"Digital Aristotle"
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Runic Away Equilibrium Fanboy

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18th February 2013 04:06 AM
Post: #1
This is something I've known about for a while, and it's something I have always been curious about but never really bothered to discuss. Yes, CGPGrey has made a video about this which you can watch if you would prefer but I would also like to write down my own thoughts and views of this matter.

If you paid a shred of attention in School you probably know who Aristotle is. A personal tutor to Alexander the Great and a very well known early-day philosopher.

Picture if you will, your current or former School. In the School, the large classes you normally attend do not exist and instead, you are walking down a hallway, into a room, and there is a single man/woman there waiting for you. This person is your teacher, and absolutely every student in the school has their own personal teacher in their own personal room learning different things based on their individual needs.

Sounds great right?

Well the problem with this is that it is impossible. There are obviously not enough people on the planet to make this a possibility, and even if there was the expense would be so catastrophic everyone would be shoved into poverty because of it.

The problem with normal school lectures and classes nowadays is it's very, VERY hard to cater to everyone as a teacher. The teacher isn't going to stop and repeat themselves 40 times to someone because they are a bit slower than everyone else in the subject at hand, leaving Einstein over in the corner bored shitless because he already knows this and just wants to move on. Plus the teacher is a human with emotions and this can impact the WAY they are putting the information forward causing even more problems or potentially leaving more people behind, which will drag on for a very very long time because they cannot afford to go backwards.

There is a solution to this and it baffles me educational boards have not made this completely mandatory in the year 2013 of all things and that is the little thing known commonly as "Digital Aristotle".

I'm sure you've seen metric fuckloads on Education videos on YouTube. CGPGrey, The Vlog Brothers, Khan Academy, MinutePhysics, VSauce etc etc that all explain things in amazingly good detail, and you've also probably noticed you learn MORE from these people's channels and videos than you ever would sitting in a classroom full of people listening to one person who probably doesn't give a fuck because he's getting paid.

It is a little dream of mine that one day, School will drop "Teachers" altogether and completely move over to digital learning on computers and tablets etc. Why? Because it's so much more reliable.

A Video isn't human. A video can be re-played over and over. A video never goes away. There can be multiple parts of a video that can be repeated over and over until the person learning can understand what has been said, before moving onto the next section AT THEIR OWN PACE. The latter is the key. THEIR OWN PACE. A teacher cannot and will NEVER do this for the benefit of every student. It is completely impossible.

We are in a digital age. And it's only getting better and more technological. In the future, this "Digital Aristotle" WILL happen. It has to happen. People will be much more informed and educated this way instead of having to drag themselves through school just to take a test at the end of the year.

I can almost guarantee that if I grew up using YouTube videos and various interactive websites without the use of a teacher to get my dose of educational needs I would be a much more intelligent and brighter man than I am right now. Even now, when I am not a student I have turned to learning in my own time. I am deadly serious when I say I have probably learned more things that I enjoy outside of school than I have when I was in it, and I left School 4 years ago in July.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

Also, if what I am saying does not make too clear of sense to you, here is the video I mentioned.


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Alca7raz Offline Don't bet on sinking ships

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18th February 2013 04:14 AM
Post: #2
I think its a great idea, but hard to execute right for the general populace.

One issue I see is if there is something a "student" doesn't understand, they don't have a designated person to go to to ask for assistance. You would still need some sort of "teacher" for the students to go to in those cases.

I'm sure something like that could be solved, and I would be all for it, but I don't see it happenening anytime soon unfortunately. Not to mention the effort and cost it would take to change the existing methods of education.

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Philo Offline m'laptop *tips Linux*

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18th February 2013 04:15 AM
Post: #3
(18th February 2013 04:14 AM)Alca7raz Wrote:  I think its a great idea, but hard to execute right for the general populace.

One issue I see is if there is something a "student" doesn't understand, they don't have a designated person to go to to ask for assistance. You would still need some sort of "teacher" for the students to go to in those cases.

This was my first concern, but I still think that overall it is a great idea and something to move towards.

It also depends on the level of education. I think this would be nearly ideal in, say, an undergraduate setting, but not necessarily very useful in a graduate setting.



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(This post was last modified: 18th February 2013 04:19 AM by Philo.)
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Nikita Offline Brony +

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18th February 2013 04:19 AM
Post: #4
A "Digital Aristotle" can't answer my dumb questions, though.

The teachers aren't about stuffing knowledge into your brain with speed and efficiency. They are about helping you get over bumps and other weird quirks that you get stuck on.

If you're watching educational videos, and something doesn't quite make sense to you, then no matter how many more videos you watch, you still won't get it. You need someone who can answer a question.

Teachers are not yet replaceable.
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Chronos Offline Pervert Electric Rodent

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18th February 2013 04:21 AM
Post: #5
I do think these are great tools that can definitely boost education. the only real shame is they likely would have a good course for every single topic someone might want to learn and read. I think digital learning is a great tool and works better than a text book because digital formats can be interactive and you can learn at your own pace. For someone in grade school the use of digital learning can be great.

I think a lot of people might argue that school would be required for social development as well as learning. How valid this is I couldn't say.

One YT channel I really like to watch from time to time is Crash Course
(This post was last modified: 18th February 2013 04:24 AM by Chronos.)
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Philo Offline m'laptop *tips Linux*

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18th February 2013 04:21 AM
Post: #6
(18th February 2013 04:19 AM)Nikita Wrote:  A "Digital Aristotle" can't answer my dumb questions, though.

The teacher's aren't about stuffing knowledge into your brain with speed and efficiency. They are about helping you get over bumps and other weird quirks that you get stuck on.

If you're watching educational videos, and something doesn't quite make sense to you, then no matter how many more videos you watch, you still won't get it.

Teachers are not yet replaceable.

I don't think anyone thinks they are replaceable yet, but I certainly see us moving more towards this model. At the very least, what it means to be a "teacher" will change.

Ideally, what I'd like to see is the role of a teacher becoming more like a mentor, a knowledgeable and helpful person that is available to go to, but doesn't have to do the grind of the core curriculum for everyone. Those that want their guidance can seek them out.
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Runic Away Equilibrium Fanboy

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18th February 2013 04:25 AM
Post: #7
(18th February 2013 04:19 AM)Nikita Wrote:  A "Digital Aristotle" can't answer my dumb questions, though.

The teachers aren't about stuffing knowledge into your brain with speed and efficiency. They are about helping you get over bumps and other weird quirks that you get stuck on.

If you're watching educational videos, and something doesn't quite make sense to you, then no matter how many more videos you watch, you still won't get it. You need someone who can answer a question.

Teachers are not yet replaceable.

Eventually it WILL be able to answer your dumb questions though because more and more things will be made to answer these questions.

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Nikita Offline Brony +

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18th February 2013 04:26 AM
Post: #8
Take university for example:

A single professor gives ~300 students a lecture, trice a week, and does very limited interaction with the class to figure out if he needs to slow down or go over something again.

Later, twice a week, a "teaching assistant" meets with 10-20 students at a time, and has enough time to answer every question of every student.

I get that you might want to go faster than the general population of your school/university, but when you have a mountain of skills to master in three months, you can't cut corners here. You need to do it properly, least you learn incorrectly, get bad habits, and drag all that with you for several weeks until you realize you had it all wrong. You need someone who can tell you wtf is happening if you're confused.
(18th February 2013 04:25 AM)Ymir Wrote:  Eventually it WILL be able to answer your dumb questions though because more and more things will be made to answer these questions.

Wouldn't that require an artificial intelligence though? Unless there is like a hundred teachers sitting by their computers and chatting away through IM?
(This post was last modified: 18th February 2013 04:28 AM by Nikita.)
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Chronos Offline Pervert Electric Rodent

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18th February 2013 04:28 AM
Post: #9
(18th February 2013 04:26 AM)Nikita Wrote:  -snip-

A clever bot that is actually smart.
(This post was last modified: 18th February 2013 04:31 AM by Chronos.)
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MetalShadow Offline Metal Faced Bastard

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18th February 2013 12:36 PM
Post: #10
While in theory, it would be a good thing to have everyone with a personal tutor. But in practice, it would cause more problems than it solves if it were implemented. Going to school is in fact, no matter how much it's denied, less to do with learning and more to do with social integration. School is like a microcosm of society, and as you go through school you don't just learn, god knows that most of the stuff you learn in school you'll forget about soon anyway, you develop the social skills and connections for you to survive outside of it. Even people taught 1 to 1 by a teacher develop these, though conversation. Granted with a single teacher as opposed to a class of students as well to talk too people with private education like that are generally quite different in social matters.

The point is, that while the students may learn things much quicker and retain more knowledge, when they actually come to use it they'll be unused to society as a whole. Even if you simulated student-teacher interaction with a cleverbot style program, well, imagine talking to someone who's only experience in dealing with someone with workplace authority was an AI. They would probably find everything extremely stressful and new. It's an interesting concept, but in practice it would do more harm than good.

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Colonel_Luxray Offline Has a tail IRL

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18th February 2013 08:28 PM
Post: #11
This could work, but the issue is regulation. Would people still take tests to show for what they've learned, and how would they be able to do so in a standardized manner? This more than anything is the issue because these days, an education is to prove you are qualified for something, and that would be difficult to prove in a situation like this.

I am honestly curious as to what human flesh tastes like.
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Maiev Offline Architeuthis

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18th February 2013 09:14 PM
Post: #12
(18th February 2013 04:19 AM)Nikita Wrote:  A "Digital Aristotle" can't answer my dumb questions, though.

The teachers aren't about stuffing knowledge into your brain with speed and efficiency. They are about helping you get over bumps and other weird quirks that you get stuck on.
(18th February 2013 04:25 AM)Ymir Wrote:  Eventually it WILL be able to answer your dumb questions though because more and more things will be made to answer these questions.

Maybe some kinda teacher video call centre would be practical when people want to ask questions the computer can't answer itself with some standard Q&A data, then. The computer can manage most things anyway, then, and an internet connection would be all you need to pick up some advice from a more adaptive human, if needed. It'll be decades at the least, if not centuries, until we get a a computer that can manage that itself, so a teacher call centre seems like a good idea in the mean time. Mlp-pshrug

So, yeah, what Philo said, pretty much.


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(This post was last modified: 18th February 2013 09:16 PM by Maiev.)
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MetalShadow Offline Metal Faced Bastard

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20th February 2013 10:34 PM
Post: #13
I keep reading the thread title as 'Digital Arsehole'. Hmm.

'There can only be one. Like in that movie where there could only be one. And in the end there was only one. Because that was the point.'
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Desert Rein Offline Marching right along...

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25th February 2013 12:30 AM
Post: #14
(18th February 2013 08:28 PM)Colonel_Luxray Wrote:  This could work, but the issue is regulation. Would people still take tests to show for what they've learned, and how would they be able to do so in a standardized manner? This more than anything is the issue because these days, an education is to prove you are qualified for something, and that would be difficult to prove in a situation like this.

Yeah, this makes quantifiable results hard to determine... it's great if people can learn at their own pace, but there still needs to be motivation behind it. (I had an online art class that gave no deadlines but the end of the term; I left everything until the last 2 weeks and then really had to cram everything in.)

The point of a curriculum with tests is to determine that students are learning what
"we" (the society at large that eventually funnels down to the school board) want them to learn. A ton of college tracks these days include classes that don't figure into one's major, because they want students to come out more rounded, culturally aware, or just want them opened up to opportunities they hadn't considered.

I suppose a way of proving your knowledge of the material could be in the form of interviews or writing an extensive essay, like students do for a dissertation... but again, that requires teacher attention to process/grade. Ideally, testing wouldn't be needed at all, and in a one-on-one teaching situation, the teacher/mentor can easily see how the student has progressed, what they know, where they need more help, etc. (And there are plenty of teachers that can do this even when it's not a one-on-one basis.) This might come down to being very subjective, though.

There's also a matter of review... You can keep going and going on the same subject, but eventually (unless you're lucky enough to have an eidetic memory) you're going to start forgetting things. So learning on your own is great, but there needs to be some structure for testing and review.
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Desert Rein Offline Marching right along...

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28th February 2013 03:27 PM
Post: #15
By the way, this certainly seemed to relate.


The premise here boils down to give kids a problem, give them a computer and let them go, and have someone behind them to go, "Wow!"
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