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Posts Tagged ‘jit

I still play Pokémon Go.

Perhaps play is the wrong word. I persist with it when others have stopped because it represents how I like to learn.

While some teachers talk about ways to enhance teaching with PoGo, I consider how it enables powerful learning. I have shared some perspectives before. Today I suggest more learning opportunities.

The new PoGo raid battles remind me about learning just-in-time (JIT) instead of learning just-in-case (JIC).

The recently implemented raids present boss Pokémon at gyms. This typically requires people to work in groups to defeat each boss, i.e., many small monsters need to simultaneously attack a Gozilla-sized one to reap rewards.

Normal gameplay, like catching Pokémon, spinning stops, and occupying team gyms, is 24×7. However, raids have limited play each day. Players have to refer to a raid alert in the game app which lets them know when raids will happen, where they will take place, and what level boss monster (one star to four star) they will face. Only when a raid battle starts do players know for sure exactly which boss monster they face.

Players in Singapore might also rely on a web app that provides raid alerts like an islandwide radar. A player can target higher level raids with others in the hope of getting better rewards.

What does this have to do with JIT over JIC learning?

The PoGo raid system is like learning JIT because you have to wait for a signal (raid alerts) before responding by seeking more information (the where and when of raids). There is not much you can do by way of textbook-style preparation because the exact opponent is not revealed until the battle starts.

Connected players consult one another in Facebook and Telegram groups. Groups of uncles and aunties exchange strategies socially while waiting for battle or in the aftermath of one (the how of raids).

There are very few instructions and tips provided by Niantic, the company behind PoGo. Most of the strategies emerge from the collective efforts of experimentation, sharing in community, data mining, etc.

Players consult gurus like Nick of Trainer Tips on YouTube for which Pokémon to have and prepare as standard battlers. Players might benefit from the research and recommendations of math nerds who have calculated battlers with the best DPS (damage per second).

PoGo raids are like life: They can be anticipated, but they are fluid. We develop JIT learning naturally in life because of emerging issues or opportunities. PoGo raids encourage JIT learning because they mirror life.

The beauty of PoGo is that while players think they learn content like Pokémon names and battle strategies, they actually learn how to think quickly, critically, and socially. This is an insidious but desirable game-based learning outcome and something that gamification does not easily address.

Come early February I can correct a two-year mistake that I tied myself to — my TV subscription.

Two years ago I committed to a contract to my go-to telco for something they called Home Hub. Where home Internet, phone, and TV services were once separate, all three were bundled under that then new scheme.

The promise was that I would get more for less. That was true to some extent because I got a higher Internet speed for less cost per month. The digital home phone line was something we rarely used, but it was a comforting backup.

What was a waste of money was the TV subscription. My family and I do not watch it the way we did when my wife and I did when we were growing up, i.e., based on someone else’s timetable. We watched on demand.

The meant relying on platforms like YouTube and Netflix. This in turn meant that we paid for what we did not use or need — conventional TV delivered through a fibre optic cable.
 

 
Soon we will “cut” that cord and rely solely on data access for everything we need in terms of employment, education, enrichment, entertainment, etc. I will pay even less to get Internet access speeds that I could only dream of when I first went online.

I wish we had done this sooner when the competition was heating up among service providers and prices dropped even as options increased. The telcos had no choice but to listen to their customers and ride the trend of cord-cutting.

Still I wager that I am in the minority. Why else would the other options persist? The telcos create customer lock-in and retard change.

The status quo is comfortable for the telcos and most customers. However, this denies everyone a better experience. If customers take the initiative or are presented with newer options, they get better experiences for less cost. Happier customers mean better retention for telcos.

As I relate almost everything I experience to schooling and education, I see two reminders for educators and change agents.

If your plan is for one year plant rice.  If your plan is for ten years plant trees.  If your plan is for one hundred years educate children. -- Confucius

First, unlike telcos the school system changes very slowly because the impact on its bottom line is seen or felt very late. This is like watching a tree grow.

Second, the telcos respond to their customers because the latter speak loudly with their wallets and credit cards. If they are unhappy, they move to a better provider. The onus is on the telco to be progressive.

Most schools, on the other hand, have captive audiences. Like the telco customers, students have changing needs and wants. Unlike telcos, schools do not respond to these changes because the pressure is less immediate.

As educators, we need to ask ourselves if we can afford to wait. The cost of waiting does not come directly from the wallet. The cost is maintaining mindsets, expectations, and practices of teachers that are quickly losing relevance.

Standardised and fixed-time broadcasts used to be novel and then became the norm. The same could be said for teaching and delivering content. But just as TV viewers found another way with technology — on demand, just-in-time, and just-for-me — the learner of today needs a school embedded in today, not yesterday.

How else is schooling supposed to prepare the learner for tomorrow?

Let us imagine that you are an adult learner who wants to keep learning, but are not looking for academic qualifications. What do you do?

If you go with most agencies, they will likely offer you courses or modules. These might lead up to something or they might be self-contained. But they are still not designed with you in mind because there are desired outcomes, learning objectives, and curricula determined by someone else.

What are you looking for does not quite exist in the schooling and vendor realms. Instead what you need is designed with two main principles: Just-in-time (JIT) and just-for-me (JFE).

What you need is experiences. An extended vacation might do the trick if you travel light and learn on the run. If you stay in a place where the residents do not speak your native tongue, then you might pick up a new language.

But that is not the bi- or multilingualism I am thinking most people need to experience.
 

 
I see the wisdom of thought leaders who suggest that kids be comfortable in one or more programming language. That is something a school or vendor can help provide. A very motivated individual can also learn this on his or her own thanks to the multitude of books and online resources on programming.

Without this language, most individuals can problem-seek. But armed with the ability to program well, individuals have one more tool with which to problem-solve.
 

 
The older adult learner is unlikely to want or need programming language skills. So what experiences might they invest in?

I suggest being fluent in the daily language of operating systems. The dominant ones are Windows and Mac OS on larger screens, and Android and iOS on smaller screens. We might throw Chrome OS on both screens for good measure.

Being conversant in more than one operating system language can help older learners problem-seek and problem-solve on any major computing platform.

If you need to book that vacation, can you do the research, take notes, seek advice, book a cheap flight, and get the ideal Airbnb place on desktop and mobile devices? Do you know the merits or demerits on each platform?

Now imagine having to offer your services or wishing to stay relevant to clients who are likely on different platforms. You might create an online presence on one platform, but does it look the way you want it to on another? You can only know for sure if you are comfortable, or better still, fluent in all major OS languages.

This is why I have no qualms about investing in various devices with different operating systems. They create learning opportunities just-for-me and just-in-time.

When articles run on techie sites or blogs about devices running a particular operating system, there will invariably be a comment war where one side slimes the other. This is as pointless as arguing whether one language is better than another.

The more you learn, the more you realize how they are more the same than different. Then the fights seem small-minded and petty.

Recently I spent $100 getting a leaky bathroom shower tap replaced by a plumber. The cost included transport, service, and a new tap.

That might sound reasonable to some but not to others. It was great value to me because I learnt how easy it was to replace the tap myself.

I had to replace the tap in another bathroom later that week. Rather than pay another $100, I bought a new tap and did it myself.

I may have learnt how to replace the tap by watching and doing. But what got reinforced was that just-in-time instruction is priceless.

I managed to consume a little bit of Seth Godin’s manifesto on education on my flight between Adelaide and Sydney earlier this week.

I got to the part on “What is school for?” when a flight attendant told me to put my iPhone away even though it was in flight mode.

Godin proposed four purposes of schooling and one was “to further science and knowledge and pursue information for its own sake”. On this he had this critique of schooling:

We spend a fortune teaching trigonometry to kids who don’t understand it, won’t use it, and will spend no more of their lives studying math. We invest thousands of hours exposing millions of students to fiction and literature, but end up training most of them to never again read for fun (one study found that 58 percent of all Americans never read for pleasure after they graduate from school). As soon as we associate reading a book with taking a test, we’ve missed the point.

That is school based on the factory model. It is also something I like to call just-in-case (JIC) schooling. Contrast this with living in the information and interaction age and just-in-time (JIT) learning.

I think that we do need a bit of just-in-case schooling so that we have the building blocks of language and mathematics. But the rest should really be about letting learners build. It is about achieving a better balance (which is now still heavily tilted in the favour of JIC).

If we did have that balance, perhaps we would have flight attendants who were trained more than a decade ago via JIC who learn JIT about studies that show the effect of personal electronics on planes and the purpose of flight mode on such devices.


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