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Posts Tagged ‘refrain

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There is a reason why they are called The Economist — they are not educationists! I would not venture into the world of economics and make claims based on what I Google or even what hear from someone I respect.

I wish that they (and others like them) would refrain from reinforcing these mythic buzzwords.

Within the first 20 seconds of the video, 2020 was called the year of disruption. Disruption is overused. If we are inconvenienced for a while and return to normal after that, that “disruption” was not one.

At the 2 minute 11 second mark, was the much vaunted “year of loss” because of school shutdowns. These are losses as measured only by tests and curriculum time. Already disenfranchised kids were disadvantaged further. But were there absolutely no gains, e.g., in resilience, independence, savvy? 

Roughly 4 minutes and 15 seconds into the video, the narrator claimed that edtech companies responded with apps and service. As few kind words as I have for mercenary vendors, it is unfair to say that they responded as if they reacted. No, many were already prepared and took advantage of emergency-based learning.

OMG, the video at 4 minutes and 25 seconds sees the mention of the “teacher had to suddenly become virtual”. Virtual is not the same as going online. Virtual means not real, e.g., a virtual world simulation like Second Life. Virtual reality, as oxymoronic as that sounds, refers to a simulated representation of the real world. Teachers are real and had real problems going fully online because they were not professionally developed to operate this way.

OK, take a deep breath… cleanse.

Thankfully, the video was not entirely misinformed. 

At the 7 minute 46 second mark, it introduced how some student teachers experience classroom  interactions with simulations. Unfortunately, this example was technological overkill — a person still had to take a microphone and role play student avatars. The avatars were not yet AI-driven. The simulation was a mere substitution of what teacher preparation programmes already do with role plays.

I wish that the segment was about preparing new teachers on how to do design and facilitate lessons with Zoom. At least this would start nurturing a generation of teachers who know how to operate in lockdowns or teach fully online.

And speaking of being fully online, you had to be 9 minutes and 10 seconds into the video to be asked: Do you need a classroom at all?

Maybe The Economist sought to placate the viewer with easy-to-swallow factoids first. The problem is this does not fit the title of the video (transform your kids’ education). There is nothing transformational about repeating disruption, year of less, or virtual teaching. 

A real transformation is less palatable. It is about challenging the status quo with better ways of doing things. It is about asking and answering difficult questions like: How do we address divides? What mindsets to we need to address? How do we sustain change?

Play Pokémon Go safely and responsibly. That is the refrain that we have heard and will keep hearing because immersed and excited gamers think of little else while gaming.

A good game immerses and excites because it reaches into the parts of our brains that reward and pleasure.

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The very simple and logical message to be safe and responsible is easy to follow while not gaming. It just as easily flies out the window while gaming because playing reactivates our child-like wonder and responses.

So what concrete action might we take to prevent accidents, injuries, or worse?

Pokémon Go is a mobile, location-aware game. Those are its core technical affordances. It also has an optional social affordance: You can play alone or with others.

Unless a solo player is very disciplined or self-aware, the player is likely to be immersed in the Pokémon Go pool. Watch any console, PC, or Pokémon Go gamer in the state of flow and you might recognise that same look and body language.

The in-person social aspect is often overlooked in Pokémon Go. By social I do not mean a group of people dashing across a road with no regard for safety. A mob is not that social.

I am referring to working together in groups and assigning one person to be like the designated driver on drinking night. However, this does not mean that the person cannot play. This person has a radar and warning role.

Alternatively, do what this community in Clementi did to take advantage of the interest in the game. It is not about safety in numbers. It is about learning with and from others.

I play Pokémon Go with my son. I remind him to look up when we are moving between Poké stops or to move to the side or somewhere safe when we are throwing Poké balls.

We also discuss options and strategies. He knows a lot more about the Pokémon world than I do thanks to other Pokémon games and YouTube videos. I read Pokémon Go articles on trends, tips, and education. We complement each other with our knowledge bases and wisdom pools.

From him I learnt that I should collect free Poké coins (defender bonus) when I assign a Pokémon to a gym. From me my son learnt that we should plan walking routes to maximise Poké stops.

Our gaming sessions are not just times to talk and bond. They are also opportunities for us to model behaviours for each other.

I refrain from saying “play Pokémon Go safely and responsibly”. The game itself is not dangerous; some human behaviours are. The behaviours are a natural result of our human programming.

The social element of Pokémon Go is an important way of rising above that instinct to play without consequence. In doing so, we might discover the value of interacting with the game, the environment, and with each other.


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