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Posts Tagged ‘life

In a previous reflection, I noted how there seemed to be a phantom power draw by my Toshiba 2 Chromebook when I used it in presentation and facilitation mode.

The lowered battery life seemed to be due to my use of an HDMI-to-VGA dongle to project my screen during workshops. This was odd given how the Chromebook was a relatively passive device.

Recently I used my Chromebook for 6.5 hours straight in active use. I was grading learner performance with Google Forms and fact-checking in Chrome. I did this over a day in one morning and one afternoon session. I still had a little over two hours of battery life left when I responded to email at a cafe later.

All this seems is counterintuitive: Use the device passively to project the screen and the battery runs out, but use it actively and it is an all-workday device.

The difference is the HDMI dongle which seems to sap battery life. I estimate it reduces battery life in my Chromebook Toshiba 2 by about half.

It might be an understatement to say that I have put my Toshiba Chromebook 2 through the wringer over the last few weeks. I have tested its ability to:

In further testing the Chromebook for facilitating events, I have discovered that its battery life suffers.

When I facilitated workshops in August, I tested my Chromebook’s ability to use a USB LAN dongle and an HDMI-to-VGA dongle.

The Chromebook detected the LAN dongle automatically and switched away from wifi, but I kept getting “page not found” error messages in Chrome. This did not happen to me at home, so I guessed there might have been something wrong with the cable or LAN point at the venue I was at.

I could not test the battery drain of the LAN dongle as I went back to using wifi for the sessions. I suspect that it will take a toll on battery life as the dongle is also a travel router that creates an ad hoc wireless network. The dongle felt warm to the touch just after a minute of being plugged in, but that was the extent to my investigation.

Chromebook HDMI-to-VGA dongle.

However, I was able to test the HDMI-to-VGA dongle to project what was on my screen.

Each workshop I conduct is three hours long. A full work day is seven hours with a lunch break in between. I reset my online resources during lunch, so there is hardly a break for my Chromebook.

With the HDMI-to-VGA adapter plugged in, my Chromebook is no longer an all-day device. It will last the morning workshop and lunch, but it cannot make it through the afternoon one. The Chromebook battery is almost exhausted by the first afternoon hour.

From the start, I bring the brightness level of the screen to just one above dark, the wifi is constantly on, and the Chromebook is largely a passive device for showing resources (e.g., Google Sites, online timer) and collating contributions (e.g., Padlets, Google Docs).

I have used the Chromebook for hours at libraries, cafes, and other wifi spots where I can get work done. At home I use it for streaming YouTube videos or Netflix shows. In both cases, the battery rarely goes down past the 50% charge mark. This puzzled me because such uses seem more active than relatively passive workshop use.

The main difference was whether or not I was projecting my screen. At the moment, this seems to be the battery guzzling factor. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to mitigate this issue.

I watch lots of YouTube videos and I view most of them through an educator’s lens.

The video below reminded me that sometimes the important question is not WHY. It is WHY NOT.

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Asking WHY is an important question. But if Belaey only considered that question, he might not have done what he did. Instead, he probably challenged himself with WHY NOT. Why not do it? What would he lose by not trying?

The short film below made me and my family LOL. It also reminded me that we should learn from life’s mistakes.

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We do not get many “mulligans” or take backs in real life. We make mistakes and often we avoid situations that resulted in those errors. But it is important to confront those difficult situations or people.

The third video reminded me about the importance of being patient and persistent. The setting up of the 128,000 dominoes must have taken a very long time and there must have been accidents along the way.

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The final show did not end perfectly, but the feat was still impressive. It would be easy to focus on what did not go well; it is important to also recognize what was successful.

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I do not agree with Forrest Gump’s mother. Life is not like a box of chocolates.

As this video illustrates, it is more like a lot of jellybeans, 28,835 of them, give or take handfuls.

After you take away the jellybean days that represent sleep, work, travel, chores, and whatnot, what do you do with the rest of the days you have left?

What do you do to make those jellybeans count?

When the opportunities come my way, I make it a point to compare the importance of informal learning (as revealed by research) and the perceived importance of formal learning.

I normally use this graphic by the LIFE Center to illustrate.

Image source

But those are the numbers. How about a narrative?

Thanks to a Flickr user, here is an excellent graphic that tells an informal learning story.

Informal Learning Poster by jaycross, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  jaycross 


Click on the image above to see the poster in all its glory!

A few weeks ago I shared how I started playing Clash of Clans with my son on our iPads. I reflected on some learning opportunities then. I have a few more now that I have played the game thoroughly.

One thing I do not really like about the game is that a much stronger village of warriors can attack mine and decimate it. But this is an opportunity to analyze my defensive strategies. I have reconfigured my village several times as a result.

As my son and I shared the same experiences, this gave me an opportunity to discuss the term “underdog“. I asked him if he knew what it meant. Initially he just pictured a smaller dog under a larger dog!

Then we talked about how we were able to successfully defend against strong attacks by being smarter. My son may not have the life experience of being an underdog, but he can now relate to what it feels like to be one (perspective-taking) and how to overcome problems (strategic thinking).

Speaking of strategic thinking, the game now provides instant video replays of how someone successfully or unsuccessfully attacked my village. I can also visit someone else’s village to see how they lay things out. These process artefacts provide insights into an opponent’s strategies and give me the opportunity to reflect critically.

When someone attacks me, I can take revenge by tapping on a button. Like all other games, we learn from failed attempts to defend or attack. The failures do not demoralize and instead motivate us to do better. The element of competition and even the need to get even drive us forward.

I can also form a clan with other players. My son and I formed an exclusive clan and we provide warriors for each other so that our armies are stronger in attack or defence. We have to anticipate what the attacking or defensive needs are, build our own capacity, and request what we need from each other. Sounds like 21st century work to me!

Whether we defend or attack, we have to analyze a stronghold for weaknesses. This is an opportunity to do gap analysis. We then attempt to fill that gap or exploit it.

I could wait for life to deliver its lessons to my son, but I am not waiting. I play mobile video games with him and together we visit life lessons in a fun and non-threatening way.

It’s Friday and time for something light. Not that I need anything light because I have been on leave all this week and spending some quality time with my family.

In this day and age, work is only an email, SMS, or tweet away. But since I believe in thinning the barriers between life, play, and work, I was never very far away from all three.

I wonder whether the group that made the video below considered the effort life, work, or play.

Video source

According to the information at YouTube, this group spent almost four months putting together this stop-motion animation music video.

Perhaps, like me, they consider their video all three.

Click to see all the nominees!

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