Web Skills tied to Family Income Level

Submitted by Dana Haugh on Thu, 09/25/2014 - 10:40am.

An interesting article in the Times about the relationship between online information literacy and average family income: Academic Skills on Web Are Tied to Income Level. It suggests that students coming from wealthier families are better at online academic research than those coming from middle to lower class families.

“Teachers have to expect and recognize that they can’t just say ‘Google something,’ because some of our students still don’t know what that means, believe it or not,” said Susan B. Neuman, a professor of early childhood and literacy education at New York University who is a co-editor of Reading Research Quarterly. In the study, the researchers polled the students about whether they used the Internet for schoolwork. They found that three quarters of the students in the lower-income school had been required to use the web for sch

MOOC Business Model

Submitted by Xiang Liu on Thu, 09/25/2014 - 9:44am.

An interesting and possible MOOC business model.

A Good WYSIWYG Editor for Markdown

Submitted by Yudan Li on Thu, 09/25/2014 - 9:13am.

When you edit documents on BitBucket, you will use the Markdown syntax. Markdown is a new type of text-to-html syntax, which is comprised entirely of punctuation characters. The punctuation characters have been carefully chosen so as to look like what they mean.

As I'm creating a long README file using markdown on BitBucket, I have to save the text from time to time. I do this in order to inspect what my latest input looks like and also to make sure all work is saved in time. However, I noticed saving of the work was taking a long time. I think this is because my document is very long.

I searched online for potential workaround for this and found mou (http://25.io/mou/) editor, which you can install on your MAC and work on markdown document locally. The great thing about it is that it has two screens, one for input and the other for output. With this, you can work on your documents in a WYSIWYG style, which will save you a lot of time.

Google's Culture and Interview Process

Submitted by Pranav Garg on Wed, 09/24/2014 - 8:38pm.

This is an inspiring article on how Google does self reflection in their culture and interview process.

Comparison of Different Machine Learning Algorithms

Submitted by Xiang Liu on Wed, 09/24/2014 - 4:45pm.

This paper talked about results of comparing different machine learning techniques in classification problem. The results are interesting and somehow expected. Support Vector Machines (SVM) and Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) performed best overall. Also, feature selection is a a great factor for any algorithm. Selecting irrelevant features will have a huge impact on any of them and Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) suffered most. Apply some sort of filter before using features as it is very important, especially for LDA.

The results are can be very helpful in choosing which ML method. And using a filter is a great idea!

NY Art Book Fair at MoMa PS1

Submitted by Dana Haugh on Wed, 09/24/2014 - 8:47am.

MoMA PS1 is hosting an art book fair this weekend beginning Friday 9/26 and ending Sunday 9/28! (There's also a sneak preview happening tomorrow 9/25 from 6-9pm that I will be attending). It's free and open to the public and there will even be a few authors signing copies of their books during the event!

Definitely something to check out if you have the time. Here is more information on the fair:


Printed Matter presents the ninth annual NY Art Book Fair, from September 26 to 28, 2014, at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, Queens. Free and open to the public, the NY Art Book Fair is the world’s premier event for artists’ books, catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines. This year, the fair features over 350 booksellers, antiquarians, artists, institutions and independent publishers from twenty-eight countries. Last year’s fair was attended by more than 27,000 people.

The Dancing Traffic Light

Submitted by Gonzalo Obelleiro on Mon, 09/22/2014 - 10:43am.

Interactivity in signage.

Allocative and Productive Efficiency

Submitted by Ahmed Bagigah on Mon, 09/22/2014 - 12:36am.

Economics can be defined as the study of consumption and production of goods and services. There are factors of production such as labor, labor and capital that are needed for any economic system to function. Choices are made due to limited amount of resources. Economic efficiency is a based on making optimal use of scarce resources in order to maximize benefits. In the market system, there are many ways to determine efficiency. Two economic concepts regarding efficiency are allocative and productive efficiency.

Allocative efficiency is based on whether goods and services produced matches changing needs and preferences that we place with the greatest value. Allocative efficiency can be achieved when no one is better off without making someone worse off; this is also known as pareto efficiency. Allocative efficiency is the point of the productive frontier where you cannot produce one more good without giving up another. In achieving allocative efficiency marginal cost is equals to price. On the other hand, productive efficiency can be defined as a concept of producing goods and services at the lowest cost. This is the outcome achieved at all points on the productive possibility frontier. In this case, only one more product can be produced at the expense of producing less of another product. Product efficiency requires firms to use the best technology in order to push the productive possibility frontier outward and for business to produce more output.

Quality Education for the MENA Region

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Sun, 09/21/2014 - 7:43pm.

The Arab Regional Agenda for Improving Education Quality (ARAIEQ) is a program designed to improve the quality of Middle East and North Africa schools. The purpose of this program is to improve the education systems of these regions. Just like many undeveloped countries, Arab countries know the importance of a quality education system on their future. Thus, at the ARAIEQ meeting, was held in Tunis, leaders discussed and proposed probable solutions for improving education in the region.

This source from the World Bank presents some of the discussed topics at the ARAIEQ meeting. One of the major talking points is creating measurably better systems. In essence, governments should make data on the quality education systems public. This is objective of ARAIEQ’s evaluation program. Another idea is schools buildings and ICT. Technology today has become an important part of education. Many developed countries have are using technology to teach students as it inspires students to learn and be creative.

Dynamical Bayesian network analysis of peer tutoring interactions

Submitted by Xiang Liu on Fri, 09/19/2014 - 2:26pm.

Hui Soo and I are going to attend a talk by Yoav Bergner (ybergner@ets.org) from ETS.

Here is the abstract:
The ability to automatically distinguish between successful and deleterious patterns in collaborative learning sessions opens doors to improved opportunity for learning in pairs or groups even when a teacher might not be available to facilitate. In this
presentation, data from one-time computer-based peer tutoring sessions are modeled using hidden Markov models (HMMs) in two ways. The first model uses an input-output HMM to compare the assistance value of different tutor inputs in helping the tutee correct a mistaken step in solution. This model uses only automatically generated codes based on context and cognitive content of the tutor chat. It’s successes and failures are both informative! The second model predicts tutee normalized gains from pre- to post-test in the experimental condition. Both cognitive and affective labels to tutor chats (human-coded) were included as well as tutee (in)correctness, undos, and chats back to the tutor. Performance of the HMM is favorable compared to a static logistic regression model using aggregated totals of the same observables. Some of the hidden states are readily interpretable, though deeper comparison between high- and low-gain groups is part of ongoing work.

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