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Posts Tagged ‘troll

I discovered an unexpected source of ideas for flipped learning. It is a video of a teacher trolling his students after he banned them from flipping bottles.

Video source

At first glance, the teacher might come across as the embodiment of “do as I say, but not as I do”. After all, he did not want his students flipping bottles and did so himself.

Viewed through the lens of YouTube entertainment, the teacher was not only a master troll, he was also aware of memes and what connected with his learners. Even the groan-worthy references were gems.

Viewed through the lens of education, the video was a good example of practice, creative endeavour, and content creation.

The practice of bottle flipping required not just elbow grease, but also experimentation to determine the right amount of water. I have no doubt that there was much failure footage left out of the final video.

The teacher kept flipping bottles just like teachers might try flipping their classrooms. However, routine with both gets old quickly. Since the flipped classroom is still largely reliant on the teacher as driver, the teacher must design and lead interesting journeys. The teacher provided creative variations and levelled up the difficulty of bottle flipping. The same could be said about flipping classrooms.

The most important idea is that of having the agency to create content. This is one principle that distinguishes the flipped classroom from flipping learning. Learners must be empowered to create content so that they make their thinking visible, are teaching their peers, and acting on the feedback they receive. Only then does the flipped classroom transform to one that embraces flipped learning.

Bonus: This viral video also illustrated one strategy for creating videos for flipped learning. Every learner should show only what is critical. They do not need to create epic movies. They should be creating trailers that leave their peers wanting more.

Trolls say things online to feed their egos and lure emotional responses. If you respond, it will enable the cycle and likely escalate. If you do not, it looks as if the troll wins.

I do not often get trolled, but when I do, I remind myself what to do and not do.

T minus 14 days by TimOve, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  TimOve 

I asked my telco on Twitter if it was going to provide free voice, SMS, and data over the long National Day weekend like the other telcos were doing.

The telco said they had other offers. Eventually they got round to the issue after I repeated my question more directly.

That should have ended the matter, but a troll decided to weigh in.

What are the signs of a Twitter troll? Let us use my troll as an example.

It hides its ugliness behind a fake face and name. It leaves a trail of evidence in the language and content of its timeline.

A troll lacks empathy and sees things only from its point of view. In this case, it did not see how I need mobile data as I work on-the-move.

A troll seeks to draw argument for argument’s sake instead of serving a larger purpose. That is why it chose not to see my chiding of StarHub for not joining the party and providing goodwill to its customer base.

This example of trolling is mild. It has not wandered into the territory of harassment. But like any instance of trolling, it provides teaching and learning moments if we take them.

Resist the urge to respond to the troll. If you must respond, do not walk over the troll’s bridge. Fight the troll and trolling on your own terms.


I did not think I would be writing a third reflection in as many days on the Sabah earthquake [first reflection] [second reflection]. But I need to respond to a troll in the only way I know how: With reason and in a longer form than a tweet.

This was the someone’s response to my first reflection:

My answer to the rhetorical question is no. I was more than twice the age of the children who climbed Kinabalu but never got down on their own.

However, that does not strengthen the commenter’s argument that I was able to take responsibility for myself unlike a 12-year-old child. Neither do adults like the school principal and trip organizers have to fall on a sword for allowing such an expedition if they have done all they can in preparation and risk mitigation.

When not actually at the mountain, you can mostly build up physical endurance and perhaps work on some team building. You might be able to simulate scenarios for likely events, but you cannot prepare for every eventuality.

When you are on the mountain, the challenges become real. The physical challenges become mental and social. One of the best ways for anyone to learn responsibility is to take care of themselves and others around them. Any well-adjusted adult relearns to do this and is in a constant state of worry for the kids.

Being responsible for oneself and others becomes real for kids too. They have to learn how to walk responsibly, talk responsibly, eat and drink responsibly, and even relieve themselves responsibly. They learn to recognize whether body and/or mind are tiring whether it is their own or in others.

With how careful schools, parents, and organizers are nowadays, these aspects and more were probably part of a preparation regime that students experienced as part of character and leadership development. I would bet that the children were prepared for the climb better than I was for mine as an adult two decades ago.

The biggest issue school authorities, teachers, and trip organizers had to deal with was risk. They would have surely mitigated such risks with protocols like RAMS (risk assessment management system, one example) and a host of other operating procedures. If reflective in their work, they would have learnt from previous expeditions in rise-aboves and debriefings.

Had adults taken the necessary responsibility? I say yes. But can they account for, anticipate, and control everything? Undoubtedly no, like everything else in life.

The risks were low because the region was not known for seismic activity of the scale of last week, the conditioning programmes, and prior experience.

As much as the troll tries to point out that the issue is one of taking responsibility, she means to lay blame on someone like the school principal. If there were risks that adults could remove but chose not to, then there is rightly room for blame. But this is not a transparent issue, so we cannot judge.

If as much preparation and risk mitigation was done as possible, then I repeat the simple wisdom offered by SGAG*: If you’ve nothing better to say, don’t say.

Now is not the time to blame. It is to grieve. It is to support those who have lost loved ones. It might even be to battle trolls who are not helping matters.

In the aftermath, some people here will invariably seek to blame. As I have reflected before, this action stems from a place of ignorance and fear. When this happens, we might heed the warning of Yoda*: Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Video source

Have we not suffered enough? I say we stop the vicious cycle by not laying blame, baying for blood, or retreating further into our shells.

Instead, I say we have reasoned dialogue for the sake of all our kids. Let us live, love, and pass it on.

*Granted these are not the most scholarly or philosophically deep sources. One is a satirical site, the other is a fictional character. But if I can rely on such simple truths or wisdoms, then the stones that the trolls throw feel like marshmallows.

We do not avoid building bridges because of the proverbial trolls that hide under them.

Likewise, we should not avoid engaging, entertaining, and educating on social media just because Internet trolls might emerge.

If you argue that the bridge troll is a myth while the Internet troll is real then you are missing the point. The point is avoiding connections out of fear and ignorance.

Traditional media groups that have not embraced social media will paint it in negative light because it is a threat to the status quo. They are in effect trolling social media.

The groups that try it out will experience the learning curve and perhaps some trolls. But if managed well they will also reap the benefits of embracing social media.


This blog has reached a milestone. It’s not an anniversary or a reader count.

This blog, which is one of a few that I maintain, has arrived. How do I know? Like the proverbial bridge, it has a troll underneath.

Most tech-oriented, multi-author blogs (like LifeHacker and Gizmodo) have trolls. Now this blog has one too! And ain’t it cute… for a troll I mean!

I’ll do what people don’t normally do: I’ll ignore it.

For me, maintaining this blog is like taking a long walk in public but somewhat isolated park. I walk to be alone with my thoughts. I stop to chat with other visitors who enjoy walking the same way and I go where I please.

It’s my walk in the park and nothing is going to spoil it. Not even a troll.


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