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Posts Tagged ‘intelligence

I read this article, Sesame Workshop and IBM team up to test a new A.I.-powered teaching method, with critical optimism.
 

 
After reading the article, I still wondered if the AI was actually adapting to how kids learn or if it was learning how to teach as an adult would. The former focuses on learning while the latter is about teaching.

Teaching and learning are not synonymous. Ideally and intentionally, effective teaching should lead to meaningful learning. However, teaching does not guarantee learning. Let me illustrate.

The article claimed that:

kindergarteners learned words like “arachnid,” “amplify,” “camouflage,” and “applause,” which are typically considered above their grade level.

Kids were taught these words, but did they really learn to use these words in contexts that were meaningful to them? Will they retain and use the words appropriately in future?

My son learnt “chela” and “carapace” in kindergarten. I only learnt these as a Biology major in university. Today he cannot recall those terms or even learning them. However, those terms are etched in my memory even though I have not taught Biology in over 20 years.

I argue that my son was taught those terms, but only I learnt them. It is one thing to teach for short-term gain and retention. It is entirely another to design for long-term and meaningful learning.

If we teach AI the wrong way, then artificial intelligence will have another meaning. It will be about “learning” that is meaningless, superficial, and fleeting.
 

When I drafted this blog entry about two weeks ago, I had read (or reread):

What jumped out of the digital pages at me was Thompson’s declaration that

The most brilliant entities on the planet… are neither high-end machines nor high-end humans. They’re average-brained people who are really good at blending their smarts with machine smarts.

We shape tools and the tools are increasingly shaping us, e.g., consider how mobile devices are changing our behaviours. As lonely as being on a computer might seem, we are part of a collective as we move in and out of hive minds, e.g., the blogosphere, the Twittersphere, the Facebook realm.

We are cyborgs in that sense. Not the scary type that movies portray, but the more insidious sort that co-evolves with technology.


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