AI Paradigm Shifts in Thinking, Doing and Being!
Education, as with other industries, has evolved in leaps and bounds in recent years. Traditional pedagogical techniques, based on a teacher explaining a topic and students taking notes, may still be useful on occasion, but education today revolves more around encouraging the student to awaken their curiosity and desire to learn. In the world of re-training and instilling of novel new skills, this awakening is akin to a paradigm shift in the individual mentee which requires a lot of handholding, a lot of instruction and a lot of shadowing. As such, I have found over many years of creating companies which employ the best and brightest in Toronto, that none of my staff has ever come from a bootcamp, and there’s good reason for that.
Bootcamps and vocational schools absolutely fail in; what would appear should be; their mandate, instilling new knowledge in their clients. I’m quite literally talking about any flashy course that attracts the masses, that looks to pump people out in 12 weeks and call them Data Scientists, or that calls out that your salary will be X (of course, they tip-toe the line really well and don’t ever guarantee anything).
What these bootcamps lack in spades and what prospective learners tend not to realize, which is part and parcel with just about all sales and marketing ever, is that the sheen and polish of the marketing strategy of a place should be seen as nearly inversely proportional with the quality of their program.
Changing all of this around – the 1000ml method of unlocking knowledge
A number of different teaching techniques have emerged due to this change in education. Many of these teaching techniques are not actually new! The use of technology in the classroom has simply given education a new lease of life allowing us to approach old ideas in new ways.
Outlined below are some popular teaching techniques that have arisen from the integration of technology in education.
The Flipped Classroom Model basically involves encouraging learners to prepare for the lesson before our labs. Thus, the lab becomes a dynamic environment in which learners elaborate on what they have already studied. Mentees and learners prepare for a topic at home so that the lab the next day can be devoted to answering any questions they have about the topic and doing actual work on a real project. This allows mentees to go beyond their normal boundaries and explore their natural curiosity. As 1000ml is purely project-based learning, it’s much easier for our mentees to do a lot of pre-learning and come to class with a notion of what we will be doing for that unit’s project. After all, it’s only project delivery that really matters in the real world.
This technique is based on resolving real-life cases through group analysis, brainstorming, innovation and creative ideas. Although “Design Thinking” is a structured method, in practice it can be quite messy as some cases may have no possible solution.
However, the Case Method prepares learners for the real world and arouses their curiosity, analytical skills and creativity. This technique is often used in popular MBA or Masters classes to analyze real cases experienced by companies in the past. This is one of the main reasons that 1000ml runs all its programs as project-based labs and Hack-a-thons such that our Data Science Analysts understand and internalize the entire lifecycle of a real world project. Our project teams have to solve our Data Partners’ real world problems, issues they face in the real world, in the real course of doing business; analysis and machine learning that will actually create real-world value for the stakeholder.
Curiosity is the main driver of learning. As a basic principle of learning, it makes little sense to force learners to memorize large reams of text that they will either begrudgingly recall or instantly forget. The key is to let them focus on exploring an area which interests them and learn about it for themselves.
A perfect example of a technique based on self-learning is outlined by Sugata Mitra at the TED conference. In a series of experiments in New Delhi, South Africa and Italy, the educational researcher Sugata Mitra gave children self-supervised access to the web. The results obtained could revolutionize how we think about teaching. The children, who until then did not even know what the internet was, were capable of training themselves in multiple subjects with unexpected ease.
A common technique for exploring self-learning is the use of Mind Maps. 1000ml’s mentors create a central node on a Mind Map and allow students the freedom to expand and develop ideas. As an innocuous example, if the focus were the Covid-19 pandemic, some mentees may create Mind Maps on the disease, travel paths of people and businesses or even policies aimed to fight the virus which governments have enacted. Later the learners would be evaluated according to the Mind Maps they have created and could collaborate with each other to improve each others Mind Maps and come to a more comprehensive understanding of the pandemic itself. Once they get to this common understanding, a project could be born from this such that the analysis, inference, classification or application would be much more poignant to the subject matter at hand; the spread of coronavirus.
Learning through the use of games is one of the methods that has already been explored especially in elementary and preschool education. By using games, students learn without even realizing. Therefore, learning through play or ‘Gamification‘ is a learning technique that can be very effective at any age. It is also a very useful technique to keep learners motivated.
The mentor should design projects that are appropriate for their mentees, taking into account their age and knowledge, while making them attractive enough to provide extra motivation. One idea may be to encourage learners to create quizzes online on a certain topic. These learners can challenge their peers to test themselves and see who gets a higher score. In this way, all peers can enjoy the competition with peers while also having fun and learning.
A variant of the previous section is to utilize social media in the classroom. We find that learners today are always connected to their social network and so will need little motivation to get them engaged with social media in the classroom. The ways you can use teaching methods are quite varied as there are hundreds of social networks and possibilities.
A good example is the initiative carried out by the Brazilian Academy of Languages “Red Ballon”, which encouraged students to review the tweets of their favourite artists and correct grammatical errors that they committed in an effort to improve their English language skills!
We at 1000ml obviously use social media a lot in all kinds of data science work and projects, mostly in the world of NLP. Some of our Data Partners look to us to figure out brand awareness, cost-effective places to target with ads and more. As we look to keep instilling true data science mastery in all our cohorts, we don’t stop at social media, we literally have projects that look at the deep web and pull out real competitive intelligence and analyze it that as well.
So what do you do when all signs point to having to go to University to gain any sort of advantage? Unfortunately it’s the current state of affairs that most employers will not hire you unless you have a degree for even junior or starting jobs. Once you have that degree, coming to a Last Mile Finishing Program, with 1000ml being the only one worldwide, is the only way forward to gaining the practical knowledge and experience that will jumpstart your career.
Check out our next dates below for our upcoming seminars, labs and programs, we’d love to have you there.