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Both the “petri burger” and the robot maid are exogenous changes to our condition, external changes in our world that would potentially make life simpler with regard to handling manual tasks or labor. Volitionally controlling emotional experience or memory, however, would make endogenous changes to our actual human condition; they would be primary because they wouldn’t impact the world we live in… they would impact the world we live through – the very lens of our awareness – our conscious experience.

The possibilities of technology that has the potential to alter human potential goes beyond mere “adjustments” to our present condition. Oxford philosopher David Pearce believes that sentient life will be capable of transcenting suffering in all forms: “I predict we will abolish suffering throughout the living world. Our descendants will be animated by gradients of genetically pre-programmed well-being that are orders of magnitude richer than today’s peak experiences” (hedweb.com/confile.htm). Other future thinkers like Google’s head of engineering Ray Kurzweil predict that humans will be able to upload the contents of their entire mind and potentially explore an infinite combination of euphoric and rich virtual experiences. No higher stakes exist than when building upon sentience itself.

With so many transformative technologies in our midst today, which are most likely to bring us to what philosophers refer to as a “post-human” condition? In addition – what might be the time-frame in which this transition takes place?

Although I believe that brain-machine interface and the development of significant artificial intelligence will be the primary drive behind “tinkering” with sentience, I – like any other prognosticator – cannot make that statement with any degree certainty. Similarly, I cannot be certain of any succinct timeframes, though my inklings (and the educated guesswork of others like Kurzweil ) tell me that irrevocable changes to the techno-human condition will occur within the coming 25 years.

Though we cannot look very far into the future, it’s interesting to analyze technological transitions of the past to glean insight into how technologies have historically made their way from ideation to global significance.

The Wright brothers first took flight in 1903, and by the first World War – hardly twelve years later – the entire civilized world had planes, and the first commercial flights were available. Forty-four years after the first flight, the sound barrier was broken. Twenty two years after the sound barrier was broken, man stepped foot on the moon.

Are we to expect that our technological advancements will be any slower than those of centuries past? Could we possibly imagine what brain-machine interface, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence will be capable of in fifteen, never mind forty years time?

In an interesting example, modern jet aircraft are increasingly becoming some of the most advanced systems for human-machine interface. Already, pilots don helmets with spacial detection systems that augment their vision – permitting them to see “through” their aircraft with x-ray vision in literally any direction (aided by cameras placed on the outside of the jet itself – see the BBC article / video here ). Similarly, experiments are being conducted now with drugs and even transcranial electric shocks to keep pilots awake and aware for long spans of time. Are we to assume that no efforts to permanently enhance our limited senses and abilities will be made? On the contrary, we ought to assume that research and experimentation (military or otherwise), will aim to bend our human capacities towards our ideals, and away from the “un-enhanced” biological limitations we are born with.

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EL Education

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Differentiated instruction has multiple interpretations within the field of education. This page will offer EL Education's stance on differentiation, including the critical role of assessment in differentiation. EL Education believes that no matter which component of instruction a teacher chooses to differentiate for students, effective differentiation is built on a foundation of engaging, relevant, student-friendly learning targets that clearly define expectations for learning.

Created By

EL Education

Other Resources In Pack

Topic

Type

Online Learning

Differentiated instruction has multiple interpretations within the field of education. This page will offer EL Education's stance on differentiation, including the critical role of assessment in differentiation. EL Education believes that no matter which component of instruction a teacher chooses to differentiate for students, effective differentiation is built on a foundation of engaging, relevant, student-friendly learning targets that clearly define expectations for learning.

A significant difference between EL’s position on differentiation and the position of others involves these learning targets. For us, the learning targets that are defined long before instruction occurs do not change for students in a differentiated classroom. Teachers do not offer different targets, or objectives, to different students. We do, however, promote the practice of differentiating the process through which students may arrive at the learning targets. Some students may need more scaffolding to reach a target, or may take a different route. But what remains consistent for all students are the targets that students are striving to achieve, unless a student has an IEP that provides students with an alternate curriculum. This ensures that all students have access to rigorous standards-based instruction that promotes college and career success.

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The graphic below illustrates Carol Ann Tomlinson’s definition of differentiated instruction.EL’s approach to differentiated instruction aligns with Tomlinson’s with an important exception: we believe that final products students create shouldnotbe differentiated. This point is addressed in depth on the Assessment page of this PD Pack.

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The graphic below describes the continuum of support that EL Education recommends be provided school-wide. Notice that the foundation for differentiated instruction is built upon engaging, relevant, and student-friendly learning targets that clearly define expectations for both the teacher andallof the students.

Pay special attention to the bottom of the triangle, which states:Most students’ needs are met in the heterogeneous classroom for a focus on the same essential learning targets.This part of the triangle may be viewed as parallel to what is known in many schools as Tier I instruction. EL Education believes that schools should ensure that the instruction that happens in the regular classroom setting is highly effective through the use of appropriate differentiation before moving students into intervention groups. Excellent “first teaching,” perhaps supported by the bulk of professional development and teacher coaching, potentially reduces the number of students who may need to be taught in a more restrictive setting.

Watch: Getting Started on Differentiated Instruction

Visit the videos page of Institutes on Academic Diversity and watch the clips of Carol Ann Tomlinson under “An Introduction to DI” and” Common Misconceptions about DI”. Then reflect on the following questions:

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By Malene Birger Woman Gathered Crepe Dress Royal Blue Size S By Malene Birger 90eTq
An easy-to-understand diagram illustrating the process and possibilities for differentiating instruction. Continuum of Interventions: An EL Education document describing a variety of classroom-based strategies that can be used to differentiate instruction for students while maintaining the same learning targets for all. Differentiated Instruction Case Study on Edutopia :A website containing case studies of schools that provide effective differentiated instruction.

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And woe to those who act with insufficient consistency so as to render Samuelson’s theory unscientific! Waiting for them is a veritable Samuelsonian hell of “persistent errors in judgement [and] arithmetic.” Dante would blush.

Properly understood, marginalist economics is the streamlining of the utilitarian doctrine into a pseudo-positive set of axioms. Thus, these axioms inevitably contain utilitarian normative judgements. The act of “unfreedom” in this theory is the same as the act of unfreedom in the Marxist theory: It tells you how to be free . In Marxism, if you do not submit to the tide of History and join the Movement, then you are not free. In marginalist utilitarianism, if you do not submit to the utility calculus and maximize material satiation, then you are not free.

Both theories are perfect material for authoritarian technocrats—and there is nothing quite like an authoritarian who knows what you want better than you do. After all, an authoritarian who simply wants to subordinate your will to his in order to benefit himself in some cynical way does not seek to actually break your inner will. But the authoritarian who knows what you want better than you do will not stop until the will is broken—or, in his mind, cleansed.

The marginalist theory is of this type. Are you a silly, sad sack who is not maximizing your utility sufficiently because you have higher moral principles? Well, then you are not “rational.” Do you suspect that the amount of information required to make the calculations that the marginalist doctrine requires is absolutely and ontologically impossible to attain? 5 Certainly not “rational.” Do you think that even if this information were available, the likelihood that you and everyone else would be willing and able to undertake the complex calculations required would be extremely low? Not “rational,” sorry.

The manner in which marginalist theory is introduced to people today is seemingly innocuous. Take N. Gregory Mankiw’s popular textbook Principles of Economics , first published in 1997. The first part of the book introduces the student to some axioms of utilitarian-marginalist economics. Often this is presented in a manner that commands assent. Take the example in which the idea of “opportunity cost” is introduced. Opportunity cost is, of course, the idea that the cost of one object is the amount of some other thing foregone in order to get the desired object. Mankiw provides a colorful example when he writes:

Basketball star Kobe Bryant understands opportunity cost and incentives. Despite good high school grades and SAT scores, he decided to skip college and go straight to the NBA, where he earned about $10 million over four years. 6

This is perfectly reasonable, of course. What is not reasonable, however, is the notion that people make all decisions in this way —or, to go further, that people can possibly make all decisions in this way. Yet this is precisely what students are told to believe very soon after the seemingly innocuous basketball example. It is a big step from saying that my opportunity cost for having soup for lunch today was not having a sandwich—a clear decision that I probably did actually make in the manner presented—to saying that my entire budget is allocated in such a way that I carefully calculate all my opportunity costs for everything simultaneously, and that I do so using a marginal utility calculus. But this is precisely what Mankiw is telling us when he writes:

Future research must focus on a broad array of taxa, and not only give attention to those animals with whom we are familiar (e.g., companion animals) or those with whom we are closely related (nonhuman primates), animals to whom many of us freely attribute secondary emotions and a wide variety of moods. Much information can be collected on the companion animals with whom we are so familiar, primarily because we are so familiar with them ( Sheldrake 1995 , 1999 ). Species differences in the expression of emotions and perhaps what they feel like also need to be taken into account. Even if joy and grief in dogs are not the same as joy and grief in chimpanzees, elephants, or humans, this does not mean that there is no such thing as dog joy, dog grief, chimpanzee joy, or elephant grief. Even wild animals and their domesticated relatives may differ in the nature of their emotional lives.

Many people believe that experimental research in such areas as neurobiology constitutes more reliable work and generates more useful (“hard”) data than, say, ethological studies in which animals are “merely” observed. However, research that reduces and minimizes animal behavior and animal emotions to neural firings, muscle movements, and hormonal effects will not likely lead us significantly closer to an understanding of animal emotions. Concluding that we will know most if not all that we can ever learn about animal emotions when we have figured out the neural circuitry or hormonal bases of specific emotions will produce incomplete and perhaps misleading views concerning the true nature of animal and human emotions.

All research involves leaps of faith from available data to the conclusions we draw when trying to understand the complexities of animal emotions, and each has its benefits and shortcomings. Often, studies of the behavior of captive animals and neurobiological research is so controlled as to produce spurious results concerning social behavior and emotions because animals are being studied in artificial and impoverished social and physical environments. The experiments themselves might put individuals in thoroughly unnatural situations. Indeed, some researchers have discovered that many laboratory animals are so stressed from living in captivity that data on emotions and other aspects of behavioral physiology are tainted from the start ( Poole 1997 ).

Field work also can be problematic. It can be too uncontrolled to allow for reliable conclusions to be drawn. It is difficult to follow known individuals, and much of what they do cannot be seen. However, it is possible to fit free-ranging animals with devices that can transmit information on individual identity, heart rate, body temperature, and eye movements as the animals go about their daily activities. This information is helping researchers to learn more about the close relationship between animals' emotional lives and the behavioral and physiological factors that are correlated with these emotions.

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