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Posts Tagged ‘messages

Sometimes I think I no longer need to repeat some messages because they sound old. But I am constantly reminded that I cannot be complacent.

The messages are diverse. They range from “Singapore does NOT cane you for chewing gum” to “gamification is not the same as game-based learning” or “flipping the classroom is not the same as flipping the learning”.

The cane comment surface just a few days ago. Strangely enough, it stemmed from a tongue-in-cheek remark on Singapore’s Schooling being Number One (the swimmer and our PISA results).

Someone else wanted to know if caning had anything to do with our results.

My reply, tongue firmly in cheek, was this:

We had a short conversation thereafter:

This reminded me of my stay in the US over 15 years ago when I had to remind people that Singapore was not in China and that we did not cane people for chewing gum.

While the conversation was not about caning and gum, I had to inform someone on Twitter that we do not cane boys as easily as we would flick a switch.

In the teaching and learning front, the runaway trains are gamification and the flipped classroom. Both vendors and ill-informed individuals push these without first knowing or caring about their histories, research, or critical practice.

I laud their enthusiasm, but when it is misguided, I make my stand: Gamification is not game-based learning and it is not enough to just flip the classroom.

Sometimes I wonder if harping on these messages makes me the squeaky wheel or the proverbial voice in the desert. Then I remember this Jon Stewart quote: If you smell something, say something.

As a watchdog, I have to be vigilant. As an educator, I remind myself that the old messages are new to someone else.

Something happens practically every time I return home from an overseas trip: My iPhone does not work exactly the same way it did before the trip.
The problems are varied, as are the solutions.

A few years ago, I recall that some WhatsApps contacts could message me while others could not. At that time I foolishly updated the WhatsApp app with my foreign SIM number while overseas. When I returned, I put my original number back, but some contacts in remained in limbo.

Now I try to make sure that I use my phone only to activate a foreign prepaid SIM and pop the SIM into a travel router as soon as I can. Foreign telcos often send profile updates to the phone to make sure it works with their system, but this can have unintended consequences.

iOS Messages toggle setting.
After my most recent trip last week, I found that my phone did not forward Messages (Apple’s text messages and normal SMS) to my laptop, desktop, and iPad like before.

I found out that I had to toggle Messages to each device off in my phone settings and then reactivate them one by one. This meant getting activation codes from my other devices all over again.
Handoff from other device.
I also discovered that Handoff did not work between my phone and laptop or desktop. This was unusual because my iPad, which travelled with me, did not suffer the same travel bug.

After a bit of investigating, I discovered that my Bluetooth connection did not automatically reactivate after Flight Mode on my phone while it did on my iPad.

People like to say that you learn a lot when you travel. This used to be true mainly because of the new experience, culture, food, language, etc. that travel brings. We should add to that lot lessons from troubleshooting.

This news article called coding a “new language”. Linguists would disagree because they do not take the definition of language as lightly as journalists. For that matter, ask those in the fields of coding, computer science, and computational thinking and they might provide different perspectives as well.

When the latter group of people are not consulted, almost anything counts as “coding”. When that happens, the only ones who really benefit are vendors who pull the wool over the eyes of parents.

Take one example from the news article:

The course spans four sessions and costs about S$300 according to Mr Koh, who said he hoped his son would gain “exposure and self-achievement” from the class.

“It would be some use to him in the future, hopefully,” he said, adding that he views coding as a “life skill”.

How exactly will learning how to “code” now help him in the future? The same way all other just-in-case instruction helps in the future? What teacher-led lessons do you remember from when you were in Primary 3 (the age of the boy)? Why does “coding” not have any utility now?

There is wool over the eyes and there is wooly thinking. Here is another quote from a different parent:

Technology is starting to become “part and parcel” of our everyday lives, and while it used to be just those in the workforce and tertiary institutions who had to contend with it, the age “has gone down even earlier”. “My son, who just entered Primary 1, already has to do his homework online,” she said.

First, unless you live under a rock on a remote island (perhaps when Singapore was still a small fishing village), technology is already part and parcel of our everyday lives. It is not becoming.

Second, having to do homework online is not a good reason for “coding” enrichment. Unless the homework was actually about coding. At the Primary 1 level.

I am not against coding or computational thinking. I am against news articles that are serve as ad-ticles (advertisements for vendors that are disguised as newsworthy articles).

My guess is that someone wanted to push the coding agenda forward but decided to lead with a human interest story. If you read the responses of the parents that the journalist chose to highlight, you will realise that the parents are going in blind and vendors are taking advantage of this.

Despite all this, the kids stand to benefit because a curriculum not constrained by tests or legacy processes will feel like a breath of fresh air. They will get to explore, create, and make mistakes. Hopefully.

But let us not kid ourselves into thinking it will help with their homework now or that it has something to do with an undefined future.

Decode ad-ticles and vendor-speak. Find out how it helps kids now and seek evidence of learning. Do this not because you paid good money for the experience. Do this because you want to educate your child, not school him/her.

One thing I do at the beginning of each year is change the passwords of my most frequently used online services.

The good thing about changing an Apple password is the security. Two-factor authentication is the default and Apple’s online systems will “harass” you with logins and authentication.

However, changing your Apple password could result in services like iCloud and apps like Messages to not work in both iOS and OSX.

Reconnecting to iCloud services is easy enough. Sign in again on iOS and on OSX when prompted. You might be prompted to sign in twice in OSX.

Messages works if you stay strictly in the Apple ecosystem. But if you forward text SMS from your iPhone to your iPad and computers, this service may stop working. These SMS could be from non-iOS users or are text verifications from banks or online services, so they could be vital.

Text Message Forwarding

The forwarding service was re-enabled on my iPad after I logged into iCloud. However, I could not receive SMS on my MacBook and iMac.

I found out that I had to:

  1. Log out of Messages in OSX.
  2. Relogin to Messages with the new password.
  3. OSX will indicate that there is something wrong with iCloud settings. Sign in to iCloud again on OSX.
  4. Re-enable text forwarding in iOS for each iCloud-linked device.

Enabling SMS Forwarding

I have also discovered that changing passwords for Twitter and the Google universe (Maps, apps) can have unintended consequences. I will share what I did to solve these problems in another blog entry.

Most modern wifi routers or access points (APs) allow you to specify at least two hotspots: One for the 2.4GHz spectrum and another for the 5GHz spectrum.

Smok’d Window by Diego3336, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Diego3336 

I use my hotspot names to send social messages to my neighbours. To someone upstairs who smoked indiscriminately, I have one AP set to StopSmokingOutYourWindow.

This might seem passive-aggressive, but it seems to have worked because I no longer smell second-hand smoke late at night. That or the smoker might have died from lung cancer.

No running with fish, no smelly fish, no by waldopepper, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  waldopepper 

To a lady downstairs who prepares an assortment of agonizingly smelly fish every day over a charcoal fire, I direct AuntieYourFishStinksUpOurHome.

I have only just started this second message. Old auntie might not realize that her method of cooking is dangerous when done indoors. She is equally unlikely to surf while she stinks, but her younger flatmates might get the message.

If anyone tells me to be more tolerant, I invite them to stay in my apartment. The smell slaps me awake in the morning, sticks to the laundry and other fabrics, and is nauseating. Someone needs to stop or otherwise compensate me for sleep deprivation, the cost of rewashing clothes, and buying Febreeze. Lots of Febreeze.

The smell is so bad that one of the occupants downstairs walked up and apologized to me on her own accord. Once.

My router allows me to set up even more hotspot names should I need temporary ones for guests. Maybe I should spread some short socially-conscious messages like:

  • DoNotAnyhowlyBurnIncensePaper
  • MyGateNotXmasTreeForYourFlyers
  • VoidDeckNotShoppingCartLot
  • YourKaraokeNotOK
  • NotNormalForKidToScreamSoMuch
  • NeedAPriestCall1800ScrewBlessYou

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