Posts tagged technology

thenewrepublic:

The Next Arab-Israeli War Will Be Fought with Drones
Hezbollah’s drones represent the next evolution of warfare-by-remote-control, when weaponized robotic planes give terrorist groups de facto air forces. 
Illustration by Pilgrym.


Welcome to the future. I’m sure Skynet isn’t far behind.

thenewrepublic:

The Next Arab-Israeli War Will Be Fought with Drones

Hezbollah’s drones represent the next evolution of warfare-by-remote-control, when weaponized robotic planes give terrorist groups de facto air forces. 

Illustration by Pilgrym.

Welcome to the future. I’m sure Skynet isn’t far behind.

Via worldbank:

sunfoundation:

From The Atlantic:

Two researchers, Mark Graham and Stefano De Stabbata, at the Oxford Internet Institute have depicted the world’s “Internet empires” in a map, [above]. The map shows each nation’s most popular website, with the size of nations altered to reflect the number of Internet users there.

The map makes for a brief, informative look at how geographic—and universal—certain web tastes and habits are.

Oxford Internet Institute's note on the data:

The map uses freely available data retrieved Alexa on August 12th, 2013. The company has provided website analytics since 1996. Alexa collects data from millions of Internet users using one of over 25,000 different browser extensions, and the data used for this visualization were calculated “using a combination of the estimated average daily unique visitors to a site and the estimated number of pageviews on that site from users in that country over the past month”.

The data are visualised as a choropleth map, where the colour indicates each country’s most visited website. Starting from the evident dominance of two companies (Google and Facebook), whose colours (red and blue, respectively) cover most of the map, we styled the illustration as an old colonial map, and named it after the computer game series Age of Empire. A second map illustrates the same data, using the hexagonal cartogram of the Internet Population 2011.

Nice.

From npr:

emergentfutures:

In Cisco’s Classroom Of The Future, Your Professor Is Just An Illusion

New telepresence software could let you take a class from anywhere and appear as if you’re in the classroom.
Full Story: FastCoExist


Cool. Yet, is it really cool? —Wright

Cool and not cool at the same time.
This kind of technology has tremendous possibilities, and not just for education. But sticking to education, it has the potential to have cross-institutional collaborations and make learning much more dynamic. Imagine if I could bring in a guest lecturer without having to fly him/her in. Imagine if two professors from different institutions could collaborative teach a course together, giving their students a shared experience. Imagine if students in China, the US, and Brazil could take a course on globalization simultaneously. That’s really cool.
But based on my experience in higher education, I know exactly how administrators will choose to use this technology: As a cost-saving device. Imagine 21st century technology being used to replicate static learning models. That’s basically the model. Let’s take one professor (perhaps someone with a great “brand” behind him/her) and have this person give lectures accessible to hundreds or thousands of students, on the cheap. The model presumes little interaction, little ability to discuss, and demands passive learning. You’ve taken 21st century technology and recreated the 19th century lecture and mashed it together with the early 20th century correspondence course. At some point, what distinguishes a “course” like this from a (carefully) curated series of TED talks? Or an audio (or, rather, video) book?
I currently teach a hybrid course that involves about half of my students being in another room at another (satellite) campus. Here’s the problem with that experience, and what is lost in the process: When I taught “intro to comparative” (POL 102) I mixed in lectures with small group discussions with in-class simulations with group projects. The dynamic nature of the class (strengthened simply by my being there) soon meant that we were all engaged in discussions. Because I am not there at the satellite campus, I can’t do any of the above (although I did try one group projects, with some success). If I do the interactive things with the students in front of me, I’m being grossly unfair to the other students. The simple and fair solution is to offer a “standardized” format to all students. This means lectures. And because the technology hasn’t really caught up to the vision, it means I have two choices: 1) Stand still and deliver a lecture or 2) Provide a voice-over for my PowerPoint presentation. I can’t do both. The screen is either on me or the PowerPoint (except for the students in my presence, who do get to see both me and the PowerPoint).
This produces two problems: If my presences as an instructor is reduced to a static lecture, with few (if any) questions, then the students would benefit more from my being able to carefully prepare, edit, and polish those lectures. Instead, I’m essentially giving about 27 live, differently scripted performances (that’s about one full television season, which also uses 50 minute blocks, except without any of the writers, editors, postproduction). If I focus on the PowerPoint presentation (which I did this semester), then the problem remains. Wouldn’t a carefully edited and polished video slideshow be better than a live PowerPoint presentation? In either case, a “taped” version of my lecture/slideshow would allow students to rewind, review, etc. 
This semester, I even had two satellite campuses, with one single student at the third campus. That meant this student had absolutely zero interaction with any classmates. Other than the fact that this was a live performance, structurally this wasn’t any different from someone coming in on a set schedule to watch a one-hour program on a small screen in front of him. In the age of DVRs, we don’t even do that for quality television. 
Don’t get me wrong: On the whole, my students (yes, including the satellite students) are pretty good. I’m not an easy grader (I do give a good number of Fs). But a lot of my students do seem to enjoy the course (or so they tell me) and they do well on most of the materials (and they’ve gotten progressively better each semester, I might add). The support staff that runs these “hybrid” classrooms is superb, and I would certainly flounder without them.
But let’s be honest. This is not teaching at its best. Perhaps it does provide better “access” to education (but so does Wikipedia, TED, etc.—and all without charging any tuition). But it puts the instructor in a pretty narrow straightjacket. Despite all the technology around me, I know that in that classroom I do my worst teaching. Don’t get me wrong. I try. I try really, really, really hard. 
Perhaps some day the technology will overcome these obstacles. But it will require thinking about how these technologies can make learning truly more collaborative. Not how they can replicate the 19th century lecture and package it like a 20th century correspondence course.

From npr:

emergentfutures:

In Cisco’s Classroom Of The Future, Your Professor Is Just An Illusion

New telepresence software could let you take a class from anywhere and appear as if you’re in the classroom.

Full Story: FastCoExist

Cool. Yet, is it really cool? —Wright

Cool and not cool at the same time.

This kind of technology has tremendous possibilities, and not just for education. But sticking to education, it has the potential to have cross-institutional collaborations and make learning much more dynamic. Imagine if I could bring in a guest lecturer without having to fly him/her in. Imagine if two professors from different institutions could collaborative teach a course together, giving their students a shared experience. Imagine if students in China, the US, and Brazil could take a course on globalization simultaneously. That’s really cool.

But based on my experience in higher education, I know exactly how administrators will choose to use this technology: As a cost-saving device. Imagine 21st century technology being used to replicate static learning models. That’s basically the model. Let’s take one professor (perhaps someone with a great “brand” behind him/her) and have this person give lectures accessible to hundreds or thousands of students, on the cheap. The model presumes little interaction, little ability to discuss, and demands passive learning. You’ve taken 21st century technology and recreated the 19th century lecture and mashed it together with the early 20th century correspondence course. At some point, what distinguishes a “course” like this from a (carefully) curated series of TED talks? Or an audio (or, rather, video) book?

I currently teach a hybrid course that involves about half of my students being in another room at another (satellite) campus. Here’s the problem with that experience, and what is lost in the process: When I taught “intro to comparative” (POL 102) I mixed in lectures with small group discussions with in-class simulations with group projects. The dynamic nature of the class (strengthened simply by my being there) soon meant that we were all engaged in discussions. Because I am not there at the satellite campus, I can’t do any of the above (although I did try one group projects, with some success). If I do the interactive things with the students in front of me, I’m being grossly unfair to the other students. The simple and fair solution is to offer a “standardized” format to all students. This means lectures. And because the technology hasn’t really caught up to the vision, it means I have two choices: 1) Stand still and deliver a lecture or 2) Provide a voice-over for my PowerPoint presentation. I can’t do both. The screen is either on me or the PowerPoint (except for the students in my presence, who do get to see both me and the PowerPoint).

This produces two problems: If my presences as an instructor is reduced to a static lecture, with few (if any) questions, then the students would benefit more from my being able to carefully prepare, edit, and polish those lectures. Instead, I’m essentially giving about 27 live, differently scripted performances (that’s about one full television season, which also uses 50 minute blocks, except without any of the writers, editors, postproduction). If I focus on the PowerPoint presentation (which I did this semester), then the problem remains. Wouldn’t a carefully edited and polished video slideshow be better than a live PowerPoint presentation? In either case, a “taped” version of my lecture/slideshow would allow students to rewind, review, etc. 

This semester, I even had two satellite campuses, with one single student at the third campus. That meant this student had absolutely zero interaction with any classmates. Other than the fact that this was a live performance, structurally this wasn’t any different from someone coming in on a set schedule to watch a one-hour program on a small screen in front of him. In the age of DVRs, we don’t even do that for quality television. 

Don’t get me wrong: On the whole, my students (yes, including the satellite students) are pretty good. I’m not an easy grader (I do give a good number of Fs). But a lot of my students do seem to enjoy the course (or so they tell me) and they do well on most of the materials (and they’ve gotten progressively better each semester, I might add). The support staff that runs these “hybrid” classrooms is superb, and I would certainly flounder without them.

But let’s be honest. This is not teaching at its best. Perhaps it does provide better “access” to education (but so does Wikipedia, TED, etc.—and all without charging any tuition). But it puts the instructor in a pretty narrow straightjacket. Despite all the technology around me, I know that in that classroom I do my worst teaching. Don’t get me wrong. I try. I try really, really, really hard. 

Perhaps some day the technology will overcome these obstacles. But it will require thinking about how these technologies can make learning truly more collaborative. Not how they can replicate the 19th century lecture and package it like a 20th century correspondence course.

Via newsweek:

Apple keeps rejecting Drones+ from its App Store. Why? 

This poses a number of interesting questions: What does it mean (morally or ethically) that military technology has become so automated? What does it mean that individual citizens can track it? Should we (citizens) be able to? How does such information change our perception of national security strategy? Plus numerous others.

Via newsweek:

Apple keeps rejecting Drones+ from its App Store. Why? 

This poses a number of interesting questions: What does it mean (morally or ethically) that military technology has become so automated? What does it mean that individual citizens can track it? Should we (citizens) be able to? How does such information change our perception of national security strategy? Plus numerous others.

From nasdaq:

This great visual.ly infographic, pulled from the results of a TIME and Qualcomm survey, shows us the global impact of wireless technology—and how different countries feel about their phones. Full graphic here. 

An interesting example of how similar institutions have different impacts in different contexts.

From nasdaq:

This great visual.ly infographic, pulled from the results of a TIME and Qualcomm survey, shows us the global impact of wireless technology—and how different countries feel about their phones. Full graphic here. 

An interesting example of how similar institutions have different impacts in different contexts.

POL 102. Now on Twitter.

I’m going to experiment using Twitter in my POL 102 class this semester (@pol102_olemiss). I’m hoping it will help solve some of the limitations to in-class participation due to the “hybrid” nature of my class (about half the students take the course at a satellite campus). My hope is that this makes the class more “dynamic” by allowing more spontaneous participation.

I’m also hoping to use some in-class polls, using Twitter. So far I haven’t found any system that fits the bill (it has to be Twitter driven and free). So suggestions are welcome.

From globalvoices:

“How Africa Tweets” on The Guardian Data Blog by Portland-Communications. Shared by Indigo Trust.

This is fascinating. On so many different levels. I wonder at what point we’ll start using basic metrics like Twitter usage statistics in multivariate analyses?

From globalvoices:

“How Africa Tweets” on The Guardian Data Blog by Portland-Communications. Shared by Indigo Trust.

This is fascinating. On so many different levels. I wonder at what point we’ll start using basic metrics like Twitter usage statistics in multivariate analyses?

@joefromkenyon: What if we built online classes to focus on the strengths of the online medium instead of shooting for "as good as" face to face? #nitlesym

Hey, I’m about to start writing a “web text” textbook that will (in large part) be used that way! Send me comments/ideas/suggestions.

I don’t understand the visceral hatred of Wikipedia among many faculty members. Yes, it’s online and anyone can edit it. But (in my experience) the information is often quite credible. In fact, it’s often easier to find information on some things (like, say, the 1977 Surname general election) than on most other online sources or databases. 
If nothing else, Wikipedia offers a great resources not just for curated knowledge, but also as a model for how to use citations in academic work. If you look closely at any Wikipedia entry, it has a list of references (and often those are scholarly). Traditional encyclopedias don’t have a list of references or in-text citations. Hopefully, students see that proper citations matter and start using it in their work.
Do I consider “Wikipedia” a valid source for a scholarly paper? No. But not because it’s Wikipedia—and not because it’s online (a number of scholarly and primary sources are now online). I don’t consider it a valid source because it’s an encyclopedia. Would I have accepted a seminar paper from a student with Encyclopedia Britannica as a main reference? No. 
From theyuniversity:

For the entire infographic on Wikipedia, click HERE.
By the way, what are your thoughts on Wikipedia? Do you trust the information? Do you use it often? Have any of your teachers banned using it for writing research papers?
Hit us up with a reply.

(Image source: Know Your Meme)

I don’t understand the visceral hatred of Wikipedia among many faculty members. Yes, it’s online and anyone can edit it. But (in my experience) the information is often quite credible. In fact, it’s often easier to find information on some things (like, say, the 1977 Surname general election) than on most other online sources or databases. 

If nothing else, Wikipedia offers a great resources not just for curated knowledge, but also as a model for how to use citations in academic work. If you look closely at any Wikipedia entry, it has a list of references (and often those are scholarly). Traditional encyclopedias don’t have a list of references or in-text citations. Hopefully, students see that proper citations matter and start using it in their work.

Do I consider “Wikipedia” a valid source for a scholarly paper? No. But not because it’s Wikipedia—and not because it’s online (a number of scholarly and primary sources are now online). I don’t consider it a valid source because it’s an encyclopedia. Would I have accepted a seminar paper from a student with Encyclopedia Britannica as a main reference? No. 

From theyuniversity:

For the entire infographic on Wikipedia, click HERE.

By the way, what are your thoughts on Wikipedia? Do you trust the information? Do you use it often? Have any of your teachers banned using it for writing research papers?

Hit us up with a reply.

(Image source: Know Your Meme)

I’ve got to start playing with this more!

From sunfoundation:

Using Google Earth in the classroom

Since the earliest days of Google Earth, many have viewed it as an amazing tool to use in the classroom - and they’re right! We first showed some educational uses for Google Earth more than five years ago, and since then we’ve seen great uses from Duke University and StrataLogica, among others.