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Posts Tagged ‘present

After I took this snapshot, I thought: Change does not mean the past goes away.

The past often fades into the background. It comes back into focus when someone notices it or waxes nostalgia.

The past is not irrelevant. It might serve as a backdrop or foundation for what we do or believe in.

But the past should not dominate or dictate. A backdrop without actors is not a play; a foundation without infrastructure above is not a building.

In edtech, the history of technology in schooling and education provides many warnings. One is that the tools change while the techniques do not. This means that the tools are not used optimally.

If the medium changes without the method, we see only the veneer of change. To see what change really looks like, we need to dig into mindset. This takes immersion, not a drive-by visit.

Video source

I enjoyed this short video.

I also enjoyed showing it to my family, watching their reactions, and discussing it.

It is no wonder that it won so many prizes at film festivals. It is simple and it tells a good story.

It also does not shove messages down your throat and is instead designed to provoke thought. There are several potential takeaways, but it does not make them explicit. It draws them out from you, and in the process, you learn to think and to articulate your thoughts.

Therein is a lesson or reminder for teachers.

A few weeks ago, my wife wanted to replace her pair of Jays earphones because one side no longer worked. It was as loud a hint about a possible Christmas present as I could hear.

We visited an Atlas store (they sell high end systems like Bose) intending to try a few lower end earphones.

Bose QC20i noise cancelling in-ears by houbi, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  houbi 

 
My wife tried the new Bose QC20i and was hooked. Not only was the sound exceptional, it noise-cancelled the rest of the world out with the flick of a switch.

The problem was these things did not come cheap. They were listed at S$499 at the store with a “generous” Christmas discount of S$20.

I knew that the marked up prices for headphones and earphones in Singapore stores were ridiculous, so I went online.

To make a long story short, I found a reputable seller on eBay who offered a brand new pair of QC20i for about S$150 less. This price included shipping from the USA. The total cost was even less than Amazon was selling them for.

I paid less for the same high quality product by doing my homework online. I wanted buy something and someone else was willing to sell it to me for a more reasonable sum.

A recent article in Today highlighted how Uber matched riders with drivers for a fee and could bypass traditional taxi services. There were fewer regulations and the rider might take on more risks, but the service gave people what they wanted. The writer of that article suggested that the same thing could happen with “students needing tutoring on specific subjects being matched up with professors anywhere in the world willing to teach them”.

Now and in the future, learners can Uber their education. They can find and shape their own education for much less than premium schools and universities are offering. What they create for themselves will be no less authentic, useful, or valuable.

Like Uber, customizing your own education is not a smooth ride at the moment. The incumbents cry foul and push back. But when the dust settles, perhaps a Christmas or three from now, I hope a new landscape emerges: One that allows learners to give themselves the education they desire.


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