August 2011
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The Modern Library

I’d like to say some things about what I think a sacred, but overlooked, and dwindling institution can do to revitalize itself in the day of the information superhighway. First, let’s get something straight. People have had the opportunity to educate themselves, by visiting the local public lending library, for a long time (a generation […]

Redesigning a CS Curriculum

A number of my posts over the last couple of weeks have concerned education and curriculum. I met with a couple of the educators here at UCI, to go over these points. I’d like to record these thoughts before they evaporate from my brain.

The primary elements of a CS education:

In class code reviews. […]

Homoiconic Dichotomy and Interactive Publications

Both Linguistics and Computer Science have some concern about the difference between form and meaning. This difference is usually introduced in a syntax vs semantics lecture. I would like to show that it actually occurs in a wide variety of circumstances.

Form Meaning Domain Syntax Semantics Linguistics (grammars), Computer Science (Parsing) Language Thought Cognitive Science, […]

Machine Learning – Coarse to Fine

Because a friend of mine posted it on Facebook, I ended up watching this video, How Artificial Intelligence Learns From Biological Intelligence (by Evan Ehrenberg) that discusses some introductory machine learning topics. Along the way, the narrator mentioned that children start out with rather blurry vision, which improves with age; also, that 30% of our […]

The Future of Publishing should be Skribilo

Finally, I found something that looks like it could suitably replace LaTeX! It’s called Skribilo and features all of the goodness observed in a previous post about using a Lisp-like syntax instead of that crufty HTML/XML nonsense.

Education Includes Personal Growth

I think there is a trend among the students who perform poorly in class, but fail to show up to office hours to get assistance: I believe they might be suffering from poor study skills. Now, because they don’t show up to office hours, and because I’ve never actually interviewed those who do about their […]

Student-Derived Metrics

I’m still reading the Standards for Our Schools book. I don’t have a rigorous background in literature about learning and education, but what I see so far indicates that incorporating standards into education is analogous to incorporating evidence into your reasoning.

Although testing, grading, scoring and other quantitative metrics don’t capture everything we would […]

eXtreme Education

I feel like I’m slowly converging on some good ideas that have been floating around long before I noticed them. Again, in the book I’ve been reading, Standards for Our Schools, I came across some good material. The authors were discussing “instructional technology” and noticed that much educational software is rather bland. It aims to […]

Jim Stigler

Because the book that I was reading in my last post mentioned stark differences between Japanese and American instruction. I decided to watch this talk given by Jim Stigler earlier this year, and took some notes:

Jim teaches mathematics, but not at community college level, so his background is university education. Studies below are more […]

Teaching Techniques

I’ve been reading this book, Standards for Our Schools, that I picked up at the UCI bookstore. In it, the authors have a section where they compare American educational systems with that of the Japanese. Here, we argue for smaller class sizes and more personalized instruction for each student (<sarcasm>as if we can expect a […]