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Extreme Learning

On nickwinter.net

Yesterday, I went down to the Institute for the Future for a workshop on "extreme learning". There were many diverse people in there, and we spent the day talking about learning, education, and school, and how we as futuristic learners could see things going in 2023.

I had some good conversations, but the thing that struck me the most was how much I felt like I was back in school for a day. There were large- and small-group discussions, presentations, brainstorming assignments--and the young people were taking tons of notes! It was funny to me, because I had come to talk about how bad school had ended up being for my attitude towards learning.

They asked what extreme learning meant to me. It's a bit sad, but to me, it's just learning, but where you remember it later. Naturally I talked about spaced repetition as the antidote for the in-one-semester-and-out-the-other paradigm of education, but I was surprised to be the only one talking about it.

The highlight of the day was playing Throw Trucks With Your Mind during lunch, since one of the extreme learners, Lat Ware, had brought two laptops and Neuroskies to demo it. I was surprised by how well it worked compared to some of the other bio-control stuff I'd tried. Lat has done his math well.

My first school day was almost like a movie

On Julia's life

When I got here, I didn't really know what to expect. As a kid I watched a lot of movies about high schools and I remember thinking my Dutch school would be just like that. It turned out to be very different but I didn't mind.

Now I'm going to a high school here in the United States. I thought back on how high schools were in the movies. I got very scared when I remember how those schools where. It looked like a lot of fun, but it also looked very scary. So many different people, different classes, different language. Everything would be different. I just did not know what to expect. I was very happy that my two cousins also went to the same school. It made it a little bit better knowing I would not be completely alone.

The first big difference is how I'm getting to school. No more bicycle! My 16 yr old cousin has a car and she is kind enough to pick me up. I'm lucky, most kids have to take the big yellow school buses. Seeing all the students entering the school building on the first day looked like a movie scene to me. The only thing missing was the cute guy that would bump into me in the hall, haha, just kidding. It really looked like a movie when I got my locker. It was huge. My old locker was very small, and I only saw those big lockers in the movies.

The first day went very well. The only thing I did not like was lunch. I felt like the new girl you see in the movies. Awkwardly walking in the cafeteria looking for a place to sit, not knowing anyone. Finally some nice girls let me join their table. Lunch is still my least favorite thing on school. Everyone I know from classes has a different lunch break than me, but it is okay.

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