Posts Tagged ‘education’

February 11 2009

Wildly unrealistic projects of mine

by Hang

Here is a short list of projects I’ve always wanted to do were I to have the sufficient time and means but I secretly know I’ll never get a chance to do them. If anyone else wants to take them on, be my guest:

  • An investigation of what determines success by interviewing a large group of potentially successful people before they become successful. What things genuinely determine success? What things are just post hoc explainations which get engrained as superstition?
  • A “Museum from the future”, with exhibits of contemporary late 20th century life from the perspective of 500 years. What will they pick to be important? What will they misunderstand? How will their differing moral and intellectual standards impose a narrative on our lives?
  • A universal screen scraper framework for games education. This piece of software would be comprised of 3 components: A base layer which provides basic functionality for screen scraping games, a library of game specific adapters which turn what you see on the screen into a set of API calls that would allow you to control that game and then a user generated “AI” that could attempt to play those games. I think this would be an enormous boon for teaching kids how to program and fall in love with programming as it allows them to immediately tackle real world tasks with immediate feedback. For example, a rudimentary blackjack betting program would take all of 5 minutes and a few lines of code to code up but imagine progressing from that to building a Worms player and having it battle online with other Worms AIs.
December 26 2008

My ideal high school curriculum

by Hang

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reflecting over, with everything I know now, what I would consider to be my ideal High School Curriculum. This isn’t a curriculum designed to be practical or even teachable, but it integrates some things I feel would have been a vital part of my high school experience:

  • Rhetoric & Language: Focusing on the interface between reason and language and the use of language as a tool for persuasion. How should we effectively engage with the modern world and how do we make sense of the world around us. Examination of the purpose and power of language in Science, Politics, Marketing & Literature.
  • Global Development: A broad sweep view of history from 100,000BC to the present day, designed to give a gestalt view of human history. Rather than take a strict chronological view, this course will instead explore thematic similarities between different eras and focus on how historical insight can be applied to better understand the modern world.
  • Perspectives on Human Understanding: This course will be a blend of psychology, economics, anthropology/sociology, history & literature that focuses on each fields’ differing perspectives on human understanding. This course explores the fundamental underpinnings that each approach takes and how such approaches can support but also come in conflict with each other and demonstrate the ability to move between different thematic paradigms as a lens onto different facets of human behavior.
  • Science & The Scientific Method: A combination of physics, chemistry and biology, this course will first begin with the scientific method and the foundational elements of science before demonstrating how science can work at multiple levels of abstraction. This course will move fluidly between the scientific disciplines and show how each has a differing but fundamentally compatible view of reality.
  • Mathematical Exploration: Focusing on the beauty of mathematics and the joy of exploration, this course is heavily proof based and designed to foster exploration and discovery rather than rote memorization.
  • Exploratory Programming: This course aims to expose both the power and beauty of programming through the use of more obscure but elegant languages such as Lisp, Forth, Haskell, Erlang and Ruby. This course will focus on the principles of computation and an understanding how how to rapidly build elegant and powerful programs.
  • Foreign Language & Culture: This course aims to expose how different cultures have radically different foundational assumptions and outlooks. It aims to show that there are underlying assumptions each of us have within our own culture which are so embedded we do not notice them until we experience a culture in which they are not present.
  • 2 * Professional Development: While all the other courses are compulsorily and designed to provide a generalized, gestalt view on various subjects, these two courses are of the student’s own choice and are designed to provide the necessary content for further professional studies in these fields.

So there it is, ridiculously impractical, highly individualised and probably something I wouldn’t have even appreciated if it had been offered to me. But it’s a wishlist of all the stuff I wish someone had taught me so I didn’t have to figure it all out on my own.

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