Another dot in the blogosphere?

Dissonance with dichotomies

Posted on: May 15, 2016

I find that organisations that seek my services need to question long-held assumptions they cling on to.

Given the chance, I lead key individuals on a quick journey of mindset change with a discussion on several “dichotomies”.

  • Schooling vs education
  • Teaching vs learning
  • IT vs ICT
  • Technology for enhancing vs enabling
  • Technology for engagement vs empowerment
  • Technology as tool vs instrument
  • Natives & immigrants vs visitors & residents

These is not just a semantic exercise. Words hold meanings, meanings are shaped by mindsets, and mindsets dictate policies and behaviours.

I label them “dichotomies” because these are not black and white issues. In most cases, there is continuum. However, groups that want to position themselves as progressive educators need to move to the right side of each continuum.

Two roads diverged in the wood... I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. -- Robert Frost

Doing this is a road less travelled. Like Frost, those willing to go on this less tested journey will find that it makes a meaningful difference.

Note: I created the image quote from this CC-licensed photo.

3 Responses to "Dissonance with dichotomies"

Nice post and nice quote but Dr Tan, I have to ask you this: Why do you choose to use non CC-0 images? Is it to set an example for proper attribution because there are many many sites that have very beautiful CC-0 images which would be less work for you ( is a Singaporean founded site that I like where you can save your faves without downloading the photos until you need to that pulls from many different CC-0 photographers.)


The CC image search tool I use, ImageCodr, looks for all types of CC-shared images, including CC-0. As it relies on Flickr, its image database is large and diverse. It also has effective embedding and bookmarklet tools unlike other efforts. This makes my workflow more efficient.

Using a range of CC-licensed images allows me to have conversations with people that CC is about giving and getting. In particular, the giver has finer control of the creating and sharing. Teachers need to learn and adopt this mindset if they are to model such behaviours for learners.

Ideally we want people to do things for free. Realistically it helps to give people options.

Liked by 1 person

Thanks for that Dr Tay. I totally agree with you on the importance of attribution and setting example and I think it’s very nice that you make the effort to do it. Realistically as we move towards a digital, open source, world, we may have to learn that we don’t really have rights to our work. Even Getty images which used to cost $500 a piece can be shared on social media / blogs for free using their tool (as it auto-attribute. 🙂 They figured it would be better to retain that than let people steal their images. There is a lovely story about a company Death to the Stock Photo about how they decided to give away their photos and it became a profitable business because


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