Translating the web, and free language training

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Duncan1890

“How can we get 100 million people translating the web into every major language for free?”

Does this sound like a crazy question? I thought so initially, and I still have a few caveats, but I’m very impressed by the outrageous ambition of the ‘duolingo‘ initiative that follows …

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Autodidacticism and the future of the world

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/arakonyunus

Why do so many people pay so much money for further education, and executive education? Indeed, why do we need a formal education ‘system’ – why don’t we just teach ourselves what we need to know, with the same books used in education establishments?

Higher education courses are often based on published texts and “blackboard” teaching (or other medium: whiteboard, projector, beamer, etc.). Yet most of this ‘knowledge’ is available to purchase directly (without much of the indirect overhead of education establishments), or even, in some cases, free online, including recorded videos of whole semesters of classes.

Why do we insist on engaging (and paying) others so much to help us learn? Are there other benefits that make it worthwhile?

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“Brainstorming doesn’t work”?

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/DrAfter123

I recently wrote a post titled “Thoughts on ideas, brainstorming, facilitation, and crowdsourcing“.  In that I wrote “I love brainstorming”. And I still do (for the reasons given in that last post).

Interestingly however, since writing that post, I’ve come across a number of opponents to brainstorming, most recently with the recommendation to search for “brainstorming doesn’t work” in Google – in true Google style, there are “About 7,030,000 results (0.21 seconds)”. In contrast, Googling “benefits of brainstorming” yields only about 4,200,000 results …

So what’s wrong?

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