The Factory Academy (poem by John Kinane)

When they step out to the other side

Make sure they are the models described

Obedient and clean, just as prescribed

Trust in the academy production line

Value added and progressed tracked

Fit for purpose, packaged and stacked

Teacher……………“Stick to the template”

No matter what

Don’t motivate or deviate

Remember the plot

No individuality

Charisma or flair

Cut out the humour

Pretend you care

It’s a grand parade of inane individuals

Processed and classified with positive residuals

Ready for use in our brave new worlds

Trust in the academy production line

Institutionalised bullying stereotyped lies

Dehumanised products no light in their eyes

Teacher……………“Stick to the template”

No matter what

Don’t motivate or deviate

Remember the plot

No individuality

Charisma or flair

Cut out the humour

Pretend you care

If the factories performance shows invention

They will come under scrutiny through inspection

If inspiration is used you will get intervention

Trust in the academy production line

A new linear structure uniform on time

Schooled factory primed and sublime

Teacher……………“Stick to the template”

No matter what

Don’t motivate or deviate

Remember the plot

No individuality

Charisma or flair

Cut out the humour

Pretend you care

So here we are at the factory gates

Select and synthesise your class awaits

A generation of clones produced by the state

Trust in the academy production line

For you knew it would always be fine

When you sell your autonomy right on time

Teacher……………“Stick to the template”

No matter what

Don’t motivate or deviate

Remember the plot

No individuality

Charisma or flair

Cut out the humour

Pretend you care

 (Reposted from http://www.leere.co.uk/#!in-the-poetry-pipeline/crw7)

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Still missing: Fergus McInnes

I was randomly looking through old posts and came across a sad one: a year and a half ago, Fergus McInnes from the Centre for Speech Technology Research (CSTR) at the University of Edinburgh went missing in September 2014 after boarding a flight to go to a conference in Switzerland. So I checked… but there is nothing newer on the Internet. The case is still unresolved, as this news item from Sept 2015 reports:  www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/crime/case-of-missing-fergus-mcinnes-unsolved-a-year-on-1-3880744

Not wanting to be disrespectful at all, I think it’s important to honour people’s legacies, whether they are around us, not around us, or we don’t know where they are. Whatever happened to Fergus, he must be or have been an interesting person. So after some hesitation, I looked up his homepage which comes up as the third result in my Google search. And after some more hesitation, here is a link to Fergus’s fascinating homepage, to which he referred as “Fergus’s brain online”: http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/fmi/brain/Fergus’s_Brain_Online.htm

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The problem with technological ignorance, or Don’t take your smartphone for granted

“When we, as a society, fail to appreciate the staggering complexity of our modern technologies, we don’t just lose a sense of awe toward what is around us. We lose a sense of what we as humans can build, as well as where we might fall short. It is impressive that people can build and grapple with these astonishingly complex systems at all, something we seem to neglect when we focus on the shortcomings of a technology, rather than its successes and the effort that has gone into it. For example, autocorrect is mostly known for its failures, but in fact it’s an amazing technical feat that dramatically improves text entry speed.
But related to this is something else: Recognizing the overwhelming complexity of our technologies makes it easier to see that bugs and glitches are essentially an inevitability. When anything becomes as complicated as Dijkstra describes, unanticipated consequences will arise. Baked into a proper recognition of the phenomenal complexity around us must also then be a sense of humility—our limits in the face of the technologies we have built—something that we need to acknowledge more and more.”

From “The problem with technological ignorance”, http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/12/the_problem_with_technological_ignorance.html

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper droids prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Let’s reclaim the fun of maths!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Here is a fittingly optimistic read about how to make maths fun and exciting for the new generations to come:

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/03/5-year-olds-can-learn-calculus/284124/

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