Innovation in education | 教育创新

We don’t hear about startups in education in America as we hear about them in other industries. Why? There are multiple reasons. One is the belief that superior education and profit making are conflicting.  Are they?

Superior customer service in other industries seems to lead to higher profit. People don’t have any issues with that. Then why with education?

It shouldn’t.

So why?
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Happy birthday to Emmy Noether

Today is Emmy Noether’s birthday.    I read a lot about her when I was a college math student.  She should be as famous as Einstein.  History did not do many great women justice.

When she was at the rank of top mathematician in the world of her time, she was not allowed to be a professor.  When she was eventually allowed to teach, she was unpaid.   Women have come a long way in gaining knowledge and authority.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/emmy-noether-should-be-your-hero-180962591/

 

Woman startup 女人创业

I have not seen a single woman billionaire startup (after the only one failed). Every single one lecturing about successful startup is a man.
Why!
Do women work hard enough?
Are women innovative enough?
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Grace Hopper

Humans are allergic to change. ” They love to say, “We’ve always done it this way.I try to fight that.  That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counterclockwise.” — Grace Hopper

I watch a lot of videos on programming from YouTube.   Never once was Grace Hopper recommended to me.   So I am recommending four videos here after watching a dozen of videos on YouTube.

  1. The first video is from computer programming online school UdaCity.  It is a good short summary.
  2. The second one is from Kurt Beyer.  It is very long and but is the most interesting one!  You need to be a little patient during the clip from 1:00 to 5:00.    This talk tells the story in history, and the event (Pearl Harbor) that change the history of computing.  
  3. The third video is from Department of Defense, which is official.
  4. The fourth one is funny:  her interview at the David Letterman show, where she gave Mr. Letterman a nano stick.

Grace Hopper is an American mathematician and computer scientist.   She served in the Navy and ranked Admiral Rear at the end of her career.   Her greatest technical achievement was to create the tools that would allow humans to communicate with computers in terms other than ones and zeroes, such as a compiler that compiles higher level language to language that computers understand, which are zeros and ones.   This advance influenced all future programming and software design and laid the foundation for the development of today’s user-friendly personal computers.

You can read more about Grace Hopper at many websites.  An example is History of Computers and Programming.  But the book or the video (the second one above) by Kurt Beyer is more interesting.   The story is informative and engaging.  Did you know that she was arrested for drunk driving and was in rehab for being alcoholic after the war?  Innovators and pioneers are humans.  Wow!Not only did he describe the time and place that created Hopper and computers, but also her life and her career development, technology such as compiler that helps computers.    Compiler helps computer to help programmers program itself.    Doesn’t it ring a bell?  Deep learning?

An inventor has to be a good salesperson.  Hopper was a good salesperson.   She involved as many people as she could.  She made institutions to push her visions forward.  Seventy percent of active code is COBOL, the language she led the development and marketing.   It was not a good language.  But she knew how to get it to work, including having 1950s movie star Marylyn Moroe, who was a high school graduate, become a COBOL programmer within 4 weeks.

You manage things and lead people.” How to lead people?  Give them a purpose, an urgency, a vision (which includes war unfortunately).

Learning from the margins: experts sometime cannot think outside of the box.  One way to keep the box open is to learn different fields.

Technology is not inevitable: human beings at the early part of a technology development can influence how the technology develops.   She had a counter clockwise clock in her office.  The point is that: you can design it anyway you want it to be.

She had a sense of country and devotion that is rare in Silicon Valley today, as Kurt says.   In other words, her patriotism is exemplary.