Author Topic: Crowdfunding Homework  (Read 202 times)

Offline Xerographica (OP)

Crowdfunding Homework
« on: April 28, 2017, 11:24:14 PM »
For the past few months, the 4th graders in my friend's class have been blogging... Classtopia.  It's so very cool that the students can easily share their ideas with the world!  One technical issue is that the newer ideas crowd out the older ideas.  This is a problem because the newest ideas aren't always more valuable than the older ideas. 

In order to help solve the "out of sight, out of mind" problem, a page was recently created to highlight the best ideas... Favorite Entries.  The entries on this page are sorted by their value.  Their value is determined by crowdfunding.   The crowd is currently pretty small.  It consists of the students, their teacher and myself.  But in theory the crowd could be as large as everybody in the world.

The data is tracked on a public Google sheet and this code is used to embed the information into the blog page.

At least as far as their blog entries are concerned, all the students can grade each other's homework.  But rather than using As, Bs, Cs, Ds or Fs... they use pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters and dollars.  The fact that it costs something to give a good grade is what makes the grades more meaningful and trustworthy. 

When I grade the entries the question I endeavor to answer is... how relevant is this work to my reality?  Personally, I love plants so entries about plants are relevant to my reality.  But I'm definitely not technically their teacher... so does it really matter how relevant their work is to my reality?  Should it matter? 

Recently I retweeted this link which shared a question that students might ask...

Quote
Is the learning and work I do authentic; and is it regarded as significant outside of school by experts, family, community members, and employers?
From my perspective, if students are going to do a lot of work anyways, then they might as well do the most relevant work possible.  Maximizing the relevance of school work depends entirely on everybody having the opportunity to use their own money to grade the work done by students.

If it's truly desirable to maximize the relevance of school work... then what about work outside of school? 

Quote
Geoffrey Hellman wrote for the New Yorker magazine for a long time and had incessant quarrels with its editor, Harold Ross, about how little Ross paid a man of Hellman’s seniority. Ross insisted that he paid what each piece of writing was worth:

“You say that you have been here eighteen years and are not treated better than a good writer a couple of years out of college would be, so far as pay for individual articles is concerned… My firm viewpoint is that we ought to pay what a piece is worth, regardless of age, race, color, creed, financial status or any other consideration. I don’t know how, in an enterprise of this sort, one in my position can take into consideration anything beyond the actual value of the things.” - Deirdre McCloskey, The Applied Theory Of Price
The editor is the equivalent of a teacher grading all the homework done by her students.  The fact is that no single individual can know the true social relevance of any work.  The true social relevance of any and all work can only be known by society. 

Right now there's considerable concern about robots taking people's jobs.  Which jobs will they take?  How many jobs have they taken?  Automation really isn't a new thing...

Quote
One of those boys, who loved to play with his companions, observed that, by tying a string from the handle of the valve which opened this communication, to another part of the machine, the valve would open and shut without his assistance, and leave him at liberty to divert himself with his play-fellows. One of the greatest improvements that has been made upon this machine, since it was first invented, was in this manner the discovery of a boy who wanted to save his own labour. — Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
Change isn't a new thing either...

Quote
Yes, change is the basic law of nature. But the changes wrought by the passage of time affects individuals and institutions in different ways. According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself. Applying this theoretical concept to us as individuals, we can state that the civilization that is able to survive is the one that is able to adapt to the changing physical, social, political, moral, and spiritual environment in which it finds itself. — Leon C. Megginson
Change is the basic law of nature, even change is subject to change!  The rate of change can decrease or increase.  In our day and age it sure seems like the rate of change is increasing. 

Change doesn't occur everywhere at the same time.  As far as I know there's only one school in the entire world where some of the homework is crowdfunded.  A vanishingly small percentage of people in the world are aware of this change.  Virtually no one knows that this change has occurred.  At first only the teacher and myself knew that the change had occurred.  Next, the students learned about the change and now you know about the change.  But just like we're the only ones in the world who know about this change, we're largely ignorant about the vast majority of changes that are currently happening around the world. 

There isn't a single person or committee or company or organization that can be aware of all the different changes that are taking place in the world.  Everybody knows about some changes, but nobody knows all about all the changes. 

If the rate of change is truly increasing, and nobody knows or can know about all the different changes, then in order for society to quickly adapt and adjust to a more rapidly changing world... it's entirely necessary for each and every individual to have the opportunity to use their knowledge of changes in order to monetarily grade the relevance of any work.  Universal participation in the grading process will help many more people learn about the most relevant changes in a lot less time. 

Of course people will still be able to choose their own paths in life!  But their decisions will be far better informed.  Once everybody is able to clearly see and know the true social relevance of the different paths, then the number of people who unintentionally choose irrelevant paths will be minimized. 

Offline Cavebear

Re: Crowdfunding Homework
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2017, 06:16:43 AM »
Internalized known facts are becoming obsolete.  When you can get a 30 second summary of the Napoleonic Wars, why "know" anything yourself?   Need to know the area of a triangle?  Just ask Siri.  Need to know which direction is north?  Ask your GPS.

This bothers me.  Facts are nice, but they aren't knowledge.  Knowledge is having facts at hand to enlarge your understanding and making new connections.  Siri can't do that.

And knowing the right question to ask needs knowledge, not just facts. 

Here is a practical question.  A person boards a bus with a 5' fishing pole.  The bus company has a policy of nothing larger than 4' is allowed.  The person leaves the bus and returns with the fishing pole in a 3'x4' box.  It is allowed.  The fishing rod wasn't bent or broken, nor did it come apart. 

How was it done?
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline Baruch

Re: Crowdfunding Homework
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2017, 07:53:47 AM »
Internalized known facts are becoming obsolete.  When you can get a 30 second summary of the Napoleonic Wars, why "know" anything yourself?   Need to know the area of a triangle?  Just ask Siri.  Need to know which direction is north?  Ask your GPS.

This bothers me.  Facts are nice, but they aren't knowledge.  Knowledge is having facts at hand to enlarge your understanding and making new connections.  Siri can't do that.

And knowing the right question to ask needs knowledge, not just facts. 

Here is a practical question.  A person boards a bus with a 5' fishing pole.  The bus company has a policy of nothing larger than 4' is allowed.  The person leaves the bus and returns with the fishing pole in a 3'x4' box.  It is allowed.  The fishing rod wasn't bent or broken, nor did it come apart. 

How was it done?

Fish like an Egyptian.  Pythagoras stole all he knew, from his prior incarnations.  Socrates said books were the death of education, because you no longer had to memorize.  Admiral Byrd would say, GPS is the death of the joy of getting lost.  My boss doesn't know N from S, outside in daylight ... but some people are helpless.  What I try to teach adults, is I am not going to teach you X, I am going to teach you how to teach yourselves X, and that is something you already know, I am just reminding you seniors of that.
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