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Posts Tagged ‘traffic

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The problem presented in the video was people who would not wait for the light to turn green before they crossed the road. The red man made some of them see red.

A normal reaction would have been to monitor the crossings, enforce rules, and fine offenders. That is the Singapore way.

But instead of dealing with the problem in a conventional way, a group decided to make waiting for the traffic light fun. The problem presented an opportunity for change.

There are lessons from this for educators, school leaders, and administrators.

For example, many teachers still view student mobile devices as problems. They are actually an opportunity. But the solutions that stare them in the face might be obvious, conventional, and not likely to work.

Why not take the opportunity to try something outside the box? Make the change fun, different, and above all, human.

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After I watched this video of how Poynton, a town in the UK, did away with traffic lights, I reflected on at least two things that might transfer to educational technology.

The video featured roads of old being shared by pedestrians, bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, trams, and early versions of motorized vehicles we know today (22-40 sec segment). It seems chaotic.

I could not help but see the similarity to educational technology in schools. We have a mixture of tools and strategies like frontal teaching with “smart” boards, mobile learning with slate PCs, flipped classrooms, purely online classes, etc. This can also seem chaotic.

But eventually a dominant model survives. We should do what we can to ensure it is not industrial age training. As orderly as that might seem, it is losing its relevance.

The other transferable principle is knowing when to leverage on human judgement. Traffic lights remove the need to 1) make logical decisions and 2)  establish socially-negotiated norms.

If we are to use technology in education in any meaningful way, we need to put people front and centre. And the most important people are our learners.

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