Monday, April 18, 2016

Without realizing it, and they understood all of it! - Mentor Experience by Colin Graber (Illinois Camp)

Running the class was a blast! Much enthusiasm for the topic was present, indicated by the fact that we had more than double the turnout we expected. The students were engaged deeply in the topic; not only did we not have problems getting people to volunteer answers, but we also answered questions on more advanced topics ranging from overfitting to learning feature weights.

What I find most striking about the workshop is how intuitive the concepts involved are when you strip away the technical details and jargon. In a way, the students learned about many machine learning and data science concepts - feature engineering, weight learning, experimentation - without realizing it, and they understood all of it! An interesting extension to the session we ran would be one where, after completing the activities we did, we would go back through everything done and discuss some of the more technical details related to them (this, of course, would be most appropriate for students in the second half of high school).

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