Matthew Sarker

Staten Island, NY, United States

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Matthew Sarker
Posted 10 months ago
Sara Lewis: The loves and lies of fireflies
"When we tested females using blinking LED lights, we discovered they prefer males who give longer-lasting flashes." When she said that and the crowd caught it, I felt like I was back in a classroom in high school... Beautiful talk, thank you.
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Matthew Sarker
Posted 10 months ago
Joi Ito: Want to innovate? Become a "now-ist"
Thanks for your comment, it's furthered my thinking a lot. What I see is that your qualms concern sustainability/industrialism/consumerism, which is not what he's talking about. He's saying: this is the WAY we used to do things, here's a WAY to do them better. You're criticizing the individual innovations, but the powerful idea here is in the different WAY of doing things - the AGILE/iterative way as opposed to the "Before Internet" way of asking for funding and then building the thing. As an example, it's like you're criticizing Facebook when he's up there promoting the conditions that allowed Facebook to be built in a dorm room. He's saying that "innovation at the fringes" is now happening with manufacturing and hardware and bio-engineering, not just websites and apps. So whether you think that the innovations are really "advances" or not, the point remains that the world seems to be changing and our thinking about innovation should change with it. Emphasis should be on constantly learning and being connected, like following a compass to get where you want to go instead of trying to map everything out. Truly the implications of his ideas on our education system are profound (I want to use the term learning system now). I caught myself wondering how he would design a ideal school/learning space, and I think it would be influenced strongly by this nowist/AGILE way. Lastly, you said that nowism and sustainability are completely incompatible. If we think of nowism as the set of conditions that fosters innovation at the edges, then nowism can be one powerful way to bring about more sustainability. You seem to brush aside what Joi Ito was a part of in Tokyo - a real world solution to a real world problem. That's exactly what the world needs.
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Matthew Sarker
Posted about 1 year ago
Bill Gates: Teachers need real feedback
It could be both at the same time. Something useful for teachers but also something that affects students too. It should at least be looked into. Students are part of the classroom and should probably have some sort of say, right?
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Matthew Sarker
Posted about 1 year ago
Bill Gates: Teachers need real feedback
Karen, something to think about. Which do you think is more important to a students 'success', teacher feedback or something that is aimed at a students motivation and desire to learn? Which is worth chasing with 5 billion dollars?
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Matthew Sarker
Posted over 1 year ago
Chrystia Freeland: The rise of the new global super-rich
I worry about this talk because it so easily falls into this anti-rich narrative. I'm glad I listened to the whole of it because I was a little disappointed about where the talk seemed to be going. Income inequality exists, and it's getting worse - insert statistics here. And what can we do about it? More taxes, more regulations, etc. A quick thought experiment using her numbers. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet had the equivalent wealth of the bottom 40% of the U.S. population in 2005 (120 million people). She mentioned the combined wealth of the people on the Forbes 400 list is 1.7 trillion. So, to narrow down income inequality, suppose we tax the Forbes 400 list at 100%, and distribute it to that 120 million people. So, that's 1.7 trillion divided by 120 million. 1,700,000,000,000 / 120,000,000 = 14,166. So, if we took our richest 400 Americans, and redistributed their entire wealth to the bottom 40%, that's 14,000$ each. I don't want to read into that result too much, but from all the talk about income inequality talk, you'd think wealth redistribution would have a bigger dent on income inequality. One conclusion: all Americans can't be 'rich'. It sounds worrisome that the middle class' wages have stagnated, but you need to give more weight and spotlight to this fact in her talk: "This is the transfomation which has lifted hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people out of poverty and into the middle class..." My main point though is that I think the talk gives an incomplete picture. The rich have gotten richer, but "hundreds of millions" have made gains too. And before we demonize the super-rich, we should take a look at the bigger picture. Nevertheless, she makes solid points about where some of the wealth is going, how technology doesn't mean employment, and how political tampering is something to be fought. I'd just think it'd be better to use a more balanced approach/language for these issues (no surges or arms races or devouring, just economics)
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Matthew Sarker
Posted almost 3 years ago
Do you think the future of teachers could be in jeopardy?
You point out a lot of important aspects. The textbook thing is definitely a pet peeve of mine. I haven't heard of the 'Parent Trigger Laws' before but taking a brief look, it's hard to take a stance. To try to be pragmatic, if it shows meaningful results (I'm reluctant to just place blind faith in test scores), then I'm all for it. I'll also mention that the 'correct answer is the goal' is a part of our system because of the system of testing (I'd imagine). Do you think online learning would have a positive impact on any of this or possibly be just another complication?
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Matthew Sarker
Posted almost 3 years ago
Do you think the future of teachers could be in jeopardy?
Hrm, yes I forgot about the extra baggage that students bring to a classroom, an important influence on their learning. From everyone's responses, I'm leaning towards an integration of both online and traditional as the best approach. I'm also coming to the conclusion that the more independent the learner, the more they stand to gain from online learning. However, keep in mind that it's not exactly a 'program' teaching learners. It would probably be recorded videos and things like that. There would also be possible feedback from students all over the world (if they're all working on the same thing). Not quite the 'human touch', but it's a very one on one type of thing that has potential.
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Matthew Sarker
Posted almost 3 years ago
Do you think the future of teachers could be in jeopardy?
I'd imagine then that you would think traditional education reformed is better at pursuing that focus? Also, I'll say based on what I remember of my readings of Dewey, he advocated starting with subject. The heart of it, the questions(not terminology). The different 'subjects' are all the accumulation of past findings, and these findings had very real motivations. While trying to illuminate the subject, and get the learner to really 'see' it for what it is, then the teacher could use methods that encourage social interactions and collaboration. They would be methods but the emphasis would remain on the content. I'm not so sure how a model that focuses on the social interactions and collaboration would work, but perhaps I'm not thinking big enough. Motivation is a big thing and what you mentioned might gain ground on that front. But group learning is a tricky thing also.
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Matthew Sarker
Posted almost 3 years ago
Do you think the future of teachers could be in jeopardy?
You're optimism is refreshing. And there's definitely something to that idea of reinforcement. I had one class like that and it was effective for me. But perhaps because of the content material, or the students slacking with the videos, other students struggled. Nevertheless, if teachers can get beyond writing notes and can facilitate the problem solving/critical thinking aspect and engage in discussions and such, it'll be a bright future indeed. P.S. Funny you mention the need for computers. I'm not sure if it's exactly what you're looking for (I have yet to watch it) but check it out: http://www.ted.com/talks/nicholas_negroponte_on_one_laptop_per_child_two_years_on.html