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Posts Tagged ‘backwards

It can be a bit strange walking back into your old place of work. It was for me last week when I visited NIE for two days of intense committee work.

I had not been back for almost 10 months, but things felt familiar. The academic semester was over and the place was pleasantly low traffic. It was wonderful to bump into ex-colleagues and chat with canteen vendors at lunch.

But I could also use the eyes and ears of an outsider and all was not well. For example, I shared yesterday the news of the impending closure of the Classroom of the Future.

I had serious work to do while I was back in NIE. I refused to use the printouts that were prepared without my knowledge. (The work was technology-related and it was certainly not about paper technology.)

One committee member brought his own printouts while the rest of us relied on our devices. I needed wifi to get digital reams from my Dropbox.

That meant requesting for guest access to wifi via an automated service. This was something NIE guests would invariably ask for when they visited the campus. It was and still is a basic need.

It took five hours before the system responded to my request, so I used my phone and my trusty mifi device instead.

As I have written before, you not only need to BYOD, you also need to BYOC [1] [2]. You do this to get things done professionally whether others are going to help or not.

All that said, a five-hour wait is a big step backwards for something as basic as wifi. The hotspots for guests are also limited to certain places in NIE. It did not extend to the meeting room I was in.

I recall stepping into another institute of higher education in 2006 at the invitation of a fellow academic. She asked a question and I replied that I had a resource online that would help.

Thanks to easy access to public wifi that institute had for guests, my sharing went flawlessly. That organization helped itself by helping others.

Later that day in 2006, I met with technical staff who told me that the public wifi was kept securely separate from their corporate wifi. I remember that well because it made a big impression.

I will also remember the five-hour delay for NIE wifi because it seems like a big step backwards. I am as ashamed of this as I am proud of being an ex-staff of the institute. I hope they rectify the situation.

Several months ago, I met someone who told me that his organization was hesitant to use YouTube as a platform to host educational videos.

Perhaps you have heard of YouTube. YouTube, the second most popular search engine. YouTube, the near ubiquitous app on smartphones. YouTube, the host of videos which are becoming the text that learners become literate in by virtue of sheer appeal.

YouTube, a free hosting platform for totally open or selectively shared videos. Zero dollars, infinite storage, and about as reliable as your supply of electricity or water.

The reason I was given for that organization not adopting YouTube was Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). Ludicrous.

Imagine instructors and learners deciding to make very boring recordings that revealed names and personally identifiable information of other people. Now that would be ludicrous.

The policy decision to not use YouTube was made by a higher-up who does not understand nor see the needs on the ground. This was the same “leader” who saw it fit to try to prevent workers from using work wifi on their phones some years ago. He eventually had to give in when the BYOD tsunami swept in.

What will it take for that person to stop paddling backwards against this tsunami?

Yesterday, STonline highlighted six stories that broke on social media before other media outlets picked up on them.

The writer declared: What is clear from these impactful social media stories is that whatever happens online could lead to serious real life consequences.

That is putting things backwards.

What should be clearer is that these events started with real life and its consequences. Social media was part of real life and its consequences.

Some quarters of the media and schools might wish to dwell in a dichotomous world of social media and non-social media. The rest of the world has moved on.

But just because you get it backwards does not mean that you have to live backwards. Move forwards and keep going that way.

I reflected on my reflection on palindromes and change.

In my previous reflection, I suggested that, in hindsight, change initiatives are coloured by our bias. The stories we tell might be quite different from what they actually are.

Video source

My subsequent reflection was prompted by this Rhett and Link video on YouTube.

To create this video, Rhett and Link had to begin with the end product in mind. They recorded (and edited) a video doing things backwards so that when played forwards it made some entertaining and unusual sense. They also recorded the process of making this video.

So here are some my takeaways on change management with ICT

  • It is critical to have a clear vision of what the goal state might be.
  • It is important to document the process and not just the plan. If you cannot document everything, then record the milestones.
  • You can have fun with change. It does not have to be stressful all the time.

I read this article recently, School Districts Force Students to Downgrade iPads to iOS 6.

One reason for the backward move was to get control back of what should be individualized tools. The other was for remote management. I see the importance of the latter but am not sympathetic of the former.

The technological solution to ban or filter rarely works. The only things you teach kids with that approach is that they cannot be trusted and they do not know how to think critically.

If Ethiopian kids can hack OLPCs within five months with no instruction, overcoming firewalls and bypassing restrictions is nothing to kids on the other side of the divide.

I am not saying we should remove filters totally. I am saying that a socio-technical system is better, emphasis on the social component. This could include a crowdsourced acceptable use policy and documentation of consequences of breaking the rules.

We should teach kids to be their own filters.

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