Giving Great Career Advice & Talking About Bitcoin

If you have been one of those people who have been talking about the benefits of Bitcoin as compared to fiat currency, you are actually very much similar to someone giving great career advice to the next generation. There are several aspects that one can compare talking about Bitcoin to giving good career advice. So let’s get started.

Bitcoin vs Career Advice

Bitcoin is defined as a form of currency. While conventional currency’s value can be inflated and censored, Bitcoin can’t. Bitcoin with its fixed supply and decentralization offers a solution to problems found within an old system. This is not to say that conventional fiat currency is useless, it just needs some improvements.

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Conversely, the traditional career advice that we give our students is flawed. The formula for this advice is pretty straightforward. Do well in school, go to a good university, graduate, and get a good job. This used to work as good grades was used as a reliable measure to a students’ performance. However, two things have made grades an unreliable measurement of a students’ overall performance.

The first one is its overemphasis on academics. While it is true that scoring well in exams is a prerequisite to enter a good school, an overemphasis of it is tantamount to putting all your eggs in one basket. This could lead to neglect in other areas of development such as sports, critical thinking and communication skills. I had an acquaintance who was the top scorer in school for 5 consecutive years. He was perceived to have a bright future. However, he had sacrificed friends and had failed to develop his interpersonal skills. At college, he had a meltdown, not because of his studies but he was unable to handle being away on his own.

The second is the many services and methods in gaming the education system. This includes cheating in exams and even bribing their way into good schools. Furthermore, the tampering of exam results to help certain individuals gain a political edge is not unheard of.

Reading, Reading & More Reading

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As such, in order to gain an edge in life, the best advice that anyone can give is to read. While this is nothing new, I should specify what reading is all about. You see if I were to send someone an article on Bitcoin and ask that individual to read it. I may not be able to convince him of the benefits of Bitcoin. That individual would have to read through the different arguments on Bitcoin in order to come to a conclusion.

Similarly, convincing anyone that the old advice of ‘going to school to get a good job’ is obsolete, can be a rather tall order. Just like Bitcoin, they would have to do away with old preconceived truths and reshape their worldview. I remember telling some friends about Bitcoin and they all gave me the ‘you are crazy’ look. Most of them are programmed by news and propaganda from mainstream media. By the time the media starts advertising Bitcoin in a positive light, it will be too late.

Similarly, there is a huge money-making industry behind college education. It is an industry where we pay huge sums of money just to have a shot at a good future. Say if I were to fail to secure a job, it is unfortunately not the college’s job to help me. Thus, I’m paying a lot of money on the possibility of securing a good job.

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Worse, some jobs do not require certifications but just talent and experience. I mean, how does a degree in e-sports help me be a better DOTA player? Or is a degree in culinary arts different from 4 years of on-the-job training. I do think that there are benefits in both on-the-job training and a degree. However, perhaps the thought that certification from college guarantees a job should be something that should be rethought. Just like how money should not be censored and taken care of by a third party.

Ignore The Noise

I seem to have ranted quite a bit, but let me draw it all to a conclusion. I believe that with enough reading, studying and research, you will be able to see through the noise. You may find society constantly convincing you that only terrorists use Bitcoin. Similarly, someone may say that going to college is the only way to be successful.

However, what will help you stay your path or pick the right path for your future is knowledge gathered from your own studies. As such, the best career advice that anyone can give is similar to why you should use Bitcoin. Research, read and investigate and you will find that going to college is not the only path to success. Just as how the only money is not that printed by banks but also those produced on the blockchain.

 

 

Steemit as a Way To Develop Future Teachers’ Writing Skills

This is a concept paper for a year-long project that I will be initiated next year. Most of the fine details are still in the planning stage but in this article, I hope to present some of them. Some feedback is always appreciated. The general plan is to use Steemit as a way to develop my students’ writing skills. My core group of students is college students in the education faculty. Once they graduate they will become teachers. One reason for this project is their writing skills.

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Identifying the issue

In most countries where English is not spoken as a first language, there is a pressing need for students to do well in writing well. Writing is an important component in most assessments in schools as well as in university. As such, students should always take the opportunity to practice writing as much as possible.

However, writing is an incredibly boring activity. Well, there are ways to organize fun activities in the classroom. There is a limited amount of time in the classroom where the students can practice. As such, the students should take the opportunity to practice outside of the classroom.

Now, let’s be real, why would anyone spend their free time writing? Unless there is some real carrot that teachers can dangle in front of the students. That is when Steemit presents an opportunity to help different students to improve their writing skills.

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Leveraging Steemit

Steemit is very much similar to a blogging platform. Many studies have been conducted on the use of blogs to help students practice their writing. However, the one aspect that sets Steemit apart is the rewards.

Simply put, if a teacher were to instruct a class of students to write one blog every week, the one thing that keeps students writing is either fear or some form of intrinsic motivation. Fear, in this case, would be either the fear of getting a bad grade or how the teacher would rain down metaphorical hell on the student. Intrinsic motivation would just be the love of writing.

If these two elements are not present in the classroom, why not try leveraging Steemit’s rewards to help. That way the teachers would necessarily need to be someone who is feared nor must the students be intrinsically motivated. Steemit’s reward system may just be enough for students to be motivated to write on a regular basis. Of course, the task would still have to be administered by the teachers. However, if an education institution decides to use Steemit, Steem can be bought by the administrator and used to reward the students.

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Conclusion

This could eventually lead to the adoption of Steem in education. However, more research should be done. In theory, writing on Steemit may likely help and motivate college students to improve their writing. It would be cool to see it being implemented in primary and high schools as well. I’m definitely excited to see how this pans out. It’s going to be an interesting year ahead.

 

Being Programmed to Not Find Good Cryptocurrency Projects

A conversation I had with my friend the other night made me think that perhaps our students are being programmed to not make good long term choices. It would not be too far of a stretch to claim that there will be who will fall for scams and bad cryptocurrency projects. As such, I will discuss a few things that I feel are being taught at school and how we can better train our next generation to make better choices.

Critical Thinking

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Yes, I know, every single educator would lament on the fact that their students are somehow not good critical thinkers. But, hear me out. I went for a course that taught people how to create a startup. It was a really good course, but then I noticed something interesting. I noticed that the system that they used was eerily similar to how I teach research writing. Utilizing (or gaming) the system, my team won third with a superbly boring idea.

I may be biased, but I think the journey of writing a good dissertation or a thesis changes you. It forces you to think from various perspectives. The journey also forces you to take into account all the possible problems that may occur. Thus, thinking critically. However, research skills like this is commonly taught at the end of an undergraduate course. I think that it should be taught much earlier. Imagine if people had the skills and tools to see through projects such as Bitconnect. At least, even if they were to buy into the project, they would know the risks that they are taking.

As such, I think students in high school should be given the opportunity to analyze companies and projects. They should be taught to question the way the company is being run. Hopefully, this will equip them with the ability to see through all the marketing and all the hype. Thus, helping them to also pick the right financial projects or cryptocurrency projects to invest in.

Active Reading

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A good mentor of mine once said, your output is only as good as your input. He was referring to the things I say and the ideas I conjure, not the biological output that you may be thinking about. If you were not thinking about that, you are a better person than I am. However, my mentor is right. You only know as much as the knowledge you have.

Thus, imagine if a good friend were to come to you and sell you a particular cryptocurrency project. If you have no idea what cryptocurrencies are about, nor what simple economics are, you may just be thinking about the potential gains that you may make. This may cause you to lose quite a bit. That is because you are placing your decision at the hands of your friend.

This is an issue not just with cryptocurrency projects but life choices as well. Many tend to base their decisions on Youtubers or influencers without researching it themselves. Now, I am not saying that Youtubers and influencers are not trustworthy, but do read up on it. You may see a perspective that they may not. Furthermore, what works for them may not work for you due to various factors.

Thus, I think the skill of active reading is important. One should always read and understand what they have heard from friends and Youtubers. The best time to inculcate these skills is at a young age. Children should be encouraged to ask as many questions as possible and the teacher should try to connect the answers of these questions to their preexisting knowledge. Thus, if knowledge is like a building block, a teacher builds a child’s knowledge by ‘stacking’ it higher with every question answered.

Conclusion

I believe that in times to come, knowledge will not be as important as wisdom. With social media and the internet in general, it is not difficult to find information on anything including a cryptocurrency project. There is also a lot of information on which cryptocurrency project that one can choose. However, wisdom is a combination of knowledge, experience and a critical mind. Put it all together, you just may find the projects that are rare gems of cryptocurrency projects that are buried underneath all the hype of other projects.

Thus, never stop researching, never stop reading and never stop questioning.

 

 

Cryptocurrencies Should Be Taught At Schools.

It has been more than ten years now since the inception of Bitcoin. Like it, hate it or ignore it, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have become more common in our daily lives. This begs the question, why is it still not taught at school? Surely schools being the place of learning should expose students to cryptocurrencies. After all, cryptocurrencies represent a very different perspective on finance and the economy. Also, if we are looking to prepare the next generation for the future, the teaching of cryptocurrencies should be done at schools.

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Teaching Responsibility

There are many use cases for cryptocurrencies, but if your students are too young to understand complex economic concepts, let’s start with something simpler. I find that over time, dabbling in cryptocurrencies has forced me to be more responsible over my own finances. I remember the first time when I had my private keys over on Steemit. After losing my private keys for one of my accounts, I realized that there was no one capable of retrieving it. I tried calling support, but no one could do anything.

This has unfortunately been a good lesson of being your own ‘bank’. Unlike more centralized systems, you can’t always call up a customer service representative to help you restore your password. Thus, you will just have to be a bit more responsible for your own passwords and accounts. This can be inculcated in lessons where children are taught to hold their own cryptocurrency knowing that once they lose it, no one can retrieve it for them.

Of course, using actual cryptocurrency for this may be a rather costly endeavor, as such, I would use the waves platform to create one for the purposes of the lesson.

Teaching Why Cryptocurrencies Were Invented

As for the students who are more mature, I think it is important to talk about why Bitcoin was invented in the first place. There, teachers can introduce the concept of debt and the 2008 financial crisis. While some claim that the 2008 financial crisis was a motivating factor for the creation of  Bitcoin (source). I think the lesson behind it is sound. After all, we should be teaching our students about the lessons that led to the crash.

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Furthermore, talking about Bitcoin will lead to a comparison with fiat currency. There, a teacher can introduce the concept of inflation as well as why this occurs. While it takes a certain level of maturity to understand this, I have found that teenagers grasp this concept rather quickly. Perhaps it is from social media or hearing their parents complain about the rising cost of living, they catch on to the idea pretty quickly.

Of course, the idea behind introducing them to Bitcoin is not for them to buy it. Rather, it helps them gain a different perspective to the conventional lessons that they are prescribed. I believe that with different views, you tend to make better decisions.

Teaching About The Use Cases of Cryptocurrencies

Aside from the history behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, a teacher can also touch on the use cases of cryptocurrencies. In terms of Bitcoin, a teacher can draw from examples in Venezuela and Hong Kong where it was used. At this point, I will be touching on issues that may seem undesirable to the government or the administration. Sometimes, the concept of decentralization and freedom associated with cryptocurrencies is seen as a form of rebellion by some who are in power.

However, as educators, I think it is important to teach our students what is happening in the world and leave them with something more valuable than knowledge. That something is wisdom. I think wisdom stems from experience but also having all the possible choices laid out before you. Once you know all the possible choices, it becomes easier to make an informed choice.

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The problem is that many are fed ideas from one perspective. This leads to them making decisions that are bad but considered as ‘normal’. I can’t speak for others in my field, but my clients are those who are going to be future teachers. As such, when the opportunity arises, I will present both perspectives to them. I only hope that they can use that knowledge to impact the next generation.

I’ve Been Away From Steemit Trying to Complete the Longest Post

I have just realized that I have been away from Steemit for nearly a month. Throughout the entire month, I have been busy completing and perfecting the longest post in my life. No, it’s not this post, but my Ph.D. thesis.

This post can be a bit confusing and I apologize for this, that’s because my mind has literally turned to mush in the midst of trying to complete my Ph.D. thesis.

For the last three years, I have been on a rather lonely journey trying to complete my Ph.D. thesis. At close to 65000 words and at about 220 pages, I hope that it will hold up when I am being evaluated. As I entered into the final months of my work, it has been a rather interesting journey. It has been a journey that has been both painful and enlightening.

I Feel Physically Sick 

After spending at times up to 8 hours a day looking and figuring out what to write for my thesis, I feel physically sick looking at my work. You know how they use to say that Ph.D actually stands for Permanent Head Damage. I am starting to see the reason why.

I remember trying to figure out how to word a particular issue for quite a bit. It took me close to a day just to get one paragraph done. Even that I felt so drained. Every time I am being evaluated, I feel a sickening feeling in my being. There’s this fear that gnaws at the back of my head and constantly tells me that I may screw up my work.

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When I share this with some of my friends, well-meaning ones would always ask me what the big deal is. To them, even if I do fail, all I have to do is to start all over again. That may be true, but unfortunately, I am on a scholarship.

As such, I am only given 3 years to complete the entire thesis or I would have to pay back an equivalent of 4 Bitcoins (at May 2019 prices).

But I Have Learnt…

However, I have learned the value of just starting. Sometimes, it becomes rather overwhelming to plan everything perfectly. Even in the best circumstances, the best plans do tend to fall apart. As such, I have learned that the best thing that I can do is to just start doing it.

I believe that it is through starting, trying or doing that you will discover where the actual flaws are. I also believe that we sometimes get stuck in planning because just planning is a really comfortable place to be. As such, being uncomfortable and putting myself in a situation that has made me physically sick has made it possible for me to complete my work.

Conclusion

I hope this ends soon, as it is, my Ph.D. has drained quite a lot of me in terms of physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m even starting to get weird dreams, but that being said, I will see this through to the very end.

 

Cent Is A Platform That Pays Out In Ethereum

Cent is a platform that resembles Steemit in many aspects. It has a great community where you can write posts like Steemit. Also, it pays the creators of content on the platform. The difference is, Cent pays its creator in Ethereum.

How It Makes Cents…

There are many things on Cent that makes, well, sense. The first thing you will be greeted with when you get on Cent is the permission to access your Metamask wallet. Once that is done, everything done on Cent is done via your Metamask. So there are a few cool things that you can do with it. First off, you get to post content of any kind.

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If your content is awesome or someone else finds value in it, they will ‘like’ your work by seeding it. As a seeder, you do have an incentive to seed a post as soon as possible. That is because you earn a portion from everyone that seeds after you. Now here is when it gets interesting if you are the first person to seed a post, 25% goes to the author and 75% of the seeded Ethereum is returned to you. However, if you happen to be the second or third person to seed the post, 75% of your seeded Ethereum will be distributed amongst those who seeded before you.

Of course, the content creator receives a portion (which is 25%) of all those who seeded. While this takes a different approach as compared to the likes of Steemit, I think it really boils down to what you want to get paid in. If you prefer to not post content, you could always earn through replying.

On Steemit or Facebook, you are not exactly incentivized to reply at all. However, this is not the case for Cent. On Cent, you will find that many of the posts on Cent have a bounty attached to it. This bounty will then be distributed to those who replied on the post. This, in my opinion, does promote engagement.

 What Else Can It Be Used For?

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I have been on Steemit for a bit and I am more used to the way of how things are done on Steemit. However, I must say that Cent’s approach to the platform does promote engagement. The moment I found out about it, I find that Cent has much potential in education.

For one, it would be a great way for educators to source for ideas and confirmation. As an ESL teacher, I get many teachers texting me on grammatical errors. There are times when I do such comments on Facebook and at times, no one replies to these posts. However, with Cent, you are incentivized to reply.

The same goes for sourcing for ideas. Imagine sourcing for classroom activity ideas. Normally, it can be a rather lonely journey planning for classroom activities. Now, imagine the number of ideas that could be pouring in with the comments that can be sourced from others on Cent. Of course, the same can be said on sourcing for ideas on different topics and projects.

Conclusion

I do think that Cent is a platform that is worth checking out. Who knows? You could even use it for some awesome crowdsourcing of ideas. Now I wonder if I could use Cent to determine what I should cook tomorrow…