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What can you say in one minute? What can you teach in one minute?

Most people would say not much.

But if video is the new text, what can you say in that same minute? What can you now teach in one minute?

Here are three videos, each only a minute long, that present a wealth of possibilities.

Video source

Video source

Video source

If you are an educator, what questions can you spark so that the learning (not the teaching) goes well beyond that minute?

If students are already “reading” videos, why are we not teaching them to “write” videos?

If video is the new text, are you an educator who is literate and fluent with this text?

T minus zero normally means “out of time” or it marks the launch of a projectile.

5 seconds by lecates, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  lecates 

Today is the start of my identity sans NIE labels. No professor, no lecturer (I hate that term!), no appointment holder, no leader or manager. No unnecessary baggage either.

But I will still be doing some of those things over the next few months as I provide consulting work for various institutes: pedagogy workshops, change management experiences, strategic planning, ETC. ETC not as in et cetera, but as in Education and Technology Consultant.

I am looking forward to a more focused, relaxed, and rewarding work life. If I take one of the full time positions I have been offered, my blog readers will be among the first to know.

Thought leaders in the area of journalism started declaring that “video is the new text” in 2012 and 2013.

At a conference in Kuala Lumpur last year, I heard Marc Prensky say the same thing in the realm of education. This was one reason for our CeL-Ed video channel experiment.

If video is the new text, what is the new textbook? I do not think that it is a YouTube video playlist.

Instead, I think that the new textbook is rich experiences. Experiences that not only include the consumption of rich and timely media, but also interacting socially with peers and more knowledgeable others, creating and sharing content, and learning outside silos of books, subject areas, and classrooms.

Now this is obviously not what the Open Textbook movement is about. However, I think that my suggestion is another way of acting on the issue of over-priced, paper-based, and limited-use textbooks.

I walk this talk in the two courses that I facilitate. I only provide one PDF chapter in one course and five videos in another. I have a host of curated resources online, but I expect my learners to find and/or create their own.

This gives them greater ownership of the learning because they are more involved. They write in order to read. Their textbooks are based on their experiences, that of their peers, and the ones I provide for them. These textbooks make for riveting reading!

Video source

These videos helped me time-travel.

To explain how, I need to mention “new economy” and a memory from my time as a graduate student.

The “new economy” has been bandied about for as long as I can remember. When I was a graduate student over 10 years ago, I recall a professor saying that the phrase was rubbish. He claimed that despite the influence and advances of the Internet, there was no real “new” economy despite the dotcom boom and bust. Companies either made money and survived or they lost money and went away.

His point was that money talked the same way it did in the “old” economy. I recall how the class laughed because we understood where he was coming from.

But the new economy is more than making money (or not) in order to survive (or not). It is about newer approaches to things like fund-raising, how you make a living, and getting work done.

The two videos show how crowdsourcing is one way of raising funds. This seems not much different from asking for donations until you realize how anyone in the world can participate. If people do not offer money, they can also offer their services, talents, locations, resources, etc.

Video source

For example, a typical blockbuster movie is a multi-million dollar hard sell that you do not have any say in. The Wongfu guys are asking for money, resources, and even ideas. The ordinary person is not just a cinema patron, s/he is a donor, writer, web designer, marketer, talent, manager, etc.

If the old economy is typified by centralized control, the new economy seems to be exemplified by distributed reach and involvement. What used to be 9 to 5 is now 24 x 7. What used to just be about numbers is now about doing something meaningful.

We live in interesting times because they are not about just the old economy or the new one. Both exist as do combinations in the continuum between.

But we also live in troubling times because schooling still focuses largely on preparing kids for the old economy. The good thing is that some kids with the means are teaching themselves the skills they also need for the new economy. Skills like building digital identity or building online community.

The bad thing is that many school systems run on the model of the old economy. The worse thing is that some of these skills are not encouraged or viewed with fear in schools. The worst thing is that kids are not ready for either economy when schooled this way.

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The old saying is:

Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Figuratively, the saying is about taking the long term course of action. If you take the adage literally, you might wonder how many people fish for a living nowadays. We let other people fish for us.

But how about updating the saying?

The new saying is tongue-in-cheek, but it is also a humorous critique of the modern world. Phrased this way, it becomes less about the long term view and more about effective reach.

With the world changing as rapidly as it does, long term plans are harder to think up much less implement. But in a world where connectedness is key, broad reach over the short term is more effective than just a long term plan.

If you declared that “video is the new text”, how many folks in education would agree with you? I am not sure how many would.

But if you observe how people learn with and from YouTube videos, you have a sense of how video-as-the-new-text is true.

If you create videos of your own and share them online you know this to be true. That is why we a few of us at CeL will be learning to read and write this form of text when we turn three this July.

Here is a sneak preview…

Video source

Just like learning a new language, we are going to stumble, make some mistakes, and look a bit foolish (in my case, a very foolish).

But we are going to learn by trying, not by standing back and watching, or hiding in the shadows and criticizing.

We do not plan on being the next YouTube stars. Sticking with the language analogy, we are not trying to be charismatic orators or great authors. We want to learn a new language so that we can figure out how else to leverage on this powerful medium.

The countdown to our Monday through Friday channels will start next week. Stay tuned to CeL at Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

eBesta Dictionary by djvu83, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  djvu83 

I received a printed notification from my son’s school that he needs to buy an electronic dictionary.

On one hand, I am glad that the school has taken half a step forward in going paperless. On the other, I wonder if that step is worth the while.

We already have electronic dictionaries in his iPad. They are either free or cost very little compared to another electronic device.

The school authorities will argue that an iPad costs much more or that students might lose/steal the iPads and that it could be a source of disruption.

The iPad costs much more because it is a multifunction device. The electronic dictionary is a monofunction device.

An iPad has players and recorders (for audio, photo, video), at least one Web browser, communication tools, notebook, clock, reminder list, contacts list, calendar, etc.

Install apps and the device becomes a dictionary, thesaurus, QR code reader, feed collector, newspaper, e-book reader, white board, social media centre, gaming device, data collector, entertainment centre, presenter, media editor, remote control, map, travel planner, and more.

You can squeeze just about every and any textbook and assessment book into the iPad. The device can hold its charge the whole school day. The school does not have to provide every student with an iPad if they adopt a BYOD policy (you bring what you have, we provide only for those who do not have one).

The iPad then becomes like the school uniform. Everyone has one and is required to have one.

What schools then need to think about and act upon are access and usage policies, insurance, and technical support. Those are administrative disruptions that might be inconvenient but are necessary.

The better disruptions come in the form of learning how to teach with mobile devices. Do you deliver or do you facilitate? When do you focus on content or thinking skills? How do you manage classes differently?

I have other thoughts about telling kids to buy monofunction devices:

  • These officially approved devices benefit vendors or companies in the long run
  • They become yet another item to carry (or lose) in overloaded bags
  • These devices cannot be updated as quickly as apps and slates can
  • They are a means of maintaining old school habits instead of developing new and relevant ones

We will not have a choice but to get the electronic dictionary because not getting it means my son lacks a tool in his kit. That is like being forced to buy another old screwdriver when I already have a better set of screwdrivers, a Swiss Army knife, or an electronic screwdriver.

But that is not going to stop parents or educators like me who want to prepare our kids with multifunction devices in a multifacted world.

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