education

Richard Stallman on the 4 freedoms

From Richard Stallman’s “Transcript of Richard Stallman at the 4th international GPLv3 conference; 23rd August 2006” (FSF Europe: 23 August 2006):

Specifically, this refers to four essential freedoms, which are the definition of Free Software.

Freedom zero is the freedom to run the program, as you wish, for any purpose.

Freedom one is the freedom to study the source code and then change it so that it does what you wish.

Freedom two is the freedom to help your neighbour, which is the freedom to distribute, including publication, copies of the program to others when you wish.

Freedom three is the freedom to help build your community, which is the freedom to distribute, including publication, your modified versions, when you wish.

These four freedoms make it possible for users to live an upright, ethical life as a member of a community and enable us individually and collectively to have control over what our software does and thus to have control over our computing.

Tracking children who might commit a crime later

From Mark Townsend and Anushka Asthana’s “Put young children on DNA list, urge police” (The Guardian: 16 March 2008):

Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain’s most senior police forensics expert.

Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.

10,000 hours to reach expertise

From Malcolm Gladwell’s “A gift or hard graft?” (The Guardian: 15 November 2008):

This idea – that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice – surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.

“In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin, “this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years… No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.”

Correcting wrong info reinforces false beliefs

From Jonathan M. Gitlin’s “Does ideology trump facts? Studies say it often does” (Ars Technica: 24 September 2008):

We like to think that people will be well informed before making important decisions, such as who to vote for, but the truth is that’s not always the case. Being uninformed is one thing, but having a population that’s actively misinformed presents problems when it comes to participating in the national debate, or the democratic process. If the findings of some political scientists are right, attempting to correct misinformation might do nothing more than reinforce the false belief.

This sort of misinformation isn’t hypothetical; in 2003 a study found that viewers of Fox News were significantly more misinformed about the Iraq war, with far greater percentages of viewers erroneously believing that Iraq possessed WMDs or that there was a credible link between the 9/11 attack and Saddam Hussein than those who got their news from other outlets like NPR and PBS. This has led to the rise of websites like FactCheck and SourceWatch.

Saying that correcting misinformation does little more than reinforce a false belief is a pretty controversial proposal, but the claim is based on a number of studies that examine the effect of political or ideological bias on fact correction. In the studies, volunteers were shown news items or political adverts that contained misinformation, followed by a correction. For example, a study by John Bullock of Yale showed volunteers a political ad created by NARAL that linked Justice John Roberts to a violent anti-abortion group, followed by news that the ad had been withdrawn. Interestingly, Democratic participants had a worse opinion of Roberts after being shown the ad, even after they were told it was false.

Over half (56 percent) of Democratic subjects disapproved of Roberts before the misinformation. That rose to 80 percent afterward, but even after correcting the misinformation, 72 percent of Democratic subjects still had a negative opinion. Republican volunteers, on the other hand, only showed a small increase in disapproval after watching the misinformation (11 percent vs 14 percent).

Bruno’s memory structures

From Laura Miller’s “The heretic” (Salon: 25 August 2008):

Still, the mental powers of Bruno and his fellow memory artists seem almost superhuman today. The basic principle, Rowland explains, is simple enough, “to link words with images.” Nevertheless, the structures employed were mind-boggling: vast, elaborate patterns and nested wheels within wheels (like the color wheels used by visual designers) that could be used to juxtapose and rearrange huge quantities of information without recourse to any extra-mental form of storage (like writing). This ability makes the minds of Renaissance intellectuals radically different from our own, almost incomprehensibly so.

Bots on campus!

From Lisa Vaas’ “Are Campuses Flooded with Zombified Student PCs?” (eWeek: 22 October 2007):

Rather, bot herders have sophisticated technology in place that can detect how fast a bot’s connection is. If that connection changes over time – if, say, a student is poking around at her parent’s house with dial-up all summer and then comes back to school and the campus network’s zippy broadband – the herder detects the increased bandwidth, and that zombie PC suddenly becomes a much more useful tool for sending spam or engaging in other nefarious activities, as pointed out by SecureWorks Director of Development Wayne Haber …

“The more significant factor is to take a machine that was the only system, or one of two to three, on a home network, and to move it to an environment of hundreds or thousands of machines on a network in different states of being patched and of running security software,” [Craig Schmugar, threat research manager for McAfee’s Avert Labs] said. “The new students coming in, there’s a greater chance of having new computers, and those might not have firewalls. It’s a more diverse network environment, with a greater opportunity for machines to be attacked. Maybe not successfully, but at least there’s more traffic thrown at machines.”

Another helpful thing about campuses, of course, is that they have loads of systems left on around the clock in their labs. Universities also have the added stickiness of trying to administer security policies for a constantly shifting population, with visiting scholars coming and going and a variable range of access rights necessary for staff and students.

It takes 10 years to develop expertise

From Peter Norvig’s “Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years” (2001):

Researchers ([John R. Hayes, Complete Problem Solver (Lawrence Erlbaum) 1989.], [Benjamin Bloom (ed.), Developing Talent in Young People (Ballantine) 1985.]) have shown it takes about ten years to develop expertise in any of a wide variety of areas, including chess playing, music composition, painting, piano playing, swimming, tennis, and research in neuropsychology and topology. There appear to be no real shortcuts: even Mozart, who was a musical prodigy at age 4, took 13 more years before he began to produce world-class music. In another genre, the Beatles seemed to burst onto the scene with a string of #1 hits and an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. But they had been playing small clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg since 1957, and while they had mass appeal early on, their first great critical success, Sgt. Peppers, was released in 1967. Samuel Johnson thought it took longer than ten years: “Excellence in any department can be attained only by the labor of a lifetime; it is not to be purchased at a lesser price.” And Chaucer complained “the lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.”

Neil Postman: the medium is the metaphor for the way we think

From Tom Stites’s “Guest Posting: Is Media Performance Democracy’s Critical Issue?” (Center for Citizen Media: Blog: 3 July 2006):

In late 1980s the late Neil Postman wrote an enduringly important book called Amusing Ourselves to Death. In it he says that Marshall McLuhan only came close to getting it right in his famous adage, that the medium is the message. Postman corrects McLuhan by saying that the medium is the metaphor – a metaphor for the way we think. Written narrative that people can read, Postman goes on, is a metaphor for thinking logically. And he says that image media bypass reason and go straight to the emotions. The image media are a metaphor for not thinking logically. Images disable thinking, so unless people read and use their reason democracy is disabled as well.

The real purposes of the American school

From John Taylor Gatto’s “Against School” (Harper’s Magazine: September 2003):

Mass schooling of a compulsory nature really got its teeth into the United States between 1905 and 1915, though it was conceived of much earlier and pushed for throughout most of the nineteenth century. The reason given for this enormous upheaval of family life and cultural traditions was, roughly speaking, threefold:

1) To make good people.
2) To make good citizens.
3) To make each person his or her personal best.

These goals are still trotted out today on a regular basis, and most of us accept them in one form or another as a decent definition of public education’s mission, however short schools actually fall in achieving them. But we are dead wrong. Compounding our error is the fact that the national literature holds numerous and surprisingly consistent statements of compulsory schooling’s true purpose. We have, for example, the great H. L. Mencken, who wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not

to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. . . . Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim.. . is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States . . . and that is its aim everywhere else.

[Alexander Inglis, author of the 1918 book, Principles of Secondary Education,], for whom a lecture in education at Harvard is named, makes it perfectly clear that compulsory schooling on this continent was intended to be just what it had been for Prussia in the 1820s: a fifth column into the burgeoning democratic movement that threatened to give the peasants and the proletarians a voice at the bargaining table. Modern, industrialized, compulsory schooling was to make a sort of surgical incision into the prospective unity of these underclasses. Divide children by subject, by age-grading, by constant rankings on tests, and by many other more subtle means, and it was unlikely that the ignorant mass of mankind, separated in childhood, would ever reintegrate into a dangerous whole.

Inglis breaks down the purpose – the actual purpose – of modem schooling into six basic functions, any one of which is enough to curl the hair of those innocent enough to believe the three traditional goals listed earlier:

1) The adjustive or adaptive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. This, of course, precludes critical judgment completely. It also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can’t test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.

2) The integrating function. This might well be called “the conformity function,” because its intention is to make children as alike as possible. People who conform are predictable, and this is of great use to those who wish to harness and manipulate a large labor force.

3) The diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student’s proper social role. This is done by logging evidence mathematically and anecdotally on cumulative records. As in “your permanent record.” Yes, you do have one.

4) The differentiating function. Once their social role has been “diagnosed,” children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits – and not one step further. So much for making kids their personal best.

5) The selective function. This refers not to human choice at all but to Darwin’s theory of natural selection as applied to what he called “the favored races.” In short, the idea is to help things along by consciously attempting to improve the breeding stock. Schools are meant to tag the unfit – with poor grades, remedial placement, and other punishments – clearly enough that their peers will accept them as inferior and effectively bar them from the reproductive sweepstakes. That’s what all those little humiliations from first grade onward were intended to do: wash the dirt down the drain.

6) The propaedeutic function. The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor. …

Class may frame the proposition, as when Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University, said the following to the New York City School Teachers Association in 1909: “We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” …

Now, you needn’t have studied marketing to know that there are two groups of people who can always be convinced to consume more than they need to: addicts and children. School has done a pretty good job of turning our children into addicts, but it has done a spectacular job of turning our children into children. Again, this is no accident. Theorists from Plato to Rousseau to our own Dr. Inglis knew that if children could be cloistered with other children, stripped of responsibility and independence, encouraged to develop only the trivializing emotions of greed, envy, jealousy, and fear, they would grow older but never truly grow up. …

Now for the good news. Once you understand the logic behind modern schooling, its tricks and traps are fairly easy to avoid. School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so that they’ll never be bored. Urge them to take on the serious material, the grown-up material, in history, literature, philosophy, music, art, economics, theology – all the stuff schoolteachers know well enough to avoid. Challenge your kids with plenty of solitude so that they can learn to enjoy their own company, to conduct inner dialogues. Well-schooled people are conditioned to dread being alone, and they seek constant companionship through the TV, the computer, the cell phone, and through shallow friendships quickly acquired and quickly abandoned. Your children should have a more meaningful life, and they can.

First, though, we must wake up to what our schools really are: laboratories of experimentation on young minds, drill centers for the habits and attitudes that corporate society demands. Mandatory education serves children only incidentally; its real purpose is to turn them into servants. Don’t let your own have their childhoods extended, not even for a day. If David Farragut could take command of a captured British warship as a preteen, if Thomas Edison could publish a broadsheet at the age of twelve, if Ben Franklin could apprentice himself to a printer at the same age (then put himself through a course of study that would choke a Yale senior today), there’s no telling what your own kids could do. After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our genius only because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.

What should one study in college as an undergraduate?

From Paul Graham’s “Undergraduation” (March 2005):

The social sciences are also fairly bogus, because they’re so much influenced by intellectual fashions. If a physicist met a colleague from 100 years ago, he could teach him some new things; if a psychologist met a colleague from 100 years ago, they’d just get into an ideological argument. Yes, of course, you’ll learn something by taking a psychology class. The point is, you’ll learn more by taking a class in another department.

The worthwhile departments, in my opinion, are math, the hard sciences, engineering, history (especially economic and social history, and the history of science), architecture, and the classics. A survey course in art history may be worthwhile. Modern literature is important, but the way to learn about it is just to read. I don’t know enough about music to say.

You can skip the social sciences, philosophy, and the various departments created recently in response to political pressures. Many of these fields talk about important problems, certainly. But the way they talk about them is useless. For example, philosophy talks, among other things, about our obligations to one another; but you can learn more about this from a wise grandmother or E. B. White than from an academic philosopher. …

Language courses are an anomaly. I think they’re better considered as extracurricular activities, like pottery classes. They’d be far more useful when combined with some time living in a country where the language is spoken. On a whim I studied Arabic as a freshman. It was a lot of work, and the only lasting benefits were a weird ability to identify semitic roots and some insights into how people recognize words.

Studio art and creative writing courses are wildcards. Usually you don’t get taught much: you just work (or don’t work) on whatever you want, and then sit around offering “crits” of one another’s creations under the vague supervision of the teacher. But writing and art are both very hard problems that (some) people work honestly at, so they’re worth doing, especially if you can find a good teacher.

Learn by working on hard problems

From Paul Graham’s “Undergraduation” (March 2005):

Thomas Huxley said “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” Most universities aim at this ideal.

But what’s everything? To me it means, all that people learn in the course of working honestly on hard problems. …

Working on hard problems is not, by itself, enough. Medieval alchemists were working on a hard problem, but their approach was so bogus that there was little to learn from studying it, except possibly about people’s ability to delude themselves.

Education teaches people how to solve problems, not choose the good ones

From Paul Graham’s “Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas” (April 2005):

Why did so few applicants really think about what customers want? I think the problem with many, as with people in their early twenties generally, is that they’ve been trained their whole lives to jump through predefined hoops. They’ve spent 15-20 years solving problems other people have set for them. And how much time deciding what problems would be good to solve? Two or three course projects? They’re good at solving problems, but bad at choosing them.

But that, I’m convinced, is just the effect of training. Or more precisely, the effect of grading. To make grading efficient, everyone has to solve the same problem, and that means it has to be decided in advance. It would be great if schools taught students how to choose problems as well as how to solve them, but I don’t know how you’d run such a class in practice.

California’s wide-open educational software reveals personal info

From Nanette Asimov’s “Software glitch reveals private data for thousands of state’s students” (San Francisco Chronicle: 21 October 2005):

The personal information of tens of thousands of California children — including their names, state achievement test scores, identification numbers and status in gifted or special-needs programs — is open to public view through a security loophole in dozens of school districts statewide that use a popular education software system.

Teacher names and employee identification numbers are also visible to anyone logging onto the system, which is used locally by school districts including San Francisco, San Jose and Hayward.

The problem occurs when the districts issue a generic password to teachers using the system. Until the teacher changes to a unique password, anyone can type in a teacher’s user name and generic password and gain access to information about students that is supposed to be guarded as closely as the gold in Fort Knox. …

San Francisco administrators immediately shut down access to the service, called OARS — Online Assessment Reporting System — after a reporter phoned and said she had been able to access student information for all the children in two middle-school classes where the teachers had not yet changed their passwords. …

Most of the 96 districts statewide that use the system are in Southern California and the Central Valley. …

“We have confidence in the professionalism of our teachers” not to share their passwords, Bradshaw said.

But told how simple it was to gain access to the student records of any teacher who had not yet changed to a unique password, the administrators said they planned to make sure teachers did so.

“We will definitely monitor that,” Quinn said. “We don’t want anyone getting into student information.”

Kids forcibly sent to re-education programs

From Nadya Labi’s “Want Your Kid to Disappear?” (Legal Affairs: July/August 2004):

RICK STRAWN IS AN EX-COP WHO STARTED HIS COMPANY in 1988 to help police officers find off-duty work guarding construction sites. Ten years later, he was asked by a member of his United Methodist church to transport the churchgoer’s son to Tranquility Bay in Jamaica. The school is run by the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs, a company headquartered in Utah that owns eight schools in the United States and abroad, including Louis, Jr.’s destination. …

Three years ago, Strawn escorted Valerie Ann Heron, a 17-year-old from Montgomery, Ala., to Tranquility Bay. The school is the most hardcore in the WWASP system, the one to which students are sent when they repeatedly cause trouble at other schools. …

The world according to Strawn is based on choices and consequences. The world according to WWASP is designed to reinforce the same principle. Students enter Casa by the Sea at the first of six levels. To advance, they have to earn points through good behavior and schoolwork. Until they reach level three, which takes an average of three months, they can communicate with the outside world only through letters to their parents, which the school monitors. After that, they can talk on the phone to their parents but no one else.

Casa costs nearly $30,000 for a year – as much as a year’s tuition at Harvard – but offers no traditional academic instruction. Instead the schoolwork is self-paced; the students sit at tables with a workbook and take a test on a section when they decide they’re ready. They can retake the same test as many times as necessary to achieve an 80 percent passing grade. According to the Casa parent handbook, the school does not ensure that “the student will even receive any credits” or that the teachers who monitor the study sessions will have U.S. credentials. The school does not track how many of its students go on to high school or college. “You’re not going to have a teacher riding your back,” Dalton told Louis. “It’s all independent study. I just read the module, and did the test. I finished class in a week. That’s how easy it is.”

Students spend more time studying themselves than any other subject. They write daily reflections in response to self-help tapes and videos such as Tony Robbins’s Personal Power, You Can Choose, and Price Tag of Sex. They answer questions like “What feelings/emotions did I experience today and how did I choose to respond?”

Students also attend, and eventually staff, self-help seminars. The entry-level seminar, called Discovery, encourages participants to “learn to interrupt unconscious mental and emotional cycles which tend to sabotage results.” Kelly Lauritsen participated in Discovery at Casa in 2000 and said she was encouraged to hit the walls with rolled towels to release her anger. The price of tuition includes versions of these seminars for parents. Like Oprah on speed, sessions run nonstop from morning until midnight. Many parents and kids say they benefit from the self-analysis. “I didn’t realize that I had so much anger inside,” the 14-year-old girl whom Strawn transported in November wrote to her mother. …

Strawn told Louis that the hardest thing about Casa would be abiding by the school’s intricate system of discipline. “It’s not the big rules that get you. It’s all the little rules,” Strawn said. Casa docks students, according to its handbook, for telling “war stories” about inappropriate experiences, for being unkind to each other, and for making “negative statements about the School, the staff, the country, or other students.”

“There’s a whole page of rules,” said Shannon Eierman, who attended Casa last year. “That page is divided into sections of categories, into different codes, and a million subcategories. You could be there forever and the next day and learn a new rule.”

Students at Casa who commit “Category 5 infractions” can be punished with an “intervention,” for example, which is defined as being left alone in a room. Students say that the punishment can last for weeks, though Casa insists that the maximum penalty is three days. “I had to sit with crossed legs in a closet for three days,” said Kaori Gutierrez, who left Casa in 2001. Interventions may be used to punish out-of-control behavior, drug use, and escape attempts. But they’re also the way the school handles “self-inflicted injuries,” which can range from cracked knuckles to self-mutilation with pens or paper clips to an attempted suicide.

At the root of this long list of punishable violations is “manipulation,” which includes lying or exaggerating. Strawn repeatedly uses the word to dismiss a kid’s behavior – it’s the way he said Valerie Heron acted the day before her suicide. In the WWASP universe that he inhabits, manipulation is a term of art that refers to just about anything a teen does or says that the staff doesn’t like.

Flow defined

From Mihaly Csiksczentmihalyi’s “Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience“:

Pleasure by itself does not bring happiness. We can experience pleasure (e.g. eating, sleeping, sex) without an investment of psychic energy. Enjoyment on the other hand, happens only as a result of an unusual amount of attention. Pleasure is fleeting and, unlike enjoyment, does not bring complexity (growth) to the self. If one only invests energy in new directions solely for extrinsic rewards, one may end up no longer enjoying life, and pleasures become the only source of positive experience. Without enjoyment life can be endured and can even be pleasant. But it can be so only precariously, depending on luck and the cooperation of the external environment.

Eight Components of Enjoyment

1. Confronting tasks that we have a chance of completing.
2. Concentration.
3. Concentration is possible because the task has clear goals.
4. Task provides immediate feedback.
5. A deep, effortless involvement removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life.
6. Enjoyable experiences allow one to exercise a sense of control over one’s actions.
7. Concern for self disappears, yet paradoxically the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over.
8. Sense of time is altered – hours pass by in minutes.

When experience is intrinsically rewarding, one’s life is justified in the present, instead of one being held hostage to a hypothetical future, but we must constantly re-evaluate what we do, lest habits and past ‘wisdom’ blind us to new possibilities. The flow experience – like anything else – is not “good” in an absolute sense, but only in that it has the potential to make life richer, more intense and meaningful. One must distinguish between useful and harmful forms of flow, making the most of the former and limiting the latter.

Commencement of learning something is a flow situation – everything is new and flow absorption is present as one struggles to master the skill. As one progresses, either boredom will ensue because there is no more challenge (the skill has been learned at that level) or anxiety occurs because a bigger challenge than we can cope with presents itself. Either way, one wants to get back to flow, either by overcoming the anxiety challenge by becoming more skilled, or taking on a challenge that will overcome the boredom, thus getting back into flow at a more complex level.

A game completely controlled by the players

From Ron Dulin’s “A Tale in the Desert“:

A Tale in the Desert is set in ancient Egypt. Very ancient Egypt: The only society to be found is that which has been created by the existing players. Your mentor will show you how to gather materials and show you the basics of learning and construction. These are the primary goals in the game–you learn from academies and universities, and then you use what you’ve learned to build things, such as structures and tools. As your character learns new skills, you can advance. …

Higher-level tests are much more complex and require you to enlist lower-level characters to help you complete them. Players are directly involved in almost all aspects of the game, from the introduction of new technologies to the game’s rules to the landscape itself. With a few exceptions, almost every structure you see in the game was built by a player or group of players. New technologies are introduced through research at universities, which is aided by players’ donations to these institutions. Most interestingly, though, the game rules themselves can be changed through the legal system. If you don’t like a certain aspect of the game, within reason, you can introduce a petition to have it changed. If you get enough signatures on your petition, it will be subject to a general vote. If it passes, it becomes a new law. This system is also used for permanently banning players who have, for some reason or another, made other players’ in-game lives difficult. …

The designers themselves have stated that A Tale in the Desert is about creating a society, and watching the experiment in action is almost as enjoyable as taking part.

4 basic functions of knowledge management

From Carl Frappaolo’s “Four basic functions” in Computerworld (23 February 1998)

The four basic functions of knowledge management are externalization, internalization, intermediation and cognition …

Externalization is capturing knowledge in an external repository and organizing it according to a classification framework or taxonomy. At the low end are technologies that simply provide a means to capture knowledge and store it online …

The next level of externalization holds more powerful and promising search tools and document management systems that classify the stored knowledge and identify similarities among separate information sources. …

Ultimately, the role of externalization is to make your captured knowledge available to knowledge seekers through internalization or intermediation. …

Whereas externalization seeks to discover the existence of similar bodies of knowledge, internalization tries to discover bodies of knowledge relevant to a particular user’s need. With internalization, you extract knowledge from the external repository and filter it to identify what is relevant to the knowledge seeker. Internalization helps a researcher communicate a problem or point of interest and map that against the bodies of knowledge already captured through externalization. …

Whereas internalization focuses on the transfer of explicit knowledge, intermediation brokers tacit knowledge. It matches a knowledge seeker with the best source of knowledge. By tracking the experience and interests of individuals, intermediation can link people who need to explore certain subjects with people who appear to harbor knowledge in that area. … Intermediation is automated through technologies such as groupware, intranets, workflow and document management systems….

Cognition is the application of knowledge that’s been exchanged through the preceding three functions and is the ultimate goal of knowledge management.

4 kinds of eductional institutions

From EDUCAUSE Review, February 2000:

There are 3,700 institutions and 15 million students in the United States today facing the challenge of integrating the past with the present, questioning how to mold the traditional model of higher education into a form that will not become obsolete in a world awash in an information explosion driven by electronic technology. There now exist four different types of educational institutions instead of the single, virtually unaltered model followed for the past 250 years of formal education in America. The first type comprises the traditional notion of a college. The second includes “corporate universities,” on-site training programs developed by individual companies to improve the skills and knowledge of employees. The third category contains mega-universities that recognize no national boundaries, combine the high-tech with the historical, and bridge the gap between the educational experience and the job market. The fourth types are virtual educators that operate nearly entirely online and offer the opportunity for practically anybody to become a teacher or a student.

Get rid of high schools

From Stephen L. Talbott’s “Is High School Dispensable?”, in 19 August 1999 issue of NetFuture (#93):

Sensible words can show up in strange places — in this case, People Magazine. Bard College President Leon Botstein is interviewed in the July 12, 1999 issue, and he says bluntly that we should get rid of high schools. After tenth grade, students should move on to higher education, job training, or some form of national service.

This makes eminent sense if the only alternative is high school as we now have it — a ghetto walled off from the larger society and from the world of adult work, and, all too often, with no meaningful family life for the student to fall back on. Isolate kids from the grounding potentials of a stable community embedded in a real landscape and pursuing real work, and they will create their own society with its own, very likely warped values.