Another dot in the blogosphere?

People with business acumen might watch the video below and focus on the numbers, i.e., how much the companies stand to make by capturing the education market. They might also view this as a competition, but they are only partly right.

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Prudent schools and educational institutions have learnt to be brand agnostic. Players like Google and Apple seem to recognise this. For example, you might have iPads deployed in classrooms, but users might prefer Google Drive to iCloud, so the two giants co-exist like parents.

I have worked with both in the past and realise that their representatives put their money where their mouths are. I recall Google Education folks toting Macs and Apple representatives not minding my approach to using the Google Edu Suite during a workshop proposal.

All this was a few years ago and the goal posts might have shifted. But I doubt they have moved so far that they try to blow the competition out of the water and risk destroying opportunities.

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I have a habit of reflecting on my blog every day. How did I form this habit?

According to this SciShow Psych video, a habit is an automatic action that develops from a contextual cue. My cue seems to be anything that I read, listen to, or watch in my RSS, Twitter, podcast, or YouTube feeds.

But relying on such cues makes such habits extrinsically-driven. So how did I make the writing an intrinsic habit?

Again according to research condensed by the video, I might have piggybacked on some other task.

I started blogging in earnest right before my son was born in an effort to journal his milestones. Back then, I was also writing my Ph.D. thesis and maintained an online journal for that journey as well.

Despite then returning to Singapore and working as a professor, lecturer, and head of department, I kept the daily writing up because it had become ingrained. I have left those hallowed halls for almost five years, but that habit has stuck with me.

Sometimes I need to remind myself why I choose not to rely on institutional LMS.

I might use the scheduled announcements and assessment submission, but I would rather site everything else outside of it.

Why? The reasons vary from course to course and institution to institution. But here are the two reasons that apply to most contexts.

LMS are designed to be closed. My learners do not have indefinite access to the resources I might put in an LMS. I have resourced house elsewhere that are a decade old and still used by former students. If an institution claims to support lifelong learning, it must go beyond LMS policy.

Institutions claim copyright to material submitted to an LMS. I rely on open or CC-licensed resources but cannot share them in a course housed in an LMS because they already have predefined usage rights. These rights are open and not owned by the institute or the LMS.


Today I conduct a mobile learning and game-based learning session. This is part of a Masters course on educational technologies.

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This Wired video from 2018 appeared in my YouTube feed. Two days ago, my Twitter feed led me to a news article about how Singaporeans spend the most time playing video games when compared to the rest of Asia.

While the video focused on the impact of video games on the brain, the article provided a few insights into how and how much we play.

My session is a primer on game-based learning. If my learners walk away from the session knowing the differences between game-based learning and gamification, I would be a happy man.

I only wish I could focus on educational gaming for an entire semester instead of just one session. This would almost mirror the immersion and flow that gamers experience, and the learning would be both intentional and incidental.

I used to facilitate workshops on game-based learning quite regularly. I fondly recall how I leveraged on the same games to facilitate learning on topics like ICT in education, systemic change, and flipped learning.

I did this with preservice teachers, inservice teachers, non-teachers, and even visitors from other countries.

I revived some evergreen ideas on gaming for a new course this week, but had a tough time ensuring that the Flash-based games could work. These were really good games like Dafur is Dying and the McVideo Game.

Neither is hosted by their original makers and I had to find alternative hosts. I do not know how long this will last.

Despite Flash practically doing its best impression of The Walking Dead, it lives on online. Not because it is superior to what we have now — Flash is a security nightmare — but because good ideas were built on flawed ones.

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I like using Google Sites. They are open almost by default and I can embed just about any tool for teaching and learning. This is true for the classic and current versions of Google Sites.

The ability to embed, say, a Padlet was not a given when the new version rolled out. Content and tools were restricted to the Google Classroom or Drive suites. Thankfully that has changed given how educators who wish to incorporate technology are brand agnostic*.

*I type this on a Mac for a reflection posted on WordPress about a tool Google bought and redeveloped.

However, there is still one change that the classic version of Google Sites had that the new version does not — page level permissions.

Google Sites access permission.

I can selectively share an entire site with a group or users or open it to all. This is a site-level permission setting. I still cannot specific page level permissions.

One enterprising user suggested a workaround — embedding user-specific Google Docs in a page, but this is not as good as providing fully fledged editing rights.

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Even though I might have referred to the marshmallow study a few times in the past, I misrepresented it. I simply passed on what I had heard instead of being more critical and nuanced.

In 2014, I learnt that the original study was less about how childhood traits like self-control (delaying gratification) were predictors of adult success. It was more about the children’s coping mechanisms and decision-making. The researcher behind the study, Walter Mischel, said so.

The press, YouTube video creators, and even Sesame Street do not always get it right, especially there seems to be an obvious link. If they take the bait instead of exploring nuance, they put marshmallow in the horse’s mouth and end up with egg in their faces.

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