Are Teachers the New Video Stars?

Many companies are using video to disrupt education. But as I learned when I took the first Stanford AI course, video transmission doesn't necessarily mean great teaching!

Some interesting stats from that Stanford AI course:

160,000 signed up from all over the world except North Korea and 23,000 finished the course. That's a 14% completion rate. The top 410 students in the class were online students (not Stanford students). The highest Stanford student came in at 411.

There's been a lot of buzz around the course, but I don't think the outcome of the course demonstrates that teaching via online is an improvement. If anything, it proves that there are smart folks in other parts of the world who want access to credible information.

But as for solving the education problem in the U.S.? I'm not so sure.

Emotions and Teaching

AutoTutor is a program developed by Sidney D'Mello, a University of Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Psychology, Art Graesser from the University of Memphis, and a colleague from MIT. The program instructs a student in a subject using natural-language. At the same time it monitors the face and body of the student to determine her emotional state. It then changes the pacing and content of the instruction accordingly.

What's compelling is that the program was built to understand how a student's psychological state affects her cognitive state.

The researchers have found that in tests of over 1,000 students use of the AutoTutor resulted in students gaining approximately one letter grade.

On Leadership

Professor Gruenfeld at Stanford's Graduate School of Business is an authority on leadership and power. Some leadership pointers gleaned from her teachings:

• Leadership is about bringing your personal truth to a “professional” role.

• It’s not what you say, but how you say it that affects how others perceive you.

• Be present in the moment, not in the past or future.

• Get off of yourself, make it about the other person.


iOS is the operating system for Apple's iPhone, Touch and iPad (that name still makes me cringe). Want to learn how to build apps for these devices? Take a class. Udemy offers a straight-forward one.

iPhone app development is also now offered to high school students! MakeGamesWith.us offers an online tutorial for those with some object-oriented programming skills (found in many AP computer science classes). The site teaches Objective-C.

Note: a Mac is required.


Lessons Oprah Taught Us

She's no longer a 4 o'clock regular, but her lessons are as important as ever. Besides things like, "don't let yourself be taken to the second location," my favorites are 1. "When you know better, you do better." - okay this was from Maya Angelou, but often repeated by Oprah, along with

2. "When people tell you who they are, believe them." Also an Angelou saying and oh so true!

3. "You teach people how to treat you." Something that has taken me years to grasp.

But the one lesson I remember above all else is when Oprah questioned a guest who covered her furniture in plastic. "What are you saving the couch for?" she asked.

In other words, there is no future destination, only today. Enjoy it.