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Posts Tagged ‘smoking

It is difficult to process the news on the two most recent mass shootings in the USA.


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It is just as difficult to read how Republican Politicians on Fox News Blame Video Games for Latest Mass Shootings.

If you understand the basics of politics there, you know how the NRA, a powerful gun lobby, has loaded guns to the heads and loaded wallets to the pockets of some politicians. So these politicians deflect blame.

What is worse is that they propagate ignorance of the facts. Facts like gun violence is a multi-pronged issue. Facts like how other countries that do not allow gun ownership but allow “violent” video games do not have as many (or even any) mass shootings.


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For the record, the differences in gamers and the nature of games matter first. Politicians who seek to deflect instead of following the research and doing the right thing have their interests in mind, not anyone else’s.

The smoking gun might look like violent video games. The ones who actually help pull the trigger are cowardly and greedy people.

One classroom management strategy that practically all teachers learn is to reassure students that “there are no dumb questions”. The rationale for this is that teachers want students to develop the confidence to ask questions in class.

However, the statement is superficial and patently untrue. There are dumb questions. Take the question in this tweet, for example.

The tweeter claims that the graphic presents a good question. It does not and the question is dumb. I do not mean this as an insult.

If you did not study any of the sciences, a quick look at the comments might reveal why the question is dumb. If you did not trawl the comments, then consider the logic of lighting a cigarette under water, or even it that was possible, how gills work.

There ARE dumb questions. I am not talking about honest, curiosity-driven, or thought experiment questions. I am talking about Googleable questions.

Googleable questions are not just about getting answers from Google searches. They include questions or statements that can be posed to YouTube, Wikipedia, assorted trusted forums, social media groups, etc.

The Googleable answers may not be valid or reliable, but therein lies the importance of developing this skill. Students must be taught to think of worthwhile and meaningful questions. When they receive responses, they need to work out which are valid and reliable.

Some people call this collection of skills modern information literacy or digital literacy. It would be a dumb move to not model and integrate this in every subject. Not doing so would result in questions as dumb (or dumber) than smoking fish.

Refuse to be confused.


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