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Television Education Technology

The Dying DVR Box and Woz Wisdom 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the wozdom-should-totally-be-a-word dept.
Lucas123 writes "At SNW in Santa Clara this past week, a diverse group of techies shared insights into their industries, such as the DVR market. TiVo's senior director of IT, Richard Rothschild, for instance, explained how those set-top boxes track everything you watch for advertising and marketing and then combine the information with supermarket membership card data to determine how effective ad campaigns are. Oh, and TiVo's planning to integrate its box with your flatscreen, so no more set-top device. And Steve Wozniak attacked the American education system, saying students should be graded on a single, long-term project rather than a short learning/testing cycle. 'In school, intelligence is a measurement,' he said. 'If you have the same answer as everyone else in math or science, you're intelligent.'"
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The Dying DVR Box and Woz Wisdom

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  • by Mechagodzilla (94503) on Friday April 08, 2011 @03:55PM (#35762116)
    but I can not take comments on intelligence seriously from a man who wasn't smart enough to say NO to Dancing with the Stars. Let the Flaming begin in 3...2...
    • by Lucas123 (935744)
      So basically what you’re saying is you’re not in favor of taking chances and living life to its fullest. Woz is a brilliant, creative man who instead of focusing his life on earning as much money as he could, went off to teach 5-8 graders for 8 years after leaving Apple. I think his comments on education and especially on creating an innovative atmosphere in our schools have a great deal of validity.
      • by ackthpt (218170)

        So basically what you’re saying is you’re not in favor of taking chances and living life to its fullest. Woz is a brilliant, creative man who instead of focusing his life on earning as much money as he could, went off to teach 5-8 graders for 8 years after leaving Apple. I think his comments on education and especially on creating an innovative atmosphere in our schools have a great deal of validity.

        Ever work on a project team in school? Not quite like it is in the shop, where layabouts who contribute nothing eventually get reduced out (or promoted to management, if you believe everything you read in Dilbert.) In school we had people on our teams who did zilch nada, but still put on a suit and tie for presentation day. Really gave me a warm feeling, knowing they got the same credit those of us who worked on it got.

        • but still put on a suit and tie for presentation day. Really gave me a warm feeling, knowing they got the same credit those of us who worked on it got.

          You mean they made the effort to put a suit on, must have been a high quality outfit :-), and by the way you ungrateful miscreants, it's called "support"

  • I'm sorry (Score:3, Funny)

    by squidflakes (905524) on Friday April 08, 2011 @03:59PM (#35762182) Homepage
    TiVo's senior director of IT, Richard Rothschild, for instance, explained how those set-top boxes track everything you watch for advertising and marketing and then combine the information with supermarket membership card data to determine how effective ad campaigns are.

    I feel at least partially responsible for this. When I was working for a large cable TV head-end provider, I pitched this exact idea to upper management. Not as a way to track people, but as a way to prove to advertisers that cable advertising was effective.

    I was told that the idea was unworkable and stupid, but six months later was put in charge of a project to roll out the 'brilliant idea from one of or top executives'.

    So yeah, sorry everyone.
  • by JMZero (449047) on Friday April 08, 2011 @04:00PM (#35762192) Homepage

    'In school, intelligence is a measurement,' he said. 'If you have the same answer as everyone else in math or science, you're intelligent.'"

    Well.. not really. Schools don't measure intelligence, they measure compliance and effort. If you're intelligent and willing, it's easier to comply with "memorize this crap" and "be able to solve math problems in this form" - but grades are not intended to measure intelligence, nor are they good at doing so. Nor would it make sense. The feedback mechanism grading is requires something you can change - and that's why grades usually target things that all students are capable of and that are easy to evaluate: memorization, putting time into a report, etc..

    At issue, he said, are rules that tell each student exactly what they should be studying and when.

    Everyone knows there's more effective ways to teach, but it's also clear why teachers have structure: how else are you going to address the needs of 30 different students - many of whom don't want to be there - and keep them all doing something vaguely productive?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Everyone knows there's more effective ways to teach, but it's also clear why teachers have structure: how else are you going to address the needs of 30 different students - many of whom don't want to be there - and keep them all doing something vaguely productive?

      Good point. Also, Woz might have a skewed teaching perspective. Los Gatos, CA is a wealthy, insular Silicon Valley enclave (80% white, 10% Asian, small bits of "other"). So, what should we expect from the kids? High motivation, lots of parental support (not to mention intelligent parents), and plenty of money for the nice surburban schools. Let's see him try the same stuff in the middle of LA.

      Beyond that, what's the point of our education system? Is it to provide an adequate (though not necessarily grea

    • by hedwards (940851)

      It depends greatly upon how competent the teachers are at assessment. One of the big problems is that these periodic tests just don't work very well. And the big standardized tests are essentially a complete waste of time and we're likely better of ditching them entirely.

      The problem is that by the time you get to the end of the unit exam, it's way too late to do anything about any lack of knowledge. Doing small assessments constantly at least gives you some ability to make adjustments and clarifications as

    • by Kemanorel (127835)

      Excellent post. I couldn't have said it better.

      Hell, having only 30 students in a class is a joy compared to a full load of 36 or an overload upper limit of 38. You'd be surprised at how much of a difference 2-3 students can make.

      25 and lower is the "magic" number where class size is most effective.

  • 'If you have the same answer as everyone else in math or science, you're intelligent.'"

    Hmm, someone doesn't understand the importance of being able to reproduce the exact results for a given equation. I was required to show my work when I learned long division and that trend continued through trigonometry and calculus. The measurement of "intelligence" is being able to demonstrate that you understand the concepts behind the math and science you are doing...not just picking a random answer on a multiple choice question.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      'If you have the same answer as everyone else in math or science, you're intelligent.'"

      Hmm, someone doesn't understand the importance of being able to reproduce the exact results for a given equation. I was required to show my work when I learned long division and that trend continued through trigonometry and calculus. The measurement of "intelligence" is being able to demonstrate that you understand the concepts behind the math and science you are doing...not just picking a random answer on a multiple choice question.

      I wrote 42 on every test in high school. As much as it was the answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe and everything, but I also did some of the problems and wotnot just to be on the safe side.

    • by Altus (1034)

      Someone doesn't realize who exactly it is they are talking about.

      You really think that Woz doesn't understand the importance of being able to reproduce the exact results for a given equation? Do you know who Woz is?

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        Someone doesn't realize who exactly it is they are talking about.

        You really think that Woz doesn't understand the importance of being able to reproduce the exact results for a given equation? Do you know who Woz is?

        Woz is of course speaking of the ideal school which has unlimited resources. Meanwhile, in California, most elementary schools have had budgets slashed so severely they went from 18 pupils per teacher to 30 pupils teacher, which means Class Size Reduction isn't very important to people, otherwise they'd be rioting over such a trend. Go ahead and run Woz's idea past some other teachers, see what they think.

      • Do you know who Woz is?

        Of course. Woz - it's an abbreviation for the Wizard of Oz.

        In other words, he's the former shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals - Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.

  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Friday April 08, 2011 @04:13PM (#35762376) Journal

    In the article (yeah, I really read his part) Woz's says that projects can take up to years. He never expounded on how these long-term projects should take, or at what level he would like to implement them. From kindergarten to 5th project. 6th-9th? 10th-12th? K all the way through 12th? I like his premise, but then he goes off and says he developed the floppy disk for Apple in 2 weeks. Is that long term? Woz is a really smart guy and has done tons of good, but bring some clarity when you are declaring the need for changes. I personally agree with him that a, say, semester long (2 to 4 months) project should be able to teach a lot more than the memorize, test, & forget form of study. Longer than that and you are most likely getting into implementation phases.

    My 2 bananas worth.

  • class where you can just cram for the test need to go and be replaced with a group project for the grade and get rid the filler classes that are full of stuff like this.

  • I would potentially buy a new big screen if it had netflix or pandora integrated but would never buy one with a blu-ray, dvd or hard disk. How many of you like bundling failure-prone or potentially outdated devices into your most expensive component?

  • Two Topics at once? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jeng (926980) on Friday April 08, 2011 @04:23PM (#35762522)

    This is fucking stupid.

    Are we discussing the education system or are we discussing set top boxes?

    These are two completely different topics and should not be merged like this.

  • by brit74 (831798) on Friday April 08, 2011 @04:25PM (#35762542)
    "If you have the same answer as everyone else in math or science, you're intelligent."

    First of all, you're graded on getting the answer right (often including showing how you arrived at your answer), not on your agreement with your classmates. If 90% of your classmates got the same wrong answer, you aren't "intelligent" for getting the same answer as they did. Second, if everyone in your class gets the same answer, then something is very wrong - probably the course-work is way too easy.
  • by theEd (61232) on Friday April 08, 2011 @04:38PM (#35762672)

    And Steve Wozniak attacked the American education system, saying students should be graded on a single, long-term project rather than a short learning/testing cycle.

    Those of us who want to become scientists or mathematicians (like myself) do get "graded" on a single, long-term project (I have 200+ pages of evidence of that at home). The only problem with a single project for the WHOLE grade is that if by chance something goes wrong (bad reagent or protocol) or it didn't work like you expected (*sarcasm* because nothing ever goes wrong in science *sarcasm*) you would have to spend more time (months+++ ?) or the project might fail. If your a grad. student you make due and move on but, I think that would completely demotivate most high school students. Besides K-12 is the time/place to learn the basics, like the multiplication tables, the periodic table, language, writing, etc., with some small projects to augment book knowledge. I can guarantee that I would not have been successful in my graduate career if I didn't have the 16+ years of structured education and short testing cycles that Woz has an issue with. And if I was only graded on a single project as a young student I might have failed early on and did something else than science.

  • Mr. Wozniak: people often "have the same answer" because in math, science, and engineering, there are a lot of answers that are objectively true and unique. And I don't know what kind of rotten high school you went to, but many high schools do reward creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

    Mr. Rothschild: haven't you heard? The current for-profit invasion of people's privacy is through social networks and ad networks; you're in the wrong business.

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