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Posts Tagged ‘making

I enjoy YouTube videos by the Slow Mo Guys.

Slowing down helps us see things we would not normally notice. This principle applies whether we relying technology like high-speed cameras to slow bullets down or if we use blogs to reflect on learning.

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I learnt something new about Gavin, one of the two Slow Mo Guys, from their secondary channel. He did not have a university degree, but found a different way to work in the USA.

He realised that he needed to qualify for a work visa as an outstanding individual, so he built up his video channel. The platform was essentially an e-portfolio of his work and achievements.

Those who wish to find their own way need to create their own opportunities. Gavin is a good example and a source of inspiration.

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I enjoy Matt Pat’s video essays because he puts a lot of work into them. The fact that they are easy to digest belies the complexity of their content.

In this latest instalment, he used the recent (and frankly overdone) examples of Yanni/Laurel and Brainstorm/Green Needle to illustrate how subjective our perceptions can be.

At the very least, we should take away these concepts: Our senses are easy to fool and what we perceive is not the same across the board. These are fundamental concepts in rigorous teacher education programmes. And yet we try to school students with singular approaches or adhere blindly to standards.

I am all for maker movements provided they or the press do not oversell them or spread popular fallacies.

This tweet claims that students have and need a space to make.

If you need a specific space to “get creative”, you are teaching the wrong value system. I would argue that you get the most creative stress when you do not actually have a special space and resources.

A reserved “maker space” also silos the content and the so-called 21st century competencies (21cc) from the rest of the curriculum. Making should be integrated, not set apart and sold like a public relations tool.

Speaking of 21CC, the press still sells communication and collaboration as 21st century. This make me wonder how the other centuries got by without them.

No, making should not be special nor it is uniquely 21st century. Focusing on such messaging distracts from its core — learning by doing, asking, failing, and trying again.

Refuse to be confused.

I have no doubt that someone will watch this video by Nintendo and label it an example of the maker movement.

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It is not. Needing to assemble something does not make the process of making.

Following instructions to arrive at a model answer or artefact is using a recipe. There was no creative customising or critical hacking. There was no self-direction or agency. There was little, if any, problem-seeking, planning, or problem-solving.


Welcome home, brother! by vynsane, on Flickr
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STEM, STEAM, coding, maker spaces. If you are an educator, you should be well acquainted with these buzz words.

There is nothing like a good story to make these real. The YouTube video embedded below is a wonderful example of making and coding with LEGO so that kids with physical disabilities have modular artificial limbs.

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All making and coding needs context. If they do not, they will be as empty as current deliver-and-test curricula. So what better context than creating artificial limbs for kids that they can co-design and actually enjoy?

In showing care in context, such projects might also create sustainability. Such limbs must literally grow with the kids, and for some, might grow on them. A few might be inspired enough to also make and code.

So by all means promote coding and making, but do not lose sight of context. That context does not just provide opportunity for authentic problem finding and solving, it might also show care for others and sustain coding and making for the long run.

The whole world seems to be talking about the Charlie Hebdo tragedy.

Through their actions, terrorists make spectacular statements that make most sit up and notice. But, for the most part, the terrorists are not making the difference they want. They have got the world’s attention, but if the mass rally against such violence was any indication, they strengthened the resolve against terrorism.

Making a statement is relatively easy. Celebrities donned or carried Je Suis Charlie paraphernalia at the recent Golden Globes ceremony. I wonder how many would actually want to be Charlie. Did any claim a more worthy cause, Je Suis Ahmed?

It might take courage to stand up and make a rhetorical statement, but the hard work is putting your money where your mouth is.

Making a difference is taking action. That applies whether it is on a grand scale or a local one.

This week I travel to London to deliver a short talk at the Bett conference. I am going to make statements on what I think is wrong with some mindsets of flipping classrooms. I have asked myself if I am going to make a difference.

I am making the effort to fly to another country to spend a message. Some people will agree with what I say and a few will take action. But is that difference enough?

I remind myself that I left a very cushy job as a university faculty member last year to try the VUCA world of educational consulting. I wanted to say yes to the individuals and agencies that asked me, “Can you help us to…?”

It is still way too early to tell, but I am going to keep trying to make a difference.

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