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Posts Tagged ‘video


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I enjoy Matt Pat’s video essays because he puts a lot of work into them. The fact that they are easy to digest belies the complexity of their content.

In this latest instalment, he used the recent (and frankly overdone) examples of Yanni/Laurel and Brainstorm/Green Needle to illustrate how subjective our perceptions can be.

At the very least, we should take away these concepts: Our senses are easy to fool and what we perceive is not the same across the board. These are fundamental concepts in rigorous teacher education programmes. And yet we try to school students with singular approaches or adhere blindly to standards.


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This SciShow Psych video explains why we seem to forget where we put things. We do not register events that are mundane and when we operate on autopilot.

The video is also a reminder that our brains are designed to forget. It takes conscious effort to first pay attention and then to try to remember. So if we try to understand the learner and learning, we might do better as a teacher while teaching.


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What is said has impact. What gets done after what is said can also have an impact.

But there is far too much rhetoric and not enough timely action.

This excellent YouTube series on media literacy ends with the episode below.


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The episode focuses on what lies ahead. As it does so, it builds on what was stable, remains stable now, and will be stable in the future.

The future of being media literate is being skeptical. This does not mean that we cannot enjoy watch we hear, read, or watch.

It does mean that we do not take the easy way out. Being skeptical means being aware of our own bias and identifying the bias in media. It means establishing context and being critical “going in” instead of just reacting when “going out”.

We know so much and yet so little for something so simple. That was my main response when I watched the video below.


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What if a child asked you why their tongues stick out when they concentrate? How would you answer? What would you do?

It would be relatively easy to try to teach the child what you think you know. It would be very easy to direct them to the video, but that would not make the learning any more authentic. It would be more difficult to guide the child with question asking (problem-seeking) and answering (problem-solving).

We know so much and yet so little for something so complex.

I like watching videos where experts either explain difficult concepts to learners of different ages or just to kids. The video below is one of the latter.


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Explaining to an adult how to create bioluminescent plants from firefly DNA is challenging, much less kids. The two content experts from MIT were not quite comfortable teaching kids and their attempts illuminate some concepts about how students learn and what an effective teacher looks like.

When one content expert tried simplifying the concept of transferring bioluminescence, she ran into some trouble.

Expert: “…we just ask them to give us some chemicals”.
One child: “Do you tell them?”

Expert: “We just borrow the light from the fireflies…”
Another child: “Do you mean like real borrow or do you just keep it?”

The expert was visibly stunned by the kids’ questions and their teacher intervened with timely and appropriate answers.

An effective teacher is not just knowledgeable in content, she should also be a child and learning expert. As information mushrooms and knowledge needs to be constantly negotiated and updated, being the latter type of expert is critical.

The other expert got the kids to participate in a hands-on activity where they simulated bioluminescence by mixing chemicals in small vials. Instead of hearing about bioluminescence, they tried and saw for themselves.

This is not about appealing to different “learning styles” — which is a myth anyway — but to teach and reinforce with multiple methods and modes. That said, kids generally learn best by what stems from natural curiosity, i.e., experiencing and asking.

The teacher as a child and learning expert asked a critical question at the end of the experiment: “What do you think this could help solve?” She did not provide answers to her learners, but got them to generate answers that required them to think actively about what they just experienced.

I am currently watching a National Geographic documentary series, One Strange Rock. It is narrated by the actor Will Smith and helmed by filmmaker and writer Darren Aronofsky.


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I have watched two episodes so far, Gasp and Storm, and they have left me breathless.

The series combines non-linear storytelling and beautiful cinematography to illustrate why life exists on Earth.

Good things can happen when Hollywood types and astronauts collide, just like what happened to our planet when asteroids and another planet hit it. Under the right Goldilocks circumstances, when the conditions are just right, we got planet Earth and this excellent documentary series.


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