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Posts Tagged ‘space

Lessons sometimes hide in the least obvious places. Take this tweet for instance. It provides a lesson on using white space.

With the white space, the message in two parts reads: You matter. Don’t give up. Without the white space, the signs read: You don’t matter. Give up.

There are many reasons for incorporating white space in any form of design. In the case of the signs, sufficient empty space helps you make sense of the intended message. Removing it provides an unintended joke.

White space helps create clarity. Something similar could be said about providing physical, temporal, or social space between you and a complex problem.

If you are too close to a problem or if you work so frequently with the nitty-gritty of an issue, it is often difficult to solve it because you cannot see where you need to go with it.

Distance from an issue might help you gain a new or broader perspective. Providing space between you and the seemingly unsolvable problem matters.

The modern library is not just a place, it is a space. It is not just a place to borrow or read books, it is a space to expand your horizons.

Abandoned property and loud phone use in a local library.

Unfortunately, some people do the unexpected or the unacceptable. Modern libraries in Singapore, particularly those in the heartlands, are also spaces for:

  • Child daycare and playgrounds
  • Denture display AKA public napping
  • Using wifi to watch YouTube or video conference sans ear/headphones
  • Taking advantage of air-conditioning to engage in coffeeshop talk sans coffeeshop heat
  • Talking loudly on the phone
  • Displaying, abandoning, or donating private property

If libraries are microcosms of society, it seems to attract and concentrate the irresponsible and the selfish. They are not the majority, but they make a disproportionately large show of force. Please do not judge the rest of us by those examples.

I am all for maker movements provided they or the press do not oversell them or spread popular fallacies.

This tweet claims that students have and need a space to make.

If you need a specific space to “get creative”, you are teaching the wrong value system. I would argue that you get the most creative stress when you do not actually have a special space and resources.

A reserved “maker space” also silos the content and the so-called 21st century competencies (21cc) from the rest of the curriculum. Making should be integrated, not set apart and sold like a public relations tool.

Speaking of 21CC, the press still sells communication and collaboration as 21st century. This make me wonder how the other centuries got by without them.

No, making should not be special nor it is uniquely 21st century. Focusing on such messaging distracts from its core — learning by doing, asking, failing, and trying again.

Refuse to be confused.


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As I watched this YouTube video about a maker-cosplayer building his own K-2S0 “costume”, I wondered about what “maker spaces” represent in schools.

Are these places good-to-haves or must-haves? Are they PR showcases or actual tinkering spaces? Are activities driven partly by curriculum, or largely by passion?

What are the honest answers to these questions? What are the hard truths and blatant lies we have to face up to about maker spaces?

In my opinion, maker spaces should be built on just one foundation: Learner passion. This allows any learning environment to be a “maker space”, even a conventional and seemingly resource-poor one. Learners make and make do in these circumstances and in any subject.

I am not just making this up. Reflect on what is important about maker spaces and you might arrive at a similar conclusion. 

I messed about with the recently announced Google Space tool last night.

The tool was intuitive because I use Google’s suite of tools on both desktop and mobile platforms. If you need a primer, this video by @rmbyrne should help.


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I decided to recreate a simpler version of a Google Docs-based notes page that I made for a conference and a remote mentoring session. This is my Google Space for some notes on flipped learning.

My Google Space for flipped learning.

The items appear in reverse chronological order (most recent item at the top). This could be useful for communicating and collaborating while planning remotely or asynchronously. However, at the moment Google Spaces does not offer any text formatting and items for discussion cannot be moved to customised positions.

I created the Google Space with the desktop tool. As of last night, the iOS version was not yet available in the Singapore App Store. (3pm update: The app is available now.) However, the Android version was ready for download.

I did not test the Chrome extension that allows you to add web resources to your Google Spaces at the click on a button. This is similar to adding items to Diigo or scoop.it from a browser-based extension or bookmarklet.

I am certain that some educators have already thought of ways to use Google Spaces in class. I wonder how they might take advantage of this simple tool in their personal learning networks.

At the moment, Google Spaces is a bit of an odd duck. It is simple to use and seems to overlap with a few platforms in the Google ecosystem (apps suite, Photos, YouTube). But it seems to be a solution seeking a problem.

I am not sure what that problem might be. Perhaps it is an early response to Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp. More user tinkering will clarify its role in the ecosystem.

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It is not very often that I use epic and awesome. The video below is both.


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The video below provides a glimpse into why and how it was done.


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These videos are much more than elaborate advertisements.

I like using videos like these to illustrate the importance of reflecting on processes that lead to a product. Such reflections can become part of one’s portfolio of study and work.

These videos also illustrate some of the best uses of technology: To tell a story, to generate emotion, and most of all, to connect people.

Those three things are what make the videos work. These same three things are what can make technology integration work in education.


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I meant to use a Swivl device to record today’s video. But when I tried to use it in my office on Saturday, neither the swivelling base nor the infrared device would switch on.

So I resorted to using my iPhone and blu tack to record the video. I edited the clips and uploaded the video to YouTube with the iMovie app.

I am video recording my CeL office as a keepsake. It was like my second home for four years.

Visitors often comment on a couple of things on my office walls and I explain why I have one in particular. That item is the spiral of photos collected over ten years to remind me of my mission in life.

The video is a bit longer than the ones I usually make. But I hope you gain some insights into the mind of a slightly crazy person.


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