[ExI] virtual education, was: RE: virtual travel

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Wed Apr 1 18:04:17 UTC 2020



From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat
Subject: Re: [ExI] virtual education, was: RE: virtual travel


Bear Bryant once said that he thought that he was a better coach of the average player than of the great player…


Ja that isn’t me.  I am the average coach of the greatest players.


I am the averagest person you ever saw, averager than thou (I miss the word thou (now seldom used outside of a few oddball competitions (I go about uttering the word thou for no apparent reason (strolling about uttering thou thou thou thou... (passersby are so puzzled (and mildly alarmed at my apparent insanity (but I digress.)))))))


We have plenty of contests on the two extremes, who can jump the highest and who can sink the ball in the hole with the fewest strokes and so on, but every sport has a bell curve in performance and someone hasta be the most in the center, right at the peak of the performance bell curve, looking down in a sense at those who suck the most and those who suck the least, ja?  That person is the averagest of all, the cee-est of the c students.


We tried to have a contest to see who was the most average person, but it didn’t work out for us: everyone chose their favored event, won that, so it was a multiple tie.  Naturally the logical champion of average would go to whoever was the most average in the greatest number of events.  Then he or she would become the multi-athlon average-lete.


I was getting creamed in that, but then I pointed out the obvious: the most average-lete would be one who is most average, not in a single event nor the greatest number of events, but rather the most average in the most average number of events.


Chaos ensued.  Chaos often ensues when I arrive.  I don’t know why.


>…A related problem:  I am type A – impatient…


Not me.  I am exactly in the middle between patient and impatient.  I won that event.  Winning that event caused me to lose because it put me one over the average in the number of events where I was most average, damn.


>…Are you saying that online education is mostly for the people to the right in the distribution?


Eeeehhhh, kinda sorta.  Prepare yourself Bill, me lad, for what follows is the honest insight in all the silliness: 


The resources are there.  If people use those, they move smartly to the right on the smartness distribution.  Like many human endeavors, the more you know about something, the faster you learn about that something and the more enjoyable becomes that something and the more you know about it.  And so on.  That’s why we have people who know everything about even boring stuff, like rare coins and… dust.


There are many positive feedback loops in learning, and even in attitude: people with a positive outlook tend to look at the bright side and become still more positive.  Those whose outlook is negative become more negative by always seeing the dark side.  These feedback loops can cause people to be unrealistically optimistic, introducing risk of failure, or to make themselves needlessly miserable, wasting perfectly good happiness. 


I strive to be exactly balanced between optimism and pessimism.  Consequently, I won that event.  This caused me to become more optimistic, but that subsequently caused me to lose that event.


BillW, educational resources are there.  They are abundant, they are excellent and they are free as a bird.  Some students gobble them up like an information pac-man, others have no interest and have never even visited there,  They wait for the beleaguered teacher to spoon-feed them an education.  The result of doing that is pretty much what you already know happens, being as you are a professional educator.  The academically rich get dramatically richer, the poor unmotivated wretches get little or nothing.  Their time in the classroom is mostly a waste of everyone’s time and patience.


>…If so, then different teachers or methods or something could be provided for those to the left…


True.  This one of the frustrations of modern teachers.  The best students are a joy to teach: you give them just a little, just an idea, and they take off and fly.  Its fun to watch.  Others sit there imitating a corpse, no interest, bad attitude, no motivation, not rewarding at all to teach.  Fortunately I am a volunteer, so I get to choose my own students.


>…One things about this:  the curve has changed along the way, as those to the left are dropping out at every level…


A math teacher friend of mine estimates that as many as a third of her students haven’t even logged on at all and are doing nothing point nothing during the time school is closed.  They are treating this time like an extended Spring break.  Others are prospering wildly, all the usual suspects of course.  The performance predicted by previous classroom participation about is amplified 20 dB.  Academic winners win.  Losers lose.  Non-participants join the losers.


>…I tried to 'follow' someone on Quora and never did get anything about her in my email.  I am glad you are following and wish you would comment.  Do my answers show up in your email. or what?


It’s a setting.  I had mine set to send me a notice when someone I was following posted a comment.  I have that switched off at the moment but hope to get active again at some point when I get settled a bit with my Markov Chain discovery which is so crazy cool I am struggling to maintain an outlook perfectly balanced between optimism and pessimism.  I may just give up in that event, recognizing I am the dwarf trying to compete in the high-jump.  They don’t even have an officially-sanctioned low-jump competition.  I am the current champion and world record holder in the average-jump contest.



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