Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

5 June 2020

It’s Time to Listen to the Doomsday Planners

BY MARC AMBINDER
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For a moment earlier this month, the West Wing seemed like a vector of disease. First came the news that Donald Trump’s personal valet had tested positive for the coronavirus. Then the vice president’s spokeswoman, who is married to another senior White House staffer, fell ill with COVID-19. Through it all, the president downplayed the risk of his exposure, openly flouting his top health agencies’ social-distancing guidelines. Trump is fine, but these brushes with the virus raise the question: What’s the plan if the whole White House becomes infected?

The answer typically lies with the government’s so-called doomsday planners—the officials at every major agency who are tasked with preparing and rehearsing the nation’s classified continuity-of-government plans. For decades, doomsday planners’ presence has been tolerated, their recommendations have been stashed in policy documents, and their warnings about dark tidings have been for the most part unheeded. The Trump administration has taken an actively hostile approach, though, decimating the institutional engines of catastrophe planning, including at the National Security Council. As a consequence, the U.S. government was not only ill-prepared for the pandemic, but willfully blinded to its potential size and shape, leaving federal agencies in the position of having to confront a fast-moving hurricane without radar to determine where it was headed or a plan to quickly restore essential functions.

3 June 2020

What It Takes to Give a Great Presentation

Carmine Gallo
I was sitting across the table from a Silicon Valley CEO who had pioneered a technology that touches many of our lives — the flash memory that stores data on smartphones, digital cameras, and computers. He was a frequent guest on CNBC and had been delivering business presentations for at least 20 years before we met. And yet, the CEO wanted to sharpen his public speaking skills.

“You’re very successful. You’re considered a good speaker. Why do you feel as though you need to improve?” I asked.

“I can always get better,” he responded. “Every point up or down in our share price means billions of dollars in our company’s valuation. How well I communicate makes a big difference.”

This is just one example of the many CEOs and entrepreneurs I have coached on their communication skills over the past two decades, but he serves as a valuable case in point. Often, the people who most want my help are already established and admired for their skills. Psychologists say this can be explained by a phenomenon called the Dunning-Kruger effect. Simply put, people who are mediocre at certain things often think they are better than they actually are, and therefore, fail to grow and improve. Great leaders, on the other hand, are great for a reason — they recognize their weaknesses and seek to get better.

28 May 2020

Getting the next phase of remote learning right in higher education

By Christine Heitz, Martha Laboissiere, Saurabh Sanghvi, and Jimmy Sarakatsannis
For higher-education institutions, the first frantic rush of transitioning from in-person to remote learning is behind them—not that the process is complete. Most faculty members have managed to establish new routines. Others are still working out how to teach courses designed for a physical classroom through online platforms that they may still be learning to master.

Students are also having to adjust, expected to learn as much without the ready social connection and energy of a residential and in-person learning environment. It didn’t help that until the COVID-19 crisis, online learning comprised a relatively small share of higher education. Fewer than one in five (18 percent) of US tertiary-level students learned online exclusively; as of fall 2018, about a third had taken at least one course online.1

Now that the first phase has passed, what comes next? This article details five specific actions universities could take in the next few months to help improve student learning, engagement, and experience while operating remotely. Whether students are able to return to campus for the fall term or remain remote for longer, these moves may inspire institutions to pilot new initiatives, learn what works, iterate, and position themselves to create capabilities that will enhance instruction permanently.

Focus on access and equity. Moving from on-campus to remote learning raises issues related to access and equity. There are the immediate logistical challenges of ensuring students have the basic technology they need to learn remotely. One response has been for institutions to offer stipends for internet access and laptop rentals or purchases. Others have loaned equipment and procured additional laptops and hot spots for under-resourced students; this may get equipment to them faster and at an accessible cost. The University of Washington-Bothell, for example, has increased its equipment loan service and bought laptops and hot spots for students who need them.

29 April 2020

Getting the next phase of remote learning right in higher education April 2020 | Article

By Christine Heitz, Martha Laboissiere, Saurabh Sanghvi, and Jimmy Sarakatsannis

For higher-education institutions, the first frantic rush of transitioning from in-person to remote learning is behind them—not that the process is complete. Most faculty members have managed to establish new routines. Others are still working out how to teach courses designed for a physical classroom through online platforms that they may still be learning to master.

Students are also having to adjust, expected to learn as much without the ready social connection and energy of a residential and in-person learning environment. It didn’t help that until the COVID-19 crisis, online learning comprised a relatively small share of higher education. Fewer than one in five (18 percent) of US tertiary-level students learned online exclusively; as of fall 2018, about a third had taken at least one course online.1

Now that the first phase has passed, what comes next? This article details five specific actions universities could take in the next few months to help improve student learning, engagement, and experience while operating remotely. Whether students are able to return to campus for the fall term or remain remote for longer, these moves may inspire institutions to pilot new initiatives, learn what works, iterate, and position themselves to create capabilities that will enhance instruction permanently.

15 April 2020

When School Is Online, the Digital Divide Grows Greater


LIKE MANY STUDENTS around the world, Nora Medina is adapting to online learning. But Medina, a high school senior in Quincy, Washington, who also takes classes at a local community college, faces an additional challenge: She doesn't have reliable internet service at home. She lives 7 miles outside of town where she says neither cable nor DSL internet is available.

She can access the internet on her phone, and her family has a wireless hot spot, but she says the service isn’t up to the task of doing homework online. "It's hit and miss," she says. "Sometimes I can watch a video, but sometimes I can't even refresh a page, or it will take minutes to load something on a page."

Washington governor Jay Inslee this week said the state’s schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. Quincy High School is still planning how best to help students finish the year. But Medina’s classes at Big Bend Community College have shifted online. "I'm just going to hope the hot spot works and wish for the best for my final quarter," she says. "If that doesn't work, I'll do my work from my car in the parking lot at the library to access their Wi-Fi."

10 April 2020

Are Books Essential?

By Robert Zaretsky

In his book The Burning House: What Would You Take?, Foster Huntington interviewed people across the United States, asking what they would grab if their homes were ablaze. His heartbreaking series of photos reveals objects all of us would think are essential—passports, money, pets, spouses—but also objects all of us, except that individual, would think are nonessential: a parent’s ashes or a Lego helicopter, a fountain pen or a shell necklace.

As the world confronts the fire of the novel coronavirus, not just people but entire nations are drawing different lines between the essential and the nonessential. On this side of the Atlantic, Americans are up in arms over whether gun stores should qualify as essential businesses, remaining open even though most other stores are shuttered. On the other side of the pond, however, the French are mounting the (virtual) barricades over the status of a different kind of business—the sort that sells not bullets but books. 

On March 16, the French government released its list of “commerces de premières nécessité,” or essential businesses that would stay open during the national lockdown. Predictably, banks and pharmacies, supermarkets and gas stations made the cut. No less predictably, boulangeries (butcher shops) and tabacs (tobacconists) also made the list.

8 April 2020

The Brilliant Plodder

David Quammen

Charles Darwin is ever with us. A month seldom passes without new books about the man, his life, his work, and his influence—books by scholars for scholars, by scholars for ordinary readers, and by the many unwashed rest of us nonfiction authors who presume to enter the fray, convinced that there’s one more new way to tell the story of who Darwin was, what he actually said or wrote, why he mattered. This flood of books, accompanied by a constant outpouring of related papers in history journals and other academic outlets, is called the Darwin Industry. 

There’s a parallel to this in publishing: the Lincoln Industry, which by one authoritative count had yielded 15,000 books—a towering number—as of 2012, when an actual tower of Lincoln books was constructed in the lobby of the renovated Ford’s Theatre, the site of his assassination, in Washington, D.C. It rose thirty-four feet, measured eight feet around, yet contained less than half the total Lincoln library. You could think of the Darwin library as a similar tower of books three stories high, big around as an oak, festooned with biographies and philosophical treatises and evolutionary textbooks and Creationist tracts and the latest sarcastic volume of The Darwin Awards for suicidal stupidity and books with subtitles such as “Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity.” Janet Browne’s magisterial two-volume life would be included; so would David Dobbs’s Reef Madness, about Darwin’s theory of the formation of coral atolls, and a handful of books on the Scopes trial. Lincoln and Darwin were born on the very same date, February 12, 1809: a good day for the publishing business. 

20 February 2020

How do science and policy intersect? Harvard professor explains


Sheila Jasanoff, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, speaks to TNM about the need for Science and Technology Studies, policy playing catch-up with the progress of science, data collection in democracies and more.

It’s widely accepted in India that humanities and social sciences isn’t given the same due as sciences. But the two still are linked, and the implications of humanities on the sciences are rarely studied. Here’s where Science and Technology Studies comes in. 

An academic field that sits at the intersection of these fields, it looks at how science and technology emerged from society, how it shapes society, what the risks are, etc. In a nutshell, it looks at understanding the relationship between science, politics, societal challenges and law and policy. A pioneer of the field, Sheila Jasanoff, a Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School, speaks to TNM about the origins of the field and the need for one, policy playing catch-up with the progress of science, data collection in democracies and more. 

Sheila, who is originally from India, says that human values are at the centre of science. “In the US, STS has grown hand in hand with engineering, which hasn’t been the case in India,” she says. 

23 January 2020

Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time


On the evening before All Saints’ Day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg. In those days a thesis was simply a position one wanted to argue. Luther, an Augustinian friar, asserted that Christians could not buy their way to heaven. Today a doctoral thesis is both an idea and an account of a period of original research. Writing one is the aim of the hundreds of thousands of students who embark on a doctorate of philosophy (PhD) every year.

In most countries a PhD is a basic requirement for a career in academia. It is an introduction to the world of independent research — a kind of intellectual masterpiece, created by an apprentice in close collaboration with a supervisor. The requirements to complete one vary enormously between countries, universities and even subjects. Some students will first have to spend two years working on a master’s degree or diploma. Some will receive a stipend; others will pay their own way. Some PhDs involve only research, some require classes and examinations and some require the student to teach undergraduates. A thesis can be dozens of pages in mathematics, or many hundreds in history. As a result, newly minted PhDs can be as young as their early 20s or world-weary forty-somethings.

16 December 2019

The best students in the world, ranked by country

Jenny Anderson, Amanda Shendruk
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The results are in for the OECD’s latest global test of 15-year-olds in math, science, and reading. The test, known as PISA (for Programme for International Student Assessment), is administered every three years and used—by some—to measure which countries are best preparing their students for the future.

Once again, Asian countries came out on top. In the latest test, China and Singapore ranked first and second, respectively, in math, science, and reading. Elsewhere, Estonia is noteworthy for its performance, ranking highly in all three subjects.

15 December 2019

Building the tech talent pipeline

By Davis Carlin, Nora Gardner, Bryan Hancock, and Brooke Weddle

Amazon’s search for its HQ2 location sparked fierce competition among US metropolitan areas, as their leaders viewed the headquarters as a game changer for economic development. However, the bidding process also shone a spotlight on the issues of talent development and retention—common challenges for metropolitan areas around the world.

While low interest rates have given companies easy access to money, a reliable pool of qualified workers has become the scarcer capital. And if technology is now the growth engine for business, tech talent and the institutions that produce it are the fuel. Regions recognize that tech workers such as data analysts, web developers, engineers, and the like are a prerequisite for economic development. Yet few metropolitan areas understand the dynamic talent ecosystem—including skills, diversity, and mobility—and how to take coordinated action to move the needle.

When the HQ2 bid was announced, the Capital Region (which encompasses Baltimore; Richmond and northern Virginia; and Washington, DC) had already begun to implement programs to deepen its talent pool. The goal of these efforts was to ensure the region had enough workers with the right skills to satisfy the demand for tech talent across the private and public sectors. To better understand the talent landscape, McKinsey partnered with the Greater Washington Partnership to conduct in-depth research into the Capital Region and other top US metro areas (see sidebar, “About the research”). The result was unprecedented visibility into talent imbalances and common trends as well as new insights into how civic leaders can deal with them effectively.

14 December 2019

Why Don't More Women Win Science Nobels?

by Mary K. Feeney

All of the 2019 Nobel Prizes in science were awarded to men.

That’s a return to business as usual, after biochemical engineer Frances Arnold won in 2018, for chemistry, and Donna Strickland received the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics.

Strickland was only the third female physicist to get a Nobel, following Marie Curie in 1903 and Maria Goeppert-Mayer 60 years later. When asked how that felt, she noted that at first it was surprising to realize so few women had won the award: “But, I mean, I do live in a world of mostly men, so seeing mostly men doesn’t really ever surprise me either."

10 December 2019

Redefining the role of the leader in the reskilling era


Continuous learning in the workplace must become the new norm if individuals and organizations want to stay ahead. This places more demand than ever on leaders to take on a new role they might initially find unfamiliar—that of learning facilitator-in-chief.

Since 2016, the Consortium for Advancing Adult Learning & Development (CAALD) has sought not only to illuminate the big-picture challenges that the reskilling era poses but also to explore the implications for individual leaders. CAALD—a group of learning authorities whose members include researchers, corporate and not-for-profit leaders, and McKinsey experts—recently held its fourth annual meeting in Norwalk, Connecticut.

At one of the meeting’s sessions, four CAALD members—Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice at the London Business School; David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute; Joe Voelker, chief human-resources officer at Stanley Black & Decker; and Tim Welsh, vice chairman of consumer and business banking at US Bank—discussed the mind-sets and behaviors that leaders must learn (and unlearn) in order to meet the needs of their people and their organizations in the age of reskilling.

6 December 2019

National Defense University Press

· Joint Force Quarterly (JFQ), 95 (4th Quarter, October 2019)

o Strategic Army: Developing Trust in the Shifting Landscape

o Maximizing the Power of Strategic Foresight

o Strengthening Mission Assurance Against Emerging Threats: Critical Gaps and Opportunities for Progress

o Pakistan’s Low Yield in the Field: Diligent Deterrence or De-escalation Debacle

o The Second Island Cloud: A Deeper and Broader Concept for American Presence in the Pacific Islands

o America First ≠ America Alone: Morocco as Exemplar for U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy

o Why Normandy Still Matters: Seventy-Five Years On, Operation Overlord Inspires, Instructs, and Invites Us to Be Better Joint Warfighters

o Attacking Fielded Forces: An Airman's Perspective from Kosovo

o Countering Threat Networks to Deter, Compete, and Win: Competition Below Armed Conflict with Revisionist Powers

o Development Beyond the Joint Qualification System: An Overview

o 3D Printing for Joint Agile Operations

o The Chain Home Early Warning Radar System: A Case Study in Defense Innovation

o Wolfe, Montcalm, and the Principles of Joint Operations in the Quebec Campaign of 1759


o Unmasking the Spectrum with Artificial Intelligence

5 December 2019

Closing the Education-Technology Gap

GORDON BROWN , ANANT AGARWAL

LONDON – In 2007, Harvard University economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz published The Race Between Education and Technology. America’s once-great education system, Goldin and Katz argued, was failing to keep pace with technological change and the economic disparity that comes with it. Even more concerning, they would likely make the same argument today. As we enter the third decade of this century, students in the United States and around the world are struggling to get an education that prepares them for a rapidly changing workplace.

Technology is clearly winning the race between man and machine. The current wave of technological change is affecting every industry, requiring skills that are far more advanced and diverse than what was expected of workers just a generation ago. With demand for high-skilled labor outpacing supply, a global elite of highly educated, highly paid professionals has emerged, leading increasingly insulated lives. Worse, access to basic education is still being denied to the bulk of school-age children in developing countries, and a university-level education lies far beyond the reach of millions around the world. We estimate that even in 2040, only 25% of the world’s adult population will have secondary education qualifications or degrees and that a higher percentage, 27%, will either have had no schooling at all or at best an incomplete primary education.

2 December 2019

Home Urine Test For Prostate Cancer Could Revolutionize Diagnosis


A simple urine test under development for prostate cancer detection can now use urine samples collected at home – according to new research from University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Scientists pioneered the test which diagnoses aggressive prostate cancer and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods.

Their latest study shows how the ‘PUR’ test (Prostate Urine Risk) could be performed on samples collected at home, so men don’t have to come into the clinic to provide a urine sample – or have to undergo an uncomfortable rectal examination.

This is an important step forward, because the first urination of the day provides biomarker levels from the prostate that are much higher and more consistent. And the research team hope that the introduction of the ‘At-Home Collection Kit’ could revolutionise diagnosis of the disease.

30 November 2019

Machine Programming: What Lies Ahead?


Imagine software that creates its own software. That is what machine programming is all about. Like other fields of artificial intelligence, machine programming has been around since the 1950s, but it is now at an inflection point.

Machine programming potentially can redefine many industries, including software development, autonomous vehicles or financial services, according to Justin Gottschlich, head of machine programming research at Intel Labs. This newly formed research group at Intel focuses on the promise of machine programming, which is a fusion of machine learning, formal methods, programming languages, compilers and computer systems.

In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton during a visit to Penn, Gottschlich discusses why he believes the historical way of programming is flawed, what is driving the growth of machine programming, the impact it can have and other related issues. He was a keynote speaker at the PRECISE Industry Day 2019 organized by the PRECISE Center at Penn Engineering. 

Following is an edited transcript of the conversation.

9 November 2019

GERMAN LESSONS Thirty years after the end of history: Elements of an education

By Constanze Stelzenmüller

When the revolution happened, I was not there for it. To be exact, I was 3,776 miles away in Somerville, Massachusetts. On the clear, chilly afternoon of November 9, 1989, I was sitting at my desk in the drafty wooden double-decker house whose upper-level apartment I shared with three other graduate students, mulling over an early chapter of my doctoral thesis on direct democracy in America. Hunched over library books on Puritan town meetings, I clasped a mug of steaming tea, swaddled in scarf and sweater, and beneath it all, very probably wearing my L.L. Bean double-layered thermal long underwear, essential for survival in a New England winter.

The house phone rang, and continued to ring insistently. It was another West German student. We were used to ribbing each other about our politics, hers crisply conservative, mine vaguely liberal. She said, without preface: “Turn on the TV, the wall is gone.” Annoyed that I’d lost my train of thought, I retorted grumpily that she’d have to be more creative if she wanted to play one of her right-wing political jokes on me. She merely repeated: “Turn. On. The. TV.” Shocked, I did as I was told, and stared in disbelief at the inconceivable, the impossible: fuzzy shots, in grainy black and white, of tens of thousands of people waving sledgehammers and champagne bottles, dancing and singing — on top of the Berlin Wall, for 28 years one of the most deadly borders on the planet. Many people were chanting “Wir sind das Volk,” we are the people.

Direct democracy in action, live — and in Germany.

8 November 2019

Thirty years after the end of history: Elements of an education

By Constanze Stelzenmüller

When the revolution happened, I was not there for it. To be exact, I was 3,776 miles away in Somerville, Massachusetts. On the clear, chilly afternoon of November 9, 1989, I was sitting at my desk in the drafty wooden double-decker house whose upper-level apartment I shared with three other graduate students, mulling over an early chapter of my doctoral thesis on direct democracy in America. Hunched over library books on Puritan town meetings, I clasped a mug of steaming tea, swaddled in scarf and sweater, and beneath it all, very probably wearing my L.L. Bean double-layered thermal long underwear, essential for survival in a New England winter.

The house phone rang, and continued to ring insistently. It was another West German student. We were used to ribbing each other about our politics, hers crisply conservative, mine vaguely liberal. She said, without preface: “Turn on the TV, the wall is gone.” Annoyed that I’d lost my train of thought, I retorted grumpily that she’d have to be more creative if she wanted to play one of her right-wing political jokes on me. She merely repeated: “Turn. On. The. TV.” Shocked, I did as I was told, and stared in disbelief at the inconceivable, the impossible: fuzzy shots, in grainy black and white, of tens of thousands of people waving sledgehammers and champagne bottles, dancing and singing — on top of the Berlin Wall, for 28 years one of the most deadly borders on the planet. Many people were chanting “Wir sind das Volk,” we are the people.

12 October 2019

Nine Nobel Prize Predictions for 2019


(Inside Science) -- Every year, the Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, physics, and chemistry honor great advances and discoveries in science. Last year, one of our top contenders in medicine -- checkpoint inhibitors for cancer therapy -- won. We were not as successful in the other two categories. But buoyed by that modicum of success, we will again attempt to summarize nine top contenders for these famous science prizes (including one repeat from last year). 
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine -- Announced October 7

As early as 1913, researchers had noticed that certain types of cancer run in families, suggesting that the risk was inherited. That led mid-20th-century researchers to suspect that cancer risk could be encoded in the DNA. But as geneticist Maynard Olson told the University of Washington's alumni magazine Columns in 1996, most assumed that cancer risk would include many different genes and environmental factors, with each gene contributing only a small amount.