TeachingICT.Net

Education = Transforming + Informing

On the mystery of Randomness ….

ImageWikipedia explains that Randomness has common meanings which are connected to the notion of predictability(or lack thereof) of events. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘random’ as “Having no definite aim or purpose; not sent or guided in a particular direction; made, done, occurring, etc., without method or conscious choice; haphazard.” This concept of randomness suggests a non-order or non-coherence in a sequence of symbols or steps, such that there is no intelligible pattern or combination. The reason this links to Computer Science and ICT is because random functions crop up a lot. We use them in computer games and simulations. Note the Greenfoot (move Crab randomly) example below.

Public void moveAround()

{

Move(4);

If Greenfoot.getRandomNumber(100)<10)

{ turn (Greenfoot.getRandomNumber(90) – 45);

}

}

 

But back to randomness (the concept) – in ancient history the concepts of chance and randomness were heavily intertwined with that of fate. Ancient people did things like throw dice to determine fate, and I imagine this is what later evolved into what we now call “games of chance”. Divination of course was what ancient cultures used to circumvent randomness and fate! Research on the internet suggests that it was the Chinese that were the earliest people to formalize odds and chance 3,000 years ago. The Greek philosophers discussed randomness at length, but only in non-quantitative forms.

Stanford computer scientist and Christian commentator – Donald Knuth – explained his views that suggested that pseudorandom numbers were useful and could be applied with purpose. He extended this thought to God who, he suggested, may use randomness with purpose to allow free will to certain degrees. Knuth believes that God is interested in people’s decisions and limited free will allows a certain degree of decision making. Knuth, based on his understanding of quantum computing and entanglement, comments that God exerts dynamic control over the world without violating any laws of physics, suggesting that what appears to be random to humans may not, in fact, be so random.

One of my favourite men (now dead) in the universe – C.S Lewis – was a Christian philosopher and discussed free will at length. On  human will, Lewis wrote: “God willed the free will of men and angels in spite of His knowledge that it could lead in some cases to sin and thence to suffering: i.e., He thought freedom worth creating even at that price.” In a radio broadcast, Lewis indicated that God “gave [humans] free will. He gave them free will because a world of mere automata could never love…”

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June 21, 2012 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Ever fantasise about teaching without having to actually SEE your learners?

Start your own course online

 The internet, as ever, makes this possible (I’m referring to the title) Setting up courses in the cloud is now a trend in online learning. Whether you are a training company, a non-profit trainer, an experienced hobbyist, or an educational institute, at some point you will want to tap into the cloud, attract new learners from around the globe, and start learning collaboratively. I recently came across MOOC:  It is free – it only costs you the time you put in it; You can attract a massive amount of learners; It enables all of the course participants to collaborate and learn from each other; and it will enhance knowledge, both in experts and novices. Oh, and also check out: http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Create_your_own_course

What do you want to teach people?

June 18, 2012 Posted by | General | 1 Comment

Blog your way to the bank

Make Money Blogging

A blog is a thing that – well, it’s what you’re reading. I’ve had a number of people ask me in the last few days, how or if people can make money blogging. The answer is yes. Blogs make money through having advertisements on them and also by selling products or services. The next question: How much? It, like most things in life, depends. On many things – hard work, luck ….you know. Some people make very little and give up. When starting out, you might only make a few pounds or dollars or rupees or whatever a month while you are building your readership. Over time you could quite easily earn an extra $£whatever1000 per month from advertising revenues. You may be interested to know that some top bloggers make a full living off their blog earning 5 or 6 figure incomes. Then there are the tippity top blogs that earn in the millions. So the potential is most certainly there! Click here: for a nice article (it’s where I got the picture and content from) on making money with WordPress. http://lifelearningtoday.com/2009/03/21/complete-guide-to-set-up-a-wordpress-blog-and-make-money/

June 18, 2012 Posted by | General | 1 Comment