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Posts Tagged ‘podcast

I just started following Pessimists Archive on Twitter and listening to its podcasts. Both focus on the common but irrational fear of all things new.

The Twitter feed describes itself as sharing “reactions to old things when they were new”. Consider how this reaction in 1889 is still relevant in 2019.

It is 130 years later and people are saying the same about mobile phones.

Each podcast is about 30 to 40 minutes long and is released only every one or two months. I have listed to a few episodes and I can see why they are infrequent. They lead the listener with engaging storytelling and well-researched historical bites.

I liked two audio snippets in the episode about comic books. In describing how people lament about new technologies, the narrator said that you cannot herd cats but you can move their food. This described the human condition of gravitating to comfort (the nostalgic past) and collectively opposing change (the new present or uncertain future).

But when trying to bring change, we often impose it. For example, in the episode about comic books adults declared that they took action because they were thinking of the children. But they did not ask the kids what they felt and thought.

The furore over comic books has gone and the fuss now seems like wasted effort. The worry now is with computing technologies and video games, and we might be making the same mistakes. It is easy to say we speak for a group, but have be asked and listened to them first?

One of the podcasts I subscribe to is No Such Thing As A Fish. I listen to its weekly releases and am catching up on previous episodes.
 

 
In episode 187, No Such Thing As An Ant On Its Gap Year, the panel discussed (around the 30-minute mark) the marshmallow experiments.

Like most people, they started with the supposedly predictive nature of the experiment, i.e., children who delayed gratification were more successful later in life. However, the experiment was more about the children’s coping mechanisms and decision-making.

The panel also critiqued the experiment, e.g., what if the children were not hungry, what if they did not like marshmallows, what if the more immediate factor was whether the kids trusted the adults to actually provide the marshmallows?

The initial mention was bad because it perpetuated the wrong idea about the original experiment. The follow up was good because it modelled ways of thinking critically about the experimental design. However, the whole process could have been good had they corrected the perpetuated misconception of the experiment from the start.

My message to teachers and educators is simple — do not perpetuate misconceptions. Dig beyond the surface, bust myths, and model critical thinking.

One of the podcast channels I have recently subscribed is No Such Thing As A Fish. It is helmed by the fact-finding team behind the QI television series.

I have been binging the series in reverse order and recently listed to episode 244 No Such Thing As A Fishman (iTunes) (Spotify).
 

 
Stephen Fry made a guest appearance and shared his thoughts on how warped our thinking can sometimes be. He described how we do not seem to take offence to violence but vilify basic body functions.
 

 
Around the seven-minute mark, he mentioned how we think nothing of phrases like “Traffic was murder!” but might consider “It was shitting bad traffic!” as rude.

The juxtaposition was ridiculous, I LOL’d anyway, and I got his point. It was a matter of questioning one’s perspective.

If we are to nurture more empathetic learners, we should not just deluge them with the experiences and cultures of “others”. We also need to help them explore and question their own biases and standards. If we cannot look past ourselves, how are we to gain insights into others?

I am on a restful hiatus and taking the opportunity to binge on entertainment that I discovered or have been putting off.

I have always listened to podcasts, but these were not a main staple of my learning and laughing diet. One of the audio-based gems I unearthed recently, My Dad Wrote A Porno, is four-years-old.

The name of the podcasts speaks for itself. If it does not, here is a review of sorts.

The podcast has done so well that it earned an HBO special recently.

The podcast is not for the prude or the faint of heart. You need a healthy sense of humour and a pair of earphones or headphones to enjoy it. You might also need some thick skin if you listen to the podcast in public — people might wonder why you ugly laugh and cry.

If you this podcast a habit, you might appreciate how an intrepid trio of friends critique one of their father’s attempts at writing erotica, or more accurately, erratica.

It did not take me many walks and commutes to binge listen to all four seasons. I am now a Belinker who wonders what will happen to the Confidential Order of Cookware Knights.


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In July I updated my iPhone to iOS 8.4. When iOS updates, so does iTunes to keep pace. Like most updates, these brought new features and fixes, but they also broke what did not need fixing.

I did nothing to my podcast subscriptions on my devices. However, the updates caused one particular subscription to be blocked. I tried in vain to remedy what was not previously a problem.

Thanks to the collective problem-solving in online forums, I discovered that a new setting was the culprit. This is what to do to reach it.

  1. Activate the Settings application.
  2. Go to the General category.
  3. Go to Restrictions, and enter your passcode to access the menu. Note: You may have set different passcodes for your iPhone and for Restrictions.
  4. If not enabled, select Enable Restrictions.
  5. Scroll down to the Allowed Content subsection.
  6. Go to Music, Podcasts & iTunes U and turn Explicit on.

Before I had this solution, I moved to SoundCloud for the same podcast. SoundCloud does not have the same restrictions setting, but it does not seem to remember where I stop playback and to resume playing from that point.

SoundCloud also does not remember this between devices so that I can switch seamlessly between a Macbook Air and iPhone, for example.

Addendum: Apple pushed a minor update, iOS 8.4.1, today. The setting remained intact on my iPad, but reverted to off on my iPhone.

As I examine most things through an educational lens, this incident reminded me of the:

  1. power of collective problem-solving as enabled by the Internet;
  2. importance of providing resources on open platforms; and
  3. need to provide the same resource on different platforms should a platform change policy or not be available to some learners.

This NPR report headlines as “Dean Urges Tech-Free Classes”.

It’s not accurate. Dean Jose Bowen actually urges faculty to use technology more strategically and effectively.

Read and hear for yourself. And keep your pants on!

How could I not blog about something that three Tweeters I am following mentioned?

If you visited The Guardian, you might have come across this headline: Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up. Of course the headline was sensationalistic, but it was quite accurate too.

I think that the bottom line was not so much that primary school kids in the UK might embrace more technology in school. The fact is that they will be using more RELEVANT technologies in their schools. This will force teachers to update their pedagogies because if they don’t they will soon discover that old methods do not necessarily allow new or better forms of learning to take place.

And of course various stakeholders feel threatened. There’s not enough coverage of history or the learning of drama for example. But at the end of the day we should not be looking at what is important to us in the short term, but what is important to the kids for the long term. We should be preparing them for their future, not our past.

Am I going to wait for the Singapore educational system to play catch up? Obviously not. I am preparing preservice teachers under my care to think and teach progressively. Time will tell if I am right.


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