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This is my second updated image quote for the week.

Theory without practice is sterile. Practice without theory is blind.

My original image quotable quote was:
Practice without theory is blind. Theory without practice is sterile.

Some might say that the quote is about maintaining a balance between theory and practice. I would go one step further and point out that it is about praxis — the art of putting theory into practice and in doing so possibly generating more useful theory.

I started making image quotes with Google Presentations in May 2015. I called that early series quotable quotes.

My current tool of choice is pablo.buffer.com and I now CC attribute the images more precisely.

This week I am revisiting some of the older image quotes and updating them. The first update is one of my favourites:

We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.

My original image quotable quote was:
We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.

This MindShift article was one of the better written critiques on “personalised” learning.

Most current vendor offerings and institutional implementations of “personalised learning” tend to focus on individual pacing. These tools and platforms might allow learners to go at their own pace and explore a walled garden.

If I had to summarise the critiques from the article of such “personalisation”, I would say that:

  • those implementations might forget that learning is also cooperative and collaborative
  • the tools and platforms are based on biased algorithms that do not learn and adjust
  • self-pacing with outdated material is still learning outdated material

The bottomline? Pacing as personalisation is only good for low-level procedural learning. It is the low-hanging fruit, and since it is easier to reach, it is sold and implemented.

At the higher and opposite end of the spectrum of personalised learning is individualisation. Will Richardson and Stephen Downes might call it “personal learning.”

At the minimum, personal learning involves the learner and helping them to set goals and then to follow up on them. It necessitates the provision of choice and agency. Both these stem from empowerment.



If you think that this seems like a tall order and is drastically different from a conventional school, then you are right. But while doing this is more difficult, it is not impossible. The article also described examples of personal learning in action as well as research revealing its effectiveness and ineffectiveness.


Video source

Kenya banned plastic bags. They are not the only country to do this; they are just the most recent.

How did they do this?

It is hard to answer this question because the video shows a result and not the mediating processes. One might guess that political will and courageous activism were high on the list of change processes. And yet the video only hints at such processes.

Therein lies a lesson for those who go on “learning journeys” or “site visits”. You see the obvious products like policy documents and classroom layouts. You might even see model classes in action.

But these products do not always reveal the culture and processes of change. Learning about those important but insidious elements requires immersion or constant sensing, not snapshots or quick visits.

I am not saying that the visits are not worthwhile. I am saying that they are incomplete. If we do not take the effort to learn more about a system and how it changes, we kid ourselves into thinking we can do the same.


Video source

The video above on the best Microsoft flops reminded me of a principle that applies both in implementing innovation and managing change.

It does not matter so much if you have a better idea. It matters more if you share or do it at the right time and in the right place.

By the way, don’t feel too bad for Microsoft. It is neither micro nor soft.


Video source

If we are going to teach ourselves and our students how to identify fake news or other sources of disinformation, then we should know what rules their creators use.

This video by the New York Times identified the Seven Commandments of Fake News by deconstructing notable examples of disinformation.


Video source

The seven rules were:

  1. Find the cracks (the rifts or sore points in society)
  2. Create a big lie (so outrageous that it is almost too hard to believe)
  3. Wrap the lie around some truth (to create believability)
  4. Conceal your hand (make it seem like it came from someone else)
  5. Find useful idiots (to spread the fake news)
  6. Deny everything (when found out)
  7. Play the long game (the impact is not always immediate)

Now those seven rules were created in the pre-Internet era. Today the effectiveness of any of the seven is exacerbated by the breadth and speed of spreading disinformation.

So what is an ordinary person to do?

One expert in the video said: Question more, answer less. I suggest: Question more, retweet or repost less (or not at all). Wheezy Waiter, a YouTube I follow, pointed out that a headline is not an article.


Video source

One way to question more is to read, watch, listen, or otherwise sense more, and then to reflect on what we process. There are no shortcuts; it takes work.

 
I subscribe to a virtual private network (VPN) service because I value security when I connect to public networks. However, doing this is not without its drawbacks.

In rare instances, there is public wifi that does not allow VPN. I frequent a mall which has a wifi network that somehow recognises my VPN provider — presumably by server addresses — and prevents connections to them. The VPN-less connection does not seem any more secure than other wifi, so I wonder why its managers do not allow VPN.

On other networks that allow VPN, I have occasionally experienced blocks on Google Docs or Apple Notes. I was not able to access Docs or get the synchronised versions of my Notes. This might have been due to intermittent app service outages, but I did not find any service announcements or apologies.

In either case, my attempts to rely on VPN were disempowering. Someone else’s hangups prevented me from making an informed and better choice. I had to disconnect from VPN to get wifi access or for my apps to work.

This is certainly a first-world problem and it is an unnecessary one. I choose safety and pay for a service, but someone else decides that I do not need it. This is like me bringing my own bags to a grocery store only for it to insist packing what I get with the store’s plastic bags. Where is the sense in that?

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