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Posts Tagged ‘irony

I wonder if the use of the pencil to illustrate technology leaders and laggards was ironic or intended.

If technology is anything new that you did not have when you were growing up, then using a pencil makes sense — everyone in the audience used one.

But its use is somewhat ironic. The speaker had to rely on an older form of technology that no longer had laggards. Who objects to pencils?

The point was to encourage better use and integration of current educational technologies. These are things that teachers did not have when they were growing up but what students have in abundance now, i.e., mobile phones and laptops.

The metaphors we use are powerful. They reveal our mindsets which in turn shape our behaviours. You might start with a pencil because everyone can relate to it. But that could reveal a mindset entrenched in the past.

Local social media lit up last week after a performer from Henry Park Primary School showed the middle finger on national TV.

The aftermath was no different. As expected, the boy was given a talking to and he was remorseful.

The Twitter reaction thread was easy enough to analyse. For simplicity, the reactions fell into three main camps: Tweets that lauded the boy as a “national hero”, people who blamed anyone or anything other than the child, and all other reactions, e.g., leave the child alone.

These are the types of responses that give Twitter and other social media platforms a bad name. This is a pity given how educators worldwide have embraced Twitter as a medium for connecting and unPD.

Such blasé and negative responses were common even before Trump’s tweets became the new normal. Why?

There is the usually cited reason of facelessness. Online there is no one to literally look in the eye and subsequently face judgement. This encourages the mild to become be bold, and the already bold to troll.

There is a brutal honesty to such tweets because social niceties are sacrificed in favour of raw reaction. What people might not realise is that being on social media requires even more social awareness and skills in a faceless environment.

If conversations like these were conducted in-person, we might label them moronic. Our faces and reactions serve as mirrors so that discussants can gauge their own behaviour. Perhaps, somewhat ironically, the lack of physical presence holds up a mirror bigger and clearer about our lack of social nous.

Notice from Springer.

I did not expect this email notification. It was from a publisher of a book I contributed to before I left NIE in 2014.

I tweeted this yesterday.

If memory serves me right, I submitted my share in 2013. Someone I wrote with retired and left the institute in 2014. I presume someone else had to take over what we wrote if there were edits.

If you look carefully at the screen capture, you might note the title of the book: Teacher Education in the 21st Century.

I was shaking my head (SMH in the tweet) because the publishing process took so long that whatever I wrote is probably irrelevant.

I cannot even remember what I wrote for the book. After all, it was more than three years ago.

The delicious irony made my toes laugh.

I can share a tweet instantly or ruminate on my blog drafts over a day or a week before publishing my thoughts publicly. The speed and ownership of publishing are critical to “the 21st century”.

However, sharing what we did in teacher education took years to write, vet, and publish. By the time ink was smeared on dead trees, the information was already dead or dying.

Being literate and fluent in the 21st century also means that what you share or publish does not have to be perfect. It is about being comfortable with discomfort. It is about being able to manage flux and make sense of streams of consciousness.

Books do have a place, but not on the shelf labelled “Timely Information”. They might be suitable for the shelf “Timeless Dogma”. We need more of the former in the 21st century because this is a time like no other in the past.

After reflecting on that, my toes have stopped laughing. I am SMH again.

Judging from the WordPress notifier, my reflection, Lazy curation is not curation, resonated with quite a few people. It helped that a few key tweeps passed the message along by tweet-sharing it.

I am guessing that algorithms take into account the number of hits a link gets because I serendipitously discovered that the blog entry was listed in at least two of those e-papers (I did not bother to find out if there were more).

One was as a leading article.

Another was as one of the articles in a Technology section of a different space. This was an example of how auto-curation tools are not yet smart enough to categorize based on nuance.

The irony was not lost on me: My reflection against auto-curation tools was offered more than once by auto-curation tools. I wonder if their owners review content or reflect on their practice.

I share this not to embarrass the owners of the e-papers. If their owners had any control and chose to publish the recommendations intact, then they were brave to provide an alternative view. But I wish they would reconsider which bandwagon to ride on. They are not creating and what they are doing is not curating if they do not review and reflect.

A few months ago I met with someone who was a student in a graduate class I facilitated several years ago.

After we exchanged pleasantries, he mentioned how he remembered me and my course. He said what impacted him was the fact that I documented the course with photos.

I thought this was somewhat ironic given that the course I facilitated was for Masters and Ph.D. students who were writing dissertation proposals. The course was about a form of writing, but what stuck in his mind were photographs.


On one hand, it could have been a sneaky way for him to say that he did not learn much from me or the course.

On the other, this was a poignant reminder to me that our learners pick up more than just what we are trying to teach. There are our values, mannerisms, the actions we model, the effort that we put in, etc.

Our learners watch and listen to us, talk amongst themselves, and learn the unexpected.

We must watch and listen to ourselves, talk to ourselves by reflecting, and learn what to do and not to do if we are to remain relevant and effective.

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