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Posts Tagged ‘blind

Unpack the two tweets below. The original tweet is below the response.

The original tweet highlights how selective hearing and reading can result in deafness to logic and blindness to perspective.

That tweeter started with a conclusion (our conditions are irrationally restrictive) and selectively cited policies in order to reverse engineer disgust with authorities.

The replier applied a dose of rare common sense to explain how enacted policies follow logic. For example, people who opt to travel now are subject to even stricter conditions and practices to ensure the safety of all.

We should not envy other countries that seem to have opened up despite not having as high a vaccination rate and/or having people that actively resisted masking and vaccines. Those places paid with disproportionately more lives than we have.

Emerging from a pandemic is not a race to be first. Singapore’s strategy has been to flatten the curve during endemic phase of COVID-19 so as not to overburden medical care or kill our vulnerable. This is a long game and some do not have the patience or the foresight to do this.

So they take to platforms like Twitter and Facebook to vent unhappiness or even spew hatred. This attracts likes because people can be stupid that way.

Consider another scenario that played out in the USA.

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An unvaccinated woman was denied a kidney transplant and her supporters want to play up the narrative that she was being unfairly punished.

This simple explanation was designed to create outrage (just like the original tweet was). It also stemmed from being deaf to logic and blind to perspective.

A medical professional explained that organ recipients must take immunosuppressive drugs to reduce the risk of organ rejection. This leaves the patient vulnerable to disease.

The woman claimed to have SARS-CoV2 antibodies. But we do not know if she has antibodies to the delta variant or if she has enough to fight off infection.

The less simple explanations may not be as easy to understand, but they provide the rationale for effective COVID-19 responses.

Being open to such explanations starts with the decision to stop being wilfully deaf and blind to logic and perspective. If schooling has not open your eyes and ears, then you have not been educated.

Several weeks ago, I was asked to conduct a pro bono session on gamification in the workplace. The group had already decided it was going ahead with this idea. I declined because I did not want participants to ignore my warnings about blind gamification.

If I did conduct the session, it might have started like this: Blind gamification has a few elements. One element is ignorance of when and how the gamification of work emerged, and what its limits are.

This recent Wired article summed up gamification simply. It is over a decade old and provides extrinsic rewards for in exchange for human effort. 

In a 2013 blog entry, Harold Jarche highlighted one problem with extrinsic motivation and rewards: Gamification “creates incentives that, when removed, may result in going back to previous behaviours”.

Jarche reflected on the disconnect between schooling/work and the gamified experiences. If the rules and conditions of school/work were different from the incentivised tasks, the students/workers were not likely to learn or change their behaviours. Gamification backfires because the student/workers feel manipulated or forced.

The Wired article also highlighted this disconnect by citing a study of how a group of paid workers were discouraged by a leader board while a group of volunteer Wikipedia article editors in a different study were motivated to work for free. The article concluded:

…gamification seems to work when it helps people achieve the goals they want to reach anyway by making the process of goal achievement more exciting.

If the gamified tasks are mandatory fun, the design is an extrinsic reward for already poor intrinsic motivation. Workers who do not buy in to a game-like leaderboard but are forced to participate have strong extrinsic motivation but low intrinsic motivation. 

On the other hand, gamification is more likely to succeed with volunteers who have already bought in to a process and are rewarded for their efforts. The design is to leverage on high intrinsic motivation and provide meaningful extrinsic rewards.

The takeaway: Gamification is less likely to succeed if the tasks do not appear authentic and if the students/workers do not have agency.

Another major element of blind gamification is the assumption that it is the same as game-based learning. It is not. I have reflected on the overlaps and differences over the years. I summed up some still brewing ideas in 2017. I reshare it here.

If I seem to pooh-pooh gamification it is because I do. I do not value an over-reliance on the extrinsic because these are functions of conventional teaching. Learning is ultimately intrinsic and I choose to start there.

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.

The video below explains the differences between modern music videos and educational ones. In doing so, it works less as a how-to and more as a warning not to blindly ape popular methods.

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Fortunately, those of us who live and work in the realms of schooling and education do not have the time or inclination to make educational videos more like music videos.

Unfortunately, this has not stopped leaders and administrators from adopting concepts and practices from other fields, e.g., return on investment, best practices, being like Uber or AirBnB or Amazon of education.

I am all for learning about how others operate. I am not for trying to transfer or apply those ideas devoid of history or context.

There are many fallouts from local shared bike company’s (OBike’s) withdrawal from the market. The one that seems to concern users is the inability to get a refund of their deposit when they first signed up.

I am not sympathetic to those users because the company offered to return the deposits last November. I know because I was also a user of those shared bikes, made a S$49 deposit, and got it back when I read the notice.

You would need to have been illiterate, blind, or deaf to miss that message. The offer was made six months ago and they have had all this time to get their money back.

Even more serious than the inability to read, see, or hear the news is an indifferent mindset. We have only ourselves to blame if the warning signs were there, but we chose to ignore them.

Something similar could be said of teachers and constant change. Rarely does a policy or practice sneak up on you. If you cooperate, collaborate, and communicate, you should sense the changes coming. You can then prepare for them by changing behaviours in advance.

We cannot expect our children and students to be have “growth mindsets” or to exhibit “grit” if we ourselves do not possess these traits and model them.

Values are more CAUGHT than they are TAUGHT.

If you found out that a tool and practice you have relied on was based on false premises, would you still use them? I wager you would not if you placed weight on basic ethics.

I recently found out about a school’s career guidance programme. I have no beef with that because kids need to be more aware what lies ahead.

No, I was dismayed to find out that the school relied on the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) for students to gain “insights” into who they were.

In the past I have highlighted videos that summarise why the Myers-Briggs personality inventory is a sham.

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After you watch these videos, you will realise that this tool and practice:

  • Are neither valid nor reliable
  • Ignore context and human growth/change
  • Are based on misplaced and reinterpreted Jung theory
  • Go against Jung’s view: “Every individual is an exception to the rule
  • Only emphasise the positive and vague (the same strategy used by pseudoscience)

The only entities to benefit from the perpetuation of the Myers-Briggs personality inventory are the companies that prepare and score them for a fee — to the tune of US$20 million according to the Vox video. Perhaps some HR departments benefit as well if they choose this lazy and unreliable method of classifying people and their potential — again see the Vox video.

Businesses are not about to slaughter a cash cow just because they find out it is fake beef. They will hide this fact or disguise it with beef flavour (pseudoscience). But will school administrators, teachers, and educators keep buying in to and buying these services? Do they not see the long term harm of modelling uncritical thinking and action?

My beef with such schooling is that people know the facts but choose not to change (wilful ignorance) or do not know because they do not keep learning (plain ignorance). Another excuse is that the MBTI is not the only element in the programme. Of course it is not! Poison is not the only ingredient in a beefy dish served to many.

The unkindest cut might be that the continued use of the MBTI — and other perpetuated fallacies — does not mercifully kill the victims immediately. The poison keeps the poisoned alive long enough to poison others.

This article asked: How Do You Lead a Class Full of Students Wearing VR Headsets? It likened the process to herding blind cats.

My response is that you do not. You create new affordances and try alternative strategies. I summarise what the article described.

The affordances could be prompts or experiences within the VR world. They could also be layouts and furniture in the room to prevent students from getting hurt as they wander around.

The instructional strategies the article suggested were:

  • Let students discover and uncover instead of leading and covering.
  • If there are not enough VR headsets, design waiting and/or alternative activities.
  • Avoid relying on the novelty effect.

Here is my two cents. The pedagogy of VR-mediated lessons should be built on this foundation: Refrain from repeating in VR what you can already do more easily without. Leverage on what VR does well or is impossible in real life. There is no point recreating delivery when discovery is the order of the day.

Open your eyes; do not herd cats. Take advantage of their curiosity and nurture even more independence. Teach while taking advantage of the affordances of VR instead of blindly teaching only the way you were taught.

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If you are born blind and have severe autism, your chances of living a “normal” life are slim.

But Derek Paravicini is a maestro with an innate talent that needed a nourishing environment (provided by his nanny) and some pruning (provided by his piano coach).

According to his TED bio, Derek taught himself to play the piano when he was four and gave his first concert when he was seven.

Not everyone is a savant. That is a genetic lottery.

Not everyone is given Derek’s opportunities. That is a shame.

We lock normal kids up in a schooling system designed largely to enculturate and industrialize. This is despite the opportunities and tools we have today to create an educational system that can nurture and individualize.

We have the keys to unlock genius and creativity. They are not as fiddly and difficult to use as before. Yet we let fear and ignorance hold us back.


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