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Posts Tagged ‘rules

If we are going to teach ourselves and our students how to identify fake news or other sources of disinformation, then we should know what rules their creators use.

This video by the New York Times identified the Seven Commandments of Fake News by deconstructing notable examples of disinformation.

Video source

The seven rules were:

  1. Find the cracks (the rifts or sore points in society)
  2. Create a big lie (so outrageous that it is almost too hard to believe)
  3. Wrap the lie around some truth (to create believability)
  4. Conceal your hand (make it seem like it came from someone else)
  5. Find useful idiots (to spread the fake news)
  6. Deny everything (when found out)
  7. Play the long game (the impact is not always immediate)

Now those seven rules were created in the pre-Internet era. Today the effectiveness of any of the seven is exacerbated by the breadth and speed of spreading disinformation.

So what is an ordinary person to do?

One expert in the video said: Question more, answer less. I suggest: Question more, retweet or repost less (or not at all). Wheezy Waiter, a YouTube I follow, pointed out that a headline is not an article.

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One way to question more is to read, watch, listen, or otherwise sense more, and then to reflect on what we process. There are no shortcuts; it takes work.

This is a tweet that is designed to provoke thought.

It claims that what seems new in schooling or education is actually old.

It provoked me to say this: a) the first eight are variations on a theme, b) there are reasons why new is new, and c) the last two are not old or new; they are timeless.

The eight variations on a theme were about teaching from simple to complex or from concrete to abstract.

Such old principles are new when we find better labels for this sort of teaching. Such labels are results of rigorous research and critical practice.

The same might also reveal to the critical and reflective practitioner that learning in the wider world is not necessarily sequenced that way. The problems there are fuzzy and complex, as are the answers.

The most valuable perspectives from 1886 were the last two statements — independent learning based on ownership of processes and products.

Perhaps what is NOT surprising is how the relatively mundane and basics about teaching are numerous and repeated. But what is truly important and impactful in the long term are listed last.

Tomorrow's educational progress cannot be determined by yesterday's successful performance.

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In the video, John Green shared the general rules on using the prepositions on, in, and at.

This was useful to me partly because I was just asked that question last week during my research writing consultation. Now I have an answer for the next session.

The video was also useful in a broader sense. With just about every rule comes exceptions, and grammar is no exception.

I would challenge anyone attempting to standardise “pedagogy” or “learning” in schooling and education. When implemented, they will find exceptions to the model answer, ideal formula, or prescribed standard.

So are standards or definitions pointless then? No, they are baselines from which variations sprout. We just need to be critical enough to recognise what is valuable or erroneous, helpful or harmful, and relevant or not, depending on the context.

You can imagine parents telling their kids to stop playing video games and to do their homework instead.

These same parents will ignore the growing suspicion that schooling does not prepare kids for their futures but for their past instead.

They will ignore the increasingly loud rhetoric about preparing kids for jobs that do not exist yet. Watch the segment of the video last edited in 2012 and embedded below.

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They will certainly ignore two things I tweeted recently about the possibility of gaming as a career and the prize money it offers.

But they ignore these at their peril and to the possible detriment to their kids because they focus on what they want instead of what the kids need or might be able to do.

Ten years ago when YouTube was born, who thought that it might be possible to live off online videos by vlogging? Who even considered vlogging as a job instead of a hobby? Who thought that vloggers might get TV shows, movie deals, merchandizing, sponsorship deals, books, tour dates, etc.?

We might not have a new economy (it is still about money), but there are new players who are rewriting the rules or making up new ones.

The rules are changing or breaking. One reason for this is that some exceptions are becoming the rules.

For example, countries we might label first world attract immigrants wanting a better quality of life. These immigrants form a minority of the population. But when all the minorities are combined, they start to rival the original majority citizens:

  • About 30% of the Singapore population are not citizens or permanent residents (page 3 of this PDF)
  • 85% of the population in Dubai are foreigners (unofficial source)
  • The USA has coined the term majority-minority

As the minority become the majority they start to make the rules. Alternatively, as the diverse needs of the minority become obvious, older and restrictive practices give way to new and more accommodating ones.

The rules in schools are breaking too. Rules like:

  • learning in only one place and at one pace
  • you must listen to your teacher
  • you must buy these textbooks
  • you must pay high fees
  • good grades guarantee good jobs or salaries

These rules are worth changing or breaking because they do not put the learner first and foremost. This is the individual learner who has his/her unique talent and needs, and is the minority of one. But there are millions of such minority members.

The good thing is that we live in such an exciting time because the majority-minority can learn to take control of their education.

We can uphold outdated rules or we can help break them. If we are to help our learners, we should do the latter.

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This BuzzFeed video suggests nine unwritten Facebook rules we should all follow.

As serendipity might have it, Jack of jackfilms reminded me of a tenth rule.

Video source

I am not suggesting that we need to be Grammar Nazis. However, it certainly helps to maintain a good level of written English.

Note: Jack’s video contains expletives. If you do not like four-letter words, you should **** off. By **** I mean something like walk, move, back, or take.

Last week I received promotional email (twice!) from Singapore’s Art Science Museum (ASM).

I do not normally promote something unless I think that it is educationally worth the while of teachers and students. But as the e-flyer was ASM’s I asked simply via email: Would you mind if I tweet the flyer image?

I received this reply: This flyer image is approved by our marketing & e-comm department, please do not disseminate or amend the image for business use.

The reply was ambiguous. It could mean that if I was a business entity, I could neither disseminate nor amend. It could also mean not to spread the word or use it to my advantage business-wise. Either way the message was restrictive.

They are entitled to that view and action (although there was no need to mention the “amend the image” part because I did not ask to do that). The response is logical if you operate by old school rules.

I had already broken that rule by letting my schoolteacher wife know about the event by email (I disseminated to one, sorry ASM!). I opted not to spread the word by Twitter to not cross that line again.

We are also promptly deleting the email so that we might not accidentally or excitedly disseminate the image. We might still attend the event, but we are not telling others to do the same via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

More administrators, policymakers, and educators should realize that with the new school of thought come new rules.

One is that the old rules often are not relevant. Another is that the social media user of today is likely to ignore the old rules because they are irrelevant, cumbersome, or restrictive.

I think the poster above calls for reasonable action: Obey with caution. Blind acceptance can be hazardous.

I checked to see if ASM had a Twitter account and they had. I also checked to see if they shared the news and flyer on Twitter and they did not.

A marketing effort like this is a perfect opportunity to test the rules. Likewise, there are times when teachers need to take advantage of opportunities to test the rules of technology integration.

Obey with caution. Blind acceptance can be hazardous.

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I had promised to buy the full version of Minecraft for my son for his birthday. He had to wait a while as his mid-year tests just ended yesterday.

He now has a copy of the game as well as a copy of some rules we have written together.

We wrote these simple rules while we were out for dinner last night. As we were on the move, we used Evernote on my iPhone to jot down our thoughts.

My son wants it printed out so that he can decorate the document with his drawings of Minecraft artefacts.

I will have to see if this overall strategy of self and external regulation works.

There are two things I like about Twitter: Meeting new tweeps (Twitter people) and meeting tweeps in person for the first time.

Here is a conversation that I had with someone new. I started by sharing a blog entry by Lisa Lane.

I think that the strategy that @audreac has is one way to go. Serendipitously, @serenacheong shared an ERIC article on teacher communities:

That said, it is worth noting that the model presented in the paper is descriptive and not prescriptive.

So here is my diagnosis and early prescription. While some old community rules and practices might apply, not all will. If you are in a new place with a new culture, you learn the new rules or shape them as they emerge. It is an opportunity to try something new instead of falling back on old practices. New school, new rules.

BTW, I used Hootsuite to capture the conversation as the new Twitter is terrible at it. At the moment it is only good for highlighting single tweets.

I posted this Math question at my son’s blog about three weeks ago. It turned into an English lesson (I had a discussion with my 6-year-old about the word ambiguous) and a lesson on an aspect of critical thinking.

This was one of his easier Math questions that his teacher assigned him, but it was ambiguous thanks to the use of English in the question.

Math teachers will insist that the 8th boy is on the 7th boy’s right. From the reader’s perspective, it is.

But consider this from the 7th boy’s perpective, i.e., the right side of that boy. If he extended his right arm to put it around someone, he would get pally with the 6th boy. The 7th boy’s right is to your left. The “apostrophe s” makes the perspective the boy’s, not yours!

To make the question less ambiguous (and to reinforce Math logic), it could have simply rephrased, The ____ boy is on the right of the 7th boy.

When my son did this worksheet at home, he got stuck with it and consulted me on it. I illustrated the Math logic and we role played the language logic. He came to the same conclusion as I did but he was marked wrong.

I guessed that he would be told that he had the wrong answer, but I think he learnt more than just Math. Now he knows not to follow rules blindly.

In fact, he spots and corrects the occasional errors in grammar, punctuation or logic in his worksheets. But we tell him not to be too blatant about it. After all, not all teachers want to learn from their students. It’s a sad lesson in life…


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