Learning Change

… for your learning: +2910 posts

Archive for September 30th, 2011

Comparing Effectiveness of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Strategies

leave a comment »

Read

This research compares the performance of bottom-up, self-motivated behavioral interventions with top-down interventions targeted at controlling an ‘‘Influenza-like-illness’’. Both types of interventions use a variant of the ring strategy. In the first case, when the fraction of a person’s direct contacts who are diagnosed exceeds a threshold, that person decides to seek prophylaxis, e.g. vaccine or antivirals; in the second case, we consider two intervention protocols, denoted Block and School: when a fraction of people who are diagnosed in a Census Block  exceeds the threshold, prophylax the entire Block. Results show that the bottom-up strategy outperforms the top-down strategies under our parameter settings. Even in situations where the Block strategy reduces the overall attack rate well, it incurs a much higher cost. These findings lend credence to the notion that if people used antivirals effectively, making them available quickly on demand to private citizens could be a very effective way to control an outbreak.

Written by learningchange

30/09/2011 at 21:36

Quantifying the role of complexity in a system’s performance

leave a comment »

Read

In this work we studied the relationship between a system’s complexity and its performances in solving a given task. Although complexity is generally assumed to play a key role in an agent’s performance, its influence has not been deeply investigated in the past. To this aim we analysed a predator–prey scenario where a prey had to develop several strategies to counter an increasingly skilled predator. The predator has several advantages over the prey, thus requiring the prey to develop more and more complex strategies. The prey is driven by a fully recurrent neural network trained using genetic algorithms. We conducted several experiments measuring the prey’s complexity using Kolmogorov algorithmic complexity. Our finding is that, in accordance to what was believed in literature, complexity is indeed necessary to solve non-trivial tasks. The main contribution of this work lies in having proved the necessity of complexity to solve non-trivial tasks. This has been made possible by blending together a goal oriented system with a complex one. An experiment is provided to distinguish between the complexity of a chaotic system and the complexity of a random one.

Written by learningchange

30/09/2011 at 21:20

Open Online Courses: PLN Environments and Networks

leave a comment »

Written by learningchange

30/09/2011 at 20:53

A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change

leave a comment »

Read

The twenty-first century is a world in constant change. In A New Culture of Learning, Doug Thomas and John Seely Brown pursue an understanding of how the forces of change, and emerging waves of interest associated with these forces, inspire and invite us to imagine a future of learning that is as powerful as it is optimistic.

Typically, when we think of culture, we think of an existing, stable entity that changes and evolves over long periods of time. In A New Culture, Thomas and Brown explore a second sense of culture, one that responds to its surroundings organically. It not only adapts, it integrates change into its process as one of its environmental variables. By exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning, the authors create a vision of learning for the future that is achievable, scalable and one that grows along with the technology that fosters it and the people who engage with it. The result is a new form of culture in which knowledge is seen as fluid and evolving, the personal is both enhanced and refined in relation to the collective, and the ability to manage, negotiate and participate in the world is governed by the play of the imagination.

Replete with stories, this is a book that looks at the challenges that our education and learning environments face in a fresh way.

Written by learningchange

30/09/2011 at 20:30

The Best Among Us

leave a comment »

Read

There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible. They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will win. But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.

Written by learningchange

30/09/2011 at 19:52

A filosofia por trás do movimento ‘Ocupar Wall Street’

leave a comment »

Ler

Sem luta contra o capital financeiro, ordenar “austeridade” é ato de crueldade; e ordenar estímulos é ilusão. O FMI e os políticos norteamericanos não querem desafiar a classe financeira. Lá, em Wall Street, Manhattan, norteamericanos comuns decidiram enfrentar, de vez, o capital financeiro. Não precisam recorrer à xenofobia ‘econômica’, nem se escravizar a ilusões de que os Buffets do mundo seriam a vanguarda da luta por justiça social. Querem é tirar, do pescoço dos povos do mundo, a botinatacão das finanças.

Os que clamam por austeridade são agentes financistas, para os quais é pecado ver diminuir a própria riqueza; os que pedem estímulos são eticamente corretos, mas não fazem um ataque direto aos financistas. A única solução real para a crise é, como receitou Keynes, “a eutanásia do rentista”. É esse impulso para desafiar diretamente Wall Street que mostra o quanto é razoável e necessário o movimento Ocupar Wall Street.

É possível que os especuladores não façam tanto mal quanto as bolhas. Mas a posição é séria quando a empresa vira uma bolha, no redemoinho da especulação. Quando o desenvolvimento das atividades de um país vira subproduto das atividades de um cassino, o trabalho provavelmente será mal-feito” – John Maynard Keynes, 1936

Written by learningchange

30/09/2011 at 16:55

Inequality in America

leave a comment »

Read

The gap between America’s rich and poor is growing wider, and a new IMF study shows why that inequality is hurting our economy.

Nowhere is the divide in America between the haves and have-nots a stark as it is in New York City, where one in five people — and 30 percent of children — have fallen into poverty. Last week, as global dignitaries and local luminaries crisscrossed midtown between UN gatherings, CGI’s soirees, and presidential-hopeful fundraisers, the Census Bureau conferred on Manhattan a less-than-luminous distinction: It is now the income inequality capital of the United States.

In the city’s center, the top fifth of earners makes 38 times as much as the bottom fifth, which means that by Gini coefficient — the ratio economists use to measure economic inequality — Manhattan ranks among some of the world’s most economically unstable and politically unsavory countries.

Written by learningchange

30/09/2011 at 16:21

Posted in Inequality, US

Tagged with ,

“American Teacher”: New Film Rebuts Vilification of Underpaid, Dedicated Public School Teachers

leave a comment »

Read

Opening today, the new documentary “American Teacher” follows the lives of four teachers who struggle to remain in a profession they love, despite the heavy toll exacted on their lives by the grueling hours and low-salaries. The documentary is a rebuttal of sorts to pundits who portray public school educators as cushioned recipients of tax-payer supported benefits, extended summer vacations and low accountability. We speak with the film’s Academy Award-winning director, Vanessa Roth, and with Brooklyn first-grade public school teacher, Jamie Fidler, who is featured in the film.

Written by learningchange

30/09/2011 at 16:10

Posted in Schools, Teachers

Tagged with ,

Ten Simple Rules for Getting Help from Online Scientific Communities

with one comment

Read

The increasing complexity of research requires scientists to work at the intersection of multiple fields and to face problems for which their formal education has not prepared them. For example, biologists with no or little background in programming are now often using complex scripts to handle the results from their experiments; vice versa, programmers wishing to enter the world of bioinformatics must know about biochemistry, genetics, and other fields.

In this context, communication tools such as mailing lists, web forums, and online communities acquire increasing importance. These tools permit scientists to quickly contact people skilled in a specialized field. A question posed properly to the right online scientific community can help in solving difficult problems, often faster than screening literature or writing to publication authors. The growth of active online scientific communities, such as those listed in Table S1, demonstrates how these tools are becoming an important source of support for an increasing number of researchers.

Nevertheless, making proper use of these resources is not easy. Adhering to the social norms of World Wide Web communication—loosely termed “netiquette”—is both important and non-trivial.

In this article, we take inspiration from our experience on Internet-shared scientific knowledge, and from similar documents such as “Asking the Questions the Smart Way” and “Getting Answers”, to provide guidelines and suggestions on how to use online communities to solve scientific problems.

Three core practices for creative leadership

leave a comment »

From an interview with my dear friend Peggy Holman on enhancing creative leadership:

Q: What is one practice that people could start applying today to bring more creativity into their work or their business organization?

Holman: If I were to pick on practice that is simple to apply and powerful in its affect, I’d say: welcome disturbance by asking questions of possibility. Creativity often shows up in a cloak of disruption. It makes sense when you stop and think about it. If there were no disruption, there’d be no reason forchange. And change opens the door to creativity. Great questions help us to find possibilities in any situation, no matter how challenging.

Read

Written by learningchange

30/09/2011 at 15:14

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 204 other followers