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Posts Tagged ‘share

 
When I was a boy, I had to wind my wristwatch and use a key to coil a spring in household clocks. Today it seems like the only way to get wound up by a watch is when its battery runs flat.

You can either bring the watch to a shop to get the battery changed, or you can attempt it yourself. When I first watched how someone else did it and how much the battery and service cost, I decided that I would do it myself in future.

Back then it looked like a specialised or skilled task. It is not any more. There are numerous websites and YouTube videos that show you how to open up the watch yourself and swop the battery. Many of these resources are brand or model specific.

I change my wife’s and my watch batteries once a year or every two years, so I sometimes forget my self-taught lessons.
 

 
A recent reminder was how rare some batteries are.

I had to find an equivalent for a battery for a dress watch because the exact brand and type was not available in hardware stores here. So I searched online, found the equivalent types, and made price comparisons. I saved anywhere between five to ten times the cost by DIY compared to going to a shop.

The result of this exercise was a renewed appreciation for how easy it is to be a self-directed learner nowadays. All this is because we have accessible platforms and creators who share openly.

The timely reminders are that we need to create conditions for this sort of learning and nurture learners who not only know how to consume helpful content, but also how to give back by creating and sharing.

After reading this article on Microsoft pushing Minecraft into classrooms, I was not taken by the efforts of the technology giant. While they might have an education arm, they do not have an education heart.

Instead I liked Mimi Ito’s description of the game.

Specific educational features of Minecraft — shared virtual world, construction tools, hackability— are not new, but what’s really new is the fact that it has been put together in a package that is embraced at a massive scale by kids, parents, and educators.

The ability to build freely, share what you build, and hack so that you have better tools, effects, visuals, etc., are probably why Minecraft caught on so rapidly. This led to why Microsoft bought it and why schools might embrace it more widely.

The emphasis is on might.

Some progressive individuals already have, e.g., the Minecraft Teacher. This was way before Microsoft jumped on and bought the whole bandwagon as well as the trail and the world it was travelling on.

School leaders and teachers no problem with building. I will resist the urge to describe Minecraft as digital LEGO. Instead I will point out that schools might include Minecraft under the trendy umbrella of making and maker spaces.

Schools might not be so open with sharing. Trump might not have his wall, but schools have long maintained walled gardens to protect their classroom bubbles.

School are definitely not keen on hacking even though it is legal and encouraged in Minecraft. There is a whole ecosystem of customising the game to suit your needs. There are entire servers based on modifications of the Minecraft core that provide different experiences, e.g., even more limited space and resources, Hunger Games-like survival, simple emulations of other games.

That said, schools might reluctantly embrace Minecraft hacking under the trendy identity of coding. Ah, much better.

So I provide my answer to this quote tweet. MinecraftEdu should not be shaped to the classroom because that would be stepping back in time. Case in point (from the same article):

So far, though, not every feature of Education Edition is being met with whoops of joy. For example, Microsoft chose to include in the game virtual chalkboards — a decidedly old-fashioned tool plunked down into a 21st-century game.

Minecraft has the literal and figurative building blocks to go forward, up, deep, and wide more rapidly than schooling can. This movement will be lead by learners from age 4 to 40, and by innovative teachers.

Every now and then I get requests to be interviewed, to write an article, or to have something I wrote be part of someone else’s site.

I say no almost all the time and I explain why based on the context of the request. But there is one reason that is common to all requests: I do not want to be manipulated into pushing someone else’s agenda.

Everyone has an agenda, even if they say they do not. Having an agenda is fine if you are honest about it and if you have your heart in the right place.

Quotes taken from what I say or write might get decontextualised. An opinion piece that I write might get edited until its original message gets diluted or warped.

These are probably why some politicians who are interviewed by the press also post their speeches or thoughts on platforms like Facebook. Better to hear from the horse’s mouth.
 

 
The sad thing is that not all do this. Instead of allowing people to thinking critically and make their own decisions based on source material, the sources and the press conspire to leave it up to the press to publish selectively.

What is our excuse in the realms of schooling and education?

Is the source material unavailable?

Is the source material available, but not accessible?

Is the source material available and accessible, but not understandable?

If we say yes to any of these questions, why is this the case and what are we doing about it?

In the wider world, people can take control of the information they generate. They create, share, and discuss, largely on social media.

If the goal of schooling and education is to prepare kids for the wider world, then why are we not allowing and insisting that students create, share, and discuss more openly?


Video source

I met Derek Sivers at a TED briefing last week.

By coincidence, my PLN revealed a YouTube video (above) that he created titled, Obvious to you. Amazing to others. He shared the transcript at his blog.

There are so many reasons to share. For fame or to shame. For caring or connecting. To inspire or be inspired. It is important to share because you never know who you might have an impact on.


Video source

Just don’t share your goals. If Sivers is right about the research he cited, doing this reduces our impetus to actually get going.


Video source

If social media had an anthem, this could be it. Gotta share, gotta share, gotta share.

In 2010, there was a movement of sorts on which three words summed up your passions or focus areas for the year.

It’s one year on so I have four words, but they are not just for me. I think that the four words (search, create, share, curate) are overall patterns on the way we learn online.

Search is practically synonymous with Google. Need to find out something you know nothing about? Google it. I recall how someone asked me about the “throw ratio” of projectors. While I could guess, I decided to Google with my iPhone, triangulate my findings and show the good answers.

If you want something to stick in mind or in place, you need to create one or more artefacts. When I learnt how to “hack” my Wii to run games from a harddisk or access secure wireless on an iOS device, I put the information a wiki. When I learnt about the Green School, I took photos, videos and blogged about it [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. You need to share what you learn to refine it or to teach it.

What might be a smaller blip on the radar of e-learning is the need to curate. A curator collects, selects, maintains and makes sense of content. Social bookmarking with Diigo is an example of digital curation (and sharing if you wish). Quora is a more recent example and various techie blogs predict this service will explode in 2011.

We might do some or all of these things naturally while learning. We just don’t think about it. But it becomes necessary to rethink these processes as we extend the capacity our minds (and maybe our hearts) with the help of these tools. That way we are not only cognizant of the learning processes but also taking full and proper advantage of the resources at our disposal.

The original intent of YouTube was true to the Web 2.0 ideal: Allow users to share online content that they had created. Somehow YouTube did not foresee how users would put copyrighted material online and thus breach the law.

However, a company called Autitude might have come up with a way to make just about everyone happy. Here’s a snippet from the Yahoo! report:

Auditude technology automatically identifies user-posted segments of shows, then weaves in advertising for copyright owners and tells viewers whose program they are watching.

Instead of copyright holders chasing down television shows video posted on MySpace pages and then demanding clips be removed in accordance with US law, they can let Internet users be delivery channels complete with advertising.

Copyright holders get advertising money and links back to them and users get to share without breaking the law or fear getting sued. Convenient, no?

Convenient but it is early days yet.

This is a perfect example of how technology develops so fast that laws cannot catch up, and when they do, something else comes along to alleviate or exacerbate the problem.

I like how this technology will allow users to remix, create, and share content. But from an educator’s point of view, this technology might take personal responsibility out of the equation. As of right now, if you want to use someone else’s work, the onus is on you to seek their permission. In the future, you might not need to because the original creators or authors are compensated somehow. But if these parties feel threatened by someone else manipulating their work, they might not choose to share their work in the first place. And that would take the “2” or “too” out of Web 2.0.


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