Another dot in the blogosphere?

Do the commonly labelled “new media” bring new dangers? Or are they just old dangers magnified or reinvented? Do “new dangers” actually hide something more insidious?

Put “cyber” in front of any established danger and it becomes “new”: bullying, stalking, theft, crime, and so on. I am not making light of these. I am merely saying the dangers are not that new.

They are new to traditional publishers who wish to spread fear. They are new to those who lack a critical lens with which to read what these publishers disseminate.

Such electronically-mediated crimes might be easier to commit and more difficult to detect, but that does not make them new. You might kill a person by remotely stopping his heart’s pacemaker, but that does not make it new murder.
 

Day 60 - Fear by juanpg, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  juanpg 

 
What “new media” does require is for people to stay informed, keep up, and take action. So it might actually be fear, ignorance, or inertia that are the dangers. When not wanting to try something new, it is easier to call it “dangerous” from afar.

I know very intelligent people who make very poor assumptions or take questionable action because they choose not to know and do. The more frightening thing is that some of these people shape policy in large organizations.

New media use does not necessarily lead to new dangers. But there are many people with old mindsets fueled by old fears. I know which I am more afraid of.

 
Thanks to this LifeHacker article, I found out that that I did not have to wait for Microsoft to let me know when my lone PC could have its free Windows 10 update. (The PC is surrounded by Macs and already suffering from an inferiority complex.)

The article recommends doing this:

  1. Back up your data.
  2. Download and run Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool.
  3. Select the “Upgrade This PC” option.
  4. Let the upgrade happen.

As with most things, the process was not as simple as described.

For example, when running the Media Creation Tool, I first had to know if my PC had the 32 or 64-bit version of Windows. I also ran into the vague “Something Happened” error message and the upgrade process stopped dead.

To counter the Something Happened error message, redditors suggested installing all existing Windows Updates first. They also said that changing the default language to US English would help.

My system already had the latest patches so I changed the default language to US English and the upgrade went through its paces.

So here is my suggested sequence to get the free Windows 10 upgrade now instead of waiting in line.

  1. Back up your data.
  2. Install all windows patches by running Windows Update in the Control Panel.
  3. If necessary, change the default language to US English.
    • Control Panel > Region and Language > Administrative tab > Change System Locale > English (United States)
  4. Check the bit version of Windows (keyboard shortcut: Windows key + Pause/Break).
  5. Download the correct bit version of Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool and run it.
  6. Select the “Upgrade This PC” option.
  7. After the upgrade downloads, the tool will ask you what settings you want to keep. Make your selection.
  8. Let the upgrade happen.

I have a very fast Internet connection so the downloading did not take long.

It was the upgrading that took a while. Step 8 took about 90 minutes from the time I made the selection in step 7 and left the device to itself. I had enough time to potter around, leave home to run an errand at a mall, and return home to see that the process was still at 92%.

Happy skipping!

If I had to guess, most neutrals reading my tweets and blog entries might think I am being negative or even alarmist.

I am neither. I am just providing critical responses to uncritical reports, uninformed newspaper journalists, snake oil vendors, etc.

Why do this? I have two views. One is this.
 

Broken bridge 1 by novellino09, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  novellino09 

 
I have travelled ahead and I see that the bridge is out. It is my responsibility to tell you not to take that route. I will use strong words and I might even try to block you. But it is up to you whether to continue on that path.

My other view is this.

Empire State Pigeon by ZeroOne, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  ZeroOne 

 

On certain matters, I have a bird’s eye view. This means I can see the bigger or different picture, and I can make out details even from a distance.

If I can help you see something you cannot, why would you not want me to point it out? If I can see that the bridge is out, do I not have a duty to inform?

So go ahead, dull your senses, and call me negative or alarmist. Just know this: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Words do not matter; actions do.


Video source

Takaharu Tezuka is the architect who designed what TED calls the “world’s cutest kindergarten”. It was designed in 2007, but only took the world by YouTube and TED storm recently.

The kindergarten was not designed to be safe, soft, and spongy. Quite the contrary. Tezuka mentioned several times in his talk how kids learnt from falling down, getting scrapes, and bumping their heads. As for water play, he said:

… you should know that you are waterproof. You never melt in rain. So, children are supposed to be outside. So that is how we should treat them.

The kindergarten was also intentionally designed to be open and round. Why?

There is no boundary between inside and outside… there is no boundary between classrooms… When you put many children in a quiet box, some of them get really nervous. But in this kindergarten, there is no reason they get nervous. Because there is no boundary.

… if the boy in the corner doesn’t want to stay in the room, we let him go. He will come back eventually, because it’s a circle… they leave and come back.

Tezuka noticed kids liked running around and doing so freely. He noted how kids learnt best by doing and experiencing. So he designed a school around such behaviours.

Perhaps Tezuka’s point is this: There is much to be learnt about how to teach kids by watching and learning from them. It is less about curriculum and instruction, and more about how they think and act.


Video source

I do not know anyone who hates John Green. If they do, they probably are not worth knowing.

Green is an author, YouTuber, and amongst many other things, TED speaker.

After sharing his passion for maps, Green described himself as a student:

I was a really terrible student when I was a kid. My GPA was consistently in the low 2s. 

And I think the reason that I was such a terrible student is that I felt like education was just a series of hurdles that had been erected before me, and I had to jump over in order to achieve adulthood. And I didn’t really want to jump over these hurdles, because they seemed completely arbitrary, so I often wouldn’t, and then people would threaten me, you know, they’d threaten me with this “going on [my] permanent record,” or “You’ll never get a good job.” 

I didn’t want a good job! As far as I could tell at eleven or twelve years old, like, people with good jobs woke up very early in the morning, and the men who had good jobs, one of the first things they did was tie a strangulation item of clothing around their necks. They literally put nooses on themselves, and then they went off to their jobs, whatever they were. That’s not a recipe for a happy life.

He sounded like a student that most adults would write off early in life as a future also-ran or has-been. So how did he become so successful? Here are some choice quotes from his talk:

  • I became a learner because I found myself in a community of learners.
  • A lot of the learning that I did in high school wasn’t about what happened inside the classroom, it was about what happened outside of the classroom.
  • It wasn’t a formal, organized learning process.
  • The most interesting communities of learners that are growing up on the Internet right now are on YouTube.
  • I know that YouTube comments have a very bad reputation in the world of the Internet, but in fact, if you go on comments for these channels, what you’ll find is people engaging the subject matter, asking difficult, complicated questions that are about the subject matter, and then other people answering those questions.
  • As an adult, re-finding these communities has re-introduced me to a community of learners, and has encouraged me to continue to be a learner even in my adulthood.
  • I’m here to tell you that these places exist, they still exist. They exist in corners of the Internet, where old men fear to tread.

Green reminds us that learning does not happen only in the classroom. In fact, it mostly happens outside of it. One of the most powerful learning communities and informal classrooms is YouTube.

Both Tezuka and Green made references to being outside. The benefit of being there means you do not have a teacher’s blind spots. Sometimes those blind spots land squarely on what teachers need to focus on: The learner and the processes of learning.

But these are the very places teachers need to go to recover their sight. Are they reacting, as Green put it, like old men and women fearing to tread?

You can read all you want about e-portfolios and how they are important for study and for work. But I offer a visual and aural treat instead.

This was a video by Richard Dunn who was stranded in an airport last year. Instead of complaining, he decided to use the time to create a video while lip-syncing All By Myself.

Video source

The final product was laugh-out-loud hilarious and completed with just an iPhone. Dunn also shared his process, warts and all, in the video below.


Video source

Portfolios of work should also be open for critique. Dunn was not outdone when asked to defend his claim that he did all the work himself.


Video source

As a bonus, he got to meet Celine Dion herself.


Video source

Very few of us are going to meet a celebrity as a result of sharing portfolio artefacts online. But all of us should not just share the products. We should also provide insights to the processes behind the products and be open to the scrutiny that follows.

Most modern wifi routers or access points (APs) allow you to specify at least two hotspots: One for the 2.4GHz spectrum and another for the 5GHz spectrum.
 

Smok’d Window by Diego3336, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Diego3336 

 
I use my hotspot names to send social messages to my neighbours. To someone upstairs who smoked indiscriminately, I have one AP set to StopSmokingOutYourWindow.

This might seem passive-aggressive, but it seems to have worked because I no longer smell second-hand smoke late at night. That or the smoker might have died from lung cancer.
 

No running with fish, no smelly fish, no by waldopepper, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  waldopepper 

 
To a lady downstairs who prepares an assortment of agonizingly smelly fish every day over a charcoal fire, I direct AuntieYourFishStinksUpOurHome.

I have only just started this second message. Old auntie might not realize that her method of cooking is dangerous when done indoors. She is equally unlikely to surf while she stinks, but her younger flatmates might get the message.

If anyone tells me to be more tolerant, I invite them to stay in my apartment. The smell slaps me awake in the morning, sticks to the laundry and other fabrics, and is nauseating. Someone needs to stop or otherwise compensate me for sleep deprivation, the cost of rewashing clothes, and buying Febreeze. Lots of Febreeze.

The smell is so bad that one of the occupants downstairs walked up and apologized to me on her own accord. Once.

My router allows me to set up even more hotspot names should I need temporary ones for guests. Maybe I should spread some short socially-conscious messages like:

  • DoNotAnyhowlyBurnIncensePaper
  • MyGateNotXmasTreeForYourFlyers
  • VoidDeckNotShoppingCartLot
  • YourKaraokeNotOK
  • NotNormalForKidToScreamSoMuch
  • NeedAPriestCall1800ScrewBlessYou

This is one of my favourite sayings. I modified it from my assorted readings (and watchings and listenings) about leadership. I cannot find a definitive source for this quote.

The quote resonates with me because it reflects my belief system. It is a key driving force for why and how I do things.

It should come as no surprise by now that my graphic has all the hallmarks of Haiku Deck.

With a basic account, export options are limited. After I am satisfied with the look of the graphic, I take a screenshot of it on my iPad and upload it to Google Photos. I put the image in an album with other quotes and copy the URL to the image. The final step is embedding and resizing the image here.

I found the original image using the keyword “forgiveness”.
 

 
However, in the several weeks of doing this “quotable quotes” series, I have found that Haiku Deck‘s method of finding photos differs markedly from ImageCodr‘s. It can take a fair bit of investigative work to trace the source of images.

http://edublogawards.com/files/2012/11/finalistlifetime-1lds82x.png
http://edublogawards.com/2010awards/best-elearning-corporate-education-edublog-2010/

Click to see all the nominees!

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