Marty Walsh had a problem. Boston’s mayor wanted to address pay disparities between men and women, publicizing, as a first step, the average gap in different Boston industries. Normally, calculating that gap would require taking the actual pay gap at each company in an industry, adding them up, and then dividing by the number of companies to reach an average. But companies’ payrolls are proprietary, because their disclosure could be a boon to competitors, a black eye for the firms, and ammo for disgruntled employees who could sue over pay inequities.
Enter Bestavros, a College of Arts and Sciences computer science professor, who proposed an ingeniously simple algorithm from computer science that will allow the city to calculate those industry pay averages, by gender, from a total of 60 participating employers, without any daylight shining on an individual company’s proprietary information.
When you look at the very best work happening in iPad classrooms, you'll see students creating media, showcasing their understanding, collaborating with peers, and communicating with broad audiences. The pockets of excellence are ever-present and inspiring. On the whole, however, tablets are most often used to reproduce existing practices—to distribute resources and enable students to take notes.
Past generations of school leaders might have been forgiven for permitting these patterns of technology adoption, but today we have the benefit of history to look back on. We know that without a change in our technology integration strategies, there's no reason to expect that a new device will magically create new teaching practices in schools.
To make the most of the investment in tablet computers, school leaders need to do three things. First, they need to work with their communities to articulate a clear vision for how new technology will improve instruction. Second, they need to help educators imagine how new technologies can support those visions. Finally, they need to support teachers and students on a developmental journey that will take them from using tablets for consumption to using them for curation, creation, and connection."
I am writing a series of blog posts related to the integration of technology in the classroom. Each blog post will include practical examples of how to use a specific tool and integrate it into you...
We are living in revolutionary times. It is urgent that we think of education, children and teaching differently from the past. The classroom needs to be a place of innovation where students are able to connect with others, feel empowered and curious and have a say in their learning. Technology provides us with tools to expand our minds and extend our reach (Sir Ken Robinson, 2014).
In contrast to entropy, which increases monotonically, the "complexity" or "interestingness" of closed systems seems intuitively to increase at first and then decrease as equilibrium is approached. For example, our universe lacked complex structures at the Big Bang and will also lack them after black holes evaporate and particles are dispersed. This paper makes an initial attempt to quantify this pattern. As a model system, we use a simple, two-dimensional cellular automaton that simulates the mixing of two liquids ("coffee" and "cream"). A plausible complexity measure is then the Kolmogorov complexity of a coarse-grained approximation of the automaton's state, which we dub the "apparent complexity." We study this complexity measure, and show analytically that it never becomes large when the liquid particles are non-interacting. By contrast, when the particles do interact, we give numerical evidence that the complexity reaches a maximum comparable to the "coffee cup's" horizontal dimension. We raise the problem of proving this behavior analytically.
Quantifying the Rise and Fall of Complexity in Closed Systems: The Coffee Automaton Scott Aaronson, Sean M. Carroll, Lauren Ouellette
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