation. If I can revise an hour every week day evening (including tonight) and 2 or 3 hours every weekend that will give me around 17-20 hours of preparation time. Also I’d expect with that much work to substantially improve my French.

As part of that exercise I’m going to write a paragraph each day into my Blog. If you’re French or you speak better French than I do, which isn’t too difficult, please correct me. I’ll owe you one!

This amount of study on top of work and projects I am in the middle of will probably be a challenge but I’m actually really looking forward to setting myself something difficult. Here’s to me getting a B1 level in two weeks time!

Oh on that note I thought I’d mention some good websites I have found for studying French

  • www.lyricstraining.com
    • A fun site where you listen to music in French, Spanish, German etc. Then you have to fill in the blanks appearing in the subtitles as you listen to the song. Very good for improving your listening skills
  • www.duolingo.com
    • A new site and a new way of learning a language certainly has my vote as a novel method learning. Check out the review on The Economic Times.
  • www.tresbienfrench.com
    • Far from perfect but with lots of good repetitive exercises that clearly reinforce your ability to remember conjugations and vocabulary. Well worth the very small charge for a subscription (also available in Spanish, German etc).
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What standards will be used to decide entrance into the community?

While there is an open door policy there must be some form of standards or at least trial period to avoid abuse and allow proper evaluation of new members. Highly skilled lay persons or transitory members will obviously require a different set of standards, if any, in comparison to someone wanting to make a lifetime commitment.

There should be an elected committee and official, both of which are created by draws of random lots, who decide new members. Each case from a retired university professor  or a student who dropped out of school should be considered on their skills, situation and their motivations.

[note:the community is meant to help the next generation and should believe in the ability for all humans, without mental disorders, when given the opportunity have the ability to change themselves.]

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Malaise général or Zombie Easter weekend

To celebrate Easter I pretty much slept, which while doing wonders for my mental state and giving me a huge burst of energy, wasn’t exactly productive. I did manage to get a few things done but mostly this weekend was about chilling out. I have done some small programming work, but I’m a way behind where I’d like to be.

On other notes I am ploughing through the 4-hour body by Tim Ferriss and while I take everything with a pinch of salt I find his writing at the very least amusing. I’d also note I find it convincing enough (after some Google time) that I bought a kettlebell for home training, weighing scales and a yoga ball for crunches. I’m leaving off the diet at the moment but I’m interested enough to attempt it for a few weeks to see what happens.

School is good (teaching English that is), programming PHP is coming back strong and clear, I’m even thinking of adding Java work to my repertoire as it is my primary experience at work (and still the most sought after language). Presently however I’m putting my efforts into PHP and my project list reflects this.

The only thing I need to work on more is French, I intend to really start focusing on that after I get my Unit Tracker plugin up and running, procrastination? Maybe… But I do want to measure a lot of what I do and if I can do that and make my need into a project it’s  probably worth it.

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