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Posts Tagged ‘photo

Instructing recruits circa 1989.

I unearthed a photograph taken in 1989 of me when I was an infantry officer. It had decolourised so much that I converted it to greyscale so that it looks less terrible.

That year marked my first official stint as an instructor. My corporals and I were teaching recruits how to dig shell scrapes and use them as cover.

Several memories flooded back, but two in particular are lessons that I have remembered since that time. The first was how objective data can become subjective according to the whims of higher-ups. The second was that doing nothing sometimes is doing something.

To give me something to write about, I reflect on these lessons over the next two days.

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.

I will refrain from making spreadsheet jokes because this edutainer makes most of them.

Warning: Spoiler ahead.


Video source

In the video, Matt Parker showed us why all digital photos are actually spreadsheets because of the screens that display them.

The video might be unpacked and compared with traditional teaching. This would challenge our notions of what it means to teach.

Today I draw three lessons from a photo sharing incident that bugged me.

I might have been a photographer in another life. Photography was a passion of mine as a teenager and I would save my allowance to buy rolls of film and to get them developed. I was even saving up to build my own darkroom to develop negatives.

But that was long ago and a technology far, far away. The point is I was an amateur photographer. I even managed to sell a few photos when I was studying overseas.

Now taking photos is an itch I scratch every time I travel.

Late last year I visited Georgetown, Penang, which is a city in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. I took lots of photos, and as I had just started using Instagram, shared a few on that platform.

One photo that took a while for me to set up was this one.

So imagine my dismay when I spotted this in a feed that was not mine.

You can tell that it had been enhanced a little, probably with an Instagram edit. However, the positioning of the items, the stain near the teapot, and the imperfections on the tray show that the original photo was mine.

I wrote to them to say that the photo looked familiar. This was their reply and my response.

What are some lessons from this incident?

I am all for open educational resources and I champion Creative Commons (CC) licensing. However, my photo was not shared under CC in Instagram. The hotel that used my photo did not 1) ask for permission, 2) receive my permission, and 3) acknowledge me. Kids need to be taught how to navigate traditional copyright and CC waters if they are not to make the same mistakes.

Another lesson is the importance of putting your ideas online. While this gives others the opportunity to borrow or steal, the pros of increased reach and feedback far outweigh the cons. Putting them online with date and time-stamping also allows you to say who was first.

Yet another lesson is monitoring your portfolio of work. In this case, I had simply followed that hotel on Instagram. The same principle and strategy applies in professional work. If you are part of a community of workers or interest partners, you know who is who and who is doing what. You cannot say you are part of a community and not know what is going on. You should know or someone will let you know.

I found this photo on Twitter taken by @garystager.

I do not have to guess that he took the photo here in Singapore because the Twitter geo tag tells me it was taken in the eastern part of our main island.

Signs like these are very common at fast food joints and upmarket coffee shops because students frequent these spots and deny customers seating by spending long hours there.

Locals do not bat any eyelid because such signs are the norm. It takes outsiders to find them unusual or funny. When they do this, they hold up a mirror with which we should examine ourselves.

Why is it not just socially acceptable but even expected that kids study in places meant for relaxation, entertainment, or a quick meal? You might even spot mothers or tuition teachers drilling and grilling their charges at fast food restaurants.

This is almost unique to Singapore. I suspect it happens (or will happen) elsewhere. Where? Any place that has high PISA scores.

So here is a tongue-in-cheek proposition for OECD. Why not investigate the relationship between studying at places like Pizza Hut and performance in PISA tests?

Policymakers worldwide might not be aware or care for the effect that the tuition industry might have on Singapore’s PISA test scores. But McDonald’s is everywhere. It might be an untapped solution to cure test score ills.

Today CeL is organizing e-Fiesta 2013 with the tagline “Say Open Sesame to Open Learning”. All of us will be way too busy to think straight.

Fortunately, I found this video and am scheduling this entry to be posted around the time we conduct the unconference segment of e-Fiesta.


Video source

The video is about how one photographer, John Butterill, started virtual photo walks to benefit folks who could not go on photo trips, particularly those who were bedridden or in hospital. He attached his smartphone to a camera, and with the help of Google Hangouts, video-conferenced with others.

I like how the video ends: Sharing your view. That’s a plus.

That is Google’s marketing tagline. But it is also relevant to promoting open learning processes and products. We must want to share our views with others openly.

Doing so is a plus to those who receive. The issue is convincing the givers to share more openly and freely. They will ask why and what-do-I-gain.

Thanks to the open Web, I can share a resource like this that provides answers to those questions. There are many other reasons and resources, of course.

One only has to search. You will find because someone has opted to share openly.

The teaching semester resumed for me yesterday, after a one-month delay thanks to the YOG. It’s great to be back teaching. Correction, facilitating and modelling. Cajoling and tinkering. Stimulating and pressing.

I only have one class to nurture this time round as my administrative responsibilities are heavy. But what a motley crew they are promising to be!

We were in the new Games Lab (ECL2) because no other lab was available. (Does no one want to use the newest and most flexible learning environment?)


Video source

We were here only because last Friday was a holiday and we had to make up for it. We’ll be back in a normal lab soon. But my class will also visit other venues to reinforce the fact that you can learn anytime and anywhere as long as you have a mobile, Internet-connected device.

Well, almost any such device. Phones and iPads are still not good for content creation. So those that did not already collect their NIE-provided laptops or bring their own were not able to edit the wiki or the shared online mind map.

But they shared what devices they brought and they are editing the shared spaces furiously (I am getting a slew of email and RSS updates). I cannot wait to read their group blogs! I’ll have to remember to remind them to pace themselves, but it is always a joy to see such motivation.

The Educational Web 2.0 workshop in Paro has ended. I am tired but pleasantly so.

I miss my family and I am glad that I will see them tomorrow evening. But I think that I have made new family and friends here in Bhutan.

That is almost all of the workshop participants in the photo. I insisted on being a peripheral figure in the photo to stay true to being “a guide on the side”.

I am looking forward to the farewell dinner we are having later. I think it should be a see-you-later dinner. If I am given the opportunity to return, I will!

Workshops on blended learning or Google Docs for education, anyone?

How often do you get a Bonk at the office? How about blogging about it?

Yes, I am referring to Curt Bonk.

Curt is an all round nice guy who flies around the globe to do conferences, give talks, meet up with former graduate students (he was on my dissertation committee), etc. It was great to see him in Singapore!

But I could not have been more unprepared to welcome him to my office. I did not know that he was dropping by and I was packing to move to my new one. I had boxes everywhere but I think my office still looked better than those of some people I know!

It was a good thing I had not taken the stuff off my door or we would have just posed with a lot of cardboard boxes!

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It’s my birthday today but I am not the sentimental sort. I don’t celebrate it because I think every day should be as special as I can make it.

But I do think about what I want the rest of my life to be like. So the photo below got me thinking.

Veteran using a mobile phoneI liked how the war veteran in the middle was checking out his mobile phone while his peers peered on. Not only would I like to live to a ripe old age, I would also like to embrace new, relevant and powerful technologies that come my way. That way I won’t be like the old guy at the back dying from boredom.

I’d like to still be learning and living to the fullest. I wish that for myself and any like-minded folk!


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