To Notice and to Learn

Observations on ideas, human mind, and the world around us

An April Fools Interview with Dunder Mifflin’s ‘Michael Scott’

So for the second year in a row, for the Class Central blog, I’ve posted a fictitious article on April Fool’s Day. Last year, it was making fun of Coursera, edX, and other MOOC providers by describing a shameless product they introduced to make money. This year’s was much more interesting. It posited that Michael Scott of ‘The Office’ (played by actor Steve Carrell) took MOOCs and was interviewed by […]

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Product Concept: A way to Loosely Follow people or things of interest

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Of all the burdens we have to bear in modern society, one of the ones that is growing most is information overload. This is something that has been pointed out for years, and yet new information content is growing–let’s say rapidly (I was going to say exponentially, but I’m not sure if that’s strictly true). Now of course, I think this is a net good thing. I’m sure we’ve all […]

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Go Extinct! educational game – on Kickstarter now

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  One of the projects I am involved in is creating an educational card game for kids called Go Extinct! Yes, its physical cards. The idea is that the game is similar to Go Fish, but instead of using regular playing cards, the cards are based on animals from the evolutionary tree. How is this educational? Three ways: a) Players learn about different animal species, based on beautiful original artwork […]

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MOOC Discussions at SXSW edu 2014

I spent this week at SXSWedu, my first time. It was exciting and quite inspiring. The conference is huge, so much so that if you talked with someone, there’s no guarantee you will run into them again the rest of the 4-day conference. There is an interesting mix of academic researchers, policy folks, nonprofits, ed tech entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and foundations. They all have different perspectives on education (which often, […]

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Where intuition falls short–example: The discipline of finance

One of the recent trends I’ve seen in business over the past decade is an increasing reliance on “data”. You hear people talking about basing decisions on data, ‘crunching the numbers’, doing A/B testing, etc. This doesn’t guarantee being free from bias (indeed, flimsy rationalizations often cite ‘data’), but this is better than thinking that relying on our gut instincts is the best way to go. We’ve learned enough from […]

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Group-ism: the larger problem behind racism, nationalism, and many other -isms

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Most reasonable people nowadays acknowledge that prejudice is a bad thing. But it is such a strong, persistent force that we need to constantly guard ourselves against it. It is so natural, this desire to identify with a group and disparage non-group members. We’ve learned more about this aspect of human behavior (via findings from psychology and cognitive science that are finally reaching the mainstream), and so many of us […]

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