Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘blog

I have been a fan of Martha Payne’s food blog, NeverSeconds, since I learnt about it barely a month ago.

This enterprising and entertaining nine-year-old girl authored a blog that went viral after she started photographing, rating and commenting on her school cafeteria food.

As she gained attention from the media, she became a minor celebrity, met with celebrities, and raised funds for Mary’s Meals.

Because of Martha’s initiative and efforts, her school food improved, she helped the less fortunate, and she even got students and teachers from other parts of the world sharing their own food photos and ratings.

But her success was met with resistance from the Argyll and Bute Council, and Martha was forced to stop taking photos and stop blogging about the food.

The reaction to this was swift. As I type this, there are more than 1712 responses to the shutdown. Sites like CNET and Wired had a field day reporting the news.

My reaction to the blog shut down was not printable. When I calmed down, I wanted to know:

  • If the council had nothing to hide, why prevent her from taking pictures of the food?
  • If they thought that the representation is not fair, then why not make their stand by commenting in Martha’s blog or setting up their own channel?

Thankfully, the council has backed down and Wired documented this through a series of updates.

Reason does not always prevail. When it does not, good work in and via social media can apply pressure so that justice is served. So I borrow from Martha’s rating system:

Food-o-meter- 10 out of 10
Mouthfuls- I could barely swallow the initial news!
Courses- Starter, main, and dessert
Health Rating- 0 out of 10 (I almost had a heart attack!)
Price- Priceless news via Wired’s updates
Pieces of hair- There was a whole wig that came with the ban.

Tags: ,

When I was living in the USA, I had a “No Soliciting!” sign on my front door. I disliked being disturbed by folks trying to sell offering questionable products or services.

The sign was quite effective. I wish the same sign would work here in Singapore so that I don’t get flyers stuck in my front gate or slipped under my door.

Now I am wondering if a similar sign might work on a blog…

I have received email to feature an online resource or article on this blog. I don’t know if I am ready to review or promote something I haven’t found myself.

I have also received an invitation to speak at a regional edtech conference. The invitation seemed legitimate after a quick background check. But in this day of scams, phishing and other nefarious online solicitations, my alarm bells went off.

It was a surprise since the inviter claims to have found me through my blog. It’s not a surprise since I make some of my thoughts and writing public.

The last huge spike in readership and the invitation might seem like good signs. To me they are signs that our digital footprints can leave impressions that we might not expect. For now, I am going to err on the side of caution.

As a dad, I can relate to this Google ad…

Video source

I maintain more than one blog and have been blogging on behalf of my son since before he was born in 2004.

We started our blog at LiveJournal, moved on to EduBlogs and now we are at Posterous. We lost a several months of blog entries when we moved from EduBlogs to Posterous and that is the fault of the former’s bad exporting tool.

My son won’t just have a digital footprint, he will have a digital legacy to maintain! I am going to do my best to educate him on this in spite of a schooling system that largely refuses to embrace his tools, meet his needs and prepare him for his world.

Steve Wheeler wrote two very interesting blog entries.

One was “Why do I bother?” which outlined why he blogged. I can relate to his reasons. Also noteworthy are Jeff Cobb’s five reasons to reflect daily and John Connell’s slow blogging.

Wheeler also wrote about breaking the mould of education, i.e. changing it radically for the better. He cited one of his favourite “anarchists” Ivan Illich:

A…major illusion on which the school system rests is that most learning is the result of teaching. Teaching, it is true, may contribute to certain kinds of learning under certain circumstances. But most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school, and in school only insofar as school, in a few rich countries, has become their place of confinement during an increasing part of their lives. [source]

When asked who his favourite “anarchists” were, Wheeler said:

Jesus Christ, Mozart, Picasso, Van Gogh, Stockhausen, Einstein, The Beatles and Dylan Thomas…. Few of these, if asked, would have classified themselves as anarchists in the sense that they wished to ‘destroy the world’. Many of them were criticised for being mad, deluded, drug-crazed or drunken, but each of them in their own way broke the mould, enabled us to see the world in a new way, and created new concepts that made us rethink our representations of reality.

Wheeler outlines his reasons for breaking the educational mould more succinctly than I can write here.

My simple and visual mind sees the reasons in the image above. What our children need to learn has grown (is growing and will continue to grow) too large for the confines of the current educational system. The educational system needs to be recontextualized and expanded to embrace social networks and real life, instead of being simplified models and reduced to tests or exams.

Like Wheeler, I agree that schools and universities will not go away. But they should not be the only place where we think “education” takes place. To think that it does is to kid ourselves and to do our children a disservice.

Tags: , ,

How could I not blog about something that three Tweeters I am following mentioned?

If you visited The Guardian, you might have come across this headline: Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up. Of course the headline was sensationalistic, but it was quite accurate too.

I think that the bottom line was not so much that primary school kids in the UK might embrace more technology in school. The fact is that they will be using more RELEVANT technologies in their schools. This will force teachers to update their pedagogies because if they don’t they will soon discover that old methods do not necessarily allow new or better forms of learning to take place.

And of course various stakeholders feel threatened. There’s not enough coverage of history or the learning of drama for example. But at the end of the day we should not be looking at what is important to us in the short term, but what is important to the kids for the long term. We should be preparing them for their future, not our past.

Am I going to wait for the Singapore educational system to play catch up? Obviously not. I am preparing preservice teachers under my care to think and teach progressively. Time will tell if I am right.

News articles or Stomp entries like this crop up from time to time: Teachers blog and they get attention for the wrong reasons.

That is why I get my trainees to edu-blog. They are not only reflecting as they experience my course. Nor are they simply providing opportunities for informal learning and interaction. They must learn how to blog for teaching and learning, and they must learn how to blog responsibly when blogging as professionals.

Click to see all the nominees!

QR code

Get a mobile QR code app to figure out what this means!

My tweets


Usage policy

%d bloggers like this: