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Poch Peralta

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Do we learn faster in cities? Learning is defined here as: Acquiring tested, practical knowledge or skill from human and non-human sources.

Learning Faster -- in Cities
Is this the subconscious reason why some people leap into cities without safety nets? It seems the provincials have now a valid reason for doing that. I am dubious of the piece and I think this is going to be a hot debate.
The title of my reference is: Why We Learn Faster in Cities Than We Could On Our Own

'O'Mara argues that we must understand the unique history and geography of places like Silicon Valley if we are to replicate these places as hubs of talent, jobs, capital, and institutions.

'In our 'flat' digital world, in which we can connect virtually with anybody we want, one could argue that the notion of an innovation hub is outdated.

'However, in today's lesson, innovation guru John Hagel explores the paradox that, despite the fact that technology infrastructure has made location unimportant, we’re becoming more urbanized at a more rapid rate than ever before...'
http://bigthink.com/big-think-tv/cities-of-knowledge-why-we-learn-faster-in-cities-than-we-could-on-our-own

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  • Dec 25 2013: Did Newton acquired the tested practical knowledge ?

    Before Newton the knowledge of laws of motion didn't existed.

    The apple has fallen down from the tree before Newton also,everyone observed it but the way Newton observed it nobody observed.

    The observation of the Newton was totally different.

    He observed the fall of apple and the motion of objects thoroughly and also what was invisible and intangible.

    Then he tried to understand the laws of nature , Learned it, Analysed it,then using his imagination he synthesized the laws of motion.And the final result what he concluded through synthesis was knowledge.


    I chose this example because in schools the laws of motions are taught but the actual thing should be taught is never taught and that is Observation.

    Now watch this movie in your mind.

    Scene 1:

    A kid joins the automobile repairing garage, and through continous observation , and practically learning how to repair an automobile grows up into a person who has become expert.Now he not only has the sound knowledge of 4 stroke engine but also has developed the skills to repair it.

    Scene 2:

    A kid goes to the school and learns only through books about the 4 stroke engine as part of his physics subject.He acquires the knowledge about the 4 stroke engine through books . And then a question comes in his final examination about 4 stroke engine.He writes the perfect answer and scores 100/100.

    Scene 3:

    Now the kid from scene 2 also has grown up and he also owns the bike.One day his bike stops functioning properly and then he hires the kid from scene 1 who also has grown up now.The kid from the scene 1, upon hearing the sound of running engine of the bike tells the kid of scene 2 that where is the problem and how much time it will take.

    Now the question is who is knowledgable and educated the kid of scene 1 or the kid of scene 2.
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      Dec 25 2013: Excellent illustrations about observation Santokh!
      I believe that being observant is very important in acquiring knowledge.

      'Now the question is who is knowledgable and educated the kid of scene 1
      or the kid of scene 2.'

      Ahh... now I agree with what you're implying -- learning by watching and
      experience is better than book learning. Practical over Theory.
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    Dec 10 2013: Interesting that you have defined learning for your question. I think the scope of the answers becomes wider with undefined learning and may be the insights received could be deeper. But since you defined learning that way, I shall try a modified comment.
    First to clear a few things. I did not place any preference on cities as centers of learning :) Nor did I mean the village folks are less capable of learning. I was amused to see the debate going to the extent where many debated whether universities or schools can do better from villages. That's a very limited way to think about learning.
    I will think that by truthful knowledge and skill you mean intellectual resources that have high and moral values. If that is what you mean, fastness of learning will hardly be a local function. It will then be the function of the quality of the receptor of the knowledge and skill and that quality will likely be mentored in environments where distractions are less.
    In India we have this tradition of 'Ashrama' (knowledge commune) and Gurukul (Coaching tradition) where students/learners live a life of discipline and their faculties are refined to handle knowledge and skills at the purest of values. The same tradition is also prevalent in China, Japan and many Asian countries.
    Such seats of learning are difficult to be founded in cities, unless you would imagine university towns like Cambridge in Europe. So, no; learning will likely not be faster in cities with your definition of learning.
    There is a caveat though. Pure knowledge is truth itself. Pure skill too. But one should not ascribe an absolute value on this truth. The only absolute truth about such knowledge and skill is that these can change with time and place.
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      Dec 10 2013: lol I was afraid that the debate you sparked would become
      heated. But then, I was glad that your repliers were sensible and
      courteous.

      I thought hard about using the words 'truthful knowledge'. Well,
      what I had in mind wasn't moral values' first but the correctness
      of the knowledge source. If I used 'correct knowledge', truth can
      be considered out of it and that would be bad so I used 'truthful'.

      Are those Indian traditions religious? Hindu or Buddhist?

      'The only absolute truth about such knowledge and skill is that
      these can change with time and place.'

      There you are. If I used the word 'correct' instead of 'pure', the
      knowledge involved could become false with changes of time and places!
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    Dec 9 2013: I'm sure I'm biased, having grown up in rural New Zealand, but my experiences suggest that faster and greater learning doesn't happen in cities simply as a matter of course. I've lived in larger centres in the UK and visited a lot of different countries, mostly in Europe. There may be more opportunities for interaction in cities, but I've found actual interactions poorer, and sometimes fewer, than in country settings, not richer, as John Hagel suggests. People joke about the unwritten rules of the London Underground - things like 'whatever you do, don't make eye contact'. In contrast, it's normal to greet a stranger as you pass on a village street, or have a conversation with a country store shopkeeper about front page events as you buy a newspaper.

    I also found poorer diversity of people with whom I had meaningful interactions in cities. In workplaces I was more likely to be immediately surrounded by colleagues of the same level and discipline as myself. However, in smaller centres with smaller businesses, I was more likely to interact with every level and discipline in the organisation. In smaller country schools, I played with boys and girls, rich and poor, any ethnicity, because there just weren't that many of us. In larger schools, we somehow separated ourselves and were poorer for it.

    Also, in smaller communities with fewer services and resources, people need to be more self-sufficient. A wider range of skills and problem-solving abilities are important, and the more remote you are, the more important this is. If you live in the middle of nowhere, it's a good idea to know CPR, how to change a car tyre, how to grow vegetables, how to glaze a window.... The average farmer is an extraordinary person.

    As others have said, cities do offer wonderful pockets of concentrated information, like museums and universities, but they have to be deliberately sought out. Faster and greater learning in cities doesn't just happen as a matter of course.
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      Dec 9 2013: Great personal testimony Sara. Yes, interaction with strangers
      in rural areas is so much easier to achieve. City people tend to
      be snobs, ironically, because they're always in a hurry. I mean
      it's one downside to living (or learning) faster! I know that by
      experience too.

      As for school sizes, there's a mystery appeared we need to solve. In
      the Philippines, we have bigger primary country schools and more
      students in contrast with New Zealand country schools.

      '...cities do offer wonderful pockets of concentrated information,
      like museums and universities, but they have to be deliberately sought out...'

      In Indonesia, Innayah said they are forced to search city school learning.
      'In remote area, even teacher is coming once a week, and level of school
      is only available for primary only, they should travel or even move further
      to reach the teacher and school...'
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        Dec 10 2013: Thanks, Poch. Yes, you, Innayah and Carl John raise some good points, which I guess illustrate one answer to this question must be that it depends on the country/state/district in which you live, at least with respect to formal learning. That is, assuming greater accessibility of formal learning leads to greater speed of learning in those environments - which I'm sure it must, up to a point.
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      Dec 8 2013: '... learning is relative to the opportunities
      you have to learn and apply what you have learned.'

      Great illustration Jason. But it made me lean to outdoors
      becoming and being my lab lol. Yes, without self-initiative,
      learning, whether fast or slow, accomplishes little.
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          Dec 8 2013: We have 'field trips' in college but it's voluntary
          and for grade make-up. We go to places where we
          can use our individual talents. We even have it in public
          primary schools in the 1960s but just for exposure.
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    Dec 6 2013: sometimes we have to make a practical illustration of abstract information. My son could not "get" the addition and subtraction of numbers as long as they were symbolically presented on paper. So I bought a bag of penny candy and I laid out on the table the same thing he was seeing as symbols on paper. He got it and there was no stopping him. He made the highest score in his school on the ACT test. I think it depends on the individual and we should not be referring to rural people as "falling off the turnip truck. Location has little to do with leaning.
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      Dec 6 2013: In your son's case Helen, it didn't just depend on him
      but on the teacher's brilliant ideas as well! Thank you for the great story ma'am.
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        Dec 6 2013: You are quite welcome. I don't know why but the idea came to me when I saw him struggling.
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          Dec 6 2013: You probably read his mind ma'am. Common among moms and children :-)
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      Dec 6 2013: Hi Helen ..., "Location has little to do with learning" ... yes I quite agree. I´d say that have access to learning resources is even more important than location. For instance Internet is a rather simple example, it is an open window to knowledge as long as you have access to it and, know how to use it: you can share ideas, experiment experiences...
      Also be surronded by the right people , people who push you to pursue your goals, who are always there to help you with. We learn faster depending on our personal needs , people surronding us and, access to resources regardless of the place where we live.
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        Dec 6 2013: I must admit that it requires such resources as you mentioned. I don't know what you mean by push. I like teachers who engage students in the learning process in such a way as to make the student curious and consider learning fun instead of a chore. Peace.
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    Dec 5 2013: We can learn faster in cities because there are many talented or ambitious people in cities.
    They'll be our motivation to learn.

    Until 18, I lived in my own town(that is a remote area), and had thought "I'm the most capable people in the world". To go to the University, I came to Tokyo,a Japanese capital, finding a lot of clever ones and felt ashamed of my arrogance.

    Now, in our 'flat' digital world, we can see remote-living great men and women,
    but we tend to react as if they were the caracters in the novel.
    That doesn't bring us a sense of crisis.

    Only by looking at higher-ranking opponents or colleagues, in other words a worthy rival, at first hand,
    we come to have a burning ambition and start to learn seriously.
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      Dec 5 2013: Yes Yuma. Great illustrations and I see your point. In fact,
      one of the persons who greatly motivated me was my Japanese
      boss from Tokyo and he was the best boss I ever had. He
      imported an animation trainer and a rich investor (both teen-
      aged!) who also motivated our employees and office.

      Hai. There are much more formidable rivals in the cities whose
      challenges will make others want to equal them. Ganbatte Yuma.
  • Dec 5 2013: I dont believe we learn faster in cities. We just think we do. We learn so much about technology and pop culture and bits of the culture of people we may never have met in the countryside; but there are so many other realities of life and living that the small towns, villages and small communities reveal.

    Cities are usually under the siege of a desperate run after money and material things, status and the next big thing.

    There is so much to reach for, learn, and admire, in innovation. But if one is opportuned to do a deep sea diving to see the vastness of the life there, one would know that nature has far more amazing things than human inventions.
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      Dec 5 2013: '...nature has far more amazing things than human inventions.'

      Now that's one thing I definitely agree with Feyi! As I've said in
      my convo intro, I'm dubious that we learn faster in cities. I think
      we could do that too but there will be a health payback for over-
      loading our mental capacity.
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    Jan 3 2014: It really depends on what you are learning.

    People are exposed to more different cultures and viewpoints in cities, so cultural learning is definitely enhanced by living in a city. However, I've also lived in rural areas and found that people there are far from stupid, despite being portrayed often as "hicks" in the media. People in rural areas definitely learn more about natural systems.

    In a city, the pace is faster and there is more competition, so people have to work harder to stand out. Cities exaggerate people's personality traits, as well--again a function of needing to stand out.

    As for book learning, this can occur anywhere. For example, I can listen to a TED conversation here in San Francisco, or I can listen to the same thing in Mendocino, a tiny town north of here.

    One thing cities *do* provide are audiences and markets. Someone is much more likely, for example, to give a speech on molecular biology in a city only because there are more people who will come see it. The same speech in a town of 20 people might have no audience at all--not because the people aren't smart, but because they're not interested in the topic.
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      Jan 3 2014: 'Someone is much more likely, for example, to give a speech on
      molecular biology in a city only because there are more people who will come see it...'
      This is also why universities choose to give more choices of courses in cities. Same with
      firms giving grants and scholarships. Thanks John.
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    Dec 23 2013: Poch,it's an interesting question. what i can say is, First of all there are many reasons people migrate to cities, one of them is employment and the oppurtunities and urban way of life as depicted in visual entertainment media. Learning about what? All look to practical benefit of learning, since cities now are the engine of the economy, it is relevant for someone to venture there. Does learning in a city help one to live in a countryside i don't think so. from a sustainable point of view, learning by being in a city is sucidal. learning faster or slow is not a relevant questioning, but how effective is learning in a city is the right question i think so.
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      Dec 23 2013: Yes Uba. The important thing is learning effectively wherever we are. Thanks.
  • Dec 21 2013: I agree with Poch Peralta, Sumesh Kassie, sharp insight, well expressed, and I could not agree more; and it ties in well with Tino Virtanen's comment.

    Reference the International Express Newspaper 2 - 4 years ago: 30 female and 30 male of the top UK University entrants for that year, were given the 1950 11 (year) plus exam for grammar school entry: The pass score mark was 60 out of 100, If I remember correctly only two girls passed, with scores of 60 and 62.

    Today also reference many news articles in the International Express; city kids think milk is manufactured, tomatoes grow on trees, etc. And as stated by Tino Virtanen, they have come to rely on calculators, computers, and digital technology so much, that their minds have not grown dimmer; but rather they have not been educationally stretched; and so learning wise have regressed, in comparison to what was expected of, and learned by past generations of pupils and students.

    In the meanwhile, those practical skilled, and inventive and innovative, country folk, and kids, who were labelled as yokels and ockers; given greater access to education and the internet, have and continue to make greater strides forward; as they retain the practicalities of their rural experiences, along with a better level of education, and greater knowledge of the larger world, that exists outside the limits of their small communities.

    Another interesting article was in regard to a US study; wherein a group of students were all given the same test, and then questioned as to how well they had done in the test: It was found that those who had scored the highest marks, thought they had done far less well than they had. And in regard to the low scorers it was found, that the lower the score, the better the low scorer felt that he or she had done in the test

    Quite simply; it was summed up as: The stupid are too stupid, to be able to recognise just how stupid they are; I wonder how many were future Party/Corporate Politicians?
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      Dec 21 2013: Great illustrations Carl.

      'The stupid are too stupid, to be able to recognise just
      how stupid they are; I wonder how many were future politicians?'

      LOL If those students knew you were citing them, I wonder how
      small they would feel lol. And considering how many stupid pols
      we have, it's possible many of those students became puppet pols lol
    • Dec 21 2013: i think also motivation to studing, is getting weaker. "need to give more carrot". So people start studing themselfs.
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    Dec 21 2013: 'When the knowledge and skills assessed are corrected
    for environment, then we can see if speed of learning is comparable for each
    environmental cluster based on its specific norm...'

    Sharp insight Sumesh. I may add that most tested knowledge is applicable
    only to a specific time frame -- a tested knowledge becomes obsolete with
    passing time.
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    Dec 21 2013: What do we learn faster?
    There is so much to learn so choosing what you value is based on perspective.
    Leaning how to milk cows, grow crop, understand the impact of rain, or hunt wild animals, imitate bird calls, prepare food from scratch, build huts, fish...
    These are all skills that up to this day have extreme value to communities that still require them. Sadly these communities will not have a say when a city slicker with his well manicured hands, and sleep deprived mind, seeks answers to questions that are based on possible suppositions designed to test if some aspect of knowledge has validity.
    The question of whether cities foster learning better is only true if better refers to mathematics, computer logic and programming, financial management, sourcing knowledge, etc. i.e all aspect that are important to city dwellers.
    So my answer is yes but no. Yes the tests are designed by city folk for city folk assessing the rapidity at which city folk assimilate city tasks.
    But No: I disagree on the point that the knowledge and skill tested is all encompassing. When the knowledge and skills assessed are corrected for environment, then we can see if speed of learning is comparable for each environmental cluster based on its specific norm.
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    K H

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    Dec 16 2013: The ability for an individual to learn in a city is reliant on their response to external stimuli. There is no doubt that people who live in cities receive more stimuli on a regular basis: exposure to constant movement, new ideas, new people, etc. Cities are great for gaining knowledge and “street smarts”. People who grow up in cities tend to be more tolerant of new ways of thinking. Higher population leads to more competition and a greater rate of idea exchange (which is necessary for developing broader perspectives on the world). But one should also ask the question: Do cities suit certain individuals better than others? Will someone who has lived in a city the same number of years as someone else really achieve the same benefits intellectually? Some of the world’s greatest thinkers and artists grew up in the countryside or lived in the countryside a great portion of their lives. If they had grown up in a city, they could very well have ended up as different people, perhaps without the same unique ideas.There are some things one can’t learn from a database or by prolonged living in a city. Cities are definitely useful in nurturing some personality aspects, such as tolerance and adaptability. People in cities remain the most informed on the planet, but that does not necessarily mean they learn faster. Despite data being extremely accessible in a city, other factors prevalent in a city may inhibit a person from reaching their true learning potential. Cities are full of distractions, data streaming at you from basically all directions.
    I am definitely a city person, but I think the ability to learn in certain environments can vary by person. I might feel great amid the bustling activity of a city. But someone else might find that their thoughts flow best when away from all the noise. Having knowledge at your disposal is one thing. How you handle the knowledge is another.
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      Dec 17 2013: '...There is no doubt that people who live in cities receive
      more stimuli on a regular basis: exposure to constant movement,
      new ideas, new people, etc. Cities are great for gaining knowledge
      and “street smarts”...'

      That's keen observation KH. As for 'street smarts', I wonder if 'jungle
      smarts' is not more useful.

      '...Despite data being extremely accessible in a city, other factors
      prevalent in a city may inhibit a person from reaching their true
      learning potential. Cities are full of distractions, data streaming
      at you from basically all directions...'

      It's funny that very easy access to Data itself is probably the prime
      factor that may inhibit a person from reaching their true learning potential.
      City folks become addicted to social networking, become multitaskers
      (which could work negatively), etc...

      '...I might feel great amid the bustling activity of a city. But someone else
      might find that their thoughts flow best when away from all the noise...'

      You just cited my case KH. I learn and work best in quiet though my job
      requires more of time in cities.
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        K H

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        Dec 21 2013: I agree that "jungle smarts" do not seem to directly effect our survival anymore, assuming that by "jungle smarts" the meaning is survival in the wilderness (away from constant human contact). But street smarts can be interpreted as another form of intelligence, just perhaps a form of intelligence that is geared specifically to describing survival in human populations of high density. A few of our survival factors have changed with time. Now being able to survive amid members of our own species is of seemingly more immediate importance than working independently to survive the broader forces of nature (society as a whole already works to maintain its survival through collective problem solving and collaboration to provide ourselves with food, shelter, and water in the face of the elements). People in cities can survive just fine on going to the local supermarket, whereas those who live off the land rely on battling the forces of nature more directly. Now, more than half of all humans live in urban areas (at least at the moment, we never know what the future will hold). So I see what you mean by jungle smarts not appearing as immediate to our use as before, Poch, and I agree.
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          Dec 21 2013: 'People in cities can survive just fine on going to
          the local supermarket, whereas those who live off the land
          rely on battling the forces of nature more directly. Now,
          more than half of all humans live in urban areas...'

          Great obsservation KH. But it reminds me of people who were
          forced off the cities and became wildlife recluses. They learn
          to live in and love the wildlife then evil developers force them
          off again. They lose all food source.
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    Dec 11 2013: Poch, may I share a thought? I have been experimenting with a process of thought extraction and inception from the minds of people in my imediate surrounding. This experiment arose from a theroy I had during yoga training and meditation. I found and continue to find that my mind fills with thoughts that are not inherently my own. I had to first ask myself, "Where did these thoughts come from?".

    My conclusion continues to be that we comprise our thoughts from the will of the entites around us. If we migrate to cities where individuals have developed strong wills from acedemic conditioning or intestinal fortitude, etc. the thoughts of these indivduals radiate with greater intensity. We share thoughts through spoken words, writing, or multimedia with great synergy but they still radiate from our being with non-verbal communcation.

    To answer your question directly - we learn faster with greater frequency, intensity, type of stimuli, and duration which we are exposed. Would you say this would happen in cities? It may depend on what you are trying to learn.
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      Dec 11 2013: Excellent theory John and I see what you're pointing out.
      I study and practiced Yoga myself. The problem with a 'receiver' who
      involuntarily connects with the thoughts of others is that most of what
      we receive are negative vibes. They can pollute us.

      That was keen of you to observe that city folks radiate thoughts with
      greater intensity. I think it's simply because they are more 'intense' --
      tense and always hurrying. Yogists transfer thoughts easier when they
      are calm don't they?

      '...we learn faster with greater frequency, intensity, type of stimuli,
      and duration which we are exposed.'

      I agree but I won't gamble my health forcing my mind to learn fast
      when it isn't necessary.
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      Dec 10 2013: 'Truth is subjective not objective so what you consider truthful knowledge and what someone else does might not be the same.'

      Here is my reply to Pabitra concerning my use of the word 'truthful':

      I thought hard about using the words 'truthful knowledge'. Well,
      what I had in mind wasn't moral values' first but the correctness
      of the knowledge source. If I used 'correct knowledge', truth can
      be considered out of it and that would be bad so I used 'truthful'.

      So what word would you suggest I use instead of 'truthful'?

      'If you took a country person and a city person and had them
      switch places which would adapt faster ?'

      Now that's a tougher question! I think country folks would adapt
      faster since city resources are easier to acquire. A city folk
      learning farming? Most of them wouldn't even want to get their
      hands dirty!
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          Dec 10 2013: Tested and practical knowledge

          Bravo Jason. I think they're the correct words so I will use them.
        • Dec 11 2013: "Practical information" for rural life or jobs may not be the same for "practical information" needed in industries or businesses in the cities. The "tested-ness" , therefore, is conditional depending on where the knowledge is to be tested or utilized.
  • Dec 9 2013: I don't think that the notion of learn faster in the cities is uniformly true . It depends on what kind of knowledge or innovation you are talking about. There are two major reasons that situation in the cities is conducive to learning or innovation.
    1. The kind of individuals who tend to live in (or moved to) cities, then their children, even themselves, will tend to be more likely talented, or with better parental guidance to learn, especially in technological or scientific knowledge.
    2. There are usually more and better schools and colleges, in cities, which are specially catered to science and technology for the students' interest. The schools in the rural area simply don't have enough student population and the teaching resources to support such institutions. Even colleges in rural or small township could not survive without the attendance of mainly out-of-town student body. Some of the large (in size) universities, such as the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, actually almost made a small city by itself with the student and faculty/employees and the needed supporting small businesses to cater to their needs. Of course, there are also more scientific and technology institutions or businesses in large cities to hire the graduates, or serve for the internship or research project for colleges or even some high school seniors.
    The "education" through the internet telecommunication certainly facilitates the self or remote learning, but it is still lagging too far behind the actual functions for career training by academic institutions. Remember, remote learning didn't start with the internet, there were the so-called mail correspondence courses offered almost 100 years ago.
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      Dec 9 2013: Great analysis Bart and it's good you introduced the topic
      of remote learning (RL). The best use of RL is from a city to
      another city from a different country or nation. From Manila,
      I applied to the London School of Journalism and was accepted
      but I haven't got to starting the course yet.

      But with RL, learning fast is of course out of the question. The
      transfer of correspondence will eat up too much time even though
      the Net made RL faster.
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      • Dec 10 2013: Your first question is very easy to answer. Even if you just review many of the discussions on TED, you will easily find that parental guidance is usually listed as one of the most important contributors to fast learning You can check them by yourself.
        As to your 2nd query:
        "That is true but those students learning will be very compressed and limited to just those subjects while a student living in the country and then attending those colleges would have a more well rounded education."
        I could answer your comment with my own experience. I myself quit school at thae age of 14. But I kept on self study by going to the local libraries and buying used textbooks in the city of Shanghai. Since Shanghai was an international city at that time, I could find mant used textbooks in science and technology, thus I became a "well rounded" scholar on my own. Later on I skipped all of 5 years of formal high school AND 4 years of college undergraduate education and entered a graduate school in the U. S. and finished a PhD degree, by way of passing a series of qualifying tests for the high school and college bachelor's degree. The fact that I did live in the largest city did facilitate my learning a great deal because at that time, it was almost impossible to find or borrow books in science and technology in the rural area. Of course it's a little easier by the use of internet, still it is more convenient to live in a city.
        When my 2 children were ready to enter college, we were successful to get them into the best university in the entire southwest region in the U. S.; The Rice University in Houston, Texas. We actually lived in Houston too. But we still paid for them to live in the dormitory of the university. As a matter of fact, most of their classmates in the dormitory were also Houston residents. So they could concentrate on studying in school. Anyway, I personally can't see any difference, but at least your notion of rural students are fast learning is not applicable here.
      • Dec 11 2013: Please read my previous post carefully. I was saying that MY CHILDREN LIVED IN THE DORM OF THE UNIVERSITY IN HOUSTON WHERE MY WIFE AND I LIVED THERE. SO THE CONFUSION OCCURRED ON YOUR PART, NOT ON MINE.
        Also I am not sure you are that familiar about many large cities in the U. S. There are lot of slow learners, dropouts and truancy in the inner city public schools, but there are also vast number of excellent private and public school students who probably can compete with any students in other countries, and most likely to out-perform the students from rural America.
  • Dec 9 2013: In my country Indonesia, spreading in 17.000 more islands. Learning in big cities will give you a better education, somehow with lots of islands, distribution difficulty, political corruption and other barrier was not giving us (indonesian people) same standard of education. In remote area, even teacher is coming once a week, and level of school is only available for primary only, they should travel or even move further to reach the teacher and school. In Indonesia, homeschooling is not a solution yet due to internet infrastructure and economical development. If a family born in remote area but they has lots of money, they must sent their children to big city. So yes Big City is a must for Indonesian learner.
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      Dec 9 2013: You have illustrated valid reasons for going to
      the cities to learn Innayah. For some Indonesians and other
      nationalities, they are forced to.

      As to homeschooling where ever the location, pupils will not learn
      fast because of isolation. We learn faster if there is interaction with others.
    • Dec 9 2013: i totally agree with you,Innayah. in my contry, China, education environment of some rural area still very poor. i have heard an article that a 7 -year-old girl must get up in 3am and walk 30km to school.what surprising me most is that she must climb a bridge with only a single iron chain over big river on her way to school. But you know, our three public consumption is 960 billions in 2012. if they use a half of those money to improve the education environment and facilities, the little girl will have a more happy and enjoyable childhood.
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    Dec 8 2013: There are more people in the cities. Hence, there are more interactions between people in the cities. Hence, there is more information exchange. More shools, more institutions, more businesses, more cultural centers. It seems fairly straightforward. People do not learn "on their own" - they learn from each other.
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      Dec 8 2013: Most of us are in agreement with you Arkady.
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        Dec 9 2013: In the end it is beneficial from evolutionary point of view. The more complex the environment, more learning is imperative for survival.
        People learn to cheat and lie faster in Cities. That may look bad out of context, but such learning is part of adaptation.
        The question does not presuppose any moral underlining.
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        Dec 9 2013: Being exposed to conflicting information is, actually, good. If everything we encounter is in agreement with what we already know, there is no learning.

        Discerning truth from other stuff is a valuable learning skill. "Other stuff" is not necessarily "lies". Things that are not true include errors, inaccuracies, exaggerations, superstitions, prejudice, stereotypes, etc.
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          Dec 9 2013: @arkady
          I'm reminded of those persons who wouldn't take learning
          from others. If they already know everything, that makes
          them dumb since they would not learn anything new anymore.

          @jason
          Confusion is already enough danger from constant conflicting
          info.
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        Dec 9 2013: Re: "I would say it is only good if you have some model by which to discern that conflicting information."

        That's what parents and education are for. I agree that not all learning is beneficial.

        Growing up in small communities with strict values may have its own dangers. E.g. developing stereotypes and intolerance to things and people outside these communitites and "values".

        How much we should "protect" our children from the outside world is a fundamental dilemma faced by every parent. I don't think, moral decay comes from the conflicting messages coming from the outside world. Moral decay, perhaps, comes from the conflicting messages at home or, perhaps, from the lack of such any moral messages.
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          Dec 9 2013: It is better to live with conflicting ideas than fixed ideas, which tend to turn into doctrines.
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        Dec 9 2013: Yes, it seems to be another circular problem - a system with positive feedback, where output enhances the input driving itself to one of the extremes. A lot of social things work this way, unfortunately.
  • Dec 8 2013: Do we learn Faster in cities? As individuals I believe we all learn at different rates of speed due to the way our processors are linked in the brain. Do we learn faster in cities, this I don't believe to be true but do we have the ability to diversify the way we are taught and therefore reach parts of society that may be left behind do to teaching methods.....then I would say yes. A larger society in general should offer more options in learning diversity due to its magnitude of resources. Is that to say that living in the city is better then living in smaller communities, that answer lies to the individual at hand.
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      Dec 8 2013: '...but do we have the ability to diversify the way
      we are taught and therefore reach parts of society that
      may be left behind do to teaching methods.....then I would say yes.'

      An excellent suggestion Russell. But then again, the 'answer lies to the individual at hand.'
      • Dec 8 2013: how can it be on individual??? for majority of people, personality is an accumulation of the thoughts he/she derives from the environment around them then how cant environment around them cant play a major role.
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          Dec 8 2013: When we mentioned 'individual' here, we mean
          it's up to the individual person how motivated or determined
          he/she is to learn. If my answer doesn't satisfy, let's wait for
          Russell's answer.
  • Dec 7 2013: Poch,

    I am not sure if we learn faster in cities. Many companies grow around universities where the founders went to school and that is around cities, i.e. Silicon Valley (Stanford and UC Berkeley) and Boston (MIT, Harvard, Tufts, WPI). You need a critical mass of talent to make the companies successful, so the more Universities the better.

    Also, today many young professionals are bored in the suburbs and love living in the cities. They actually commute out to the suburbs today to get to their jobs. Several large companies are moving facilities, even headquarters into the cities, Motorola for example, to get closer to these professionals. It does mean that the middle and upper managers that live in the suburb need to commute into the city.

    On innovation, I need to bounce ideas off people and get feed back. These ideas lead to innovation but the interaction is important to me and I think to others. The 2 best programmers I know work in the same office just so that they can communicate immediately.
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      Dec 7 2013: 'You need a critical mass of talent to make the companies successful,
      so the more Universities the better.'

      Most firms and universities cluster in cities so most careerists go there.
      I think that proves we learn faster in cities Wayne.
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    Dec 5 2013: Sometimes being over stimulated can cause some people to learn slower. A simpler, slower life could be their answer. Less distraction, more focus.
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      Dec 5 2013: That's what I meant by info overload Colin. Getting ill because
      of that is worse than causing to learn slower. Effective multitaskers are few.
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    Dec 5 2013: Firstly, what a big city gives us is the oppurtunity to be whoever we want without the judgement of the small town, you can dress the way you want, you can bring whatever and sometimes you can even sing a song to yourself while walking and nobody'll bat an eye.
    So, our so-called freedom of the city gives us a little bit of peace that at least they don't judge you. Of course, the stress is a bigger factor, but what's important is that the city gives you chances.
    To meet more people like you, to meet someone who inspires you or to get somebody who would want to work with you. This means one more thing - you would probably feel better emotionally and socially and what makes studying better than a good mood?
    Also this urban surroundment could possibly give you a system you could put into your working plan.

    For example, I always study when I haven't had a meal, when I've got the plan in my head and when I think of the future. Future tells me : "You couldn't pass the exam because you didn't study enough that very day. That's why you're sad and disappointed". Then I realise I'm still in that very day and I can change the future! I can make myself proud and happy! And what's better than this?

    But in a small town it's harder to get the challenge. That's why you go there and give your best to win. Because I love winning!
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      Dec 5 2013: Your view of the 'Freedom of the City' is great Gloria. Yes. One
      bad thing in rural areas is the snoopy attitude of most residents
      which can ruin one's mood and slow you down.

      'But in a small town it's harder to get the challenge.
      That's why you go there and give your best to win.'

      Yuma wrote about that too:
      'Only by looking at higher-ranking opponents or colleagues (in cities),
      in other words a worthy rival, at first hand, we come to have a burning
      ambition and start to learn seriously.'
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    Dec 5 2013: Poch, Learning is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences. Could I hone my cow milking skills in metro New York .. or learn to plow straight ... and by the same token I could not upgrade my skills I use in the city out on the range.

    Learning by the definition above is not restricted to a location therefore making the argument of speed of learning moot.

    I know people of all ages in both city and rural life that have learned little over the years .. either fast or slow.

    Be well my friend .... Bob.
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      Dec 5 2013: LOL your illustration makes me laugh but it's spot on Bob.
      And I'm definitely 'weller' now that we're in agreement again sir.
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    Dec 4 2013: Ufff..I do not really know. Faster? in big cities we always have to be on the ball. Everything happens so quick that you always have to be receptive to what is going on. The thing is what we learn , is it really worthwhile?
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      Dec 4 2013: It's really worthwhile Esther because hi-tech and fierce competition
      compels us to learn faster than others. It's like another game added
      to the rat race of society.
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    Dec 4 2013: You might enjoy this talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from.html Johnson too explains why people are drawn to places where there are more opportunities to share ideas with a wide range of people.
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      Dec 4 2013: I wish TED would allow 'related conversations' after a user has
      posted a convo. Thank you for the tip sir.
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        Dec 4 2013: Hi Poch - You should be able to hit "edit" on your conversation and add the related talk!
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          Dec 4 2013: My dumb Morton. I searched for the button earlier and I
          couldn't believe I missed it! Thanks!
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        Dec 7 2013: "I wish TED would allow 'related conversations' after a user has
        posted a convo."

        That's a new improvement that I haven't seen suggested on TED before and I thought that I'd seen it all here...
        If you have a Reddit account you're welcome to post that suggestion on the (newly created... by me) TEDconversations subreddit. http://www.reddit.com/r/TEDconversations/comments/1s8mh4/what_changes_or_improvements_would_you_like_to/
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          Dec 7 2013: Oh Jim. One kind lady of our TED chatters informed me
          that there is an 'edit' button if we want to do that. When I
          searched for the button again, there it was! lol I told her
          I couldn't believe I missed the button! You will find the button
          left corner below your submitted convo, idea, or debate title.

          I have a Reddit account but thanks anyway for suggesting it.
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        Dec 9 2013: I was well aware of the edit option. :)

        But when we create a new conversation we could always post related conversations in the explanation. But there isn't a field for related conversations like there is for related Talks...

        You seem to have stumbled upon what I find to be a great improvement for TED Conversations.
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          Dec 9 2013: Oh...I get it now. Well, I should be happy for what
          I stumbled upon lol
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    Jan 2 2014: I'm not sure about it. Everyplace has its own talents. It is more likely to be related to people's work or characterics. But it's undeniable that cities have better resourse to put into education than that in outskirts. And this may be the reason why learning is easier in cities rather than in rural places.
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      Jan 2 2014: '...But it's undeniable that cities have better resourse to put into
      education than that in outskirts. And this may be the reason why learning is easier in cities
      rather than in rural places...'
      Yes Yushu. That is surely one reason. Thanks.
  • Dec 29 2013: i'm not sure about that... as most of my friends went to suburbs for their important exams and they became successful... they feel most relax and learn better there!
    i don't know if it has any psychological reason or not but i've seen it between my friends!
    http://www.psychologueslaval.com
    http://www.psychologue-westisland.com
    http://www.toronto-psychologists.com
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      Dec 29 2013: No problem Pmta. I agree with you even without psy reasons.
      Thank you.
  • Dec 29 2013: In general learning of any kind, including great creativity and the development of new ideas progresses most quickly when a great need for them arises, usually through some sort of crisis. Consider the extremely rapid development of new technologies by the Nazi government in Germany during world war 2 when they developed and implemented the world's first jet fighter, ballistic missiles and all other means of defensive technologies as well as others for example new chemical technologies to develop paint without oil resources etc. This is typical of a great need, e.g. you are being stalked by a tiger, I believe your mind will work overtime at its highest level to help you to survive. In some cases cities provide such environments because they are economic powerhouses and given the greater concentration of human resources require a greater effort to succeed.
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      Dec 29 2013: 'In some cases cities provide such environments because
      they are economic powerhouses...'

      True Frank. You reminded me when I worked for an animation firm. Sometimes there
      would be rush deadlines for a project and we would work for 3 days and 2 nights almost
      without sleeping.