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Posts Tagged ‘cnn

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Dr Sanjay Gupta asked the CDC Director, Dr Rochelle Walensky, to address a common question that some people have about COVID-19 [timestamp]. If they already developed immunity from being infected with SARS-CoV2 before the vaccines were ready, why did they still need to be vaccinated? 

This is a fair question and it stems from a poor understanding of how viral mutations work. Dr Walensky gave a straightforward answer, but I do not think that it connected with its intended audience.

Some among that audience will be gamers who know what game bosses are, so here is an analogy. When reach the end of a game stage, you face a boss that is tough to fight. If you beat that boss, the game does not end. You proceed to the next stage and meet another boss.

The original SARS-CoV2 was like the first stage boss. Those who overcame it without a vaccine developed natural immunity, but the battle continues with more stages and bosses. They are not guaranteed a win against the bosses in the next stages simply because they got past stage 1.

As gamers play through each stage, they pick up skills, abilities, or tools that might enable them to  fight the next boss more effectively. The vaccines are like these pickups — they help us fight against the new viral variants.

Analogies can only go so far, but they might connect with certain people more effectively than raw explanations. The skill is knowing when and which analogies to use. 

Rising above, teaching is not about trying to reach everyone generically. It is about ensuring that learning happens specifically. In this context, it means explanations that could be scientific, analogy-driven, and/or peer-generated. There is no single way to defeat a game boss, but everyone can do it if they find their own way. 

CNN took a break from the Trump circus to focus on one ordinary person.


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The man at the centre of a social media storm was roundly criticised for grooming himself on public transport. A mad mob made judgements instead of finding out the facts first.

Some basic journalism revealed that the man had fallen on hard times and had been in and out of homeless shelters. He had just left one such shelter and was on his way to visit an estranged brother. He just wanted to look presentable.

Some from the mob apologised. A few started raising money for the man. The thing is: Could we not have skipped the mad mob and started with the caring crowd?

Common to both the mob and the crowd was social media. The same tool set that spread vitriol also focused on helping.

There are some people who still like to blame social media for our ills. Doing that is a convenient cop out. We are responsible for the tools we use and what do with them.

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CNN had a special on retweeting. And, no, it wasn’t by someone with a lisp writing about US forces retreating from Iraq.

Thankfully CNN did not focus on Twitter as a phenomenon because that has been done to death. Instead, it dove into why followers retweeted tweets. (I can’t help but think how if I was writing this just five years ago, someone might have read my last sentence and concluded that I had gone mad!)

The reasons for retweeting aren’t astounding and seem rationale. But I was quite amazed at how many experts were weighing in on the issue. I wish more school leaders and adminstrators would sit up and take notice!

I came across a CNN article titled “Web 2.0-savvy teachers testing old assumptions“. Ah, I thought, something that might finally inform the layman about the impact that Web 2.0 was having on mainstream education. But this was true to a limited extent.

The new practices included relying less on the lecture-based approach when podcasting, promoting online collaboration, taking advantage of what technology and skills students already used or had, encouraging digital literacies, etc. The article also offered a few interesting links, like the one to Hyperwords which was an article on augmented reality.

Unfortunately, the article simply degenerated to a list of Web 2.0 tools that some innovative teachers had started using. The most important piece of information that was missing was just how teaching had improved as a result of, or in conjunction with, the use of these tools.

The tool is only as good as the strategy. If teacher use these tools simply to fulfil a “technology requirement” or to inject pointless fun into their teaching, then I think that they do more harm than good. But if they mediate the use of these tools with powerful pedagogies (like the ones mentioned in the early part of the article), they might actually transform teaching and truly engage their learners!


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