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This video snippet from the BBC painted a positive picture of the possible effects of mobile use by babies or toddlers. It was a better clip than the CNA video last year [1] [2] not because it was tech-positive, but because it was less biased.

The CNA video last year asked the question “Can e-learning make you dumb?” and sought to back up its answers with what its writers had already decided instead of what they could investigate.

The BBC video was not as negative, even when the narrator seemed to sneak in negative associations with mobile device use like “young children sat down using technologies won’t be as good at coordinating their bodies”. It was simply repeating a commonly held concern by lay folk.

The takeaways from the video should not be that the small sample of kids was representative of a larger group nor that kids who used technology were no worse with gross motor skills and better at fine motor skills.

If we learn anything at all from these videos it should not be the opinions on the effects of e-learning or mobile devices. It should be that we need to read, listen, watch, or otherwise process all sources of information with critical filters.

One coarse but vital filter is identifying bias. The CNA video asked questions and rushed to answer them with unbalanced certainty. The BBC video, while seemingly positive, asked questions and left room for even the child expert to express doubt.

One video tried to tell you WHAT to think; the other video could teach you HOW to think.

Product: A complex music video to launch BBC Music.


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Process: An all too short behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating the video.


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We tend to admire and focus on the product, be it successful or not. But the process is just as fascinating and important.

Have you heard of BBC News Click? Find out more about it here.

If you have, ahem, access to this TV programme, the 3 Dec episode is one not to miss if you are interested in serious games, Khan Academy, QR codes and even urinal games!

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Is another man’s treasure.

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A new centre in Cambridge is to study computer games and comics as forms of literature consumed by learners.

The short BBC report reveals why:

“If what we regard as trash is popular with young people, we need to know why and whether, as researchers and teachers, we can offer them something that addresses the same needs but also deals with these themes in a critical and ethical way.”

She [Professor Maria Nikolajeva, director of the centre] added many trainee teachers did not understand the significance of the latest children’s books or films when they went into the classroom.

This is something I must definitely keep tabs on!

When I read the BBC news article Great writers ‘fail’ online test, I was not surprised. Why? Two reasons.

First, one of the writing samples was actually a speech. Writing for a speech is not the same as writing for print. Yes, you are writing a speech, but not for someone to read like a book. The words don’t leap out of the medium the same way when they are delivered by the speaker.

Second, technology cannot (yet) replace complex human judgment, emotion and subjective interpretation. While this might have been a case of pushing the limits of technology, I also thought that this was using technology when it did not fit the situation.

Do educators make the same mistake when pushing the envelope with technology? Sure we do. But the harm is not in trying. The harm is in providing fuel for the naysayers to say “I told you so!”

But to the naysayers I reply:

Those who say it cannot be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it

Or as James Arthur Baldwin originally put it: Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.

This BBC article, Multitaskers bad at multitasking, misses the point.

The article describes how researchers tested subjects on their abilities to multitask. The researchers concluded that multitaskers were the worst at multitasking skills.

Of course those were the results! Tests measure a limited range of things. What those tests did NOT measure was whether the multitaskers were effective or efficient in actual play or work. After all, that is where the ability to multitask matters, not the test.

Most academic tests and exams do the same thing. They measure narrow cognitive outcomes and subdomains, e.g, recall and comprehension. They are not designed to measure affective or psychomotor outcomes nor are they contextualised in real life or real problems. The latter is where it matters, not the test.


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