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Posts Tagged ‘humour

If there is any doubt lingering from my critique of the STonline weather tweeter, let me remove it — I am not a fan because the tweeted content barely passes for humour.

But I am a fan of a recently released YouTube video by a Singapore entity.


Video source

The video was a bit late in coming and borrowed heavily from the original from the Netherlands.


Video source

Several other entities from countries in Europe chimed in with their own videos as did individuals and organisations from countries outside the continent. Here is a playlist of some of the better ones.

The German video provided some insights that the others did not. The initial grassroots effort was coordinated between a few European TV teams.


Video source

The starter pack have a website, everysecondcounts.eu to encourage other European countries to join in. (Update: The site now includes other continents.)

The humour of these videos and the website URL is at another level.

Each video often relies on the same formula (a narrator with a Trump-like voice), the same sweeping vista opening and strategic snapshots to drive points home quickly, and the closing remark “America First, [Name of Country] Second”.

Despite the formula, each country makes the introductory video their own. They make reference that are unique to their country, might take potshots at other countries, and troll Trump slyly or overtly.

The companion website URL alone is clever. It is a reference to timely responses (every bit of time matters) and getting involved (every country that might be “second” should stand up and be counted). It is activism that uses humour to make valid and powerful points.

Humour is a weapon. In the minds and hands of the skilled, it is powerful because it disarms before stabbing at the heart of the matter. If wielded by the less able, it hurts the message and the messenger.

As I age, I can feel curmudgeonly cells coat the fibre of my being. So I was not surprised when I did not think highly of some weather-related tweets of STonline.

Am I becoming an old fart? No. I am one. But I am old enough to think young and season it with some wisdom.

Someone at the news agency probably thought that it would be harmless to let an intern take the helm of weather-related tweets. After all, this was not a breaking headline, serious news, or an editorial opinion. Since weather here is so meh, why not spice things up?

In the grand scheme of things, there was no foul and no harm. There were probably no feelings hurt and no political, religious, or other sensitive lines crossed.

But the weather tweet reports were still part of a larger whole — a serious newspaper. If the paper wanted to take itself less seriously, it should remember that it has a comics section and a humour column. Or at least I am assuming so because I do not actually read a paper newspaper anymore.

Might the newspaper be so out of touch that it did not learn the painful lesson from the @MOEsg attempts at entertaining by asking infantile riddles in 2013? Here is a selection I Storified.

Being funny is not easy.

It is an art.

It is contextual.

It is subjective.

It is a serious business.

The same could be said about those who teach. It might look easy if you think that teaching is standing in front of a classroom and just talking. Some folks do not talk; they still read off scripts.

It is one thing to teach, it is another to educate (what are some differences?). Like humour, educating is also an art.

Educators work with contexts, not just content.

Educators leverage on subjectivity instead of pretending there is only objectivity.

Education is a serious business. Many may be called to teach, but few can educate. Anyone who thinks or tells you otherwise does not understand what it means to be an educator.

Warning: Do not read beyond this sentence if you do not possess this third educator trait.

Have you ever wondered something like this out loud?

If so, we have the perfect platform for you. Introducing: Cave minus 10.0.
 

Secret Cave by heyyu, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  heyyu 

 
For confidential topics, retreat to our Cave. It is wireless (no wires or power), signalless (no smartphones), and connectionless (no Internet, no social media, no YouTube, etc.).

There is no writing on any medium (not even the walls), no storage or archiving (you already have baggage), and no surface for reflection (you already know best because you have class).

Why use our Cave? Simple. Anything online is never completely confidential. It can be video-recorded, screen-captured, or otherwise copied and shared.
 

SS helmet by gwilmore, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  gwilmore 

 
We also offer a special brainwashing head gear, Cognitive Helmet (patent pending), that helps people forget the little they remember or learn. If they remember something, they can take it out of the Cave and share it elsewhere (like they did with the Math Olympiad question on Cheryl’s birthday).

Note: Helmet does not help remove bias that your cave people will already have. It has been proven to permit only assimilative thinking and resist cognitive dissonance and accommodative thinking.

The combination of Cave and Cognitive Helmet provide a virtual learning experience. You will think you are teaching and your people will think they are learning. Virtually speaking, of course.

For optimum experience, we encourage your people to bring their own devices. Devices like ear plugs and blinder-equipped glasses. If you think isolating yourself from the rest of the world is good, removing yourself even while in the presence of others is even better. Teach and learn in isolation or even in a vacuum; it is neat, peaceful, and clean.
 

 
If you subscribe now, we offer a free* wall of fire (Fire Wall, patent pending) to keep intruders, the curious, and the non-entitled, non-payers out.

*Fuel for fire is limited and subject to supply demand the depth of your budget.

We can be part of this world, but not of it. We ignore calls to break down classroom walls or make them transparent. Why should we let people see what really goes on in there? We refuse external inputs because we have all the experts we need. What do those charlatans know to do anyway? Parody sales pitches?

Screw so called 21st century fluff and fake modern beliefs like connectivism, climate change, evolution, or “the earth is round”. We do not just wish for the Age of Enlightenment or Renaissance men (sorry, women), we create the conditions for it. How do you put a price on that?

We do! It will cost you a lot of money for the few that will use it. But you know that it is worth it because it costs so much! How many other people can say they own a white elephant?
 

The World in a Bubble (September 2012) by skippyjon, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  skippyjon 

 
Too long, didn’t read? Create your own bubble of confidential content delivery with Confidential Cave -10.0, Cognitive Helmet (patent pending), and Fire Wall (also patent pending). It will not burst. We promise (fingers crossed).

Contact our sales staff today by smoke signal, carrier pigeon, or telegraph (we are trying this new technology but we expect it not to last).

If you prefer, you can visit us in our underground office located at Ostrich Neck Lane. If you hit Frog-in-Well Industries, you have gone too deep. We are shallower than that.

This message was paid for by Van Doores, Pte. Ltd. and supported by Al M. Esse & Associates and Dead Tree Inc.

Har-har!

You don’t have to be an academic to appreciate the protest-in-jest!

[image source, used under CC licence]

No, I do not mean administering humour. I mean breaking down humour into its components and administrating it. Don’t know what I am talking about?

Over the weekend I tweeted Microsoft’s Education Competencies on humour (or humor for those in the US) [PDF copy, summary table below]. I thought it was a joke then and I think that it is oh-so ridiculous now. Michael Arrington at TechCrunch weighs in on the matter and I thought I’d fire a salvo as well.

[partial screen capture of source]

Like Arrington, I thought that it was ridiculous for MS to try to “chunkify” humour into discrete blocks for attainment. Even if, by some remote possibility, that the MS article is a joke, it shows how old school training or teaching operates: Go from simple to complex and scaffold along the way. There is nothing wrong with that approach until you use it all the time and rely on it as a crutch.

I also thought that the tabulated approach was typical of how administrators think. Not every human trait is clear or simple or fits nicely into cells. Some traits are more like Venn diagrams. Many our limited scope of illustration.

So how do we teach such things? I say we don’t, not in the traditional sense anyway. Like learning a new language, I say we let learners experience the complexity and richness of it all from the beginning. It is about apprenticeship and learning in context. It is about learning from reality and community.

Yes, we do learn a language in chunks, e.g., vocabulary. But traditional teaching relies on rote memorization; more progressive pedagogy relies on immediate use and practice in context. The difference is what makes learning meaningful.

As for administrators trying to simplify things, I say let the stakeholders tell riches stories. Keep portfolios and show evidence of change and growth. Let more than one person be the judge by getting all stakeholders involved. For example, an educator could be appraised by a principal, colleagues, students and parents throughout a school year. It is not difficult to do this with social media and it relieves one judge of a heavy and unfair burden.

Might it look like this?

Source

Love the Gary Larson style of the piece. But God needs to upgrade to a multitouch or possibly a holo (halo?) screen!


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