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Posts Tagged ‘not

Born free. Became expensive.

No, I do not work for free.

No, I will not endorse your product or service.

No, you cannot expect handouts all the time.

I have been approached by various agencies over many channels to give free advice, to share professional connections, and to embed third party offerings like “infographics” into my blog.

To them I say: You do not work for free, so why are you expecting me to? Not convinced? Refer to the pick-my-brain section of my contact page.

While I share some of my thoughts and musings daily and openly in my blog, this does not mean that I offer all of my professional services and distilled wisdoms for free. These took time and failed efforts to build up and learn from.

I do not work for free.

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Experts from several fields weighed in on what it means to be “innovative”. According to a news article, this was part of forum organised by the NUS Business School.

I liked the response by Professor Michael Frese. He indicated that whether something was innovative or not needed to be judged in hindsight and that creativity often stems from a poverty of resources.

He also described how leaders were critical in implementing innovation. They had to combine contradictory processes: Open ones like risk-taking and failing, and closed ones like routines and deadlines.

I would be stumped to define innovation succinctly. I was schooled longer than I have educated myself. As a teacher I even helped schooling cement its place until I decided that it was better to be an educator.

I find it easier to describe what innovation in education (not schooling) is NOT than to say what it is.

Show and tell through the ages.

A while ago, I gave a keynote during which I shared how humans have relied on show-and-tell over the ages. Doing the same thing differently is not innovative despite the changes in technology. We can — and we have — conducted show-and-tell on cave walls, blackboards, overhead projectors, white boards, “interactive” white boards, and now, mobile screens.
 

If one is to be truly innovative, then one might focus on the learner and learning, and then consider how not to rely just on show-and-tell. It might be about showing learners where to look without telling them what to see.

 
Not preventing something is not the same as promoting, sanctioning, or allowing it. This might sound obvious when you say it, but this seems to escape people who seek change.

For example, take how many educational institutions adopt a standard learning management system (LMS). When a few instructors ask if they can not use it or operate outside of it, the reasonable response from higher-ups is that they are not prevented from doing this. However, these independent or alternative efforts are not supported either.

Since components are often tightly linked — content storage and delivery; online discussion; assignment checking, submission, and grading — operating outside an institutional LMS takes know-how, courage, and persistence. Instructors have legitimate concerns about what others think about their actions and if these impact student feedback on teaching and their appraisals.

But ask any instructor who has had legitimate reasons to move beyond institutional LMS if their students’ feedback or instructional appraisals have been bad. You will more likely than not find that when these educators put their learners’ interests before their own, neither feedback nor appraisals suffer.

So the issue of higher-ups or IT departments or current policies not supporting innovative educators is a non-issue. The main thing that prevents change is the mindset and determination of the educator.

Smart people can come up with dumb labels. The smart prefix has been used with phones, rooms, boards, vehicles, etc.

These devices are not smart. They do not (yet) create or intuit.

The devices might also bring out behaviours in people that are not smart. People walk around with phones without looking around. Teachers might expect the room and board work to engage. Drivers let vehicles make decisions that the latter cannot yet make.

Maybe the people who label things smart are not that smart after all.

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I recoiled when I saw this. It is the same reaction I have whenever I see such photos.

I call it like I see it: There is nothing more unnatural than putting on a show like this and having people gawk away.

This happens in some Singapore schools more often that we would like to admit, but we keeping doing this because we have visitors. I wonder if 1) the students feel like animals in a zoo, and 2) our visitors would rather see our cat belly.

The good thing about kids is that they learn to tune the adults out. The closer they are to being a teenager, the easier it is to do this.

The “good” thing about such photos is that I can use them as wrong examples of the audience effect.

Audience effect quote.

I normally share this quote and describe a Vanderbilt study to illustrate the audience effect. I use it to justify why it this is important for the learner-as-teacher dimension in flipped learning. Such an authentic audience effect is positive because it enables and drives learning.

The showcase-for-audience effect is insidious. It is driven by marketing and public relations. It takes time and effort, but does not help the learner and learning. Unless it is about putting on a show.

 
I had a CT scan on Monday so that a urologist could have a clearer look at my plumbing. I was scheduled to have a followup appointment next Tuesday.

I received an unexpected phone call from the specialist’s office in the morning yesterday to let me know that I was not quite out of the woods. Specifically the doctor let me know that there was still some blockage and wanted to know if I was in pain. He also rescheduled the followup to this Friday.

That is not good news. I was in great pain for a week when I was diagnosed with a kidney stone a little over a fortnight ago. I took notes on how the pain moved in my body over time. I had hoped that I passed the stone out naturally.

The only other pain was gout of my left middle toe which lasted a few days almost a week ago.

On the bright side, I will be able to find out more about my condition tomorrow and I am not in any pain at the moment. In fact, I feel well enough to meet with a prospective client today to discuss a lengthy e-learning project.

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Ever so often I am asked what “e-learning” means.

I tell people three things:

  • You can look it up online
  • It means different things to different people
  • It is easier to tell you what e-learning is NOT

E-learning is not e-doing or e-teaching.

It is not the creation of busy work for students to do during artificially created e-learning days or weeks. The “e” does not stand for emergency or extra.

E-learning does not exclude a blending with face-to-face instruction or learning.

E-learning should not be an attempt to recreate the same kind of teaching you could do face-to-face. After all, if learners will not put up with hour-long lectures, why should they bother when they are in the comfort of their rooms, beds, or even toilets?

E-learning is just learning. With resources that are online and readily available. The resources may also be curated or created, not just by the teacher but especially by the learner.

Don’t believe my definition of e-learning?

See bullet point 1 and 2. Look it up. Discuss. Then see what you learn without me trying to teach you.


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