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Posts Tagged ‘create

 
When I was a boy, I had to wind my wristwatch and use a key to coil a spring in household clocks. Today it seems like the only way to get wound up by a watch is when its battery runs flat.

You can either bring the watch to a shop to get the battery changed, or you can attempt it yourself. When I first watched how someone else did it and how much the battery and service cost, I decided that I would do it myself in future.

Back then it looked like a specialised or skilled task. It is not any more. There are numerous websites and YouTube videos that show you how to open up the watch yourself and swop the battery. Many of these resources are brand or model specific.

I change my wife’s and my watch batteries once a year or every two years, so I sometimes forget my self-taught lessons.
 

 
A recent reminder was how rare some batteries are.

I had to find an equivalent for a battery for a dress watch because the exact brand and type was not available in hardware stores here. So I searched online, found the equivalent types, and made price comparisons. I saved anywhere between five to ten times the cost by DIY compared to going to a shop.

The result of this exercise was a renewed appreciation for how easy it is to be a self-directed learner nowadays. All this is because we have accessible platforms and creators who share openly.

The timely reminders are that we need to create conditions for this sort of learning and nurture learners who not only know how to consume helpful content, but also how to give back by creating and sharing.

Every now and then I get requests to be interviewed, to write an article, or to have something I wrote be part of someone else’s site.

I say no almost all the time and I explain why based on the context of the request. But there is one reason that is common to all requests: I do not want to be manipulated into pushing someone else’s agenda.

Everyone has an agenda, even if they say they do not. Having an agenda is fine if you are honest about it and if you have your heart in the right place.

Quotes taken from what I say or write might get decontextualised. An opinion piece that I write might get edited until its original message gets diluted or warped.

These are probably why some politicians who are interviewed by the press also post their speeches or thoughts on platforms like Facebook. Better to hear from the horse’s mouth.
 

 
The sad thing is that not all do this. Instead of allowing people to thinking critically and make their own decisions based on source material, the sources and the press conspire to leave it up to the press to publish selectively.

What is our excuse in the realms of schooling and education?

Is the source material unavailable?

Is the source material available, but not accessible?

Is the source material available and accessible, but not understandable?

If we say yes to any of these questions, why is this the case and what are we doing about it?

In the wider world, people can take control of the information they generate. They create, share, and discuss, largely on social media.

If the goal of schooling and education is to prepare kids for the wider world, then why are we not allowing and insisting that students create, share, and discuss more openly?

When you have a problem (like the hilly streets of San Francisco), do you complain or do you get creative?


Video source

This group chose to get creative by changing their view of the problem.

Now when we face a problem in life (like technology integration in schools), do we complain or do we get creative? More often that not I hear teachers complain about what they do not have, e.g., time, space, resources.

Why not get creative with what we have, change our view of the problem, and get something of value in the process?


Video source

This is Pharrell Williams’ official Happy music video.


Video source

The music was featured in Despicable Me 2 and this is the minion version of the same.


Video source

The video above is by Pomplamoose and is a mashup of two songs.

The latter two creations must replicate the song, but they also create something new.

The minion version has lyrics and the minions. Pomplamoose has an elaborate setup done with one projector in one take.

Creating is much harder work than just replicating, but the value of the creative process and products are clear to see.

Why then do we focus so much on duplicating or replicating information in schools and tests?

In 2010, there was a movement of sorts on which three words summed up your passions or focus areas for the year.

It’s one year on so I have four words, but they are not just for me. I think that the four words (search, create, share, curate) are overall patterns on the way we learn online.

Search is practically synonymous with Google. Need to find out something you know nothing about? Google it. I recall how someone asked me about the “throw ratio” of projectors. While I could guess, I decided to Google with my iPhone, triangulate my findings and show the good answers.

If you want something to stick in mind or in place, you need to create one or more artefacts. When I learnt how to “hack” my Wii to run games from a harddisk or access secure wireless on an iOS device, I put the information a wiki. When I learnt about the Green School, I took photos, videos and blogged about it [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. You need to share what you learn to refine it or to teach it.

What might be a smaller blip on the radar of e-learning is the need to curate. A curator collects, selects, maintains and makes sense of content. Social bookmarking with Diigo is an example of digital curation (and sharing if you wish). Quora is a more recent example and various techie blogs predict this service will explode in 2011.

We might do some or all of these things naturally while learning. We just don’t think about it. But it becomes necessary to rethink these processes as we extend the capacity our minds (and maybe our hearts) with the help of these tools. That way we are not only cognizant of the learning processes but also taking full and proper advantage of the resources at our disposal.


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