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Monday, December 11, 2017

Composer incorporates math and art in McBain music | Cadillac News

Photo: Karen Hopper Usher
"Composing is alive and instrumental music isn't just recycled from the past" summarizes Karen Hopper Usher, Cadillac News.



Composers like Andrew Perkins are constantly writing new tunes for young musicians.

The challenge is to write a piece of music that gets kids to really think.

Andrew Perkins, a music teacher and composer,
wrote \"Gradients,\" which McBain middle school
band students will perform in January at the
Michigan Music Conference.
Photo: Courtesy andrewdavidperkins.com
In January, middle school band students at McBain Rural Agricultural School will perform Perkins's piece, "Gradients," at the Michigan Music Conference.

When Perkins saw a Cadillac News article about McBain's upcoming performance, he contacted band teacher Heather Wiggins to congratulate her.

He also had a proposition — He had a recently completed composition. Would her students be interested in debuting the music at the conference?

Yes, they would.

"For composers, performances at big conferences are a big deal," Perkins said. "It's kind of a win-win."

Perkins, who teaches music in Fenton, near Flint, understands the complexities of finding music that's appropriate for middle school musicians, suits the instrumental make-up of the band and is entertaining.

A lot of middle school band literature isn't written "about anything," Perkins said. It's music for the sake of teaching a specific musical concept.

Perkins wanted to teach something more sophisticated, he said.

He settled on the idea of gradients, which has different but related applications in mathematics, physics, philosophy and art. The mathematic concept of "rise over run," is something kids tend to learn in middle school math, he said...

...perform Perkins's pieces at the Michigan Music Conference in January. Besides McBain, Warren Mott will perform "Alcatraz" and Okemos will perform "Asylum," which is about the old asylum in Traverse City.
Read more...

Source: Cadillac News


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5 Reasons that Electric Bikes Are Like Blended Learning | Inside Higher Ed | Inside Higher Ed - Technology and Learning

Follow on Twitter as @joshmkim
"My new obsession is electric bikes. Not that I own one." says Dr. Joshua Kim, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL).
 
Technology and Learning

Being an academic, I’ll need to do 10,000 hours of research before I am comfortable contemplating any action. At this rate, I expect to be in the market for an e-bike purchase in spring of 2018.


Electric bike
Like all my obsessions, I understand electric bikes through the lens of learning and technology.

Here are 5 ways that electric bikes are exactly like blended learning:

1 - The Passion of Early Adopters:
A growing number of my colleagues are commuting to campus on an electric bike. They are replacing a drive to campus in a car with a ride to campus on an e-bike. Reasons vary. Some are riding their electric bike because they live too far away to ride a traditional bicycle. Others ride their e-bike to campus because they can arrive without getting sweaty, avoiding the need to shower. What all of these electric bike owning colleagues have in common is their passion for e-bikes. They are electric bike evangelists. They talk about how their e-bike changed their life. Not only do they get more exercise, they look forward to their morning and early evening ride. The purchase price of the e-bikes were justified by saving on the parking passes and gas, but these practical commuting decisions gave rise to a larger belief that electric biking is the future of transportation.

We hear much the same things from those educators who have gotten into blended learning. Talk to faculty teaching online courses, and they marvel at how the medium enables them to deeply interact with their students. The asynchronous nature of much of online learning creates space for all the students in the class to contribute to discussions and debates - through the mechanisms of discussion boards and blogs and wikis - space that is normally constrained and finite in a traditional 50 or 90 minute residential class. Flipping a mostly residential course, by having course content and curriculum be delivered before the class through online lectures, creates new space in the face-to-face discussion for active learning.  Class is invigorating when the teaching model moves from delivering content to coaching and mentoring.

2 - A Dedicated Community of Practice:
The small and growing number of electric bike people on my campus have started to find one another. They are meeting to talk about how they chose their e-bike, where they get it serviced, and what rides in the area (with big hills) they are now willing to tackle. These campus electric bike pioneers are starting to convert others. There seems to be many more of us who are talking about getting an e-bike than who actually own one.  The enthusiasm of these early electric bike owners is contagious.

This small group of e-bike converts reminds me of those faculty who were amongst the first to teach online and to use technology to flip their residential classes. The first professors to make the transition to online and blended learning faced a good degree of skepticism from their colleagues. Most were skeptical themselves. They wondered if technology would get in the way of what they love best about teaching. They worried about what would be lost when eye contact was replaced by screen time. When the give and take of a good lecture was substituted for recorded video presentations and discussion boards.

What most faculty found, to their surprise, was that online and blended teaching is pretty great. Maybe not better than traditional face-to-face teaching, but usually better than a straight lecture based (large enrollment) course. Online and blended learning encouraged, rather than inhibited, interactions with students.  The medium of online and blended learning still required all the expertise of an experienced educator. The difference being that now online faculty could teach students who were also full-time workers, who were unable to move to campus, and who relied on online learning to participate in higher education. For those teaching blended courses, the technologies of classroom flipping opened up more time for active learning and intensive instruction.
Read more...

Source: Inside Higher Ed (blog)


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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Five management books that will help you kickstart 2018 on a high note | YourStory.com - Resources

Photo: Tamanna Mishra
"For professionals – C-suite and mid-level management alike – the process of learning does not – and more importantly, should not – stop" inform Tamanna Mishra, seasoned communications professional. 
 

As you grow in your role, so do the challenges that arise directly or through your close circle of mentors and leaders. How does one learn to respond to such situations? The answers lie in books.

From human challenges such as persuading customers and motivating employees to operational challenges that involve creating order in a system that seems to be built on the premise of chaos, there is a lot that business books have spoken about in the past and continue to do so. It is this advice from management experts and business leaders that can steer you in the right direction.

The year-end holiday season is the best time not just to reflect on your personal achievements but also to catch up on the lessons learnt by businesses across the globe. So here’s a reading list featuring books on entrepreneurship, leadership, human relations, and every other topic a professional might be interested in.
Read more... 

Source: YourStory.com 


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5 new books you won't want to miss this week | USA TODAY - Life - Books

Follow on Twitter as   
@JocelynMcClurg

Jocelyn McClurg, USA TODAY's Books Editor, scopes out the hottest books on sale each week.
1. Mad Hatters and March Hares, edited by Ellen Datlow (Tor, fiction, on sale Dec. 12)


Mad Hatters and March Hares: 
 All-New Stories from the World
of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland
What it’s about: A collection of new stories inspired by Lewis Carroll's psychedelic 19th century classic, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland...
The buzz: Datlow, a Hugo Award winner for editing, has drawn in fantasy/sci-fi contributors including Seanan McGuire, Jane Yolen and Catherynne M. Valente.

4. Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker by A.N. Wilson (Harper, non-fiction, on sale Dec. 12)

Charles Darwin:
Victorian Mythmaker

What it’s about: New biography offers a “reappraisal” of the scientist who developed the theory of evolution.
The buzz: “Illuminating,” says Kirkus Reviews.

Source: USA TODAY


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Daemon Voices review – wise words from a craftsman | The Guardian - Books + Reviews


"Philip Pullman’s collection of insightful essays on the power of storytelling." 

Daemon essayist: Philip Pullman.
Photo: Suki Dhanda for the Observer
Published alongside La Belle Sauvage, the first in a three-part prequel to His Dark Materials, Daemon Voices is a compendious collection of Philip Pullman’s talks, essays and newspaper articles spanning several decades. 

Exploring themes as diverse as art, politics, science and faith, Pullman is eloquent on the craft and power of storytelling and the folk tales and fairytales that are his personal touchstones.

A lecture entitled “Let’s write it in red”, inspired by two little girls writing a story together on a train, reflects on the need to “keep the old stories burnished and bright and new by telling them over and over again”. Something of this telling and retelling is revealed in the themes, images and literary allusions that repeat like refrains throughout the collection, offering an insight into Pullman’s own creative preoccupations.
 
Daemon Voices 
by Philip Pullman
Daemon Voices by Philip Pullman is published by David Fickling Books (£20). To order a copy for £17 go to guardianbookshop.com

Recommended Reading

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/oct/22/philip-pullman-my-daemon-is-a-raven-la-belle-sauvage-interview-questions
Source: The Guardian


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Saturday, December 09, 2017

2017: A Year To Remember | Phoenix Conservatory of Music (PCM)

”I’ve been involved since I was seven or eight. Ever since then, I’ve been building my skills.” 

Phoenix Conservatory of Music named as an Arizona State Charitable Tax Credit Organization, Phoenix Conservatory of Music’s College Prep Program serving the Phoenix Metropolitan Area cited as one of the best creative youth development programs in the country and wins a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, and Phoenix Conservatory of Music Wins Mayor’s Arts Award!

Will Kratzenberg, a sophomore in High School and PCM student says. “[I started with piano and then went to audio production.] I had no place to go for sound production or learn how to build or reconstruct sound. PCM showed me how to work inside sound production DAWs and how to mix and even create my own songs. At first, I thought it wouldn’t be all that great…all these people doing what I’m doing. If anything, that is the key to learning- learning what people are doing around you, learning from them and taking some of their knowledge into your own. I feel a sense of family here.  Coming here is an escape and you can really improve your skills being here and learning with your family.  [As a family] we are being able to build what we’ve been trying to build for a very long time.  [As an organization], we finally made it up there, and after all these years …it’s finally paying off.”

And this is the absolute truth.  This has been an incredible year for Phoenix Conservatory of Music, a Phoenix based nonprofit community school of music with a very big reach.  “It often feels as if we are a very best kept secret”, says Regina Nixon, Executive Director of Phoenix Conservatory of Music, ”but we have amazing stories with all of our students and some fantastic outcomes.”

This past November, at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. this November, the nation’s top cultural agencies honored twelve Creative Youth Development programs from across the country for their work in providing excellent arts and humanities learning opportunities to young people.  Three of Phoenix’s own students had the honor of traveling to our Nation’s Capital to represent Phoenix, Arizona and a top after school arts program, Phoenix Conservatory of Music’s College Prep Program. Marcus Wolf (17), Michael Rodriguez (15) and Lourde Childs (13) were the student representative and performers for The Phoenix Conservatory of Music as it was recognized with a 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.  The award was presented by The National Endowment for the Arts and their partners.  Michael and Lourde, the only two performers for this prestigious Washington D.C. awards ceremony, performed Man In The Mirror recorded by Michael Jackson, written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett; produced by Quincy Jones, and received a standing ovation.  (Video of the performance: https://youtu.be/QXC2YNMWLVQ?t=30m35s )

The award honors the nation’s highest best programs for after school arts and humanities programs. Chosen from 350 nominations from across the country, PCM, was one of twelve organizations across the country to receive the honor, which recognizes effectiveness in promoting learning and life skills in young people by engaging them through creative youth development programs.
“Phoenix is home to an incredible arts community, and organizations like the Phoenix Conservatory of Music are key to the city’s cultural vibrancy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “This award is testament to the great work PCM is doing to expose children in our community to the arts and music education.”

The award is the latest recognition to highlight the Conservatory’s work with students. Earlier this year, Phoenix Conservatory of Music was a recipient of the 2017 Mayor’s Arts Awards for Innovative Organization of the Year, and in 2015 received the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Education Organization.  In addition to all of the accolades, there are the direct outcomes of the program- a 95% High School Graduation Rate, 71% attend college or university, and in the last 7 years, they have earned over $1M+ in addition to scholarship offers.
Read more...

Source: Phoenix Conservatory of Music (PCM) - Blog


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How To Start A Data Science Career As An Undergrad | Forbes

"How do I choose an internship that prepares me for a data science career as an undergraduate student? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world." Quora, Contributor.

Answer by Alex Francis, Data Scientist, on Quora:

Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint via Getty Images

How do I choose an internship that prepares me for a data science career as an undergraduate student? 

I think the answer to this question really depends on the company/role/industry combination, but if your background resembles my own, I’ll take a stab at the question.

To start, I strongly believe that completing an internship is more valuable than an “ML related summer research project,” unless that research is done in the context of a respected laboratory at your university, and you have the explicit goal of publishing a paper that will help you gain admission to top graduate programs in machine learning. With that said, while internship roles in data science at tech companies are plentiful (see, for example, What companies have data science internships for undergraduates?), finding companies that actively hire undergraduates is non-trivial (in my experience). You’ll need to be aggressive, sometimes applying for and following up with recruiters on roles in which a graduate degree is “recommended” or even “required.” Finding companies that are willing to take a chance on a younger candidate will be an inevitable filter - luckily, several great companies are willing to engage with undergraduates. I evaded this artificial barrier by interning as a “data engineer,” and working on infrastructure related to the data science team. This gave me valuable insights into the day-to-day efforts of a data scientist.

Secondly, I highly recommend choosing to work on a product with which you have some familiarity. This is the most underrated element of the decision-making process, in my opinion. As a data scientist, you will constantly be called upon to generate and test hypotheses about the product, produce insights, and suggest future directions. If you’re an active user of the product, this isn’t nearly as difficult — in fact, it’s often fun! Targeting companies that create products you love will make you a better interviewer and a better employee...

To summarize, successfully navigating a data science career is probably not so different than managing a career in any other field: set some goals, be aggressive, know your worth, figure out what’s fun and what isn’t, reset those goals, and repeat the cycle. 
Best of luck! 

Source: Forbes


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NASA Explores Artificial Intelligence for Space Communications | NASA

"NASA spacecraft typically rely on human-controlled radio systems to communicate with Earth. As collection of space data increases, NASA looks to cognitive radio, the infusion of artificial intelligence into space communications networks, to meet demand and increase efficiency" continues NASA.

This photo was taken of NASA's Space Communications and Navigation Testbed before launch. Currently affixed to the International Space Station, the SCaN Testbed is used to conduct a variety of experiments with the goal of further advancing other technologies, reducing risks on other space missions, and enabling future mission
Photo: NASA

“Modern space communications systems use complex software to support science and exploration missions,” said Janette C. Briones, principal investigator in the cognitive communication project at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. “By applying artificial intelligence and machine learning, satellites control these systems seamlessly, making real-time decisions without awaiting instruction.”

To understand cognitive radio, it’s easiest to start with ground-based applications. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocates portions of the electromagnetic spectrum used for communications to various users. For example, the FCC allocates spectrum to cell service, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc. Imagine the spectrum divided into a limited number of taps connected to a water main.

What happens when no faucets are left? How could a device access the electromagnetic spectrum when all the taps are taken?

Software-defined radios like cognitive radio use artificial intelligence to employ underutilized portions of the electromagnetic spectrum without human intervention. These “white spaces” are currently unused, but already licensed, segments of the spectrum. The FCC permits a cognitive radio to use the frequency while unused by its primary user until the user becomes active again.

In terms of our metaphorical watering hole, cognitive radio draws on water that would otherwise be wasted. The cognitive radio can use many “faucets,” no matter the frequency of that “faucet.” When a licensed device stops using its frequency, cognitive radio draws from that customer’s “faucet” until the primary user needs it again. Cognitive radio switches from one white space to another, using electromagnetic spigots as they become available.

“The recent development of cognitive technologies is a new thrust in the architecture of communications systems,” said Briones. “We envision these technologies will make our communications networks more efficient and resilient for missions exploring the depths of space. By integrating artificial intelligence and cognitive radios into our networks, we will increase the efficiency, autonomy and reliability of space communications systems.”

For NASA, the space environment presents unique challenges that cognitive radio could mitigate. Space weather, electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun and other celestial bodies, fills space with noise that can interrupt certain frequencies.

“Glenn Research Center is experimenting in creating cognitive radio applications capable of identifying and adapting to space weather,” said Rigoberto Roche, a NASA cognitive engine development lead at Glenn. “They would transmit outside the range of the interference or cancel distortions within the range using machine learning.” 

In the future, a NASA cognitive radio could even learn to shut itself down temporarily to mitigate radiation damage during severe space weather events. Adaptive radio software could circumvent the harmful effects of space weather, increasing science and exploration data returns.
Read more...

Source: NASA


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Writing Music with the Mind: New BCI Modality Offers the Power to Make Music as well as Play It | Evolving Science - Computer Science & Technology

Photo: Deirdre O’Donnell
"Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that allow people with severe neuromotor or motor disorders to communicate are becoming more and more common" says Deirdre O’Donnell, professional writer for several years. Deirdre is also an experienced journalist and editor.

Music brain. 
Photo: (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This is realised by scanning brainwaves using electroencephalography (EEG) and converting them accurately into words, letters or other objects that the user intends to replicate in their minds. BCIs are beneficial for those with extensive paralysis, ‘locked-in’ syndrome and other similar conditions.

EEG-powered BCIs have a number of advantages; it is non-invasive, (the brainwaves are ‘picked up’ through the skull using electrodes integrated into a head-hugging cap) well-validated, well recognized, and often relatively cheap. In addition, certain ranges of brainwave (or event-related potentials (ERPs), as some are also known) have also been exhaustively studied and exploited for the purposes of BCI. They include the posterior-dominant rhythm, which is associated with the high-fidelity selection of notes and other musical objects on virtual instruments, and the P300 wave that enables patients to complete tasks such as selecting numbers in a BCI interface. As such, some researchers suggest that P300 could also be used to specify and select musical notes in those who need to write music using BCI. A recent study published in PLOS One suggests that this is indeed possible. This is good news for patients who want to write their own music completely hands-free as well as play it.

Composing music through thoughts 
This team, based at the Institutes of Neural Engineering and Psychology at Graz University of Technology, developed a BCI interface that was also loaded with software supporting musical composition. They based their work on existing BCIs that allow patients to paint using software somewhat similar to many conventional drawing or art apps found on everyday computers, and also previous studies that showed a 75 percent accuracy rate in selecting notes from the C major scale using a modified BCI spelling programme. The team, supervised by Gernot Müller-Putz of the Neural Engineering institute, hypothesised that such BCI musical composition was also applicable to a more extensive range of options. In other words, they linked their EEG receivers to the full musical composition suite MuseNote. A previous pilot study evaluating this approach in five healthy individuals found that this group could input a given melody into the software via the BCI with an accuracy of up to approximately 96 percent, although 40 percent of them could complete the task at an accuracy of about 50 percent. Therefore, the group designed a new experiment in which they recruited 18 healthy volunteers with musical backgrounds, including a professional composer, to test their ability to spell, write a full, pre-determined melody and compose original sequences using this BCI system.

MuseScore 2.0 Preview


The team used a fairly conventional BCI system, which consist of EEG detection and recording hardware, P300-wave-based software (written largely in C with Matlab for signal processing) and the MuseNote software, which was controlled in turn by the P300 software.
Read more...  

References
Pinegger A, Hiebel H, Wriessnegger SC, Müller-Putz GR. Composing only by thought: Novel application of the P300 brain-computer interface. PLoS ONE. 2017. 12(9): e0181584. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181584
Deuel TA, Pampin J, Sundstrom J, Darvas F. The Encephalophone: A Novel Musical Biofeedback Device using Conscious Control of Electroencephalogram (EEG). Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2017;11(213).

Source: Evolving Science and MuseScore HowTo Channel (YouTube)


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Friday, December 08, 2017

But What If They Cheat? Giving Non-Proctored Online Assessments | Faculty Focus - Online Education

"As online education continues to grow, so does the potential for academic dishonesty" summarizes Sheryl Cornelius, registered nurse who has been teaching for the last 15+ years in universities and community colleges.

Photo: Faculty Focus

So how do you ensure your online students are not cheating on their tests? Bottom line, you don’t. But there are ways to stack the deck in your favor.

The good news is it’s not as bad as you think. A 2002 study by Grijalva, Kerkvliet, and Nowell it found that “academic dishonesty in a single online class is no more prevalent than in traditional classrooms” (Paullet, Chawdhry, Douglas & Pinchot, 2016, pg. 46). Although the offenders have become quite creative in their endeavors, the prevention remains the best defense.

First, start by creating a culture of integrity. Many institutions have students review the school’s Honor Code and sign a “pledge.” The first question on every exam I give is True/False, “I will follow the Honor Code while taking this assessment.” It follows the similar rule that locked doors are for honest people, but it also serves as a good reminder of the possible consequences, which often is enough to keep many students from breaking the rules.

Second, do not set rules that you have no way to enforce, e.g. forbidding the use of books, notes, or other resources. Instead ask questions that will not be evident in the resources, such as items where students have to analyze, evaluate, and think critically about the content. Essay questions, case study analysis, fill in the blanks, sequencing questions, and hot spot questions are difficult to look up. It also helps to set a time limit for the test so that Googling answers becomes impossible.

Third, make every assessment different. No, I am not saying create 25 exams, but you can scramble questions and create multiple versions of the same test. If everyone finishes the exam with an essay question, you can create three different questions and have one randomly assigned to each exam. If you have deep enough test banks, you can have several different test versions with no question being repeated. Anything you can do to mix up the versions can detour efforts of deceitful activity.

Many instructors withhold feedback until the exam has closed. In this way no one can pass on answers to others. Some will have the exam synchronous for this very reason. However, making the exam synchronous takes away the flexibility for online students that work unusual shifts.
Read more...

Source: Faculty Focus


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