MyPal Online School

September 2013
12 September 2013 In MyPal Blog

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Recent article in NY Times reports that Georgia Tech in collaboration with Udacity will offer MS degree in Computer Science for students worldwide using the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) model that was pioneered by Coursera, edX, Udacity and MIT OCW.  The cost will be less than the cost for on campus program in computer science and the students don’t need to worry about boarding and lodging costs besides completely avoiding any need for US Visa. [Read More]

12 September 2013 In MyPal Blog

Quite recently, a young man in North India, approached me for a job.  Upon querying what he can do, he replied “Main Computer Chalatha Hoon”. This kept ringing in my mind, does one drive a computer like a car or use computer like a car.  The widespread dispersion of computing devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones has put the internet and software at anyone’s command that you can proudly announce “Main Computer Chalatha Hoon” especially in India with its huge digital divide and urban – rural disparities.  This incident made me wonder about “Computer Class” in my daughters school and what they are learning.  I do see them trying to use Microsoft Word and Power Point and at some point LOGO programming language.  Shouldn’t we distinguish between Computer Science Education and “Computer Class” or “Digital Literacy”?  The school has “Computer Teachers”, but have they been trained in “Computer Science”?  I have embarked on a study to see the state of the field in various countries and was amazed to notice the attention Computer Science Education was receiving from Policy Makers, Academicians, Industry Experts but not so much from School Boards and Schools itself.

12 September 2013 In MyPal Blog

The first IQ test was invented in 1905 by Alfred Binet and since then the prevalent view has been that intelligence is an ability one is born.  The general view was that genes determined abilities / intelligence and that environment has only a small role to play in nurturing talent.  Binet himself deplored these views and was quoted as follows.

Some philosophers seem to have given their moral approval to these deplorable verdicts that affirm that the intelligence of an individual is a fixed quantity, a quantity that cannot be augmented. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism; we will try to demonstrate that it is founded on nothing.    Alfred Binet (1909)

12 September 2013 In MyPal Blog

NCERT has recently released ‘Curricula for ICT in Education’ Ver 1.01 in August 2013, for classes VI to XII in Indian schools, which covers teacher training in ICTs and syllabus for students.  The teacher training consists of 90days of face-to-face and online training for 146days to qualify and obtain a 2 year Diploma in ICTs in Education.  The Students syllabus consist of 90 weeks of class work of 3 hours per week i.e, 270 hours over three years.

12 September 2013 In MyPal Blog

Read Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart, Phd in Mathematics who switched from teaching math to University students to K-12 students because he found out that it was his ‘true calling’. Stanford Professor, Keith Devlin, under whom I took a course in ‘Intro to Mathematical Thinking’ said ‘It is, quite frankly, one of the best critiques of K-12 mathematics education I have ever seen’ in the Kindle edition of the book which is an expanded version of the original article. Keith Devlin goes on to say ‘it should be obligatory reading for anyone going into mathematics education, for every parent of a school aged child and for every school and government official with responsibilities towards mathematics education’. ‘ A Mathematician’s Lament ‘ is already a landmark in the world of mathematics education. Keith Devlin’s foreword is one of the best forewords to a book that I have read and the best compliment he paid to Paul Lockhart is “I wish he was my school mathematics teacher”.

12 September 2013 In MyPal Blog

The natural desire to learn:

Every child is born with an innate sense of curiosity and a desire to learn.  But, slowly school curriculum and in some cases lack of qualified and inspired teachers, makes school work rather routine and the excitement to learn gets lost, quite often.  Students slog through school with aspirations to go to college for higher education to learn something ‘real’ and get a good job.  School curriculum is not expected to provide life skills or prepare students to secure a job.

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