I'm trying to get my head around this first stat from the report - I'd love some help -
"Just over half of American adults (53%) say that they are currently employed with full or
So 47% of American adults are not employed with full or part-time work?
So of that 53% (sample size was 2,134 and 1,000 self-ID'd as full or part-time workers), 62% identify themselves as "networked"...now of those:
Turns out that all this connectivity has helped people be more productive, more able to share ideas, more flexible AND work more hours, have more stress and made it tougher to disconnect.
Nothing really shocking here but I guess its nice to see the stats.
Abstract: "People are seeking more meaningful and customized information than what is obtained by keywords-based queries and document retrieval through a search engine. In this paper, we look at a set of such services, referred to as social Q&A sites. With sites such as Google Answers, and primarily Yahoo! Answers, we attempt to understand various characteristics of user participation and their possible effects on the design and success of the site. We discuss these social Q&A sites by comparing their designs based on user participation and point out the effects and defects of each. We show that active user participation is the core component of these sites. We further analyze rich data collected from more than 55,000 Yahoo! Answers user profiles to understand the nature of user participation, and the quality of this participation. With our analysis we discover that Yahoo! Answers model implicitly encourages users to make an active contribution. An important contribution of the work reported here is the framework with which various factors relating to user participation in social Q&A sites can be studied."
...the fact that there is now research showing that computers can use an algorithm to do almost human-like pattern matching and recognition or that the entirety of this article is available for free online. (by the way, side topic, I will NEVER by another computer with anything less than 4GBs of RAM - oh, and Comcast, in case you're doing more illegal packet sniffing, you suck).
This article from ZDNet lays out what I think is huge about this; namely that the algorithm presents:
"a computational model that learns structures of many different forms and that discovers which form is best for a given dataset. The model makes probabilistic inferences over a space of graph grammars representing trees, linear orders, multidimensional spaces, rings, dominance hierarchies, cliques, and other forms and successfully discovers the underlying structure of a variety of physical, biological, and social domains. Our approach brings structure learning methods closer to human abilities and may lead to a deeper computational understanding of cognitive development."
Not bad huh? I know, you're thinking that we're now one step closer to SkyNet becoming active but we're also closer to having truly useful AI.
Here is the mindblowing part....this article is available <drumroll> for free! (here, here, here)
Kudos to the authors or whoever made that call. Imagine, truly useful scientific information being made freely available online. Quake publishers, quake.
I tend to rant a bit about content like scholarly articles being locked behind walled gardens but I must admit that the Harvard Business Review is impressing me. Maybe it's because that while academic, I don't view the HBR as a scholarly journal but more in the "magazine" category. I know that a large part of it is that while much of their content is "premium" - they also manage to generate and give away alot of other content. Some of my recent finds include:
I am also a fan of the videos that are hosted on the survey page as well:
Finally, I'll point you at the HBR IdeaCast (available thru iTunes)- great suff HBR.
Do you work for the "Overmanaged Organization"? The Passive-Aggressive organization? Which organization "has scores of smart, motivated, and talented people, but they rarely pull in the same direction at the same time"?
While this simulator from Booz & Co. might not be sophisticated enough to craft your next five-year plan from, I think it could start some really interesting discussions.
I've always wanted to attend the American Education Research Association's annual meeting but have always either missed it timing wise or just been a little over-awed - have you seen the program? I mean these people are doing sessions until like 8:00 at night!
Part of me will always be an academic at heart though and that part lusts after attending some of these sessions. Look at this little selection I got when I searched the online program for 'games' (I hope these links work):
A Constructionist Approach to Learning Through Designing Games: What Videogame Making Can Teach Us About Literacy and Learning
What Do We Know About the Effectiveness of Instructional Strategies in Computer Games?
A Frankenstein Approach to Open Source: The Construction of a 3D Game Engine as Meaningful Educational Process
Cognitive Transfer and the Game of Chess: Representation and Expertise
Now I did read Tony O'Driscoll's very fine rant earlier this month, so I am bit hesitant to put out there that I would really like to attend this academic event - only because Tony goes on at some length about the perils of an Ivory Tower approach which some might conflate with an academic approach - I don't think they are the same thing and I suspect that Tony might agree that there is a difference. To me, I think that I'm more comfortable talking about the 'bunker mentality' of some folks in our industry versus the ivory tower.
Anyway, I'd love to hear from anyone who has actually attended AERA...and then I might ask, if the silence is deafening - is it me (i.e. nobody reads this blog) or is it our industry focus - that would lead to a dearth of attendees?
I am a big fan of big questions. I think that sessions like the Game Design Challenge and its "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" cousin - "The Great ILS Challenge"(scroll down, its #800), force us to ask questions about what we can do. I love the Learning Circuits Blog Big Question of the Month (BQOTM) and think that it has really spurred some insightful discussions that might not have occurred otherwise. I do have to say though that the BQOTM has a big brother out there and it asks REALLY big questions.
The Edge describes it's purpose as "To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves." The main way that Edge gets at these questions is ironically enough, through asking their annual question. You can see the past questions here, and if you doubt the bigness of their questions, past ones have included; What is your dangerous idea?, What's you law?, What's your question? and What now?
So that is a long way to get to this - as I was reading this year's entries, I came across this gem from Joseph Ledoux, neuroscientist and author of The Synaptic Self:
"Like many scientists in the field of memory, I used to think that a memory is something stored in the brain and then accessed when used. Then, in 2000, a researcher in my lab, Karim Nader, did an experiment that convinced me, and many others, that our usual way of thinking was wrong. In a nutshell, what Karim showed was that each time a memory is used, it has to be restored as a new memory in order to be accessible later. The old memory is either not there or is inaccessible. In short, your memory about something is only as good as your last memory about it. This is why people who witness crimes testify about what they read in the paper rather than what they witnessed. Research on this topic, called reconsolidation, has become the basis of a possible treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, drug addiction, and any other disorder that is based on learning."
Well that got me thinking.
"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—; I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
The world can be a murky place but sometimes you get two examples side-by-side and their contrast makes a set of differences crystal clear. A post on Danah Boyd's blog Zephoria, pointed out the fact that the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning from MIT Press was now up an online.
Part of that series is a book entitled "The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning" edited by the wonderful Katie Salen. The is an edited work and the essays are all by well-known, highly respected authors/researchers/designers. You can order the paper back for $16US or the hard back for $32US....or...(wait for it)...you can download the whole thing for FREE!!
Later I was perusing my feeds and I noticed that the journal of Dialectical Anthropology had two recent articles in it that I thought would be worth checking out: Creative Social Research: Rethinking Theories and Methods and the Calling of an Ontological Epistemology of Participation and Virtual Speakers, Virtual Audiences: Agency, Audience and Constraint in an Online Chat Community. The punchline that you may have already guessed? Yeah...access to the articles costs...$30US for EACH!! Let me see....a whole book for free or two articles for $60US? Hmmm.....that's tough. Remember that old bit about "If a tree falls and no one is there, does it make a sound?" How about "If you write an article and only the people who review it for publication read it, does it make any difference?"
Honestly, we know that the recording industry and the movie industry (as they specifically relate to the digital world) are evil, close-minded dinosaurs that are stuck in Donner Pass mentality of attempting to eat their own customers as they quickly twirl into irrelevance but come on....shouldn't we expect a bit more from academia?
Back in 1999, Robert Darnton, professor emeritus of history at Princeton and past president of the American Historical Association, wrote a piece for the New York Review of Books entitled "The New Age of the Book." Darnton is also a proponent of e-publishing especially as it relates to acedmia; in that article he asserted that "the best case to be made for e-books concerns scholarly publishing, not in all fields, but in large stretches of the humanities and social sciences where conventional monographs—that is, learned treatises on particular subjects—have become prohibitively expensive to produce. The difficulty is so severe, in fact, that it is transforming the academic landscape." That transformation is not in a positive either in case you were wondering.
Darnton goes on to say;
"Commercial publishers have raised the price of periodicals, especially in the natural sciences, to such a height that they have created havoc in the budgets of research libraries. In order to maintain their collections of periodicals, libraries have cut back drastically in the purchases of monographs. Faced with the decline in orders from libraries, university presses have virtually ceased publishing in the fields for which there is the least demand. And scholars in those fields no longer have an adequate outlet for their research. The crisis concerns the workings of the marketplace, not the value of the scholarship; and it is greatest among those with the greatest need to overcome it—the next generation of academics whose careers depend upon their ability to break into print."
So in an age when we have the Public Library of Science Journals and the Directory of Open Access Journals, and when we have academic journals working with publishers who are pricing their product out of the reach of almost everyone and not to mention the Creative Commons; why then do academics still work with these dinosaur publishers and limit the accessibility of their work to all but a handful? Wake up people! You own the content. Publishing has never been easier. You can still maintain all the rigor of peer-review but take back the content from these people who seek nothing but to profit from your own work.
Take the other path....please
"This thesis provides a theoretical and empirical exploration of game designs that follow a more integrated approach, broadly known as intrinsic integration (Kafai, 2001). This is also often called intrinsic or endogenous fantasy, as it was fantasy elements that were considered key to creating this integration in the early research (Malone, 1981; Malone & Lepper, 1987). However, this thesis proposes an alternative viewpoint that identifies gameplay mechanisms or game mechanics as more critical to effective integration than fantasy. Both formative and
summative evaluations are described which develop and test this new theory
using a prototype mathematics game called Zombie Division. "