Rival Views, Both Right (reposted from The New York Times)

I’d like to share an interesting read –  Rival Views, Both Right (Reposted from The New York Times)

Is there an app for improving America’s educational system? Will watching a PowerPoint presentation about the nation’s educational challenge help to understand the opportunities and difficulties facing the country?

Two college dropouts, Steve Jobs (Reed College) and Bill Gates (Harvard University) have articulated theories about education. And their viewpoints are as different as are their companies (Apple and Microsoft, respectively), presenting a contrast in style and philosophy.

Flashback to 1983: Jobs and Gates.
Gates hopes to analyze and adjust the education system in order to produce a more efficient and effective learning environment. He advocates sophisticated metrics to measure results. What makes one teacher better at her job than another and how can best practices be shared? Technology enables analysis and is also the delivery mechanism.

Once the education community receives reliable disaggregated research, the policy makers can allocate their limited resources in a fashion that will produce a higher yield. As Gates has said, “…we need to raise performance without spending a lot more.”

Jobs is focused more on individual learning and less on systemic education. Technology is his way to get a well-integrated mind flowing in multiple directions. His learning philosophy gives each person the ability to chart his own course. It is less about the structure of the system and more about free will.

A discerning mind, one that blends science and Springsteen, is the backbone of the creative spirit: ideas fuel entrepreneurship. Gates’ recent speech to the nation’s governors stressed assessment, measuring outcomes and tracking students’ progress. Technology and benchmarking are joined at the hip. He feels it is worth charting the effectiveness of particular majors with regional job creation. (Does he favor vocational education?)

Jobs’ approach allows for individual experimentation to find a unique solution to each person’s quest. It is the symbol of intellectual multi-tasking. This is a more experimental, integrated search for a holistic view of the universe, one that has multiple access points. Each student becomes his or her own teacher.

My heart is with Jobs (full disclosure: I wrote this on a MacBook Pro). But my mind fully understands Gates’ mandate to discover ways to maximize scarce resources to best prepare the workforce. It is beyond noble; it is essential. Gates has contributed millions, perhaps even billions, for the study of education. He is looking for the vaccine to cure education’s ailing health. Jobs is tripping our mind with the jazz of life put before us to spark awareness that the more we learn the more powerful we become.

How does this relate to the curriculum of higher education? Keep poetry, architectural history and Russian literature alongside mechanical engineering and agricultural studies. A discerning mind, one that blends science and Springsteen, is the backbone of the creative spirit: ideas fuel entrepreneurship.

Gates is studying the science of education. Jobs is creating the art of learning. I’m sure there is an app for teaching arithmetic by watching the heavens and counting the stars.

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WFH

Last Wednesday, I was working from home. It was a fairly quiet shift until I decided to do something I have never done before during work hours. Midway on my shift I decided to pop a cold bottle of Red Horse Beer right from the fridge.  I didn’t exactly planned to drink beer, it just happened. Suddenly I was in the zone during that moment. God knows how I hate drinking beer even in parties and special occasions. The thought of drinking during work hours is too much to resist, especially when you are tasked to monitor a network with more than a hundred sites – an outage that is left ignored could cost millions of pesos including my job. Now that is doing something different for a change, a stab on the back of daily routine.

After drinking 3/4 of the bottle’s contents, I saw the alarms turn bloody red. I scampered towards my work desk with the TV still on, totally ignoring Anne Curtis in the process. A one gig link connecting all of the 18 branches in the Philippines was down hard. In short, I am in for a long day of troubleshooting and coordination with the stupid carrier, not to mention the after actions reports which I despise more than anything, maybe next to GMA.

The lesson is to never ever even think about drinking beer during your work hours except if you are Chuck Norris, which is on a different level. It was hard on my mortal body to work properly with alcohol on my veins. I was giggling most of the time while I was talking to someone on the phone.

Deep Blue Sea

You can only take so much bad news making you wonder what the hell is happening to the world today. In the light of recent earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, wars, radiation scares and abnormal weather patterns you can’t help but ask why disasters seem to strike more often than usual. Is the end near? I certainly hope not.  Doomsayers have long predicted the end of times, and they have failed countless times. The pending apocalypse on 12-2012, I hope, is just another one of those failed predictions that would sink their trust ratings down to the bottom of the ocean floor.

Super Moon

How I crave to be brave and let everything fall to place. My feet are frozen to the ground, bounded by my fears and hesitations. I feel like I’ve traveled far and wide in search of something pure to believe in only to find myself back to the place where I started when I look at you. Oh, Super Moon!

Huling El Bimbo

My guitar fell flat on the floor this night, getting its first paint crack since I bought it last December. I had three beers and all my senses were delayed by a minumum of 2 seconds. By the time we started to play our first song,  I knew it got detuned on impact. I had to tune it before proceeding to the next song. So much for the smooth medley we practiced.

After, we had a blast watching the Nihon-jins perform Aitakatta by AKB 48. I will surely miss those guys 😦

Arabian Night

The Arab world is in the midst of waking up to a new day after ages spent in slumber. It started as a dream in Egypt which eventually became a nightmare for every dictator in Libya, Jordan, Saudi, and other nations who have been long dictated and stripped of their basic human rights. It is ironic that this part of the world is the cradle of civilization, that hosted some of the earliest civilizations of all time like Mesopotamia (Iraq).