Archives for category: Education

I try to listen to TED talks whenever possible. I must admit that I don’t do it often enough. Today, I thought I’d share some of the good ones that I have seen.

I like this one since it’s about gaming and how it can be productive. Although I am an ardent fan of video games, I never got the hang of playing online. Maybe I should invest some time in getting better at it – at least to save the world 🙂
http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

The story of the CAPTHA:
http://www.ted.com/talks/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration.html

Schools killing creativity. So friggin true. I have seen many schoolmates who stigmatized by teachers because they didn’t follow the path that way layed out for them. Some of them still found their way despite this treatment while the others lost their way.
http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Information bubble problem – very very true. You tend to notice this with facebook adicts (me included – when I was on it)
http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

 

Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head.

Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite TED talk is.

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There is a huge uproar in the land of the lions about the Advanced Level results being completely unreliable. So, I thought I’d add my 2 cents on the subject.
Disclaimer: I did study math at uni, but I’ve forgotten all most of it and I took only one stat class. So, I will keep it simple – that is not by choice, I am forced to.

The problem has arisen due to two different sets of exams taking place due to two different syllabi being employed. There are repeaters from 2009 and 2010 doing the old syllabus and then there are the 2011 kids doing the new syllabus. So, the outcome is that there were two sets of results.

But for university entry there needs to be a result set from which the top few can be selected. From what I understand, they took the two means of the Z-score distributions and polled it to get an adjusted mean. From this the adjusted Z-score was calculated.

There are 2 main errors in this process.

First, the Z-score calculation is not a linear function. Results from non-linear functions cannot be treated with linear functions. A simple example is to take the square function.
10+3=13 but 102+32 ≠ 132
Similarly, linear manipulation (polling the mean) of results from non-linear functions (Z-score) gives erroneous outcomes.

Second, how can 2 different exams be matched up properly? Two people who got the exact same result on two different exams cannot be deemed as equals. Furthermore, taking the mean, median etc are all flawed methods.Since the population taking the exams are varied there is no way to match one to the other.

So, the bottom line is that there is no correct (or should I say justifiable) way of doing this. 2 different exams – 1 result. One way or the other, some people will get the short end of the stick. But, I guess that’s life people – it’s not fair. You just have to live with it.

A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on the top. Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.

After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the others beat up the one on the ladder. After some time, no monkey dares to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.

Scientists then decided to substitute one of the monkeys. The 1st thing this new monkey did was to go up the ladder.Immediately the other monkeys beat him up. After several beatings, the new member learned not to climb the ladder even though never knew why!

After sometime, 2nd monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The 1st monkey participated on the beating for the 2nd monkey. A 3rd monkey was changed and the same was repeated (beating). The 4th was substituted and the beating was repeated and finally the 5th monkey was replaced.

What was left was a group of 5 monkeys that even though never received a cold shower,continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder. If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they would beat up all those who attempted to go up the ladder…..I bet you the answer would be…. I don’t know – that’s how things are done

This message is to the monkeys and donkeys in Sri Lankan Universities that are obsessed with their so called ‘sub-culture’.

What are the benefits of ragging for freshers?

There are none…. enough said

Greetings! Hope all my peeps are enjoying the weekend. Here in Perth, the weather conspiracy continues: After a week of mid 20s this weekend suddenly jumps in to mid/high 30s. Crazy right?

Anyway, this post stems from this news article about a student in New Zealand auctioning her virginity online for (supposedly) paying for her studies. Apparently she has got over $30,000 for it and has said it’s more than she had hoped for. You have to agree that getting more than you hoped for is always a good thing!

Jokes aside though, I was taken by surprise to see such a news coming from a developed country. (NZ is a developed country, right?) I was under the impression that there are ways to help out students in these countries. Maybe it’s not the case and it is really tough to pay school fees. However, my impressions ins that this girl just thought prostitution is an easier carrier path. Really, how hard could it be for people from these countries? I came here to Kanga land as a student and paid through my nose for my learning – more than triple the amount that locals pay for school. The local students didn’t even have to pay their fees straight up, using a loan scheme called HECS (or something like that), they could pay their dues later on once they got a job! What most of these students do is party it up spending every cent they’ve got and then wonder how to survive until the next paycheck.  Now, I don’t know if the setup in Kiwi land is the same, but I am assuming there might be something similar going on there as well.

But I guess it is human nature to complain. Most people are never content with the stuff they have, they always want more at a lesser cost. Be it HECS here in Aussie land or the school system inNZ or ‘Free Education’ in the land of the lions, people always want more. They always complain how hard it is. Come on folks; try putting things into perspective once in a while. Learn to be appreciative of the things you have before selling out like the girl that paved the way for this post.

That’s it from me for now. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Ah, Yes. It’s election time in land of lions, I am casting my vote for….

No. Stop right there. I am not talking about the upcoming presidential election. This is something much much more important.

What nonsense! What could be more important that selecting the next president?

Educate Lanka

Yes, yes… I see. We need to Educate Lankans about the atrocities committed by candidate X and the pure goodness of candidate Y. Then everyone will vote for my candidate.

Errr… No again. Educate Lanka Foundation is a Sri Lankan charity that helps underprivileged students achieve education. They are doing a pretty good job too.

Ok great. Good for them. Now can I go and see the latest depredatory comments the politiccas are making about the other party candidate. It’s not like Educate Lanka is sitting the elections.

Well, as a matter of fact, Educate Lanka is in an election – well, sort of. It’s in competition with 99 other charities for the price of 1 million US dollars. I must say that with $1M a lot can be done to educate the underprivileged in Sri Lanka.

Wow, that’s a massive donation!! What’s the story?

It’s the Chase bank community giving program.
Educate Lanka competed with a number of other charities and through a similar voting process was selected for the final round. Now in the final round, they need more votes and you can help.

But can I trust Educate Lanka? I mean who are these people?

For what it’s worth, I trust them. I know many of the volunteers at Educate Lanka Foundation. If you want to find out more about Educate Lanka and their activities, have a look at these:
Website: http://educatelanka.org/
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/educatelanka
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/EducateLanka

OK. I’m in. When and Where do I vote?

Voting starts tomorrow – the 15th and will be open for one week till the 22nd of January.

You can vote here:

Here’s the link (just in case):
http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/858948

All right. I feel good about that. What more can I do?

Well, you can help spread the word. Email, tweet, call, sms, chat, make it your facebook status, etc, etc. In short, get as many people you know to cast a vote and get them to also spread the word.

We have just one week. Let’s forget the politics for a little while. Let’s make it happen.

Do it for Sri Lanka.