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This week’s Crash Course’s video on navigating digital information focused on evaluating images and videos.


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Host John Green provided examples of how images could be used to represent and misrepresent both context and context. If it is easy to fool someone with text, it is even easier with images.

When presented with any image we might verify its context and content by a) seeking its source and determining its reliability, and b) searching laterally for its validity. If links or cues are not available in a suspicious image, we might use Google’s image search or Tineye to evaluate its worth.

How about videos? The principles are the same: Determine the veracity of its source, the reputation of its creator(s), and whether or not is was altered. It might be difficult to do the last item nowadays, but difficult is not impossible. What works for text also works for videos — search, read, and watch laterally.


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Part 5 of the Crash Course series on digital literacy focused on using Wikipedia.

Host John Green pointed out that Wikipedia was almost 18-years-old, and as it matured, was behaving more like a responsible adult.

Wikipedia has long policed itself with three guiding principles for editing articles:

  1. Content should be represented from a neutral point of view
  2. Cired research should come from published and reliable sources
  3. Readers and editors should be able to verify the sources of information

Despite these operating principles and research about the accuracy of Wikipedia [example], some still wrongly dissuade others from using it.

Green recommended that Wikipedia might be relied on for breadth of information and links for fact-checkin: Use it like “a launch pad, not a finish line”.

The depth of research and fact-checking could come from the hyperlinks from Wikipedia to other resources. One caveat: Resources are never perfect or objective because a) they were made by imperfect people, and b) they are used by imperfect people.

Wikipedia is not the problem; we and how we use it are.


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While there were many points of interest in the second part of Crash Course’s history of media literacy, one thing that stuck out for me was this statement:

If Martin Luther and Guttenberg worried that we didn’t have enough media around, in the 20th century, we start to worry if people have too much.

It was the narrator’s way of saying how times have changed. Back then the worry was that not enough people had enough information. Now the worry seems to an information explosion.

This part of the series seems to set up the rest of the series, i.e., the rationales for why we need media literacy and all its variants.

Anyone who needs to process scientific, medical, or social science research that involve correlations needs to watch the video below.


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As the video highlights, the number of drownings can be correlated to the release of Nicholas Cage movies, but this does not mean one causes the other.

Journalists who like reporting whether certain foods are good or bad for you need this video.

People who read what these uninformed journalists write need to watch this video.

Anyone who might have heard someone else declare, “Correlation is not causation!” needs to watch this video.

Watch this video!

Crash Course is one of the many YouTube channels I subscribe to. It has great content that is pitched at the layperson, but professional enough for use in most classrooms.


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I am looking forward to their next series on “Media Literacy”.

From the announcement video above, I gather that it is not pitched at educators. It is not even designed and presented by an educator in the traditional sense of the word.

But I will be watching all twelve episodes and I am sure I will get an education. I hope to learn something new, to have some good ideas reinforced, and some bad ones challenged.

I was primed when I noticed a video waiting in my subscriptions list in YouTube, Educational Technology: Crash Course Computer Science #39.


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I wanted to know what the presenter had to say about the wide field that is educational technology. The video had a good start — it pointed out that while there was a lot of information online, not all of this information would lead to learning.

The presenter then went on to suggest how to turn an informational video to an educational one. Here were some basic tips on leveraging on online videos like YouTube:

  1. Set the speed to balance the need to understand the content and also be able to reflect on it
  2. Pause for a metacognitive cause, e.g., reflect on takeaways, select strategies, anticipate what comes next
  3. Practice worked examples for active learning

Any learner work needs feedback. The quality of feedback is arguably among the most important factors that influence learning. It is also the most difficult and subjective especially when the number of students far exceeds the number of teachers.

How might edtech help in the area of feedback? The video suggested:

  1. Algorithm-based grading of assignments
  2. Algorithm-informed suggestions for more personalised materials, i.e., intelligent tutoring system

While these are nothing new to those in the edtech field, the video provided more depth on how the algorithms are shaped, e.g., Bayesian knowledge tracing.

The video was a great example of what sets an educational video apart from a merely informational one. Even its duration (under 12 minutes) seemed to be an application of research on designing videos for learning.


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