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Posts Tagged ‘perspective

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Thanks to the video above, I gained some insight to why some people prefer their photos or videos flipped. These are common in phone-shot and vertical format photos or videos that are typically done with the selfie (front-facing) camera.

The video explained that users prefer the flipped photo or video because it mimics what they see in the mirror. They are not used to seeing themselves as how other people see them.

Some might say: To each their own. I say: It is not just about your perspective; learn to take another. Holding up a mirror to yourself is good as long as you recognise that it sometimes distorts and does not fully represent yourself. It takes others to help you see what you cannot.

I follow Mike Sharples on Twitter and much of what I understand about educational ChatGPT has been shaped by his expertise.

A recent tweet of his distilled something that not many might declare about ChatGPT in its current state — the context for use is important in evaluating its effectiveness.

I contrast this with two non-experts attempting commentary on ChatGPT.

These are local lay folk who probably thought “What’s the harm in trying to be funny?” and perpetuate misinformation as a result. 

The truth is that feeding ChatGPT with questions from a major exam in Singapore will not make it smarter in the way the commenters expect. It is not knowledge repository; it relies on knowledge repositories. It needs answers to those questions.

ChatGPT is currently good at completing sentences and paragraphs, but it also makes things up as it does this. It does not yet have morals or logic in the human sense. It does not learn as we do. 

Sadly the fun and popularity of the misconception will likely travel further than the mundane truth. I choose to amplify the latter.

One of the most progressive perspectives on educational ChatGPT came from an NUS lecturer. His op ed was published by CNA two days ago. He wrote so simply, directly, and convincingly that I am going to quote chunks of his written piece.

His embrace of ChatGPT seem to lie in his teaching philosophy:

It is unrealistic for us to think that we can effectively nurture our students and prepare them to be ready for the future of work if we ourselves are unable to lead by example and adapt well to such technological changes.

Without using these words, he suggested that educators rethink old assessment (like essays) and break the assumption that direct instruction always leads to learning. 

The lecturer observed that his students taught themselves socially and cooperatively:

…I have been watching in amazement at how quickly my students have refined their AI prompting techniques to produce high-quality essays, generate very insightful questions, and answer multiple choice questions complete with a comprehensive elaboration on why it did or did not pick each option.

He did not simply let his students use ChatGPT, he facilitated responsible learning and critical thinking. Specifically, he crafted an AI-use policy: 

  • Use ChatGPT, but cite and attribute as you would any other essay
  • Learn the limits of AI and add value with human intervention, e.g., comment and critique AI-generated writing
  • Rely on an ever-ready and always-on tutor or fellow learner to bounce ideas off of and get instant feedback 

Why did he encourage the use of ChatGPT?

These learning activities will empower weaker students. By learning together with an AI, they can clarify basic concepts and get more questions answered without fear of judgment or embarrassment. The AI can help them to build confidence in their abilities as they can receive instant feedback on how they are doing at any time. This was never possible on a large scale with human educators.

He was not worried about his value as a human teacher:

As educators, we can still add value to our students’ learning by challenging them to go further than an AI can, by encouraging them to explore more effective ways of working alongside it, and by teaching them to think critically and reflectively about responsible and impactful AI use in the works we produce.

I appreciate how a news organisation like CNA will occasionally feature pieces that focus on hope and possibility instead of doom and gloom. Sadly, such articles probably do not get as many reads, and if they do, they are processed with lenses coloured by bias and nostalgia. But among those that are neutral or positive about technology, I hope that there is enough reach and courage to enact change.

Today I reflect on what a tragedy on the international stage and work in the local arena have in common. 

The US military conducted two drone strikes as it left Afghanistan. The first got its intended target while the second was a horrific mistake. The latter not only got the wrong person, it also killed seven children. [1] [2] [3]

On 11 September, the New York Times published its investigation of the second drone strike.

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It revealed that the target, Zemari Ahmadi, was an aid worker of non-profit called Nutrition and Education International. He had no links to terrorism. 

It explained how the children became victims and provided evidence of how the supposed secondary explosion was not due to a car packed with explosives.

The US military admitted to this awful mistake one week later on 18 September.

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There will be much commentary and critique from politicians, news anchors, and experts. Rightly so because the US military needs to be held accountable.

The rest of us might take a principle away from this: It is critical to have an outside perspective. Not only does an outside agency provide a check and measure, it helps cover blind spots.

For example, organisations have external audits because they cannot trust themselves to be objective about their own processes. How can they if they have self-interest, internal bias, and blind spots to contend with?

Individuals from the outside do not have the same blind spots simply because they are outsiders. They offer perspectives that the audited organisations do not have.

This assumes that both the organisations and the auditors behave professionally, of course. The organisations need to be open to examination and the auditors need to use multiple methods and sources.

I have had the privilege of working with different organisations when I was a professor and now as a consultant. I enjoy getting new perspectives from clients and I know I have given them something crucial to think about or act on.

But I have also met representatives from some organisations who are insincere, indecisive, or insecure. They say one thing and either do something else or they do not follow up. 

Organisations would rather just keep doing what they are already doing. The problem with this is that they are not held accountable if they cover up mistakes or if their current processes lead to mistakes. 

In the US, the press has the freedom to poke its nose into just about anything without it being cut off or ending up too bloody. The press is an outside check and measure. 

In my own work, I need to be invited to be that professional outsider. I am impressed when organisations make that move and I leave critical impressions when I provide my services. But I am also disappointed when they make promises and do not deliver.

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You recognise expertise when you see and hear it. This trauma surgeon picked apart surgical and other medical procedures as represented on TV or movies. 

Some might argue that TV shows or movies are for entertainment and should not be compared to reality. I argue that these sources of entertainment are often the reference points for laypeople (see tweet below and its thread for an example). This results in unrealistic expectations not just of medical procedures, but also natural disasters, space travel, dinosaur attacks, military strategy, etc.

Reality can be simultaneously more frightening and mundane, so we need experts to shift our focus. I also find such critiques to be entertaining in themselves. This is why YouTube channels of Wired, Insider, and GQ [examples] have them.

The bits of reality that the trauma surgeon shared should, at the minimum, create some appreciation for what she does. Optimally, it might also generate new perspectives and empathy from non-surgeons.

I wonder if there will ever be a Wired expert critique of teachers and classroom practices as shown on the small and big screen. Probably not. Teachers are normally not wired to be stars; they are tired from slogging in the background. 

This would be a shame because many parents experienced primers during lockdowns on what it is like to teach their children. They typically have their memories as students and Hollywood representations of classrooms. Neither are realistic perspectives of teaching.

Get some perspective. Listen to some teachers today.

I spotted this sign above a childcare centre.

Its owners probably mean to say that it helps develop the aptitudes of young children. But that is not all the sign means.

Another interpretation is that the centre is for kids low in flair or gifts. There is nothing wrong with that if they are truly providing a humble social service, but that is just how the meaning of language is negotiated.

My point is that you should get a second opinion on even the most innocuous of things. A different perspective might make all the difference in how you come across to others or how you implement an intervention.

I have referred to the image in this tweet before. I share it again to highlight how important getting perspective is.

If a person descending (far left) and another person ascending (far right) these stairs were to follow the arrows strictly, they would run into one another. As they did so, they would wonder why the other was not following instructions. They would not know that they were following instructions that they were given at the start of each of their journeys.

Rising above this cartoonish crash, I might speculate how this is similar to the tensions that arise between people who work on the ground and those who make policy. Neither see what they other sees.

A similar tension exists between those who dwell more in theory and those who are active practitioners. The theoretician does not have enough practice and the practitioner might not keep up with research. The two people might not crash into one another, but their ideas on what works might.

Both examples point to the need to learn how to gain the perspective of the other side. It might start with establishing forward-looking expectations (the arrows) and learning to react positively when there is tension or dissonance (the bumping).

This tweet is a reminder in case you missed the memo on the challenges of designing for (and actually facilitating) online learning.

Teaching in person is already a complex skill set that can take years to be competent at. You never master teaching because the sand shifts under your feet — content evolves, learner expectations shift, technology brings change.

But teaching does not always ensure learning. Teaching should be a means to the learning end, but it can sometimes be a barrier.

You can bypass traditional teaching by focusing on how people learn. People might learn in the presence of more informed others, but they can also learn by observing, problem-solving, tinkering, etc. These other ways are more challenging to design and prepare for.

Non-educators whose only reference of teaching is their early schooling or higher education cannot see what it is like on the other side of the table. At best, they can only imagine the work and passion it takes.

Parents who had to monitor or supervise their children during COVID-19’s home-based schooling might have gained a small insight on what a teacher does. But they still do not have the full picture.

Likewise, teachers and administrators who only know the world of conventional teaching do not relate to what online facilitators experience. In case you missed it (ICYMI) read the tweet again.

How to I educate myself on how teachers are responding to schooling in lockdown?

Screencap of RSS feeds on teaching during COVID-19 lockdown and its aftermath.

I rely on my RSS feed. Here is a snapshot of some articles I have in my reading queue.

Why not rely on hearsay from teachers I know? I know them too well. I need some objectivity and different perspectives.

Why not rely on press articles? Sorry, I could not hear that question because I was laughing out loud.

Depending on your browser, you may or may not see the image that leads the story. So here is a screen capture.

Three-quarters of Singapore adolescents are not active enough: WHO study.

The headline sounds serious, does it not?

I am not going to ask why the WHO guideline is “one hour of moderate-to-vigorous activity every day”. I found out what counts as moderate to vigorous activity, but I think that traditional hunting and gathering, and roofing or thatching do not apply in our context.

I wonder why the people behind the paper chose to feature Pokémon Go given how the game requires players to walk in order to play. (BTW, I clock between 50-60km per week playing the game.) Might it have been too mean or inaccurate to feature a couch potato?

Perhaps those in mainstream media still look for opportunities to put down anything they see as a threat (mobiles and gaming). Maybe focusing on worries and bad news gets more attention.

But I question why such an article does not explore reasons why we have this statistic, the role of physical education in schools, or solutions to such issues.

Perhaps dishing out what others have already said is easier than actual work. You know, like how it is easier to be a couch potato than to actively play Pokémon Go.


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