Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

   Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

   Praise the Lord.

 

 

Designed by Freepik

 

From DSC:
Thank you LORD for the gift of music — I, as well as many others, appreciate this universal, soul-deep language. It often brings people together. That’s one of the reasons I chose the above graphic — the circle represents unity…plus I like the musical notes/flavor of it.

Personally speaking, music can turn my day around. I know something’s off in me when I don’t want to listen to music. 

 

 

The title of this article is: Schools can not get facial recognition tech for free. Should they?

Schools can not get facial recognition tech for free. Should they? — from wired.com by Issie Lapowsky

Excerpt:

Over the past two years, RealNetworks has developed a facial recognition tool that it hopes will help schools more accurately monitor who gets past their front doors. Today, the company launched a website where school administrators can download the tool, called SAFR, for free and integrate it with their own camera systems. So far, one school in Seattle, which Glaser’s kids attend, is testing the tool and the state of Wyoming is designing a pilot program that could launch later this year. “We feel like we’re hitting something there can be a social consensus around: that using facial recognition technology to make schools safer is a good thing,” Glaser says.

 

From DSC:
Personally, I’m very uncomfortable with where facial recognition is going in some societies. What starts off being sold as being helpful for this or that application, can quickly be abused and used to control its citizens. For example, look at what’s happening in China already these days!

The above article talks about these techs being used in schools. Based upon history, I seriously question whether humankind can wisely handle the power of these types of technologies.

Here in the United States, I already sense a ton of cameras watching each of us all the time when we’re out in public spaces (such as when we are in grocery stores, or gas stations, or in restaurants or malls, etc.).  What’s the unspoken message behind those cameras?  What’s being stated by their very presence around us?

No. I don’t like the idea of facial recognition being in schools. I’m not comfortable with this direction. I can see the counter argument — that this tech could help reduce school shootings. But I think that’s a weak argument, as someone mentally unbalanced enough to be involved with a school shooting likely won’t be swayed/deterred by being on camera. In fact, one could argue that in some cases, being on the national news — with their face being plastered all over the nation — might even put gas on the fire.

 

 

Glaser, for one, welcomes federal oversight of this space. He says it’s precisely because of his views on privacy that he wants to be part of what is bound to be a long conversation about the ethical deployment of facial recognition. “This isn’t just sci-fi. This is becoming something we, as a society, have to talk about,” he says. “That means the people who care about these issues need to get involved, not just as hand-wringers but as people trying to provide solutions. If the only people who are providing facial recognition are people who don’t give a &*&% about privacy, that’s bad.”

 

 

 

The title of this article being linked here is: Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras
Per this week’s Next e-newsletter from edsurge.com

Take the University of San Francisco, which deploys facial recognition software in its dormitories. Students still use their I.D. card to swipe in, according to Edscoop, but the face of every person who enters a dorm is scanned and run through a database, and alerts the dorm attendant when an unknown person is detected. Online students are not immune: the technology is also used in many proctoring tools for virtual classes.

The tech raises plenty of tough issues. Facial-recognition systems have been shown to misidentify young people, people of color and women more often than white men. And then there are the privacy risks: “All collected data is at risk of breach or misuse by external and internal actors, and there are many examples of misuse of law enforcement data in other contexts,” a white paper by the Electronic Frontier foundation reads.

It’s unclear whether such facial-scanners will become common at the gates of campus. But now that cost is no longer much of an issue for what used to be an idea found only in science fiction, it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of what such a system really means in practice.

 

 

Also see:

  • As facial recognition technology becomes pervasive, Microsoft (yes, Microsoft) issues a call for regulation — from techcrunch.com by Jonathan Shieber
    Excerpt:
    Technology companies have a privacy problem. They’re terribly good at invading ours and terribly negligent at protecting their own. And with the push by technologists to map, identify and index our physical as well as virtual presence with biometrics like face and fingerprint scanning, the increasing digital surveillance of our physical world is causing some of the companies that stand to benefit the most to call out to government to provide some guidelines on how they can use the incredibly powerful tools they’ve created. That’s what’s behind today’s call from Microsoft President Brad Smith for government to start thinking about how to oversee the facial recognition technology that’s now at the disposal of companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple and government security and surveillance services across the country and around the world.

 

 

 

 

Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras — from nytimes.com by Paul Mozur

Excerpts:

ZHENGZHOU, China — In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a police officer wearing facial recognition glasses spotted a heroin smuggler at a train station.

In Qingdao, a city famous for its German colonial heritage, cameras powered by artificial intelligence helped the police snatch two dozen criminal suspects in the midst of a big annual beer festival.

In Wuhu, a fugitive murder suspect was identified by a camera as he bought food from a street vendor.

With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, China is building a high-tech authoritarian future. Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.

 

In some cities, cameras scan train stations for China’s most wanted. Billboard-size displays show the faces of jaywalkers and list the names of people who don’t pay their debts. Facial recognition scanners guard the entrances to housing complexes. Already, China has an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras — four times as many as the United States.

Such efforts supplement other systems that track internet use and communications, hotel stays, train and plane trips and even car travel in some places.

 

 

A very slippery slope has now been setup in China with facial recognition infrastructures

 

From DSC:
A veeeeery slippery slope here. The usage of this technology starts out as looking for criminals, but then what’s next? Jail time for people who disagree w/ a government official’s perspective on something? Persecution for people seen coming out of a certain place of worship?  

Very troubling stuff here….

 

 

 

Education startup OnlineDegree.com makes the first year of college tuition-free — from forbes.com by Richard Vedder

Excerpt:

If you were told that an educational institution existed that would enable you to earn a year of college credit at zero financial cost and with minimal hassle –from a for-profit private entrepreneurial venture — you would no doubt be suspicious. I receive several pitches a week from individuals trying to promote all sorts of innovations, so I was especially dubious of this proposition – until I talked to Grant Aldrich, the fellow who helped initiate this project, and after reflecting a bit on modern internet-based businesses.

Hundreds of millions daily use at zero cost an immensely popular social media platform, Facebook. It provides much joy to user’s lives. Moreover, Facebook, Inc. has, of this writing, a market capitalization of $539.6 billion and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is at age 34, one of the richest people in the world. I suspect Grant Aldrich thinks that the Facebook model can be replicated successfully in higher education. Aldrich’s website (https://onlinedegree.com) will provide users with free, high-quality online college-level courses, financed through advertising, sponsorships, etc., much like Facebook and Google do.

The venture is brand new and modest in scope and is just now ready to launch its project.

 

He is bringing market-based capitalism to higher education without the crutch of government-subsidized student loans.

 

Yet Aldrich claims that he is not out to destroy traditional higher education, but rather to revitalize and support it. Students ultimately would go from his online courses into traditional schools, saving at least 25% of the cost through credit transfer, making traditional education significantly more affordable and viable.

 

 


The information below is from Grant Aldrich, Founder of OnlineDegree.com (emphasis via DSC)


Rather than bypassing traditional universities like the MissionU’s or Coursera’s, we have a disruptive solution to innovate within higher ed to combat student debt and bring students back to a collegiate path.

Here’s the quick summary: At OnlineDegree.com, anyone could receive credit, up to their freshman year of college, completely tuition-free. All from home, on their own schedule, no pressure, and no applications.

We offer students free college-level courses and work with accredited universities across the country to award college credit for the courses students take.  With many options to complete their entire freshman year equivalence, there are potential pathways to receive up to 44 units of recommended semester credit at over 1,400 colleges throughout the US…and growing.

By understanding the predicament that working adults have, it’s obvious that the current educational system hasn’t made it simple or easy enough for them to go back to school.  They’re busy, can’t afford it, and have a lot of anxiety taking the first step.  We’re changing that.

Further information is below.



Who Are We?

OnlineDegree.com is a team of startup veterans, leading academics and PhDs (from NYU, West Virginia University, Georgetown, etc). We’ve been working for over 2 years to make higher education more affordable and accessible for everyone. It’s been an incredible adventure to combat entrenched roadblocks and norms. More about us here:

How it Works
Students take as many college-level courses as they’d like on gen ed topics like Psychology, Robotics, Computer Programming, Marketing, History and many more…free. We’ve then worked with participating accredited universities across the country like Southern New Hampshire University, Excelsior College and others, so students can receive college credit for the courses they’ve taken. In addition, there are pathways to receive credit at over 1,400 schools in total throughout the US.

Our courses are:

  • Online and Available 24/7 – No class schedules, no fixed times, and completely self-paced.
  • Easy to Get Started- No applications, No entrance exams, and most importantly, No tuition.
  • Interesting and Top Notch- Our professors are experts in their respective fields with PhDs and advanced degrees. The courses are incredibly interesting.
  • Recommended for over 44 units of semester credit by the NCCRS

Why Is This So Disruptive?
Working adults now have a “bridge” to start their path back to school in 1 minute instead of 1 year in some cases…regardless of their finances or busy schedules. They can test drive different courses and subjects on their own schedule, be better prepared for college-level coursework at a university, and potentially receive college credits toward their degree. Given the common unfortunate student perception that applying directly to a community college or 4-year is intimidating, inflexible and/or costly, we’re more like “wading” into the pool rather than expecting everyone to jump in.

How Have We Made It Free?
We will always be 100% free to students…we’re not going to compromise on that. We’re exploring a marketplace for tutoring, Patreon, Kickstarter, university sponsorships/advertising, private grants, and many other avenues. We are bold enough to look outside of the traditional tuition paradigm to ensure we don’t exclude anyone from participating. There are all kinds of ways to keep the lights on without charging students or sacrificing educational quality.

Why Now?
Despite overwhelming demand to go back to school in the face of eroding manufacturing jobs, robot automation, and a quickly modernizing economy, millions of working adults are still not going back to school at a traditional university. The key is to understand the predicaments of the working adult: accessibility and affordability. Other marketplace offers that circumvent higher education have become increasingly popular. We’re solving this by removing all of the barriers to enable that first critical step in starting back towards a traditional university.

 


Also see:

 


 

 

 

Philippians 4:6-9 NIV — from biblegateway.com

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 

From DSC:
I must admit that in this day and age, I find it very difficult to not be anxious about anything. LORD, help me. LORD help us.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
As long-time readers of this Learning Ecosystems blog know, I have posted the following graphic several times, believing that the learning-related “channels” in the future will offer us:

 

 

But after seeing the article below, I realized that I needed to further refine this perspective. Because it turns out that too much choice is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, it can be paralyzing to us. Check out the following article to see what I mean.

 


The Psychology of choice: Why less is more — from keepitusable.com

Excerpt:

Which stall are you most likely to buy from?
Most people think they would be most likely to buy a jar of jam from the stall selling 24, however, research has proved that you are much more likely to buy from the stall selling just 6 types of jam. These findings are from a research study that was conducted by Psychologists Iyengar et al. They found that when it came to buying the jam, 30% of people bought a jar at the stall that sold 6 types, but only 3% of people bought a jar at the stall selling 24 types.

 

 

Better Brainstorming — from hbr.org by Hal Gregersen

Excerpt:

Brainstorming for questions, not answers, wasn’t something I’d tried before.

Underlying the approach is a broader recognition that fresh questions often beget novel—even transformative—insights. Consider this example from the field of psychology: Before 1998 virtually all well-trained psychologists focused on attacking the roots of mental disorders and deficits, on the assumption that well-being came down to the absence of those negative conditions. But then Martin Seligman became president of the American Psychological Association, and he reframed things for his colleagues. What if, he asked in a speech at the APA’s annual meeting, well-being is just as driven by the presence of certain positive conditions—keys to flourishing that could be recognized, measured, and cultivated? With that question, the positive psychology movement was born.

Brainstorming for questions rather than answers makes it easier to push past cognitive biases and venture into uncharted territory.


The methodology I’ve developed is essentially a process for recasting problems in valuable new ways. It helps people adopt a more creative habit of thinking and, when they’re looking for breakthroughs, gives them a sense of control. There’s actually something they can do other than sit and wait for a bolt from the blue. Here, I’ll describe how and why this approach works. You can use it anytime you (in a group or individually) are feeling stuck or trying to imagine new possibilities. And if you make it a regular practice in your organization, it can foster a stronger culture of collective problem solving and truth seeking.

 

 

 

Record numbers of college students are seeking treatment for depression and anxiety — but schools can’t keep up — from impactlab.net by Thomas Frey

Excerpt:

Spigner is one of a rapidly growing number of college students seeking mental health treatment on campuses facing an unprecedented demand for counseling services. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of students visiting counseling centers increased by about 30% on average, while enrollment grew by less than 6%, the Center for Collegiate Mental Health found in a 2015 report. Students seeking help are increasingly likely to have attempted suicide or engaged in self-harm, the center found. In spring 2017, nearly 40% of college students said they had felt so depressed in the prior year that it was difficult for them to function, and 61% of students said they had “felt overwhelming anxiety” in the same time period, according to an American College Health Association survey of more than 63,000 students at 92 schools.)

But most counseling centers are working with limited resources. The average university has one professional counselor for every 1,737 students — fewer than the minimum of one therapist for every 1,000 to 1,500 students recommended by the International Association of Counseling Services. Some counselors say they are experiencing “battle fatigue” and are overwhelmed by the increase in students asking for help. “It’s a very different job than it was 10 years ago,” says Lisa Adams Somerlot, president of the American College Counseling Association and director of counseling at the University of West Georgia.

As colleges try to meet the growing demand, some students are slipping through the cracks due to long waits for treatment and a lasting stigma associated with mental health issues. Even if students ask for and receive help, not all cases can be treated on campus. Many private-sector treatment programs are stepping in to fill that gap, at least for families who can afford steep fees that may rise above $10,000 and may not be covered by health insurance. But especially in rural areas, where options for off-campus care are limited, universities are feeling pressure to do more.

 

 

 

SXSW 2018: Key trends — from jwtintelligence.com by Marie Stafford w/ contributions by Sarah Holbrook

Excerpt:

Ethics & the Big Tech Backlash
What a difference a week makes. As the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke last weekend, the curtain was already coming down on SXSW. Even without this latest bombshell, the discussion around ethics in technology was animated, with more than 10 panels devoted to the theme. From misinformation to surveillance, from algorithmic bias to the perils of artificial intelligence (hi Elon!) speakers grappled with the weighty issue of how to ensure technology works for the good of humanity.

The Human Connection
When technology provokes this much concern, it’s perhaps natural that people should seek respite in human qualities like empathy, understanding and emotional connection.

In a standout keynote, couples therapist Esther Perel gently berated the SXSW audience for neglecting to focus on human relationships. “The quality of your relationships,” she said, “is what determines the quality of your life.

 

 

 

 

Schools Should Be Cathedrals of Learning — from blogs.edweek.org by Sajan George

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

What may surprise us though is how the underlying elements of these beautiful designs can follow certain principles–what Goldhagen refers to as “embodied metaphors.”  These embodied metaphors suggest, reinforce, and captivate an action sequence from us that is both cognitive and non-cognitive in response.  Examples of these natural, unconscious design principles that evoke conscious responses include:

  • Natural landscapes settle a person’s elevated heart rate after just 20 seconds
  • Bright lights stimulate creativity and bright ideas
  • Closed spaces offer a sense of refuge
  • Expansive spaces invite exploration
  • Colors can heighten (red for anger) and dampen (pink for calm) emotions
  • Sharp edge surfaces suggest retreat
  • Curving surfaces suggest approach
  • Repeating patterns with respites from that same pattern can stimulate problem-solving capacity

This has profound implications for the built environments of school buildings.  Goldhagen cites one study of 34 different British schools where the six design parameters of color, choice, complexity, flexibility, light, and connectivity affected a student’s learning progress by 25 percent! The difference in learning between the best and worst designed classrooms was equal to the progress of an average student over an entire academic year.  

The difference in learning between the best and worst designed classrooms was equal to the progress of an average student over an entire academic year.  

 

 

 

Too often, children in poverty live in dwellings that are cognitively dulling environments, often limited in natural sunlight, creative use of color, changes in texture, or sightlines to landscaping, greenery, or vegetation. Low-income housing often wrings out the least costly, most expedient design. These children of poverty often leave such home dwellings and enter school buildings and classrooms each day that are equally devoid of cognitive inspiration. Where is the inspiration in uniform rows of wooden desks and plastic chairs?

 

 

How well does your school’s built environment contribute to human flourishing?

 

 

 

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