2013 in review: Numbers and Stats from the previous year

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 160,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 7 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

How People Learn: A test that proves public education is teaching incorrectly

When it is wondered why homeschooling is proving more successful than public school, or why Common Core education is so dangerous to the minds of young people, or even in determining the amount of money teachers should be paid, and how often—it must be understood how children learn and achieve.  The science of learning must be dealt with, and an assumption that the traditional top down learning system must be abandoned so that an open-minded analysis can be explored beyond cynical protection of the public education government sponsored empire building which has been enslaving children presently and entire societies globally.  For that analysis, let me provide a bit of evidence as provided by Delancey place.com regarding a 1999 study in India where Sugata Mitra conducted an experiment that should change the world if only government involvement in education would step out-of-the-way.  Governments create the kind of slums talked about in the article below, governments create ignorance, and governments create most of the roadblocks that stand in the way of innovation.  If left alone, society would advance much faster toward much more prosperous educational opportunities and social innovation as the proof below will display.  Please keep in mind upon reading this that the study was conducted well over 15 years ago as of this writing and that is simply appalling.  Sadly it has not been officially endorsed by any serious advocates of education.  The reason is that teacher unions do not want innovation, they do not want competition, and they don’t want any model of education that abandons their top down approach because it does not fit their long-term strategy of advocating dependence on government.  The purpose of education in public schools is not to teach independence among its students, but dependency—more specifically “interdependency.”  Thus, it is an educational system that deliberately works against the way human beings think, feel, and learn—it is in defiance of nature—and is the primary reason that it is a global failure not just in America—be everywhere in the world relative to the kind of educational methods described below.

Continuing Delanceyplace.com’s End of Year Encore Week: This year a full week on creativity.

In today’s encore selection — from Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think

by Peter H. Diamandia and Steven Kotler. A creative approach to education:

“In 1999 the Indian physicist Sugata Mitra got interested in education. He knew there were places in the world without schools and places in the world where good teachers didn’t want to teach. What could be done for kids living in those spots was his question. Self-directed learning was one pos­sible solution, but were kids living in slums capable of all that much self-direction?

“At the time, Mitra was head of research and development for NIIT Technologies, a top computer software and development company in New Delhi, India. His posh twenty-first-century office abutted an urban slum but was kept separate by a tall brick wall. So Mitra designed a simple exper­iment. He cut a hole in the wall and installed a computer and a track pad, with the screen and the pad facing into the slum. He did it in such a way that theft was not a problem, then connected the computer to the Internet, added a web browser, and walked away.

“The kids who lived in the slums could not speak English, did not know how to use a computer, and had no knowledge of the Internet, but they were curious. Within minutes, they’d figured out how to point and click. By the end of the first day, they were surfing the web and-even more importantly-teaching one another how to surf the web. These results raised more questions than they answered. Were they real? Did these kids really teach themselves how to use this computer, or did someone, perhaps out of sight of Mitra’s hidden video camera, explain the technology to them?


“So Mitra moved the experiment to the slums of Shivpuri, where, as he says, ‘I’d been assured no one had ever taught anybody anything.’ He got similar results. Then he moved it to a rural village and found the same thing. Since then, this experiment has been replicated all over India, and all over the world, and always with the same outcome: kids, working in small, unsupervised groups, and without any formal training, could learn to use computers very quickly and with a great degree of proficiency.

“This led Mitra to an ever-expanding series of experiments about what else kids could learn on their own. One of the more ambitious of these was conducted in the small village of Kalikkuppam in southern India. This time Mitra decided to see if a bunch of impoverished Tamil-speaking, twelve-year-olds could learn to use the Internet, which they’d never seen before; to teach themselves biotechnology, a subject they’d never heard of; in English, a language none of them spoke. ‘All I did was tell them that there was some very difficult information on this computer, they probably wouldn’t under­stand any of it, and I’ll be back to test them on it in a few months.’

“Two months later, he returned and asked the students if they’d under­stood the material. A young girl raised her hand. ‘Other than the fact that improper replication of the DNA molecule causes genetic disease,’ she said, ‘we’ve understood nothing.’ In fact, this was not quite the case. When Mitra tested them, scores averaged around 30 percent. From 0 percent to 30 percent in two months with no formal instruction was a fairly remark­able result, but still not good enough to pass a standard exam. So Mitra brought in help. He recruited a slightly older girl from the village to serve as a tutor. She didn’t know any biotechnology, but was told to use the ‘grand­mother method’: just stand behind the kids and provide encouragement. ‘Wow, that’s cool, that’s fantastic, show me something else!’ Two months later, Mitra came back. This time, when tested, average scores had jumped to 50 percent, which was the same average as high-school kids studying bio-tech at the best schools in New Delhi.

“Next Mitra started refining the method. He began installing computer terminals in schools. Rather than giving students a broad subject to learn-for example, biotechnology-he started asking directed questions such as ‘Was World War II good or bad?’ The students could use every available resource to answer the question, but schools were asked to restrict the num­ber of Internet portals to one per every four students because, as Matt Rid­ley wrote in the Wall Street Journal, ‘one child in front of a computer learns little; four discussing and debating learn a lot.’ When they were tested on the subject matter afterward (without use of the computer), the mean score was 76 percent. That’s pretty impressive on its own, but the question arose as to the real depth of learning. So Mitra came back two months later, retested the students, and got the exact same results. This wasn’t just deep learning, this was an unprecedented retention of information. …

“Taken together, this work reverses a bevy of educational practices. Instead of top-down instruction, [these ‘self-organized learning environments’] are bottom up. Instead of making students learn on their own, this work is collaborative. Instead of a formal in-school setting for instruction, the Hole-in-the-Wall method relies on a playground-like environment. Most importantly, minimally invasive edu­cation doesn’t require teachers. Currently there’s a projected global short­age of 18 million teachers over the next decade.”

Author: Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Title: Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think

Publisher: Free Press

Date: Copyright 2012 by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Pages: 174-176

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

by Peter H. Diamand is by Free Press

So long as education methods stay as they are, human society will suffer, there will be continued poverty, continued subjugation to authority, and a level of ignorance that flat lines across the vast spectrum of society from the highest to lowest levels of archaic pecking order hierarchy.  That hierarchy is what public school is all about, and it is what holds back mankind the most from achieving a level of greatness that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue with a free mind able to comprehend that something is terribly wrong.  Public education does not work as well as the ‘grand­mother method’: just standing behind kids and providing encouragement. ‘Wow, that’s cool, that’s fantastic, show me something else!’  Kids, because of the tendency toward personal profit will work hard to get that personal encouragement from a figure of respect.  They do it for the same reason that a business owner tries to make money, or a video game player tries to score more points, or a man takes a woman to dinner hoping to have sex with her—it is the prospect of profit that drives the world, and for kids, all they usually need are the tools with limits removed and an encouraging voice to push them along—and “POOF” success is nearly 100% guaranteed.

Government schools are not about success, they are about combating this essential truth about human beings—they are at war with profit of every kind—the wish to socially engineer such desires from human minds and in so doing, they are destroying what it means to be human.  This is why they are detriments to society, and villains where they think of themselves as heroes.  They are in denial of the role they play in the destruction of mankind—and all those politicians who help them do it are as complicit to the act as a witness to a murder keeps their mouth shut, and provides a get-away-car for the bandits who committed the crime.

Rich Hoffman