In which modernity is stupid

You may not be aware of this, if you’re not a math teacher or a middle school student: did you know you can just, like, Google any equation, and it will not only solve it for you but it’ll actually explain how to do it? I’ve talked about calculators here before, and my policy remains more or less the same: that I allow calculators on any assignment where calculation is not the point, because I don’t want a kid’s issues with basic multiplication to get in the way when they’re trying to internalize the Pythagorean theorem.

This one is … a bit more annoying. I mean, sure, it explains how to do the problem, which is an actual advantage over calculators– it’s not like the calculator is going to walk you through the multiplication algorithm or anything like that– but the Venn diagram of the types of kids who are going to Google equations rather than solving them and the types of kids who will read explanations is two completely separate circles. Also, I’m a little hamstrung right now by the fact that I need to present my assignments on computers; the easiest way to ensure that more of them do the work properly is to simply present the assignment on paper and restrict device use during those classes. I could also require them to give me answers as decimals, since Google always puts theirs as fractions, but that’s just going to add a different confounding factor to my grades, dragging down the kids who don’t know how to convert fractions to decimals and the kids who don’t read directions.

There is also the possibility of simply writing more complicated assignments than a list of fifteen equations to solve, of course; I could do word problems or any number of other things, but the problem is the specific skill I need them to have actually is solving equations. I need them to understand the logic of modifying both sides of an equation at once, the idea that constants and variables alike can be moved willy-nilly from one side of an equals sign to the other as needed, so long as you follow the rules properly … because if they don’t get this shit at this easily-Googlable level, life’s going to suddenly get much harder in high school when they hit equations that you can’t, at least yet, easily feed into Google. I think anything requiring a superscript or any actual math symbology might be a problem, for example, although I haven’t tried to test that.

I’m going to choose to ignore this particular problem, for the moment. There are ten instructional days of school left and I have two days of equations practice planned before we get back into systems, and I’ll make sure to write those assignments so that they’re not as easily Googled. Frankly, most of the kids who are cheating have grades so deep into failing territory that it barely even matters, so I’m not going to waste the energy necessary to stress about it other than maybe barking at them about it tomorrow. It will, children, actually hurt you much more than it will ever hurt me if you don’t get this stuff. You may think I’m training you to solve equations, which, true, you are unlikely to be presented with as an adult! However, mastering basic fucking logic is a life skill, as it turns out.

In which people search

I was all ready to give up on the idea of a blog post today, and then I happened to glance at my search results, and found this gem:

What, uh, post do you think THAT little search gem led to?

Well, this one, as it turns out, on page 3 of the results, which is yet another point in favor of my theory that people don’t have any idea how the hell to use Internet searches effectively– they just type in words and then click on page after page of results no matter what those results lead to.

Just, hell, when your necrophile murderer porn fantasies lead you here, make sure to buy a book before you go.

In which I level up

Well, at least I can’t claim that I didn’t get anything accomplished over my Winter Break. You may possibly recall– I’d forgive you if you didn’t, but you might– that I took a three-hour test in September to gain Level One Google Certified Educator status, which signifies that I understand The Googles, The Internets, and The Tubes. Well, as of this morning, I have taken another three-hour test, and now I am Level 2 certified, which signifies that I understand … well, The Googles, The Internets, and The Tubes. I’m really not sure what the hell the difference is between Level 1 and Level 2 certification other than that 2 is a bigger number than 1 and the Level 2 test cost more money to take. As far as I can tell the test was exactly the same kinds of questions and I don’t feel like I needed any deeper understanding of anything to pass this one than I did the first one.

The punchline: they “give” you, as in they actually email it to you, that .png file up there so that you can put it in your email signature file to show off your new fancy-schmancy Level 2 certification. They did the same thing at Level 1, and I dutifully dumped it into my (otherwise quite minimal) .sig file for my work email.

I just spent half a Goddamned hour trying to add the Level 2 image next to the Level 1 one, and I can’t get it to work. I can get a little box with a question mark in it to show up, and that’s it– nothing I can do can get this image to show up in my signature file despite the fact that I have done this before with the first image. And, for that matter, I don’t remember any trouble doing it the first time. I can only assume that something is actually wrong with the functionality right now, because I’m not doing this wrong. It’s just not working. I just love that I want to show off my literal certification in Knowing How to Gmail and I can’t figure out how to do it.

EDIT: After typing this, I tried the exact same thing I’d been doing, and when I did it this time the interface that popped up when I clicked the “Add Image” button was completely different, featuring two tabs that weren’t there before. And despite that, it still didn’t work. Then I tried to do the exact same thing I’d been doing all along, only in Chrome instead of Safari, and it worked fine. So I’m not taking the blame for this, Goddammit.

This is why I have an iPhone

My wife’s phone just … created this video, and offered to share it with her? Which means that Google is combing through her pictures to find photos of cats, without being asked, and then just … making stuff?

Sure.

In which I’m certificated

UnknownFrom the Not Especially Important Life Achievements file: I spent the last couple of hours (they give you three, and it has to be all in one sitting) getting my Level One Google for Education certification, which means … I get to put that little image to the right there in the signature portion of all my email messages and make people who don’t know better think that I’m really impressive and knowledgeable about The Googles.

It does not really mean that.  I had to sign an NDA before taking the test, and I’m not about to take the risk of pissing Google off, so I’m not going to share a lot of details, but I suspect the vast majority of those of you reading this right now could go into the exam with no preparation of any kind and pass it.  This particular level of certification doesn’t really signify any particular expertise other than 1) that needed to know that the certification exists, and 2) the desire to actually hold said certification.  There is a Level 2 certification and also a Trainer certification, and I suspect I’ll be getting both over the course of the next couple months, but until then: Hey!  I’m Level 1!  Woohoo!

Now let’s see what sorts of other trouble I can get into with what’s left of my weekend.  It’s been cool the last couple of days and I’ve had a hoodie on, so the happy season has begun.  Will there be tortellini soup for dinner tonight to celebrate?  Yes there will.