Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 11th Jan 2012 00:14 UTC, submitted by Elv13
Hardware, Embedded Systems "Raspberry Pis started being made a couple of days ago, but I was forbidden to tell you about it until signed contracts and receipts for payment had arrived - it's been killing me, especially since I've had tens of you asking me when manufacturing would start every day for the last few weeks. I am not good at keeping secrets." No more secrets to keep, Liz! I can't wait to place my order.
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RE[12]: Subtext
by sbergman27 on Sun 15th Jan 2012 06:45 UTC in reply to "RE[11]: Subtext"
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

"The schools here are broke."

When people recognize that we have a problem regarding education, they immediately look to blame our educational system. Understandable. But I don't buy it.

We are *swimming* in virtually cost free opportunity for both continuing education for adults, and for the education of kids whose schools might have faltered on them.

I'm 48, and further my continuing education every day, using the resources provided at ocw.mit.edu, which is MIT's site for making their teaching materials, often including lecture videos, available to the public free of charge.

Also Yale's excellent line of courses. Standford's. Boston University's. And many lesser known Universities, like the University of Missouri, Kansas City, which has an excellent course on college algebra, which I have found very helpful as an adjunct to the Calculus refresher I'm taking. (I've always needed more drill on factoring polynomials and simplifying expressions. It's so important to being able to finish up after you've done the actual Calculus part.)

MIT has 3 particularly good physics courses available, lectured by Walter Lewin. Yale and Berkeley have complementary Chem 1A and Organic Chemistry courses up.

I'm just highlighting the one's I'm currently availing myself of. Almost any topic you might want to educate yourself upon is available. And increasingly, the courses are *not* dependent upon expensive text books, but are designed to use the custom materials provided by the institution: Lectures. Focused, pertinent PDF handouts. Problem sets. Past exams, with solutions provided either together or separately.

It's all there. Any motivated person could acquire an impressive education even if their local public school burned down and nobody bothered to rebuild it.

The *only* way not to have a proper education, these days, is to not *want* one. And that goes for adults as well as kids. Adults who bemoan the sad state of education without addressing their own continuing education are the height of irony. Ignorance among the children is an impending problem. Ignorance among adults is an acute problem.

I think that the most important thing I have learned is just how much I have forgotten. Hence my decision to lay off cosmology (which is both fascinating and numinous) and review the basics. And work on my math, which I was somehow able to kind of "wing" when I was studying Mech E back in college, rather than really understanding it.

The resources which anyone with an Internet connection has available today are an unimaginably valuable gift.

I realize that I took one line of your post and made a whole long post of my own in response. Apologies. But it is a topic which has weighed upon my mind a great deal, lately.

-Steve

Edited 2012-01-15 06:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[13]: Subtext
by Alfman on Sun 15th Jan 2012 08:16 in reply to "RE[12]: Subtext"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

sbergman27,

"We are *swimming* in virtually cost free opportunity for both continuing education for adults, and for the education of kids whose schools might have faltered on them."

This makes me wonder if you've seen the data, it's so bloody expensive as to be completely unfordable (we pay for it through debt).

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/education/03college.html

"I'm just highlighting the one's I'm currently availing myself of. Almost any topic you might want to educate yourself upon is available."

Something that might interest you too, my university charged half price to students in classes without counting towards a diploma. That may be an option.


"It's all there. Any motivated person could acquire an impressive education even if their local public school burned down and nobody bothered to rebuild it."

Fields like CS can certainly be learned at home. If you can find employers who will hire you without an accredited degree, then go for it.


"I think that the most important thing I have learned is just how much I have forgotten."

This is so true.


"I realize that I took one line of your post and made a whole post of my own in response. Apologies. But it is a topic which has weighed upon my mind a great deal, lately."

Haha, not a problem. I think we understand each other, even though we're sitting at different vantage points. It's true online courses are a viable option.

Aside: I highly respect the cool with which you conduct yourself (particularly in that other thread). Now that's a gift!

Thanks for the discussion!

Edited 2012-01-15 08:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[14]: Subtext
by sbergman27 on Sun 15th Jan 2012 17:05 in reply to "RE[13]: Subtext"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I think we need to make a distinction between "education" and "degree".

I haven't paid a penny for my continuing education the last few years. Though I really do need to start donating something to the Universities' projects which have so benefited me. A *degree* is expensive. An *education* needn't cost anything but the monthly cost of an Internet connection. Even a modem or shared connection will do, along with some motivation and patience. The lectures are generally both streaming and downloadable.

You get most everything that the students paying to attend the course get. Except for office hours consultations, and the academic credit, itself. Many of the Universities even provide study group forums, which facilitate the interaction between students' minds which can be of such value.

Degrees are nice. I have one, from 24 years ago. Although last I looked, the diploma is still at the bottom of my sock drawer. (Never did get around to having it framed.) But an education is *far* more important than a degree. A degree is something you get for utilitarian purposes. Like a waffle iron, in a way. The value of an education transcends such mundane considerations. If you do the degree right, it does come with an education. But the two are still distinct.

If I had to choose between either the diploma or my access to all of these wonderful educational resources we have today, I'd give up the diploma in a minute. (Most of that knowledge is outdated anyway.)

I would particularly recommend MIT's "Scholar" series of courses. With those, MIT is really taking the next step to turn something that started out rather "catch as catch can" into a more formal curriculum, with a suggested process, and all the customized materials, very clearly laid out.

-Steve

Edited 2012-01-15 17:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[13]: Subtext
by Boldie on Sun 15th Jan 2012 09:20 in reply to "RE[12]: Subtext"
Boldie Member since:
2007-03-26

off topic

Sbergman27, just realized you are back. I have missed your insightful comments.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[14]: Subtext
by sbergman27 on Sun 15th Jan 2012 17:09 in reply to "RE[13]: Subtext"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Hey Boldie,

It was kind of an accident. I was testing a system-wide adblock+ configuration and remembered that OSNews is a good place to test such things. That was a few days ago. I'd forgotten how addictive this place is. ;-)

-Steve

Reply Parent Score: 2