This free Information Age Education Newsletter is written by David
Moursund and produced by Ken Loge. For more information, see the end of
Informal and formal education help to prepare a leaner for the future.
Our school system attempts to predict the future as part of the
information needed to develop appropriate curriculum to use in our
I spend quite a bit of time reading future-oriented
materials. From time to time a document seems particularly interesting
to me, and I add it to the Information Age Education Wiki at http://iae-pedia.org/What_the_Future_is_Bringing_Us
The Association for Computing Machinery publishes a free newsletter three times a week. See http://www.acm.org/news/featured/free-technews
to subscribe to this newsletter.
am a subscriber. I browse the titles of each of the items in the
newsletter. If the title seems relevant to my interests, I read the
first couple of sentences of the paragraph-length summary of the
article provided in the newsletter. If that seems relevant to my
interests, I go to the linked article and read part or all of it. If I
think the information will be of interest to my readers, I make an
addition to the Wiki entry listed above and/or include the information
in my other writings.
My Five-Step Process
Notice the steps I have described. For the ACM newsletter:
signed up for this free electronic newsletters a long time ago, because
it fits with my general interests in the field of Computer and
Information Science. I am committed to continuing to add to my
professional knowledge in that discipline.
- I browse the
titles of content in each newsletter. I make quite rapid “go, no go”
decisions. For the ACM newsletter, typically I immediately reject about
2/3 of the content based just on the titles.
- I read the first
couple of sentences of the paragraph-length summaries of the articles
that have catch my attention. For each of the brief summaries, I make a
“go, no go” decision. A “go” decision is to read the whole brief
summary and/or to go to the article.
- If I go to the article,
I generally read only a part of it—but I occasionally read the whole
thing. That is, I am continually dealing with information overload and
not enough time to read all of the good materials that are available.
- If the article is somewhat future-oriented and particularly relevant to
my interests in educational aspects of the discipline of Computer and
Information Science, I make an addition to my Wiki at http://iae-pedia.org/What_the_Future_is_Bringing_Us.
In addition, I may make use of the article in my other writing. See the remainder of this IAE Newsletter.
Here is the list of items in the November 16, 2009 ACM Newsletter.
- Supercomputers With 100 Million Cores Coming By 2018
- Disease-Matching Software Could Save Children
- ECS Researchers Present Learning Technologies in USA
- Contact Lenses to Get Built-In Virtual Graphics
- Working Together to Design Robust Silicon Chips
- Intel Says Shape-Shifting Robots Closer to Reality
- Stanford-Led Research Helps Overcome Barrier for Organic Electronics
- How Secure Is Cloud Computing?
- What Computer Science Can Teach Economics
- Tough Choices for Supercomputing's Legacy Applications
- New 'finFETs' Promising for Smaller Transistors, More Powerful Chips
- Jaguar Supercomputer Races Past Roadrunner in Top500
- It's All Semantics: Searching for an Intuitive Internet That Knows What Is Said—and Meant
As I skim this list, I draw on my knowledge and interest in education,
the future, and the field of Computer and Information Science.
Remember, in this case I am making quick decisions about 13 published
The title of the first article gives me all of the
information I need. It is a forecast that super computers will become
more and more capable by the process of adding more and more
micro-processors. I already know that year-by-year these
micro-processors become faster. My mind does a loop-de-loop as it
struggles with the idea of a hundred million micro-processors, (each
with a speed of a number of billions of operations a second) working on
a problem. I think about computers getting better and better at dealing
with very complex problems such as simulation of the human brain,
better weather forecasting and global climate forecasting, simulation
of the actions of the billions of people who populate the earth, and so
on. How does one educate students for life in a world in which
significant progress is being made in studying such very complex and
challenging problems? What does the ordinary person need to know about
computer modeling and simulation?
This constructivist thinking firmly embeds the number 100 million processors into my brain, and I go on to the next title.
second article interests me and I read its short summary. It discusses
computer software that is better than well-trained doctors at dealing
with a large collection of symptoms of a patient and prescribing
appropriate treatment. I have long been interested in artificial
intelligence. This is an example of continued progress in the area. I
wonder briefly how such software is changing medical education and
medial treatments. I think about how progress in this area of AI will
affect the ability of people to self-diagnose (with the use of such
software) an increasing number of their medical problems.
Alternatively, perhaps much of the diagnostic work that ordinary
doctors now do will be done by a technician or nurse.
In the third title, I don’t know what ECS is. I spend a few seconds reading the first sentence of the article:
from the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer
Science (ECS) presented the most recent developments in the school's
Learning Societies Lab at a recent symposium at the IBM Thomas J.
Watson Research Center.
This provides me with a general
reaffirmation that countries and companies throughout the world are
continuing to make significant contributions to the steadily growing
accumulated knowledge of the human race. I briefly reflect on issues of
information overload and how one designs an educational system to
prepare students for this continuing very rapid growth in the totality
of human knowledge.
The fourth article catches my attention.
Wow! Embedding virtual reality capabilities into one’s contact lenses.
The details don’t interest me. Rather, it is the general idea that
virtual realities are becoming more readily available. It reminds me of
the Star Trek Holodeck. What will our education system be like when
students can routinely be immersed in virtual realities in that are
representative of some of the people, places, things, and environments
that they are studying?
As you can see, I could easily extend this into a very long article.
The ACM materials that I read point to continuing rapid change in
computer technology and in computer-based problem solving. There are
clear, general patterns of the changes that are occurring.
summary, computers are getting faster. New, very powerful applications
software is being developed. The totality of readily accessible
accumulated human knowledge is growing. More and more of the
accumulated knowledge is being collected in a form that computers can
use to help solve problems. Computer-based aids to representing and
solving problems are getting more and more powerful. Artificially
intelligent problem-solving systems are getting better than humans in a
variety of areas.
About Information Age Education, Inc.
Information Age Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to
improving education for learners of all ages throughout the world. IAE
is a project of the Science Factory, a 501(c)(3) science and technology
museum located in Eugene, Oregon. Current IAE activities include a Wiki
with address http://IAE-pedia.org,
a Website containing free books and articles at http://I-A-E.org, and the free newsletter
you are now reading.
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