Network visualisations show what we can and what we may know

In 1928 Jacob Levy Moreno, a Vienna-trained psychiatrist who had recently emigrated to New York, developed an innovative way of identifying ‘at risk’ children. He analysed social patterns at the State Training School for Girls and the Riverdale Country School by asking students who their friends were, and charting their answers. The resulting graphs used geometric shapes to represent individuals and lines to indicate friendships: he called them sociograms. Noticing that two particular girls in the graph appeared isolated, he predicted that they would soon run away. They did.

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Six or seven things Social Media can do for democracy

Social media often goes very wrong. Making it right requires a vision for how social media can help, not harm, society.

Social media doesn’t work the way we think it should. That’s the conclusion many people have come to in the wake of revelations about Cambridge Analytica’s mining of Facebook data to build political profiles and sway elections. Perhaps the concerns go further back, to the election of a US president in 2016 who seems fueled by social media, the more polarizing and divisive the better. Or perhaps it was Brexit that broke you. Or a gunman “self-investigating” the Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor, spurious accusations of crisis actors at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas and the amazingly inventive web of conspiracies the internet seems to engender. The cyberutopians have retreated, the creators of the modern internet are doing penance and we’re all social media critics now.

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Posted in Democracy, Social media | Tagged ,

Design Thinking to Ethical Technological Innovation

There is growing interest and importance for responsible research and innovation (RRI) among academic scholars and policymakers, especially, in relation to emerging technologies such as nanotechnology. It is also to be noted that, although the design thinking approach has been around since the 1960s, there is renewed interest in this approach to innovation with an increasing number of related publications over the last couple of decades. Furthermore, it is currently introduced in a number of schools and community projects. However, there is a gap in bridging design thinking approach to RRI and this chapter attempts to address this need.

This chapter aims to show that design thinking approach is potentially conducive to ethical (responsible) technological innovation especially within emerging and converging technologies, due to its emphasis on human-centered design and other core attributes such as empathy – although it poses many challenges to implement.

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Posted in Design thinking, Technological Innovation | Tagged , ,

Webinars as Active Learning Arenas

There is still a tendency for educators to use webinars as an online lecture hall, replicating the traditional one-to-many delivery of the physical classroom. This is unfortunate since most web-based communication platforms that are used for webinars today offer a wide range of tools and options for interaction and community building. This paper, based on a Nordic project that ran from 2014 to 2016, presents a wide range of activities, tools and methods to encourage greater audience participation in webinars and looks in particular at methods that allow the discussion to be extended beyond the restricted time frame of the actual synchronous webinar. A flipped classroom approach can allow participants to prepare for the webinar and allow the online event to focus on deeper discussion of the issues at hand. A successful webinar can also be the basis of a community of practice and we investigate a number of tools and methods that can facilitate this.

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Social Media for Academics

Social media is an increasingly important part of academic life that can be a fantastic medium for promoting your work, networking with colleagues and for demonstrating impact. However, alongside the opportunities it also poses challenging questions about how to engage online, and how to represent yourself professionally.

This practical book provides clear guidance on effectively and intelligently using social media for academic purposes across disciplines, from publicising your work and building networks to engaging the public with your research. It is supported by real life examples and underpinned by principles of good practice to ensure you have the skills to make the most of this exciting medium.

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Posted in Academic, Social media | Tagged ,

Top breakthrough technologies and the key players

Every fall, MIT Technology Review’s editors get together to begin the months-long process of reviewing their coverage. The goal? To create a list of the top ten technological advances from the last year that will have the greatest longterm global impact on consumers. While the editors do give key players a shout-out — Google, for example, dominates the list — the purpose of the annual compilation goes further than giving credit to innovating companies. “This is our attempt to alert our readers: These are the technologies that you really need to or should pay attention to next year, and also going into the next few years,” MIT Tech Review’s editor David Rotman told Business Insider.

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Trends shaping Talent development

Leaders in the learning and talent development space discuss trends affecting the future of corporate training. While it’s relatively easy for competitors to implement technology similar to yours, duplicate your strategy, and even mimic your culture, they can’t clone your people. That’s why most organizations agree talent is a top priority. At the end of the day, people are your truest form of sustainable competitive advantage.

To expand the capabilities of their best asset, most organizations invest in some form of continued development. Research from the Brandon Hall Group revealed the average training budget for large organizations hovers around $13 million. Also, out of all the delivery mediums available (i.e., mobile apps, simulations, and e-learning), classroom settings are still chosen 22 percent more often than any other modality.

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Posted in Learning, Talents, Training | Tagged , ,

High-tech toys could stagnate babies’ communication skills

When babies and toddlers play with a tablet or other noisy device, they often play alone, which can be detrimental to their development, according to an assistant professor and extension early child development specialist. Research has shown that children need meaningful interaction with adults to reach their full social potential.

When buying toys for children, choosing the flashiest toy with all of the bells and whistles might seem like the best option. But in fact, these high-tech toys could actually slow a baby’s development of verbal skills.

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Posted in Babies, Communication | Tagged ,

Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains

New technologies are testing the limits of computer semiconductors. To deal with that, researchers have gone looking for ideas from nature.

We expect a lot from our computers these days. They should talk to us, recognize everything from faces to flowers, and maybe soon do the driving. All this artificial intelligence requires an enormous amount of computing power, stretching the limits of even the most modern machines.

Now, some of the world’s largest tech companies are taking a cue from biology as they respond to these growing demands. They are rethinking the very nature of computers and are building machines that look more like the human brain, where a central brain stem oversees the nervous system and offloads particular tasks — like hearing and seeing — to the surrounding cortex.

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Posted in Brain, Computers | Tagged ,

Crowd synthesis: extracting categories and clusters from complex data

Analysts synthesize complex, qualitative data to uncover themes and concepts, but the process is time-consuming, cognitively taxing, and automated techniques show mixed success. Crowdsourcing could help this process through on-demand harnessing of flexible and powerful human cognition, but incurs other challenges including limited attention and expertise. Further, text data can be complex, high-dimensional, and ill-structured. We address two major challenges unsolved in prior crowd clustering work: scaffolding expertise for novice crowd workers, and creating consistent and accurate categories when each worker only sees a small portion of the data. To address these challenges we present an empirical study of a two-stage approach to enable crowds to create an accurate and useful overview of a dataset: A) we draw on cognitive theory to assess how re-representing data can shorten and focus the data on salient dimensions; and B) introduce an iterative clustering approach that provides workers a global overview of data. We demonstrate a classification-plus-context approach elicits the most accurate categories at the most useful level of abstraction.

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Posted in Complex data, crowd, Data | Tagged , ,