Archive for June, 2008
Not always, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal by Alan Charles Kors.¬† A lot of Kors’ lament is aimed at the erosion of higher education in the cause of political correctness.¬† This quote, though, seems to crystallize a group of related ideas I have been considering:
The power of universities comes from their monopoly of credentials. As Richard Vedder so deeply understands in his “Going Broke by Degree,” they are the only institutions allowed to separate young individuals by IQ and by the ability to complete complex tasks. They do not add value to that, except in technical fields. Recruiters do not pay premiums because of what the Ivy League or the flagship state universities teach in English, history, political science, or sociology. They hire there despite, not because of, that. Recruiters do not pay premiums because our children have been sent to multicultural centers for sensitivity training. Recruiters pay premiums for the value already there, which universities merely identify. So long as recruiters pay premiums, however, it is rational for parents who wish to gain the most options for their children to send them to the university with the most prestigious degree. That will not change in the current scheme.
Will the perceived value of an Ivy League education decline as the cost continues to rise?¬† There are better ways to determine a person’s IQ and ability to do complex tasks.
The real value in education is in the technical fields.¬† Technical training adds value to the student.1 comment
NO! I’m not talking about our legendary propensity for ‘big talk.’¬† “Forecast Earth” has a great video on wind power in Sweetwater - the location of the main campus of TSTC West Texas.¬† TSTC, the big growth in jobs, the economics of wind power, and the earlier referenced T. Boone Pickens plan for a massive wind farm are all discussed.No comments
Video of high school students at the Gear Up Welding Camp at TSTC Waco:
Now OTHER people at TSTC have Flip Ultra video cameras.¬† I’m a trendsetter!No comments
You will find conflicting claims about who was first with what, but it is important to remember that these pioneers laid the foundation for everything that came later in computing.¬†¬† It was the pioneers who first designed input and output systems.¬† They figured out that binary would work better than decimal systems.¬† Babe’s distinction was that it could store a program - i.e., it had a memory (128 bytes!).
According to Wikipedia:
The first program consisted of 17 instructions. Written by Kilburn, it was designed to find the highest proper factor of 218 (262,144) by trying every integer from 218 - 1 downwards. It took 3.5 million operations and 52 minutes to produce the answer.
How will people sixty years from now describe the primitve and slow nature of our computers?No comments
TSTC Waco was featured on this local news story about increasing numbers of distance learning students.¬† The cost of gasoline was suggested as one explanation.¬† The video (here) notes that we had 713 students enrolled in DL courses this summer, up around 300 from last summer.
The reporter interviewed a student named Elisabeth Sandifar out on the campus mall.¬†¬† She is a dual credit student.¬† Karen Norman, an instructor in Computer Networking & Systems Administration who is continuing her education online from UT Tyler, was also interviewed for the piece.2 comments
TechYes Blog has a post on an addition to the TechYES Student Literacy Certification Program. Science is the new module. The whole set is available on the website and looks like it is reasonably priced. As I have said before, we should not assume they know how to use technology wisely and efficiently just because they are called ‘digital natives’.No comments
My daughter ran across this at a recent conference. I remember the commercial from 2000 Superbowl. See if it doesn’t remind you of your job.
Great stuff from the dawn of computerized graphics for TV commercials. It was even more amazing at the time.No comments
Our last video of the day featured a creative safety video made by Mr. Jones of the Morrisville, PA high school shop class. The same class and teacher showed up on local television news because of a project to make toys for needy kids at Christmas.
As I pointed out in my post on technical students with social concerns, CTE students aren’t only interested in technology. They also want to make a difference. That’s cool because while most of us whine and wait for others to make the change, they actually have the skills to build a better world.No comments
There is a good post at the blog for the Center for College Affordability and Productivity that asks that very question. It makes the argument that money is not being used where it should be:
The game is this: “we are moving to a more knowledge based economy, so nearly everyone should go to college,” or so says the Educational Establishment. Then, the legislators appropriate more money. Then colleges take that money –and use it on virtually everything but expanding access.
As I blogged here, putting more tax dollars into higher education often does not result in improved education. Instead, the money is used for “prestige-building” activities like hiring non-teaching Nobel laureates.No comments
Excellent essay at The Atlantic.
The common ambivalence about balancing college and career education is well-identified:
There is a sense that the American workforce needs to be more professional at every level. Many jobs that never before required college now call for at least some post-secondary course work…
America, ever-idealistic, seems wary of the vocational-education track. We are not comfortable limiting anyone‚Äôs options. Telling someone that college is not for him seems harsh and classist and British, as though we were sentencing him to a life in the coal mines. I sympathize with this stance; I subscribe to the American ideal.
Read the whole thing.1 comment
You knew it was coming, and now the NYT says it is here.
Take a look at this very cool Cray 2 (with liquid cooling “waterfall”) from 1985:
This machine which went for millions of dollars did about 824 MIPS (million instructions per second). Your average PC today does something around 20,000 MIPS. A top performer does closer to 60,000 MIPS
The Cray 2 could do about 3.9 GFLOPS (gigaFLOPS or billions of FLoating point Operations Per Second). The IBM supercomputer referenced above broke through the petaFLOP barrier. That would be a quadrillion FLOPS.
I blogged earlier about our supercomputing program at TSTC Waco. These students are doing some really fun stuff that they can get paid for in the real world.1 comment
After reading The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, I am more convinced than ever that humans are pathetic predictors of “Things to Come“. That conviction conspires with my love for technology to produce a fascination with past visions of the future. I am intrigued by where they came close and where their blind spots were.
This video of a “future car” from 1963 is a good example. It has voice activated electronic controls (in 1963!), but there is no emphasis on greater economy, safety, or environmental friendliness. Then there is that cocktail bar (with extra ashtrays). They did as well as anyone could imagine with the technology in 1963, but the economic and social trends could have never been predicted.
It is unusual to find technology predictions like that - accurately predicting voice control nearly forty years before it became common in cars (I’m still waiting for delivery of my flying car). That is where technical education comes into this discussion. Knowing what to teach and when means trying to predict what technologies are coming and how they will be used in a changing culture. I think that our technology forecasts do that as well as humanly possible.¬† We have to make program decisions and our industry partners are the best place to start. After all, their futures rely on guessing right, too.
What is the relationship between “retro futurism” and “futuristic retroism” like this steampunk computer?1 comment
One of the difficult issues in alternative energy is storage. A conventional power plant can ramp up production for peak times and then throttle back. Wind and sun aren’t so controllable. Batteries are expensive and can be dangerous
This article at LiveScience discusses progress being made in using compressed air to store energy. It is fascinating stuff. Studying fluid power could pay big future benefits for your CTE students.No comments
Blogging has been slow lately for a variety of reasons. In the mean time, please enjoy this video. It is an extremely creative safety video for a high school CTE class done with action figures and stop-motion. It¬† provides some laughs while teaching a serious subject that all CTE teachers and students are concerned with. Give it some time. It starts out slowly and gets better all along.No comments