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Posts Tagged ‘perspective

This tweet is a good reminder on the dangers of not taking someone else’s perspective.

If you followed the instructions exactly, one side of the staircase would be crowded with people running into each other.

One might imagine an unimaginative administrator trying to prevent staircase fatalities by first walking to the base of one. The administrator then looks up and sees two imaginary lanes, left and right, and constructs the instructions based on that perspective.

However, the users of staircases only share that perspective half the time, i.e., when they are walking up. The other half of the time, they are walking down.

If the administrator took a staircase user’s perspective, the instruction might simply be “Keep to your right on the staircase”. This would work for people walking up or down.
 

 
I make this seemingly trivial point because it is not trivial at all. In the broader scheme of things, taking the perspective of people we work for, with, and serve are important.

In the context of teaching, it is critical that teachers as content experts see the difficulties of learning that content from the perspective of novice learners. If they do not, they might teach in ways that make as much sense as the staircase sign.

If I had to guess, most neutrals reading my tweets and blog entries might think I am being negative or even alarmist.

I am neither. I am just providing critical responses to uncritical reports, uninformed newspaper journalists, snake oil vendors, etc.

Why do this? I have two views. One is this.
 

Broken bridge 1 by novellino09, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  novellino09 

 
I have travelled ahead and I see that the bridge is out. It is my responsibility to tell you not to take that route. I will use strong words and I might even try to block you. But it is up to you whether to continue on that path.

My other view is this.

Empire State Pigeon by ZeroOne, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  ZeroOne 

 

On certain matters, I have a bird’s eye view. This means I can see the bigger or different picture, and I can make out details even from a distance.

If I can help you see something you cannot, why would you not want me to point it out? If I can see that the bridge is out, do I not have a duty to inform?

So go ahead, dull your senses, and call me negative or alarmist. Just know this: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Words do not matter; actions do.


Video source

BuzzFeed’s videos are designed more to entertain than to inform even when they claim to be factual.

That said, I can relate to the problems highlighted in the video because I am a leftie. However, most of the problems can be solved quite easily by adapting to the circumstances.

If you want to avoid bumping elbows, switch seats. If a pen is tethered to the right, bring your own. If ring binders get in the way of writing, remove the paper.

You do not need to change the world. You need only change your expectations and behaviour. Like the saying goes: Don’t sweat the small stuff.

For the bigger things, you have retailers that make leftie baseball gloves and guitars. You have lefties with leftie shops selling leftie pens, can openers, scissors, etc.

Whether something is a big problem or not is often a matter of perspective. Some, like first world problems, are trivial and can be ignored. Some only need a change in individual behaviour. It is the big and important problems whose solutions serve many people that are we should focus on.


Video source

I love OK Go‘s latest music video. It is based on optical illusions to trick the eye into seeing what is not quite there.

I would remind outsiders looking into the ICT scene in Singapore schools that all they read and watch is not what they seem.

I am responding to reputable groups like Edutopia’s video feature of Ngee Ann Secondary School and Hechinger Report of ICT in Singapore.

A while ago, I responded to the video by simply stating that “one school does not a system make”. As for the article, I tweeted:

I am not saying that our ICT use or integration is a false illusion. There certainly are some very good examples here. But when observers and policymakers go off on tangents, make generalizations, or make claims with poor foundations, I cannot stand idly by.


Video source

Most people would agree that it helps to get some other perspective when you have a problem.

Others will flatly refuse because of fear, pride, or ignorance.

This video hits the nail on the head by speaking to both parties.


Video source

Having lived in the US of A for an extended period, I can relate to this. But I never thought of doing a role-reversal and being so in-your-face.

It gives new meaning to “it’s better to give than to receive”.

I enjoyed reading this article in The Atlantic by Mimi Ito. Here is what I think is the meat of the matter:

In our research, we found that parents more often than not have a negative view of the role of the Internet in learning, but young people almost always have a positive one.

When we interview young people, they will talk about how the Internet makes it easy for them to look around and surf for information in low risk and unstructured ways. Some kids immerse themselves in online tutorials, forums, and expert communities where they dive deep into topics and areas of interest, whether it is fandom, creative writing, making online videos, or gaming communities. They also, of course, talk about spending time hanging out with their peers, but this too is a lifeline that is sorely lacking in many of today’s teen’s schedules.

It is about getting a kid’s perspective and seeing how their behaviours and preferences ARE relevant to them and for the world that they shape.

I also like another phrase in the article:

It’s not just professors who have something to share, but everyone who has knowledge and skills.

This speaks not just of a mind shift that is required among those who teach, but also among those who learn. To teachers, know that you are not the only ones who can teach. To learners, you are expected to share and teach.

If we get a critical mass of such a mind shift, then we will see a paradigm shift in education. It will no longer be only expert-driven-and-delivered, but also socially negotiated and generated.


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