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Posts Tagged ‘elephant

Returning to the Seven Terraces in Georgetown, Penang, was like revisiting a friend’s home. A very rich friend’s very large home.

Like my first visit 2.5 years ago, I never got to meet this friend, but I met many of his staff. They were warm, professional, and polite. In both stays, my family and I got extensions at no extra cost thanks to late flights and accommodating front desk folk.

There were also some not-so-subtle changes to the decor. One was this art piece that featured an elephant-giraffe.

This was not there in November 2015. I took this photo of my wife and son in the same spot then.

Like any good art, the piece sparked thought. For me, it was how easy it is to take sides — either extreme with clear views or somewhere in between with a jumbled ones.

While some might point out that only the extremes offer defined views, I prefer to focus on changing one’s perspective by walking back and forth. Doing that takes effort.

The effort was minimal in the case of the art piece. It might not be so easy when trying to see something from someone else’s vantage point. But making the effort is important in both cases.

 
I was writing in Evernote recently when I copied information from email into a note. I had done this many times before, but this time I was copying into the web version of Evernote because the free version limited the app to two devices.

For reasons unknown to me, the formatted text removed everything in my notes except for the first two lines. Evernote synced this across all my devices and I lost several weeks of writing.

A while ago I could have retrieved my notes on some other device. I could have also visited the history of the note and rolled back to an earlier state.

But not in the current version of Evernote. I had to pay to access my notes offline or to go back in note time.

It was pay or redo a lot of work. I could not possibly remember everything I wrote — that is why I took notes — so I resorted to paying for a year’s premium subscription.

I could not even pay a bit less for the mid-tier plan (the plus plan) because it did not offer the note history tool.

I felt like victim of ransomware — malware that prevents you from accessing your files or data until you pay up for a key to unlock it.

The premium plan was USD57.98 a year. Fortunately, I remembered an email message in June offering a 50% discount. The deadline had elapsed, but I found that the offer was still valid. So while I paid less, I still paid up.

It was a painful reminder to use more reliable tools. I will be moving some active writing elsewhere and will probably use Evernote for archiving in future.

Evernote’s logo is an elephant because the pachyderms never forget. I am not forgetting this warning and lesson.

 
I tweeted this while away at a conference earlier this week.

I did this because I had noticed the number of “interactive” and “smart” board vendors at the conference centre. I had also coincidentally read an article suggesting 5 Ways to Stop Using Your Interactive Whiteboard as a Whiteboard.

I can suggest better. Stop using an “interactive” white elephant board. You can do this is just three steps.

  1. Do not buy an IWB.
  2. Use the money to get shared slates or Chromebooks and a mobile Internet connection.
  3. Invest in learning how to design and manage lessons that require students to create and teach.

Without such boards you will not have items to show off to visitors of your school. Your teachers will also have to unlearn old ways of teaching, relearn what it is like to learn, and learn newer ways to teach.

So ask yourself who you serve: The visitors, the vendors, or your students?


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