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Posts Tagged ‘product

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This video illustrates two teaching principles that I am a squeaky wheel about.

Focus on ability, not disability
When teaching learners with special needs, it is easy to focus on what they cannot do instead of what they can.

While such learners will need knowledge and skills to fit into larger society, e.g,. taking public transport or working to support themselves, they are no less people than “normals” are.

It might be easier to pigeon-hole Jeff and his condition to, say, a simple service job with repetitive tasks. This video illustrates how he has developed his strengths and passions to be an artist, TikToker, and online seller.

Process and product
It is easier to focus on products of learning than on processes of the same. But this video illustrates how important and impressive the processes are behind the products that Jeff makes.

It also reveals the support that he gets and illustrates the roles that others play in the education of the so-called disabled.

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It is not often that one enjoys watching two greats, Dench and Cumberbatch, sharing screen time. This was one of their efforts to promote Red Nose Day 2021.

I like how the behind-the-scenes process video was actually longer than the polished product video. It took the opportunity to illustrate and reflect what the product video could not. It is a valuable lesson on what to focus on when implementing portfolios of learning.

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I appreciate both the final product and the insights into the processes behind that product.

If only more schools and educational institutes invested in portfolios that would do the same. We would then have insights and measures on student learning.

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This was Apple’s product tribute to the new lunar new year. And, yes, it is lunar and not Chinese since one race does not have dibs on it.

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But mine is not a rant on how peoples of other countries also celebrate this event. It is an appreciation of the processes behind the product.

The cynics might say that both videos are advertisements for Apple. They are. But the educator in me would point out how many more focus on the product (like a test score) and how few focus on the processes (like the actual learning).

Here’s to more product and process (P&P) videos over the weekend!

I like musing on videos that show the behind-the-scenes processes that lead to a product. I then argue that it is more important to focus on the processes than just the product.

But doing this creates a false dichotomy of product vs process. Sometimes the process is the product. The video below illustrates this.

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Some might argue that the payoff of mousetraps snapping in slow motion is the product. While impressive, it is more remarkable when you realise how much work it took to get there.

I would argue that the entire process — from setting up to sharing the video — is the product. So if there is evidence of learning, I might look for one thing that combines both process and product and not just one or the other.

Here is a blast from the past.

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It is one of OK Go’s early music videos, Here It Goes Again. How early? The video was uploaded on 27 Feb 2009, but its IMDB page says that the original video debuted on 31 July 2006.

When I watch a video like this, I am not only entertained, I am also informed. I wonder how much effort it took to choreograph and shoot the sequence. According to the same IMDB writeup, it took 17 attempts to get the latter right.

I am not only interested in the product. I am just as interested in the processes behind it. The processes make me appreciate the product more. Should we not be doing the same in schooling and education?

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It has been a while since I have used a video to highlight the importance of being able to see the processes that are responsible for a product. This principle is true not just for a popular movie on Netflix, but also for schooling and education.

We are not mind readers and so we are more certain that students have learnt something if they externalise it. This overall process often manifests itself in a product, e.g., exam answers, group project, performed skill. One or more teachers then assess that product.

But what about the processes that led to the product? Processes like planning, tinkering, correcting mistakes, working with others, reflecting, and more. These processes are important to students while they are in school and later on at work.

Such processes are trickier to evaluate, but this does not mean the job is impossible. And anything worth doing is difficult. That is what makes it difficult.

Focus on the processes, not just the product of those processes. You might just enjoy gaining insights on and evaluating those processes as a result.

A teacher knows what the following are:

  • Schemes of work
  • Curricula
  • Attendance sheets
  • Teaching resources
  • Tests
  • Classes and courses

These products contribute to learning, but they sometimes get in the way of it.

Learning is combination of many processes. These might be relatively simple (like maintaining attention) or complex (like perspective-taking).

Teaching is neat. Learning is messy.

Learning might result from teaching, but the latter does not guarantee the former. Learning is messy. Teaching is neat.

Learning is not a product you can easily package. Anyone who thinks or says that needs to unlearn that perspective.

Every now and then I share two videos that I just watched: One is a product of collaboration and the other provides insights on the processes behind that product.

Then I go on to say how those of us in schooling and education can learn from such videos. For example, evaluations of worth should not just be about products; they should be about processes as well.

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The video above featured the efforts of four producers of CNA Insider. Recently, the video series focused on the ordeals of our guest workers, rises in domestic violence, and NGO efforts during the pandemic lockdown.

The BTS video revealed the stories behind the storytellers. It was a reminder that the human narrative is the tie that binds.

When applied to schooling and education, we might ask ourselves what stories we craft. Are they more of the same? Or are they journeys of change, failure, and small joys? Which stories are worth telling? Which stories live on and inspire?

The local press is fond of highlighting the number of new COVID-19 cases each day. According to this data visualisation tool [desktop] [mobile], Singapore had 110 cases as of yesterday. Note: The data is from official sources in each country.

What the press conveniently leaves out from its headlines is the number of recoveries. According to the data, 78 people in Singapore have recovered and none have died as of yesterday. This makes our known pool of COVID-19 patients 32.

Focusing on the number of infections without also emphasising the recoveries feeds the fear. While this does not contravene any POFMA rule, it is still irresponsible behaviour.

POFMA might deal with misinformation and disinformation, but it can do nothing about partial information. We need to be better and do better. We might do this by uncovering the processes behind each product.

Screenshot of graph showing COVID-19 infections and recoveries worldwide.

When I first visited the data visualisation site almost a month ago, I did not notice this other visualisation of COVID-19 cases. The new cases (orange and yellow lines) are plateauing at the moment. The recoveries (in green) are on the rise.

The graphs might change if there are new cycles of infections, but the more complete use of numbers tells a more complete story.

As I view this again from the perspective of an educator, I return to product and process. Headlines and graphs are products. But these have underlying processes that need to be examined and critiqued. We remain ignorant if we take products at face value without demanding better processes that create them.

Insist on seeing the processes. Demand to shape them.


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