Monday, February 27, 2017

10 reasons robots cannot replace Teachers.

During the industrial revolution machines took over jobs from humans and later expanded our capacity to accommodate more humans into these industries. And now in the information age history is back again to haunt employees in most sectors of various economies, as robots are warming up to the challenge of displacing the human workforce.

 Just recently Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates came up with a brilliant idea of robots paying a kind of income tax, if allowed to displace the human workforce; which I believe would become a policy in the right direction to be adopted ASAP.

Years back in my high school days, I saw the Class 1999 movie, where robots were employed to replace teachers who could no longer handle students that had converted their school into a stronghold for gangsters. The robots brought extreme order in chaos and the result was the extermination of non-compliant students by the robots that had gone out of the programming control of the authorities.

A list of twenty employments that are now almost in the hands of robots include:
1.         Chefs
2.         Surgeons
3.         Factory workers.
4.         Retail sales associates
5.         Security guards
6.         Shepherds
7.         Farmers
8.         Pharmacists
9.         Home delivery services
10.       Journalists
11.        Soldiers
12.       Receptionists
13.       Telephone sale persons
14.       Construction workers.
15.       Accountants
16.       Tour guide
17.       Mixologists
18.       Barmen
19.       Librarians
20.       Hospital administrators
21.       Teachers (Humanoid called Pepper etc)

 Wait a minute. Teachers to be replaced by robots? That would be the most interesting invention of all times. For one thing, the possibilities are endless, but for another it would be disruptive and much more derogatory to put the future of our children in the hands of robots.

I do not mind getting facts, figures and statistics from machines, but insight, instinct and intuition can never be programmed into a computer, which makes teaching and learning the sole intellectual property of the human soul.

Education at its core is psychological exchange process between humans which cannot be replicated into computer codes.
Humans and robots learn, but humans learn better via emotional intelligence and other unique methods still beyond the reach of machines.

The humanoid Pepper for example is being programmed to reach humans on emotional level with the use of sensors etc. Definitely a milestone in technology but a scientific deceit, which if possible would only expand our human capacity, because we would come to a point were politicians become robots and robots would be made to vote without human intervention because the generation of humans were taught by robots; because humans condescended to thinking like robots instead of humans (divine beings).

If I had my teaching job handed over to a robot, then I am open to more newer opportunities in the field of robotics as programmer, engineer/technician, simulation designer, robot trainer etc. meaning for every human labour being displaced by a robot three to four opportunities are opened to humans who are quick to make the necessary adjustments.


Though it is very condescending for humans to revert thinking like machines, like expecting God to think like humans.
These are ten reasons robots can never effectively teach humans:

1.         Deep learning: At the heart of deep learning is soul searching, a point where a subject matter inspires learners to reach beyond the stars; which is impossible to interpret into machine languages.

2.         Inspired teaching: The application of robotics and artificial intelligence really inspires humans to think of possible applications of machines. It is natural to believe in the abilities of humans to champion the future, but how would you imagine a scenario were humans getting into a frantic effort to design a machine that would lead us into the future. Teacher are trained to inspire learners and inspiration cannot be programmed into artificial intelligence. Soul winning is only available to humans during an inspired teaching.

3.         Core skills: These are skills (collaboration, critical thinking, imagination, creativity etc) necessary for today’s learners to adopt future responsibilities. In our dispensation, our creations are as a result of harnessing our core skills, which we are not yet able to create a machine code for, at the moment. We are not yet empowered to create anything that can be better than us humans. If we did, then the truth about creationism would fail.

4.         Emotional Intelligence: This is way beyond human DNA programming, because there are hundreds and thousands of actions and reactions in classrooms, that is only psychological possible to discern and analyse. Some emotions (intuition/imagination) cannot be programmed into machines because it is more than just facial recognition and x-ray vision systems.  Emotions cannot be translated into sensors or codes, because we still are not able to comprehend the facts about why we act in certain ways.

5.         Human Interactions: Getting intimate understanding of someone is more than just information science. How do you love a robot as a teacher?  Remember, students learn from teachers they like or love and that is an intimacy beyond the current and future state of artificial intelligence. Robotics and other forms of information communication can only be used to enhance or speed up human communications from a distance.

6.         Smart Learners: Every now and then, teachers come across students who are very manipulative and emotionally more superior than some of their teachers, which leave these students as natural masters of their class; though the teachers are professionally in charge. How much easier would it be for an entire class to put robots in a situation that only trained humans can intervene and maintain.

7.         Classroom management: This is a complex process with endless human possibilities. At the very core classroom management is a creative, scientific and psychological process which can never be replicated into the artificial intelligence of robots.

8.         Psychomotor skills: These skills are taught based on instinctive observation of a learner’s responses to an activity. The adaptive imagination of a teacher comes into action and the source codes for such expertise is not yet in existence.

9.         Guidance and Counseling: Robots can be designed to draw inference based on pre-programmed possibilities. Personal experiences are unique to humans and cannot be transferred into machines. The strength of guidance and counseling are based on human experiences that are peculiar to us. It is a dynamic process and not a fixed set of rules that can be written as an algorithm for artificial intelligence projects.

10.       The soul: If humans can create souls then there might be a chance for machines to rule the world. Probably if humans can invoke demons into machines then the possibilities might increase. In the classroom teachers are not just trained to reach learners at intellectual or mental level, but also teachers further develop their capacities personally to reach learners at levels of the heart. This process is not available in textbooks or taught at teachers training colleges; because it goes beyond the activities of the body into the intuitive realm of the soul.

Mind you before teaching became a profession, it was first a spiritual gift, which is still not fathomed by humans. It is obvious that some people are natural teachers and need less training processes and make more impact on learners compared to graduates of our man-made institutions for training professional teachers.

I would immediately withdraw my child from any school that insist on using robots to replace teachers. And if all schools available used robots, then I have the best option to home-school my child. But for a scenario were a school enhances the ability of teachers to use robotics in the classroom, then it is still a progressive effort in education.

Employees around the world seem to be now under threat once more by robots that are warming up to take over every available human labour on the planet, leaving us at the mercy of fate. Definitely, like the industrial revolution a new season is on the rise that would restructure the human capacity seven folds; helping majority of the human populace to reshuffle and reacquire new skill-sets that would make us more suitable for reemployment in upcoming workplaces.
Technology will always remain a tool for teachers, irrespective of the imaginative possibilities of robots taking over the world. The heart of every human learner can only be reached by an inspired teacher, who takes time to understand the psychological dynamics of learners in specific or diverse subject matters.

References:


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Small Basic Calculator Apps.

Introduction to Calculator Apps challenge:
The Calculator apps for math formulas challenge by Ashiedu Jude, sourced inspirations from the Computer Science Education Week: csedweek.org, Hour of Code: code.org and Microsoft Small Basic, as an initiative to encourage computer programming at an early age for students. And to improve the quality of education as part of the Sustainable Development Global Goals.
Professional development programmes with Connecting classrooms/Core skills/International Schools Award programme by the British Council, Microsoft in Education, Hack the classroom, Edmodo and Skype in the classroom, broadened my horizon.  

However, the Calculator app challenge takes a different approach, the prominent idea that allow students write codes for math formulas they used in their math classes. Which will provide them the added advantage of creating a software alternative to what they do manually.

Skills learnt by students using this approach are problem solving with algorithms and critical thinking coupled with digital literacy advantages (Screenshots, publishing etc.), which are all 21st century skills within and outside the classroom.

There will be eLearning platforms for the calculator apps project, for teachers who need standard assessment tools, on Canvas, Moodle cloud, Microsoft in Education and Edmodo websites.

The mission of Calculator Apps challenge:
The vision of the project is to create and promote standard assessments framework on classroom Coding activities in maths. As this is critical to a global framework for school authorities and stakeholders to build assessment tools for computer programming classes in elementary and high schools respectively.

The calculator apps math challenge will standardise assessment worthy coding activities by 70%-80% in participatory classrooms around the world between two to five years; which would become a requisite in various computer science and ICT curriculums.
You can read my previous article “Hour of Code: Teaching problem solving skills in classroom”.

Other coding languages:
The programming language for this lesson is Small Basic, which is in no way restricting other computer programming languages i.e. (Thonny Python, Java, Scratch, C++ etc), that are already being used in some classrooms. The difference will be in presenting your project as i.e. Small Basic Calculator apps, Python Calculator apps.  

Top ten (10) benefits of calculator apps projects to each student:
1.       Problem solving skills are learnt understanding Algorithms.
2.      Critical thinking skills learnt during coding and  debugging programs.
3.      Digital literacy skills through publishing and proper  documentation of codes.
4.      Computer programming skills via App creation.
5.    Numeracy and analytical skills converting math formulas into algorithms and 
computer codes; which are the core of software development.
6.      Career focus and possibly taking up computer science in future.
7.      Accurate and efficient curricula assessment of individual student’s ability in 
coding.
8.      Advancing the use Small Basic into Visual Studio.
9.      Better chances of understanding how math formulas are created.
10.    Fun all the way as they expand their horizon on personal coding  activities.
     

Skype in the Classroom sessions:
To promote the ideals of the Small Basic Calculator apps challenge, there will be several ongoing Skype sessions via Skype in the Classroom website, for teachers of participating classrooms, who would agree and setup guidelines that are peculiar to both classrooms.
  
This is a list of calculator apps Skype in the classroom tips, that can be implemented by teachers, to help connect students to the project:

1. Teachers should discuss what the coding activity will be all about beforehand. 
The use of flashcards carrying a single line of code will help in visualizing students experience.

2. The first school sends less than 8 lines of code to the other to debug in a short time 1 mins.

3. Or classrooms exchange codes via their teachers and give to students, who debug, and share results during a Skype session. Teachers are not allowed to help debug the codes. Codes used should be well understood by both classrooms.

4. Or classrooms exchange algorithms and students are expected to convert it to small basic codes. And results presented during a Skype session.

5. Or "Debug my code challenge" during a Skype session a classroom displays some buggy codes (5-8) lines on flashcards to a guest classroom who are typing the codes simultaneously, while they debug real-time.

6. Tell or write me a code (flashcards). A classroom tells the other a code verbally, while the other type the codes and run it.

7. “Tell me what my code can do”. A classroom designs a code, other classroom read decode the purpose of the code.

8. Code presentation by classrooms. Each classroom explains details of their codes line by line; while each classroom takes turn in RUNNING the code, to see how it works.

9. Code flashcards during Skype sessions between classrooms. Type codes you see on the other classroom flashcards.

10. This is in no wise an exhaustive list of the calculator apps Skye in the Classroom activities; therefore, it is important teachers share with other teachers on this blog or social media, what worked, what didn’t, and tweaks made to help the experience.


Calculator apps on Social Media:
Join teachers worldwide on social media (Facebook and Twitter) who are talking about their Calculator apps classroom projects:    @edujetage

Facebook and Twitter live events and classroom demonstrations will come up periodically.

You can post general comments to other teachers on the page @edujetage.

Share mini video clips and photos of your Skype in the classroom Calculator apps activities, tips that worked and students’ excitement, with other teachers and classrooms to celebrate.

The Facebook and Twitter private message inbox will be available, for special comments, concerns and requests or external communications.

NOTE: Please do remember to use the hashtags, if you would also want to spread the word, on your personal Instagram, snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn and social media accounts that we do not cover yet.

I will also appreciate your comments about calculator apps on this blog.

Please send emails only on official communications: edujetage@gmail.com



Download Links:
Download links for Calculator Apps PowerPoint instructional lesson:

SlideShare:


Download link for zipped file Small Basic pdf, setup & .NET 4.6 setup here:
 https://1drv.ms/u/s!AqMQcWOoCDS5gQbmTWaA_hGLVx6g


Download link for Small Basic programming language:

Download link for .NET ver. 4.6 (backbone for Small Basic to run):

External download links for Small Basic resources:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/16299.small-basic-curriculum.aspx



Let the games begin!



Saturday, December 31, 2016

Teaching Problem solving in the classroom via Hour of Code.

Recently, the wave of computer and mobile applications development via computer programming has been on the rise, with cooperate software entities like Microsoft, Oracle and Google spearheading the campaign for schools to teach computer programming from elementary school age, in other to help make the upcoming generation more inclined to coding.

The rise of educational businesses like code.org to support school teachers in the campaign to enhance computer programming awareness at an early age has also been a welcome development, especially in games development arena using software like Scratch, Kodu, Alice etc.

However, it takes the vast experience of schoolteachers in the field, in this subject area to understand what and how this knowledge based events can be integrated into the ICT curriculum and classroom.

I do not major in computer programming as an ICT teacher, but with my current experience with elementary school students, it has not been easy adopting a standard computer programming language for classroom lessons on coding, because every now and then, these educational businesses come up with new computer programmes for classroom purposes and it would make my lesson very confusing if I had to attempt using these new products.

Interacting with teachers in my region Nigeria and other parts of the world, that adopt different kinds of curriculums for elementary school ICT; this confusion on which computer programming language is standard for teaching coding in classrooms, remains constant.  

Most of the schoolteachers have decided to adopt the use of vast amount of new software and apps for teaching instead of delving into the realm of coding. Moreover, there are no practicable standard expectations for students graduating from a coding class, by the schools and educational authorities, aside the ability for each student to use common word processing apps. It appears to be at the discretion of the ICT teacher to decide what those expectations, based on his/her current experience in the use of technology.

Take for instance the minimum accepted standard for a student graduating from an elementary school numeracy class into high school is for such student to have mastered the use of basic math operators’ addition, subtraction, division, multiplication.

Similar strict standards have been set for same student graduating from literacy and other subjects. But for ICT, it becomes painstaking to make or stick to a solid decision and expected output, due to the tremendous rate of evolution in the computer software applications, which surpasses hardware development by a milestone. Though I can do much more with the use of technology than the average ICT schoolteacher due to my love for gadgets, I believe there should be standard expectations by school authorities and stakeholders in education, which must be clarified; to help ICT teachers in elementary and high school prepare themselves for their classroom use of technology.

Notwithstanding, various schools have different budget standard for setting up an ICT classroom; I believe the basics should be a desktop computer with programs (open source freemium or proprietary premium), they both achieve same results. Most programming language are free to download and with or without licensing, and programming languages are not proliferated as much as computer applications, since the last decade.

As such, it would be easier for school authorities and stakeholders in education to set a minimum standard expectation for a coding class in the ICT curriculum for students graduating from elementary or high school, using the simplest programming language to perform outlined specific task(s).   

Information communication Technology and computing are more of pivotal tools rather than standalone instruments; they are used to expand the potentials of other subject matters i.e. document processing and literacy skills, desktop publishing and art skills, sound synthesizers and music skills (beat making), coding and mathematics are various ways computer can enhance other subjects in the classroom. It means an ICT teacher should be vast in the use of technology in relation to as many subjects that has any affiliation with computers.

For example, not every elementary or high school student is going to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, but every student graduating at these stages should be expected to solve a stipulated amount of math problems with simple codes using Small Basic, BASIC variants, Python or any computer programming language that school authorities, stakeholders or the curriculum demands.

The essence of problem solving and critical thinking via coding will be uniform across all platforms, the advantage at later stages, becomes a better understanding of numeracy or mathematics by students and also a formidable foundation for our future computer programming quests. However, in real time software and the internet was developed from one or more mathematical algorithms.  Games development is awesome when it helps students mimic real life examples of the games they play every day on their tablets and computers; obviously, that would be too much of a problem to teach in any elementary or high school, due to the length and complexity of such source codes. Like expecting students at such age to understand calculus; like calculus, games development will lose its problem solving, critical thinking and commercial value when summarised for kids as a drag and drop process, which is not the face value of the situation out in the real world, because they are not even close to the tools for developing commercially successful products.

 

For the past three to five years, I have experimented various strategies that would be effective enough to become a standard across all ICT curriculums for elementary schools.

I strongly believe that the most rewarding experience any child can benefit in a coding classroom activity is problem solving using the computer and critical thinking designing algorithms, which are the major reasons the computer was invented and has developed to this extent; creativity seems to be a by-product of the aforementioned reasons.

The expectations for students in a coding class should be more practical and focused on what they are already used to, in other to make the maximum impact on their learning to code. As noted earlier, the minimum standard for any student graduating elementary school is his or her ability to use the basic math operators (division, addition, multiplication, subtraction) in solving a handful of simple numeracy problems; and this is where the knowledge of coding becomes relevant in using ideas gained to program the computer by solving math problems.

It involves beginning a coding lesson with their everyday use and understanding of algorithms, then fine tuning the idea into a relationship with their everyday maths problems. This technique has been helpful for me in building their knowledge from known to newer ideas for my students in elementary school. It can be teaching them to write an open algorithm to add, subtract, divide, multiply numbers on a sheet of paper, then converting it to previously QBASIC but now Small Basic codes with just 8-10 lines of readable codes.

Nonetheless, I have created a detailed PowerPoint snack course to be published free online for teachers and students of ages 8-13 to learn the rudiments of coding in relationship to their knowledge in numeracy. The level, a numeracy curriculum expects from students from these grades, are also the level each student can apply a Small Basic code to solve those specific category of math problems.

The mini course is also my Global Goal Challenge called calculator apps using Small Basic, which would herald massive coding activities throughout the school session and beyond by students from all over the world, who are creating open calculator apps to solve problems in geometry (2D & 3D shapes) with variations of the formulas, then publish and share their codes and excitements. With this coding lesson, I am persuaded beyond reasons that in 5 – 10 years the true value of computer programming (critical thinking and problem solving) will be imbibed by 60%-80% of students graduating from both elementary and high school coding class.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tips for a Wow! Monday morning

It seems most employees see Monday mornings as a menace day of the week and it goes on till they have a reason to thank God for Fridays.

As an Educator, I noticed my Monday mornings was becoming a nightmare. Though I prepared for my classes ahead of time, but something was missing, there was still a void somewhere. You might call it a work burnout giving me a dissatisfied  attitude towards my first work day of the week. Monday mornings became a nightmare instead of a daydream, I had to revamp the way I worked on Mondays, to makes it one of my best days of the week.

My experiment was simple, though teaching can be a very monotonous routine and with little research I was able to get the root cause of my Monday morning nightmares. 
Plan ahead over the weekend, to bring in these three effects on your job.

1. Creativity: Trying a new perspective  on your job. It is never enough to repeat the same process everyday. Think of other routines that will make you want to jump out  of the bed to work on Mondays.

During my research, I discovered plethora of resources that made me eager to try out new tools, techniques and technology for teaching. I have been enjoying weekends because I have planned out activities, which wasn't routine and could be adjusted at any point in time. 

No matter how monotonous your job seems to be, it becomes your duty to make it an interesting one by little creative tweaks. 

2. Innovation: With new skillsets, you can empower yourself for promotion on the job. There's no better time than now to get new ideas and courses online and offline. There are free and very interesting online courses which can be of great benefit to how you work. I took courses that were directly and indirectly related to my job, in other to help me learn latest innovations within and outside my career.

This was key to reinventing my Monday mornings, since innovation is a non ending process of ideas, I made several interesting innovative adaptations of things I learnt on these courses at my work processes. Quite challenging to do something new, yet much more easier but boring to stick with years of routine work, it only takes personal determination to want to see things in a different light.

3. Change: You might not be ready to change your so called boring job, but you can plan towards making it an exciting workplace for you, irrespective of the pay.
Change works better and the transition is smoother when you take time to consciously learn something new ahead of time. There are dozens of self-paced courses online that could prepare you for an effortless change.

I made it a great deal to learn something new everyday, which brought about a resilience in the advent of drastic changes at work. Continous and focused learning is a sure way to keep you going at work.

Most times, we plan our weekends, the excitement and expectation motivates us towards the end of the week; which invented the phrase "Thank God it's Friday (TGIF)".

Try these tips and see how magical your Mondays becomes your favourite day of the week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Technology in Education

Technology triumphs as a business tool. But not much as an academic tool. As such a business approach will make technology very efficient as an educational purpose tool.
Teachers who are entrepreneurs or have experience in the business  use of technology, these teachers can modify the academic curriculum to blend with the use of technology.

Moreover the problem of technology in education is that tech companies with no clear and precise knowledge of educational dynamics are making gadgets and software for teachers and educators, who are then forced to use these new tools which only tech savvy teachers can manage to implement in the classroom. Most of the technology churned out for educational purposes are specifically designed for a section of learning needs, which are not applicable to the majority of other learners. Though for the sake of adaptation, tech companies make it a one size fit all tool.

The solution is for practising teachers be allowed to contribute 80% of their analogue knowhow when companies are designing digital support for classroom purposes.

Though with my background on computer science, I am yet to see a gadget or software platform that educators and teachers can tweak to suit their classroom needs. Instead of having to use multiple platforms, which could disrupt learning and teaching, there should be a single flexible platform/technology  that teachers and learners can tweak during learning and not the other way around.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Three reasons Edupreneurs should get a Learning/Content Management System platform.


Educators have a lot to contribute in every generation. If you call yourself a teacher, then you should have evidences of your lessons and instructional materials, not just for your classroom and school, but also for the rest of the world to learn from your records. Even if you deal on educational accessories, then nothing stops you from developing lessons on how best to use the accessories you sell to students, teachers and schools in general.   
In creating an LMS or LCMS product you should have these goals in mind, your product’s users experience, product adoption, monetization and growth potentials, makes all the difference. It’s not easy to achieve all four, but with constant practice and positive adjustment, you will find the perfect combination.

1.     Mobile done right is great.
The mobile platform has come of age and getting all the attention needed to sustain its presence in our day to day lifestyle. Learning management platforms like Moodle, canvas etc. that embraces mobile architecture is a great way to engage learners using smartphones, tablets and similar gadgets.  
Apps are making unprecedented progress in creating a wow user experience. The learning curve for your LMS/LCMS on mobile should be minimal and straight to the point, if possible creating an offline and online interactive package for learners by embedding Augmented Reality perspective like Pok√©mon Go (a game whose concept can enhance the current aspects of LMS). Mind you not all lessons require the use of Augmented Reality but creativity on your LMS will intensify the user’s experience, giving your lesson an early adoption and the potential to expand with the almighty price tag.  


2. The real and augmented worlds can be blended seamlessly.
For a balance in modern education Learning management systems that can break even with real life environments will make learning fun for teachers and students.  Augmented reality and the internet of things (IoT) are upcoming block busters; imagine students getting a virtual tour of an atom, a zoo, human anatomy etc. I believe a 50% offline and 50% online educational approach for learners and teachers to enjoy the best of both worlds and accomplish considerable work; online education should continue were offline education stops and vice versa. They are not meant to replace or outdo each other, rather to complement each other.

3. LMS should blend with and enhance the learner’s experience.

The ultimate goal for an Edupreneur’s brand is to be able to drive purchase of their products/services. The ongoing quest for Edupreneurs is to combine teaching experience that improves performance that is relevant, valuable and practicable for learners. The learning and teaching outcomes for online education goes like this: get a curriculum, create several variations of a lesson, create online and offline activities for your lesson(s) and share your experience relevantly with other educators. It’s vital for other educators to easily integrate your work into their teaching style and lessons.