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Posts Tagged ‘bullshit

It is not just some edtech vendors who generate BS when promoting their wares. Central planners and policy writers in schools and education institutes led the way.

This is why The Education Jargon Generator tickled my fancy.

I revisted it to produce a few examples and here are my favourite auto-generated, jargon-laden statements:

  • We will transition cross-curricular networks throughout multiple modalities.
  • We will reinvent real-world best practices for high-performing seats.
  • We will metacognate classroom-based student success for our 21st Century learners.

If you nodded your head in agreement to any of the statements, I ask that you send me your bank account number, personal details and authentication device.

If you shook your head in disbelief, you need to get out more. Actually, get online more to sample the claims people make.

If you threw your head back and laughed, you understand satire based on reality. If a wry smile followed the laughter, you realise that the BS generator reminds us that we need to teach all our learners to be BS detectors.

I first came across the use of “disruptive bullshittery” in this piece by Audrey Watters. This was part of her “criticism of education technologies in almost all their forms and functions” because they are “beholden to the ideologies of machines, efficiencies, and capitalism”.

Watters might seem like a prophet in the desert warning us of doom, but she does her research so we should take her seriously.

I see disruptive bullshittery from a slightly different perspective.

When I hear a leader claim to embrace change but not model it, I call that disruptive bullshittery.

When I read about a policymaker promising change while not ensuring that such change is enacted, I call that disruptive bullshittery.

When I see edtech vendors saying they “do different” but actually just “do the same thing differently”, I call that disruptive bullshittery.

The thing about BS is that there is no end to it. It sticks to people so that they get used to it despite how bad it smells.

This is why we need what Howard Rheingold called crap detection. I call it as I smell it.

I am recreating some of my favourite image quotes I created some time ago. This time I use Pablo by Buffer and indicate attribution and CC license.

The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something. -- Jon Stewart.

No one really likes watchdogs because they sound the alarm when they sense danger around something they are protecting. But everybody needs them. So Jon Stewart’s call to be vigilant is particularly important in the era of fake news and false prophets.

Note: I am on vacation with my family. However, I am keeping up my blog-reflection-a-day habit by scheduling a thought a day. I hope this shows that reflections do not have to be arduous to provoke thought or seed learning.

What would prompt Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, to weigh in on Pepsi? It was an advertisement so ill-conceived and reviled that the company had to withdraw it [NYT] [Wired].

Stephen Colbert gave this withering but humorous critique of the ad (click here for the segment).

Video source

It would be easy to accuse Colbert of being mean because he was making fun of the company in the name of entertainment. However, such critiques are deeper and more important than we might think.

Video source

Vox unpacked what Colbert and others do: They inform in an easy to digest manner and they leverage on not being neutral.

While proper news channels might try to report just the black or white facts, we recognise today that most issues are subjective and nuanced greys.

Satirists use fun and laughter, and in doing so, disarm their audiences and combine emotion with logic. They inform and educate in ways that not many teachers have been taught or believe in.

They embrace subjectivity and make a stand. They combine creativity with critical thought. They call bullshit when they see it.

The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something. -- Jon Stewart.

This is a quote from Jon Stewart during his final Daily Show episode.

It might have been Howard Rheingold who said that one of the most important skills all learners need is BS detection. That is a colourful way of saying that we need to think critically.

Stewart’s quote is a reminder that all of us have a natural ability to detect BS and we should not hold back the need to do something about it.

Sir Ken Robinson likes to point out that schooling kills innate creativity. Schooling also kills critical thinking. It puts learners in a steaming pile so that they get accustomed to the smell. It also tells kids to listen and not complain if they can still detect the stink.

BS detection was always important, but more so now since information is no longer restricted to select human fountains or rare tomes. Anyone can say or make anything; everyone can access them.

While schools can live in the past and restrict access to mobile technology and the Internet, they cannot do this once kids exit their gates each day. Sadly very few parents are equipped to teach their kids how to detect modern BS.

I smell this BS and point it out when I blog or tweet. I rarely Facebook because that platform is a huge dump in disguise. I do something about it by re-educating teachers I meet. You need to decide if that is BS.

How I created this quote image: I found the the original image in ImageCodr with the keyword “vigilance” and created the image quote in Haiku Deck.

Bruges, Belgique by O.Ortelpa, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  O.Ortelpa

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