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juliusbeezer : learning   49

The Yojik Website
This site is dedicated to language learners. You will find here the FSI, DLI and Peace-Corps courses. I wrote some tutorials to help learners to import vocabulary lists, to digitalize documents into modifiable content, to record lists of words/phrases. I rebuilt the defunt Shtooka website, so the content is not lost. A copy of the shtooka collections and programs is also kept here.

The FSI and the Peace-Corps parts are finished, and DLI is on the way, other parts too. Don't forget to report bad links. Thank you.

The translation of the site in French, Russian and German is on the way. French is pretty advanced. Translation of the first page in German done (thanks yabbes!)
language  learning 
may 2018 by juliusbeezer
The refugees who brought hope to a Scottish island | UK news | The Guardian
Mounzer al-Darsani was a barber for 15 years in Damascus before fleeing with his family to Bute. He was a well-known character in the city, and his shop, the Orient Salon, was always busy. Earlier this year the Orient Salon rose from the ashes of Damascus and was born again under the same name on Bute.

It seems his Rothesay business is now thriving as much as his Damascus one did. It was his dream to be open for business again in Bute, but he knew he first had to conquer the English language.

“Immediately after I came here I studied English for five hours every night in my own home, and after six months I felt I was beginning to pick it up,” he says. “The locals have been very helpful. They sensed I was keen to learn and were very patient and helped me out when I got words or sentences wrong.
language  learning  arabic  english 
december 2017 by juliusbeezer
Foreign Service Institute Language Difficulty Rankings | Atlas & Boots
The Foreign Service Institute language difficulty rankings are an indication of how long a native English speaker would need to reach proficiency in a number of different languages.

There five are categories ranked from easiest to the hardest based on how many classroom hours a learner would need to complete ‘Speaking 3: General Professional Proficiency in Speaking (S3)’ and ‘Reading 3: General Professional Proficiency in Reading (R3)’.

["the CIA language difficulty ranking"]
language  learning  teaching 
december 2017 by juliusbeezer
Authentic or graded? Is there a middle way? | elt-resourceful
It’s also important that students are exposed to different genres of texts, and, especially for the teacher creating materials for their own class, authentic texts provide a relatively easy way to bring something up to date and topical into the classroom. They can provide us with the opportunity to look at the same topic reported in different ways, or give students a starting point from which to follow the news topic as it unfolds, in their own time.

However, in recent years I have been moving away from using unadapted authentic texts. The most obvious problem is the level of the language. When I was first trained, we were taught, ‘grade the task not the text’, but, while this is usually possible, I’m no longer sure that it’s always in the students’ best interests.

Taking this kind of approach is intended to help students develop strategies to deal with texts where a lot of the language is unknown. There is certainly a value in this, but is it as valuable as giving them a text from which they can get so much more? Hu and Nation (2000) concluded that most learners needed to comprehend 98% of words in a text in order to gain ‘adequate comprehension’
language  learning  writing  teaching  text 
december 2017 by juliusbeezer
tldr | simplified, community driven man pages
This is a web client for a project called tldr-pages; they are a community effort to simplify the beloved man pages with practical examples.
tools  unix  linux  search  learning 
november 2017 by juliusbeezer
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis – review | Books | The Guardian
Varoufakis comes up with a vivid comparison between money supply and the market in cigarettes in a German prisoner-of-war camp to explain inflation, deflation and interest rates, in terms any teenager – or adult – will understand. In the camp, prisoners received packages from the Red Cross that included food, cigarettes, tea and coffee. Over time, as in prisons the world over, cigarettes became the currency by which other goods were traded. Now and again, the Red Cross would put more cigarettes in the packages, which meant that with more circulating in the camp they were worth less, so more would be needed to buy the same amount of goods – inflation in other words. Conversely, after a heavy bombing raid, prices went down – deflation – as so many cigarettes had been smoked they were in short supply and were worth more. As cigarettes are durable – like shells and precious metals, which have been used as currency – they can be saved, and in time “bankers” emerged in the camp, who would loan cigarettes with interest, ensuring that borrowers would pay back more than they had borrowed. In times of inflation, when the value of the currency was uncertain, interest rates went up, and vice versa.
economics  learning  veroufakis 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Letting neural networks be weird • A neural network invents diseases you don’t want...
Strecting Dissection of the Breath
Bacterial Fradular Syndrome
Milk Tomosis
Lemopherapathy
Osteomaroxism
Lower Veminary Hypertension Deficiency
Palencervictivitis
Asthodepic Fever
Hurtical Electrochondropathy
Loss Of Consufficiency
Parpoxitis
corpus  learning  medicine  funny 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Language Log » Learning languages is so much easier now
Do not use flashcards! Do not emphasize memorization of the characters (bùyào sǐbèi dānzì 不要死背单字). Learn words in their proper grammatical and syntactic context. Learn grammatical patterns and practice them in substitution drills (that was one of the best ways Chang Li-ching used to train her students, and she was extremely successful in getting them up to an impressive level of fluency in a short period of time).
language  learning  chinois 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Language Log » How to learn to read Chinese
all students in China begin to read and write through pinyin. During the 80s and 90s (and it still lingers on) there was also a remarkable, large-scale experiment in China called ZHUYIN SHIZI, TIQIAN DUXIE 注音識字提前讀寫 (Phonetically Annotated Character Recognition Speeds Up Reading and Writing) that was carried out in scattered locations across the country (but mostly in the Northeast [Dongbei; Manchuria]). The ZT experiment (as it is called after the first two letters of its constituent clauses) encouraged students to read and write in pinyin for longer periods than was stipulated by the conventional curriculum. In addition, even in higher grades, students were permitted to write words in pinyin when they couldn’t remember how to write something in characters (e.g., the devilishly difficult DA3PEN1TI4 [“sneeze”]). The well-documented results of the experiment demonstrate that students enrolled in the ZT curriculum actually learned to read and write characters better and faster than students enrolled in the standard curriculum.
language  learning  chinois 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
There is a difference between Native Speakers and Non Native Speakers | CriticElt
The psychological reality of native speakerness is easily demonstrated by the fact that we know one, and who isn’t one, when we meet them, often on the basis of just a few utterances. On a more objective level, when monolingual speakers are presented with (even very short) recorded stretches of speech by a large pool of NSs and NNs and asked to say which are which, the judges are always very good at distinguishing them, with inter-rater reliability typically above .9. How do they do this, and why is there so much agreement if there is no such thing as a NS?
language  learning  exclusion 
may 2017 by juliusbeezer
Hands-Off Learning? The Evidence Against Minimally Guided Instruction – ELT Research Bites
Empirical studies spanning decades show that minimally guided instruction (when the learners are novices) requires a large cognitive load and, therefore, is not supported by the research on how we learn effectively and efficiently. Solving a problem, specifically “problem-based searching” places a large burden on our working memory, especially by splitting learners’ attention, and therefore takes up valuable resources that are needed for actually learning. It’s possible to search and work on a problem for quite some time without learning a thing. It seems that only those who have extensive experience, schema, and prior knowledge benefit from this type of activity.
learning  memory  psychology  education  jbcomment 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Recurrent Neural Networks
Neural network generates something looking like English with little training
learning  tools  language  attention  agnotology 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Foreign language vocabulary: Effective practices for learning and teaching | CriticElt
One of the most influential models of bilingual memory within a FL learning context is the Revised Hierarchical Model proposed by Kroll and colleagues (Kroll & deGroot, 1997; Kroll & Stewart, 1994; Kroll & Sunderman, 2003; Kroll & Van Hell, 2010). This model attempts to capture the findings from many empirical studies to explain how the relationship of the L1 lexicon and FL lexicon change in relation to one another, and to the conceptual system, as FL proficiency develops. As shown in Figure 4.3, this model of the development of the mental lexicon incorporates a level of lexical information that is connected to, but separable from, conceptual knowledge, which is argued to be universal in its basic architecture.
language  learning  education 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Foreign pilots are failing at English — but so are the Brits
Native English speakers think they speak the language well enough not to need any lessons in it. In the aviation industry, that is dangerously complacent. The CAA report says that British pilots and air traffic controllers are causing misunderstandings by using slang and everyday conversational English, rather than the established terms of English as an aviation lingua franca...
native English speakers need to undergo a perceptual shift many will find hard. The report says the airline industry needs to “emphasise to native English-speaking pilots and controllers that they are not the ‘owners’ of English”.

But it is a reality. Language experts calculate that for every person speaking English as a mother tongue, there are now four speaking it as a second or additional language. Most English conversations around the world, whether in aviation, business or tourism, take place between non-native speakers.

It is not just in the airline industry that non-native speakers often find it difficult to understand Brits, Americans or Australians. Business people tell researchers that their English language conference call was going fine until a Canadian or New Zealander came on to the line.

The problem is the same one identified in the CAA report: native English speakers talk too fast, use too many metaphorical expressions and, because so many of them these days are monolingual, have no idea what it is like to operate in another language.
english  aviation  language  learning  imperialism 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Fueling the Gold Rush: The Greatest Public Datasets for AI – Startup Grind – Medium
It has never been easier to build AI or machine learning-based systems than it is today. The ubiquity of cutting edge open-source tools such as TensorFlow, Torch, and Spark, coupled with the availability of massive amounts of computation power through AWS, Google Cloud, or other cloud providers, means that you can train cutting-edge models from your laptop over an afternoon coffee.

Though not at the forefront of the AI hype train, the unsung hero of the AI revolution is data — lots and lots of labeled and annotated data, curated with the elbow grease of great research groups and companies who recognize that the democratization of data is a necessary step towards accelerating AI.

It’s important to remember that good performance on data set doesn’t guarantee a machine learning system will perform well in real product scenarios. Most people in AI forget that the hardest part of building a new AI solution or product is not the AI or algorithms — it’s the data collection and labeling. Standard datasets can be used as validation or a good starting point for building a more tailored solution.

[curated list of opendata sets follows]
open  opendata  learning  software 
february 2017 by juliusbeezer
Now or never: translation of a poem and other things I don´t know – That elusive pair of jeans
I started learning Portuguese when we arrived here as emigrants in October 2008. People assume that because I am a translator, and already know a couple of other languages that it is easier for me than a garden variety English monolingual. I do not think so.

While it may be easier from the point of view that I am genuinely interested in all the possible uses of the subjunctive, for example, and can identify the relics of this mood in English with ease, what many non linguists fail to grasp is that another language is not simply another functional word list to employ when you find yourself surrounded by Continentals.

Another language is another world. It is a new and different mentality with its own history and culture and methods of food preparation, and types of vegetation for which you have hitherto had no need for a name. In this world, too, there are countless social strata quite different from the ones to which you may be accustomed.
translation  language  learning 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Get Your Eagle Eye On: 10 Tips for Proofreading Your Own Work | WTD
3. Forget the content or story. Analyze sentence by sentence; don’t read in your usual way. Focus on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Work backwards, if that helps, or say the words and sentences out loud. Concentrate.

4. Make several passes for different types of errors. Try checking spelling and end punctuation on one pass, grammar and internal punctuation on another, and links or format on yet another pass. Develop a system.

5. Take notes. If you notice a format issue while checking spelling or if you need to look something up, make a quick note and come back to it so you don’t lose your focus.

6. If you do make a last-minute change to a few words, be sure to check the entire sentence or even paragraph over again. Many errors are the result of changes made without adjusting other, related words.
editing  learning  writing 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
You changed me: how my English teacher taught impeccable writing | Life and style | The Guardian
Mr B insisted we stand at attention when he entered, and then at ease, before we sat. He wore tight white shirts, often sleeveless, and narrow ties, like a 1960s junior executive at the Rand Corporation. He frequently barked. He insisted we all sit still or stand still when we were not engaged in productive effort.

My education in middle school was not significantly different from the education pioneer schoolchildren received 100 years earlier in one-room log cabin schools, both in its moral underpinning and in its content. We learned the components of sentences: subjects, verbs, objects, which always went in that order. Sentences could contain subjective clauses, objective clauses and adjectival clauses. By using or refraining from using these elements, we wrote simple sentences or compound sentences or compound-complex sentences. Simple sentences were always best. In grade seven, we worked only on individual sentences, in grade eight on single paragraphs, and then finally in grade nine on arguments.
english  learning  education 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
Larsen Freeman’s IATEFL 2016 Plenary: Shifting metaphors from computer input to ecological affordances | CriticElt
There’s no single, complete and generally agreed-upon theory of SLA, but there’s a widespread view that second language learning is a process whereby learners gradually develop their own autonomous grammatical system with its own internal organising principles. This system is referred to as “interlanguage”. Note that “interlanguage” is a theoretical construct (not a fact and not a metaphor) which has proved useful in developing a theory of some of the phenomena associated with SLA; the construct itself needs further study and the theory which it’s part of is incomplete, and possibly false.

Support for the hypothesis of interlanguages comes from observations of U-shaped behaviour in SLA, which indicate that learners’ interlanguage development is not linear.
language  learning 
april 2016 by juliusbeezer
The real problem with linguistic shirkers | Language on the Move
those who point the finger at migrant language shirkers vastly underestimate the effort involved in language learning. The consensus in applied linguistics is that language learning takes a long time and that the precise duration and final outcome as measured in proficiency level are almost impossible to predict as they depend on many factors, most of which are outside of the control of an individual language learner, such as age, level of education, aptitude, teaching program, language proximity or access to interactional opportunities.

Language learning is not at all a simple task and most people readily forget that it takes about twelve years to learn your first language. The first five or six years from birth are devoted to acquiring oral fluency and then another six years or so are needed to learn how to read and write, to acquire the academic and textual conventions of a language and also to extend grammatical structures, expand vocabulary and refine pragmatic conventions.
language  learning  immigration  germany  London  exclusion 
april 2016 by juliusbeezer
[no title]
1. It provides insight into an important issue – for example, by explaining a wide variance when numbers are spread out from the mean or expected value, or by shedding light on an unsolved problem that affects a lot of people.

2. The insight is useful to people who make decisions, particularly long-term organizational decisions or, in our particular field, family decisions.

3. The insight is used to develop a framework or theory, either a new theory or advancing an existing one.

4. The insight stimulates new, important questions.

5. The methods used to explore the issue are appropriate (for example, data collection and analysis of data).

6. The methods used are applied rigorously and explain why and how the data support the conclusions.

7. Connections to prior work in the field or from other fields are made and serve to make the article's arguments clear.

8. The article tells a good story, meaning it is well written and easy to understand, the arguments are logical and not internally contradictory.

"Ideally, we would like to see articles perform well on all eight points, and that the author strives for a good balance amongst these criteria," said Dr. Pieper said.
publishing  learning  writing  sciencepublishing  scholarly 
march 2016 by juliusbeezer
Leoxicon: What corpora HAVE done for us
That was before I discovered the British National Corpus hosted on the Brigham Young University website. Had I discovered it earlier I would have searched for Hints + Preposition and found that hints on something is actually more common than the other two options we were vehemently debating.

In his recent article Whathave corpora ever done for us, Hugh Dellar raises doubts about the usefulness of corpora to the ELT field. While not completely dismissive of corpus research and its value, Hugh basically argues that its effect on the language teaching profession has been enslaving rather than liberating. I find Hugh's polemic surprising considering the fact that corpus linguistics is what gave impetus to the Lexical approach, of which Hugh is a staunch advocate (used the corpus here to look up a "juicy" adjective for "advocate"!)
corpus  english  language  learning 
march 2016 by juliusbeezer
SOLE – does it work with adult language learners? | ELTjam
SOLE stands for Self Organised Learning Environment. In a SOLE teachers attempt to spark curiosity by asking children to explore a big question, using the Internet and working together in small groups. Towards the end of the session each group is then invited to present their findings to the rest of the class.

There are a number important features of SOLE that have emerged that help to maximise its effectiveness. Firstly, the ‘big question’ plays a prominent role and when a relevant and challenging question is posed many children do respond positively and engage in the lesson. Secondly, the SOLE approach enables teachers to integrate the use of the internet into the lesson in a safe and constructive manner
language  learning 
march 2016 by juliusbeezer
Where we keep our second language - Video English
“In speech production, there is plentiful evidence that languages are simultaneously activated and the inappropriate one suppressed, as a function of task.” 1

So when we use our second language we operate both languages simultaneously from the same areas of our brain and simply suppress the one we are not using and switch to the one we are using. It is this combined capacity of the executive function of the brain, also called cognitive control and supervisory attentional system that we train and make fitter when we learn a second language.

There is no separate second language area of the brain. Both languages are stored together, fluency is achieved not only by expanding vocabulary, but by exercising the selecting and switching capacities.
language  learning  psychology 
december 2015 by juliusbeezer
In Translation - The New Yorker
Why am I fleeing? What is pursuing me? Who wants to restrain me?

The most obvious answer is the English language. But I think it’s not so much English in itself as everything the language has symbolized for me. For practically my whole life, English has represented a consuming struggle, a wrenching conflict, a continuous sense of failure that is the source of almost all my anxiety. It has represented a culture that had to be mastered, interpreted. I was afraid that it meant a break between me and my parents. English denotes a heavy, burdensome aspect of my past. I’m tired of it.

And yet I was in love with it. I became a writer in English. And then, rather precipitously, I became a famous writer...
By writing in Italian, I think I am escaping both my failures with regard to English and my success. Italian offers me a very different literary path. As a writer I can demolish myself, I can reconstruct myself. I can join words together and work on sentences without ever being considered an expert. I’m bound to fail when I write in Italian, but, unlike my sense of failure in the past, this doesn’t torment or grieve me.
english  writing  language  learning  italian 
december 2015 by juliusbeezer
How non-native English researchers can overcome barriers to academic publishing | Editage Insights
When you started out, how easy or difficult did you find it to write academic articles in English? Did you face any specific challenges? Based on your experiences, would you like to share any tips with our readers?

At first, it was difficult because of the language barrier. I struggled with presenting my experiment methods and research findings in a way that the reviewers would clearly understand. While writing in English, I tended to follow the Chinese writing style and syntax, and as a result my writing was unnatural and sounded “Chinglish.” I realized that to overcome these difficulties, I had to keep reading papers published in the leading journals in my field to gradually improve my vocabulary and learn common expressions in academic writing. I also had to learn to write directly in English and think in English. My first published SCI article marked the formation of my English academic writing style.

There’re a few other things I learned early on. First, the key factor determining whether an academic article will be published is not the writing skills displayed by the author(s) but the contents of the paper. Second, you should ensure that you write a good introduction.
writing  editing  peerreview  china  learning 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
Doing Is Knowing: “Sweet Jane” and the Web — Backchannel — Medium
Anyone who wants to learn “Sweet Jane” today can look it up on YouTube and get schooled by gawky kids and middle-aged instructional-video peddlers and all sorts of other people who have chosen to say, “I will show you how I do this.” You can listen to and compare a fat catalog of live performances by Reed and covers by others. (You may visit the “Sweet Jane” Museum I have assembled here, if you like.) The Web has, among many other achievements, allowed us all to produce and share the instruction manuals to our DIY dreams. Pickers and strummers everywhere who have posted your clumsy, loving, earnest videos: I thank you and salute you!
blogs  music  learning  youtube  video  dccomment 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
7 mistakes you are making with your cycling and how you can correct them
The vast majority of cyclists are frequently making these errors on the roads. Anyone who recognises and corrects their errors can cycle more safely, confidently and efficiently. Up until last week I was regularly making these mistakes too. However, a 2 hour course I completed last Thursday, by the highly recommended Cycle Training UK, completely changed my cycling technique. Here are the mistakes commonly made and how they can be corrected.
cycling  road_safety  coaching  teaching  learning 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
Evidence-based practices for teaching writing
scientific studies of writing interventions provide a more trustworthy approach for identifying effective methods for teaching writing; they supply evidence of the magnitude of the effect of a writing intervention, how confident one can be in the study’s results, and how replicable the writing strategy is in new settings with new populations of students.
The list of recommendations presented below is based on scientific studies of students in grades 4–12. The strategies for teaching writing are listed according to the magnitude of their effects. Writing strategies: Explicitly teach students strategies for planning, revising, and editing their written products. This may involve teaching general processes (e.g., brainstorming or editing) or more speci?c elements, such as steps for writing a persuasive essay. In either case, we recommend that teachers model the strategy, provide assistance as students practice using the strategy on their own, and allow for independent practice with the strategy once they have learned it.
Summarizing text: Explicitly teach students procedures for summarizing what they read. Summarization allows students to practice concise, clear writing to convey an accurate message of the main ideas in a text.
writing  editing  coaching  learning 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
How Twitter Users Can Generate Better Ideas
Just exposing oneself to diverse fields, opinions and beliefs on Twitter by itself is not sufficient to enhance innovativeness. Additional capabilities are needed to ensure that the ideas triggered via Twitter can be transformed into actual innovative outcomes. To identify what these complementary capabilities are, we conducted 205 interviews with Twitter users across the ten groups in our sample. Through the interviews, we found that individual absorptive capacity4 — the ability of employees to identify, assimilate and exploit new ideas — is critical for employees to build and learn from their Twitter networks. This means that if you are a Twitter user with the goal of improving your innovation performance, you need to maintain a diverse network while also developing your information assimilation and exploitation skills.
twitter  learning  education  business 
august 2015 by juliusbeezer
How to Write a Thesis, by Umberto Eco | Times Higher Education
While lots of the advice is hands-on (“begin new paragraphs often”), some is more metaphysical. Writing a thesis involves learning academic humility, the “knowledge that anyone can teach us something”. Eco illustrates this with a beautiful story of how a chance remark in a century-old book, badly written and full of preconceived ideas, by Vallet, an abbot, gave him a vital insight for his own thesis. And then, demonstrating the complex ways that work and intellectual inspiration are related, he tells of discovering years later, on returning to the book, that while the insight was not there on the page at all, somehow, as a student, he had himself taken it from the book: “is this not also what we ask from a teacher, to provoke us to invent ideas?”
writing  education  postgradology  history  memory  learning 
june 2015 by juliusbeezer
How to respond to learning-style believers
n Urban Myths about Learning and Education, the authors suggest that these myths could be a type of moral panic. In a moral panic, believers claim that there are stark differences between groups of people and that only moral people care about these differences.

Emotions can run high thanks to the believer’s moral commitment. For example, imagine that I believe in learning styles and I’m a member of a team on an elearning project. I notice that no one is planning any narration, so I say earnestly, “Don’t forget the auditory learners!” Someone else says, “Oh, that’s all been debunked.”

I’ve never heard that before. How might I respond?

“Are they saying I’m an idiot?” I think. “I’m not! I care about the learners! The team is just finding excuses to take shortcuts. They don’t care about the learners like I do!” So I fight back, maybe by debating learning styles or just resisting others’ ideas.

This is the “worldview backfire effect,” according to the authors of The Debunking Handbook, available for free from SkepticalScience.com.
learning  education  authoritarianism  attention 
june 2015 by juliusbeezer
MIKE S. BOYLE
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably a corpus linguistics fan who is learning to code with Python using an excellent online tutorial called Natural Language Processing with Python (which is also a book you can buy, in case you feel like a bit of a freeloader). You may have made some amazing discoveries about code...

So basically it’s supposed to give me a list of the 50 most frequent words in the text. When I run the code, though, the result is the 50 least frequent words in order of least frequent to most frequent, as opposed to the other way around.

Now, on this page, the selected best answer is extremely thorough, but actually not very helpful. After you’ve done all of that troubleshooting, you’ll be no further to a solution. But the answer below that is very illuminating:

…FreqDist in NLTK3 is a wrapper for collections.Counter; Counter provides most_common() method to return items in order. FreqDist.keys() method is provided by standard library; it is not overridden….
corpus  language  coding  learning  python 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
On rote memorization and antiquated skills
"I pity the kids who were forced by their parents into memorizing these tables… I will not discourage my kids from using algorithms to solve problems."

Daniel Lemire inspires me to document my mental arithmetic experiences in the corner shop:

I agree with you. I drilled and chanted multiplication tables as a schoolboy in Scotland, but you are quite right that anything beyond 12x was terra incogita, and that an algorithmic approach would have been superior there.

And to in support of your assertions that the most useful memorisation comes from repeated use in practical situations, let me offer this anecdote:

When I was a student I worked in a small corner shop in the north of England whose stock was entirely arrayed around two walls of the small square customer area. I stood behind a counter facing these walls. Customers would enter, select things from the shelves, place them in a basket, and then present the basket on the counter for the items to be checked out and paid for. I generally used a conventional electronic till to perform this duty.

But one way that I found to amuse myself in what was really quite a boring job was to observe the customer as they placed items in the basket, and mentally calculate their total cost before they approached the counter. I would then glance at the basket, and casually state the exact total.

I’d then use the till to confirm the result, to the customer’s amazement. This was quite fun, and a few months of it had the side effect that I’m now much better at mental arithmetic than my school years alone would have given me any right to deserve.

There was no call for multiplication and division in the corner shop trick, but the “oral memory” nature of the practice helped me to create a mental space that holds numbers, and enabled these to be developed later. I still check stuff on paper the way they taught me at primary school though, and I don’t regret learning that solid method before branching out into party tricks.

And yeh; sod it, calculator, which is glumly getting the bus, when you could have had a nice walk and a laugh.
mathematics  education  learning  memory  psychology  programming  dccomment 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
How Scientists Are Learning to Write - The Atlantic
The NYU workshops may sound unappealing; they're not for credit and each session lasts three hours per week (not counting homework) for four weeks. But the numbers say otherwise; for the fall 2014 semester over 160 scientists applied for 40 spots, likely because of how useful it is.

The NYU course is one of several of its kind offered across the country for undergraduates and doctorate students in formats ranging from massive open online courses (like one that Sainani teaches) to small workshops and everything in between.
science  writing  education  coaching  learning 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
mrb: You Are Learning Haskell Right Now (Or Anything You Want Really)
It's not true that "every time I tried to learn" it got easier, because how I was trying wasn't consistent. The reason why learning a language like Haskell is hard is because there is a hell of a lot to learn.

Another reason to not publish a time line about how I learned a specific language is because in reality, it's not at all that interesting. What the world needs is more posts encouraging people to forge their own paths and try, try, try to achieve the very challenging goals that they're setting out for themselves. It doesn't matter if it's learning an "academic" language or something more "practical" - the lesson remains the same.

When I first started learning, I tried to mess with things I knew well, like parsing binary formats, or things I needed, like a fast little git application, or things I loved, like visual art or music processing. I tried networking, distributed programming. I tried to build from the bottom up. I tried to start from the top.

I tried everything I could think of and was frustrated over and over again. The tool chain was complicated, error messages made no sense.
learning  education  programming  software  screwmeneutics  tools  attention 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
3 Ways to Write a Press Release - wikiHow
Reporters are more likely to consider a story idea if they first receive a press release. It is a fundamental tool of PR work,
journalism  writing  presse  learning 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
Using the Academic Word List
To create the AWL, Coxhead first of all made a corpus i.e. a computerised collection, of over 400 written academic texts, equalling about 3.5 million words in total. Coxhead used a range of different types of texts: journal articles, www articles and university textbooks, covering 28 different subject areas from 4 disciplines: arts, commerce, law and science.

She counted how frequently and how widely different words were used. She then selected the core academic vocabulary. She included on the list only the words which appeared at least 100 times in the corpus as a whole and at least ten times in each of the four disciplines. A word that was found frequently in law texts but rarely in science texts, for example, was not included.

As a result, the 570 words on the Academic Word List are valuable for all students preparing for academic study, whether they are planning to follow a course in Medicine, Computer Systems Engineering, Architecture or European Law. If you are planning to continue your studies in English, this list will help you.
corpus  language  learning  english  enfr_beginner 
january 2014 by juliusbeezer
Artificial Intelligence and What Computers Still Don't Understand : The New Yorker
Levesque saves his most damning criticism for the end of his paper. It’s not just that contemporary A.I. hasn’t solved these kinds of problems yet; it’s that contemporary A.I. has largely forgotten about them.
software  language  learning 
august 2013 by juliusbeezer
20 rules of formulating knowledge in learning
Good page on approach to material that must be memorised.
education  learning 
october 2012 by juliusbeezer
Language enhancement | Interpretings
When you start an interpreting course one of the first things you that may strike you is how the language you thought you knew just fades away. Interpreting is an extremely complex exercise and your language skills have to be extremely solid. Whether we grew up bilingually or learnt languages later, most of us who are (or were) accepted into an interpreting program probably has the equivalent to a C2 level (mother tongue or near-native level according to the Council of Europe). But let’s face it, when we embark on our first consecutive – it feels like we just learnt our first words in that language.
interpreting  language  learning  education  translation 
october 2012 by juliusbeezer
Khan Academy
Ex investment banker who likes explaining maths and science using graphics tablets and youtube videos. Short on empirical work.
education  learning  teaching  video 
february 2010 by juliusbeezer
Newsletter - Issue 17 - Twittering the student experience
If all you knew about Twitter was what you heard in the media, you might think it was populated only by chattering celebrities. While intellectually barren corners of Twitter may exist, for us, Twitter is a powerful personal research tool, populated by carefully selected individuals whom we have chosen to 'follow' for their knowledge and insight.
twitter  education  learning  link_rot_fixed 
november 2009 by juliusbeezer
Education Needs to Be Turned on Its Head | eLearning 3.0
Traditionally, schools use this model:

1. Decide on what kids need to know to prepare them for adulthood.
2. Prepare a curriculum based on this.
3. Give students a schedule based on this curriculum.
4. Have educated teachers hand them the info they need, and drill them in skills.
5. The student reads, memorizes the info, learns the skills, and becomes prepared.
6. Students must follow all rules or be punished. This is actually more important than the info and skills, although it’s never said that way.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a great model. Mostly because it’s based on the idea that there is a small group of people in authority, who will tell you what to do and what you need to know, and you must follow this obediently, like robots. And you must not think for yourself, or try to do what you want to do. This will be met with severe punishment.
education  learning 
october 2009 by juliusbeezer

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