Posts Tagged ‘Finland’

AI and China education

China’s children are its secret weapon in the global AI arms race

China wants to be the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. To get there, it’s reinventing the way children are taught

despite China’s many technological advances, in this new cyberspace race, the West had the lead.

Xi knew he had to act. Within twelve months he revealed his plan to make China a science and technology superpower. By 2030 the country would lead the world in AI, with a sector worth $150 billion. How? By teaching a generation of young Chinese to be the best computer scientists in the world.

Today, the US tech sector has its pick of the finest minds from across the world, importing top talent from other countries – including from China. Over half of Bay Area workers are highly-skilled immigrants. But with the growth of economies worldwide and a Presidential administration hell-bent on restricting visas, it’s unclear that approach can last.

In the UK the situation is even worse. Here, the government predicts there’ll be a shortfall of three million employees for high-skilled jobs by 2022 – even before you factor in the immigration crunch of Brexit. By contrast, China is plotting a homegrown strategy of local and national talent development programs. It may prove a masterstroke.

In 2013 the city’s teenagers gained global renown when they topped the charts in the PISA tests administered every three years by the OECD to see which country’s kids are the smartest in the world. Aged 15, Shanghai students were on average three full years ahead of their counterparts in the UK or US in maths and one-and-a-half years ahead in science.

Teachers, too, were expected to be learners. Unlike in the UK, where, when I began to teach a decade ago, you might be working on full-stops with eleven-year-olds then taking eighteen-year-olds through the finer points of poetry, teachers in Shanghai specialised not only in a subject area, but also an age-group.

Shanghai’s success owed a lot to Confucian tradition, but it fitted precisely the best contemporary understanding of how expertise is developed. In his book Why Don’t Kids Like School? cognitive Dan Willingham explains that complex mental skills like creativity and critical thinking depend on our first having mastered the simple stuff. Memorisation and repetition of the basics serve to lay down the neural architecture that creates automaticity of thought, ultimately freeing up space in our working memory to think big.

Seung-bin Lee, a seventeen-year-old high school graduate, told me of studying fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, for the three years leading up to the Suneung, the fearsome SAT exam taken by all Korean school leavers on a single Thursday each November, for which all flights are grounded so as not to break students’ concentration during the 45 minutes of the English listening paper.
Korea’s childhoods were being lost to a relentless regime of studying, crushed in a top-down system that saw them as cyphers rather than kids.

A decade ago, we consoled ourselves that although kids in China and Korea worked harder and did better on tests than ours, it didn’t matter. They were compliant, unthinking drones, lacking the creativity, critical thinking or entrepreneurialism needed to succeed in the world. No longer. Though there are still issues with Chinese education – urban centres like Shanghai and Hong Kong are positive outliers – the country knows something that we once did: education is the one investment on which a return is guaranteed. China is on course to becoming the first education superpower.

Troublingly, where education in the UK and US has been defined by creativity and independent thinking – Shanghai teachers told me of visits to our schools to learn about these qualities – our direction of travel is now away from those strengths and towards exams and standardisation, with school-readiness tests in the pipeline and UK schools minister Nick Gibb suggesting kids can beat exam stress by sitting more of them. Centres of excellence remain, but increasingly, it feels, we’re putting our children at risk of losing out to the robots, while China is building on its strong foundations to ask how its young people can be high-tech pioneers. They’re thinking big – we’re thinking of test scores.

soon “digital information processing” would be included as a core subject on China’s national graduation exam – the Gaokao – and pictured classrooms in which students would learn in cross-disciplinary fashion, designing mobile phones for example, in order to develop design, engineering and computing skills. Focusing on teaching kids to code was short-sighted, he explained. “We still regard it as a language between human and computer.” (My note: they are practically implementing the Finland’s attempt to rebuild curricula)

“If your plan is for one year,” went an old Chinese saying, “plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children.” Two and half thousand years later chancellor Gwan Zhong might update his proverb, swapping rice for bitcoin and trees for artificial intelligence, but I’m sure he’d stand by his final point.

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more on AR in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=artificial+intelligence

more on China education in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/01/06/chinas-transformation-of-higher-education/

Finnish Government Scholarships

The Finnish Government Scholarships 2018-2019

Deadline: 15 February 2018
Open to: candidates with a Masters-level degree
Benefits: full scholarship

Description

Finnish Government is pleased to offer a range of scholarships to students of high academic ability for 2018 entry. Students of Australia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Republic of Korea, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA are eligible to apply for these scholarships to undertake 3-9 months for doctoral level studies and research.

The Finnish Government Scholarships are available for 3-9 months for doctoral level studies and research at Finnish Universities or Public Research Institutes.

Eligibility

In order to be considered eligible to apply, you must fulfill all of the following criteria:

  • have established contact with the Finnish receiving institution before applying (see section ‘Doctoral Admissions’);
  • have a letter of invitation from the academic supervisor in Finland; the invitation should also explain the commitment of the host institution to the project;
  • have earned a Masters-level degree before applying;
  • intend to pursue post-master’s level studies as a visiting student, participate in a research project or teach at a university or public research institute in Finland; priority will be given to doctoral studies;
  • not have spent already more than one year at a Finnish higher education institution immediately before the intended scholarship period in Finland;
  • be able to give proof of sufficient skills in speaking and writing the language needed in study/research;
  • be a national of one of the eligible countries listed above.

Benefits

  • A monthly allowance of EUR 1500;
  • The allowance is sufficient for one person only;
  • Expenses due to travel, international or in Finland, are not covered by the program;
  • Scholarship recipients are recommended to make arrangements for sufficient insurance coverage for their stay in Finland;
  • Please see the section ‘Practical matters‘ for information on the practicalities of coming to Finland as an international student/researcher.

Application

Applications for the Finnish Government Scholarship Pool funding should be made to the appropriate authority in the applicant’s country. The scholarship authorities in each country are invited to present applications for up to 10 candidates for the Finnish Government Scholarship Pool. The announcements for the opening of the annual application round are usually sent out from CIMO at the end of September annually. Documents required for an application:

  • A completed and signed application form;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Copies of latest diplomas;
  • Two letters of recommendation;
  • Study/research plan (2-5 pages, including a statement of motivation, goals, work plan, work method, expected results);
  • Invitation/expression of interest and motivation for cooperation from the hosting academic supervisor in Finland;
  • Language certificate (Finnish, Swedish or English) or other indication of sufficient language skills – please see above, in the section ‘Eligibility criteria’.

http://www.edu-active.com/phd/2017/aug/22/finnish-government-scholarships-2018-2019.html

http://www.studyinfinland.fi/tuition_and_scholarships/cimo_scholarships/finnish_government_scholarship_pool
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more on Finland in this IMS blog:
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=finland

leadership in finland

Lessons From Finland: What Educators Can Learn About Leadership

pedagogy across disciplines

This article pleads for a consideration what now is a full-blown reform in Finland (replacing subjects with topics) and seriously considered in the UK, as reported in this IMS blog: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2015/03/24/education-reform-finland/

Broadening Pedagogical Knowledge by Learning from Other Disciplines

By: January 20th, 2016

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/broadening-our-pedagogical-knowledge-by-learning-from-other-disciplines/

there’s a long-standing and still fairly widely held belief that the teaching needed for a particular kind of content is unique. Unless you know the content, you can’t know how to teach it.

What and how we teach are linked, but there are other connections besides those between method and material, and those connections aren’t all unique to the discipline. All (well, almost all) teachers want students engaged, and student engagement in physics and philosophy doesn’t look all that different. All teachers are concerned with classroom management issues. If students are dealing more with their phones than the material, the content is irrelevant. All teachers have a responsibility to prevent cheating. All teachers aspire to use fair and equitable grading practices. Course design principles transcend disciplines. The features of a good multiple-choice question are not discipline specific. And then there are those student characteristics that challenge teachers in every field: passivity, lack of motivation, low self-esteem, less than adequate study skills, and excessive grade-orientation start the list.

China educational reform

A Shifting Education Model in China

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/12/china-education-system/420234/
The news was taken from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MindShift.KQED/posts/913192562049997. Here are the comments:

Marcin Zaród While at the same time in their kung-fu schools they have been using models like “station rotation”, “peer-learning”, “immediate feedback”, mastery learning, even some elements of gamification (like badges-like colour belts showing the mastery on some level and unblocking access to higher-level routines available only for the more advanced students), etc for hundreds of years…. And I am not joking. Just ask anybody who does some kung-fu under the watchful eye of a good coach (sifu).
A great example of a “peer learning” session on the enclosed photo (taken at a kung-fu training in Poland, not in China smile emoticon

China has now reshaped its national exam to focus on a broader range of topics and cognitive skills and, in turn, move away from teacher-dominated lecturing. The new test requires that students employ complex analytical skills, mixed with broader knowledge across various subjects.

This is exactly what Finland and the United Kingdom are aiming with the reforms in their education. In March 2015, this blog reported on a reform in Finland: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2015/03/24/education-reform-finland/, which is to be followed by the UK.