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Posts Tagged ‘filter


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Last week’s news and meme is old and passé by now. A news pundit said that it “teaches us nothing” and it “just very funny”.

I disagree. You can learn from any event if you choose to. This is particularly true of teachers who are pushed to use technology.

In the era of Zoom, you might realise the importance of not sharing devices if you can afford it. If you have to share devices, at least learn how to activate and deactivate functions like video overlays.

Alternatively, you might learn the affordances of features you might not necessarily use because you could teach yourself the social and pedagogical affordances of those features.

To simply take the event as face value and not learn from it is not funny. It is foolish.

Consider this example in the context of higher education. According to this Mothership article, an NUS professor only realised that he was muted for most of his almost two-hour Zoom-based lecture.


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It should not take a pandemic to learn that you should not be conducting two-hour lectures or not pause periodically for questions. It could take the forced adoption of Zoom to realise that the seminar mode is not ideal and that it is always a good idea to enable alternative feedback features in Zoom, e.g., text chat, emoji reactions.

If teachers and educators do not learn from the mistakes of others, the cat might not only get their tongues. They might also get eggs on their faces.


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This video snippet from the BBC painted a positive picture of the possible effects of mobile use by babies or toddlers. It was a better clip than the CNA video last year [1] [2] not because it was tech-positive, but because it was less biased.

The CNA video last year asked the question “Can e-learning make you dumb?” and sought to back up its answers with what its writers had already decided instead of what they could investigate.

The BBC video was not as negative, even when the narrator seemed to sneak in negative associations with mobile device use like “young children sat down using technologies won’t be as good at coordinating their bodies”. It was simply repeating a commonly held concern by lay folk.

The takeaways from the video should not be that the small sample of kids was representative of a larger group nor that kids who used technology were no worse with gross motor skills and better at fine motor skills.

If we learn anything at all from these videos it should not be the opinions on the effects of e-learning or mobile devices. It should be that we need to read, listen, watch, or otherwise process all sources of information with critical filters.

One coarse but vital filter is identifying bias. The CNA video asked questions and rushed to answer them with unbalanced certainty. The BBC video, while seemingly positive, asked questions and left room for even the child expert to express doubt.

One video tried to tell you WHAT to think; the other video could teach you HOW to think.

If you do not help yourself, someone will sense an opportunity, offer their help, and charge you for it. That is what I thought when I read this tweet and the embedded article.

You can help yourself. You should help yourself.

There is so much information and so many resources you can get for free or for a low fee. Much lower than a provider would bilk and milk from you over an extended period.

But you say that it takes time to learn? I say make the time.

Then you say it is too difficult? I say everything is difficult the first time round.

You say you would rather just pay someone else to do it and then not worry about the issue? I say it does not work like that.

Web filtering is not just about tools and protocols. It is about setting expectations and parenting. It is about discussing and rationalising.

Now be just as savvy when it comes to learning how to be a better person or worker. You can help yourself. You should help yourself.

If you are going to pay someone else to help you, first make sure that this is about something you absolutely cannot do yourself. Then make sure that the other party can actually help.


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