Handwriting notes is better than typing notes during a lecture

Drake Baer discusses recent research on handwriting notes versus taking notes on a computer during a lecture. It turns out that taking handwritten notes accelerates learning while taking notes on a computer adds little gto our learning processes. “[A] skilled typist… will be able write down almost every word that the lecturer utters. … that transcription process doesn’t require any critical thinking. So while you’re putting the words down on the page, your brain doesn’t have to engage with the material. As learning science has discovered, if you’re not signaling that the material is important to your brain, it will discard the lecture from memory for the sake of efficiency. But if you are taking notes by hand … you’ll have to look for representative quotes, summarize concepts, and ask questions about what you don’t understand. This requires more effort than just typing every word out — and the effort is what helps cement the material in your memory. The more effort you put into understanding something, the stronger signal you’re giving your brain that it’s worth remembering.”

Media education and Facebook

For Beata Staszynska and me an important aspect of media education is reflection. An example of this kind of reflection is when we ask ourselves whether we really want to publish a text we wrote, upload a picture we took or publish a comment that is waiting in the comment box.

This is, as it occurs from a study, seen by Facebook as inethical. “[Researchers] Das and Kramer argue that self-censorship can be bad because it withholds valuable information. If someone chooses not to post, they claim, “[Facebook] loses value from the lack of content generation.” After all, Facebook shows you ads based on what you post. Furthermore, they argue that it’s not fair if someone decides not to post because he doesn’t want to spam his hundreds of friends—a few people could be interested in the message. … This paternalistic view isn’t abstract. Facebook studies this because the more its engineers understand about self-censorship, the more precisely they can fine-tune their system to minimize self-censorship’s prevalence. This goal—designing Facebook to decrease self-censorship—is explicit in the paper. So Facebook considers your thoughtful discretion about what to post as bad, because it withholds value from Facebook and from other users.”

Here we have the use of media education in a nutshell: it empowers civic ethics that commerce tries to undermine.

Wearables data in court

Christina Bonnington writes: “Last month, data from a wearable was entered as courtroom evidence for the first time.”

She asks herself when wearables data are admittable in court cases. “Data is data, whether it comes from a document, a drive or a device on your wrist. The key is authentication: Data must be legitimate, accurate, and related to the party in question. New technologies always undergo extra scrutiny, but if an attorney can prove those three criteria have been met, then wearable data is admissible. And there’s the catch. Wearables, by their very nature, can easily be taken off, worn by others, or jostled to create false readings. Thus, wearable data might be easy to undermine.”

Profiling between devices

It is not simple for advertisers to recognize end-users across devices. “Apple’s Safari browser for smartphones and tablets prevents tracking cookies from being installed … Many phone users jump from app to app without using their browsers … On top of everything else, “you tend to overcount clicks, because many are caused by fat fingers,” notes Kim Riedell, senior vice president of product and marketing at Digilant … Apple does use an identifier for iPhones that makes it possible for advertisers to track user activities. Google’s Android operating system permits cookies, and Google has also launchedits own Advertising ID. Even in those cases, it’s difficult to follow a user from phone to tablet to desktop unless the user logs in to an advertiser’s page on each device or uses a browser that permits tracking.”

The solution: “Recently, data management companies have started using statistical analysis to make educated guesses about user identity. They can hypothesize, based on certain limited pieces of information, that a given smartphone user probably is the same person as a given desktop user. Among the data they collect and analyze is information about the Wi-Fi networks a person uses, the websites she regularly visits, time-of-day patterns, and geographical cues.”

Democracy in the connected age

Yiannis Laouris bravely searches for a third road between representative democracy and direct democracy in the European Parliament.

My comment
We educate citizens of all ages to fit in a broken political system – not as active participants but as consumers who once every few years buy a new product in the form of a political party.
Democratic politicians have created a reality with its own rules and its own language that has lost authenticity. Big words are used not to propagate ideas but to continue the status-quo. Democratic politics has become like corporate firms that pledge innovation but make money on business as usual.
Therefore, both the citizens and the politicians are broken and need to be repaired. Citizens need to leave behind their identity as passive consumers, politicians need to leave behing their identity as corporate marketing managers.
The only feasible way I see this happen is to start educating both citizens and politicians to master civic skills that are essential to deal with otherness: to be able to conduct a dialogue, to negotiate, to gain mutual understanding, to manage or resolve conflicts and being able to learn during our entire life span. Mind you, these are no political skills. It is not about using these skills to win. It is about using these skills to be able to live together based on empathy.
Two groups in particular in my opinion need to acquire these skills as soon as possible: indigenous citizens and politicians above regional level. They have no accountability and therefore no need for self-reflection. And I believe that self-reflection is the basis of all civic skills.

3D holograms you can feel

More info here
Thanks to Mattheos Kakaris

Deep learning to recognize embarrassing images

Facebook’s Yann LeCun works on using deep learning to create an AI app that recognizes embarrassing pictures.

Again a knife that cuts both ways. Do we trust the one that holds the knife?


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