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Posts Tagged ‘video

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This SciShow video addresses a trend by asking a simple but critical question: Is alkaline water really good for you?

The bottomline is that drinking alkaline water does not make much of a difference. The human body is a giant homeostatic machine designed to keep it operating within narrow margins so that we stay alive.

I would wager that any immediate feel good factor on the part of the consumer of such water is psychological, not physiological. The feel really good factor on the part of the seller is financial, not ethical.

The uncritical consumer is not just poorer financially, but also developmentally. They would rather believe hype than consider bitter truths.

I wish there were more videos like this one. It presents the facts, but passes little or no judgement.

Consumers are left to make their own decisions. This reminds me that good educational videos are like the best teachers: They show you where to look, but do not tell you what to see.

The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see. — Alexandra K. Trenfor

One incident. Two perspectives.

The first perspective was a video recorded by an ordinary citizen and shared by the “blog father” of Singapore, mrbrown.

The second perspective was a newspaper article and headline.

The first laid the blame largely on the truck driver for being aggressive with his vehicle and then brandishing a weapon. The second focused on the cyclist hitting the driver in the face before cycling off.

Each entity had decided who was to blame. This exemplifies the opposites that we might find online. The same opposites that find ourselves caught between.

Instead of simply favouring our bubbles and biases to decide which side to take, we might use the principles shared so far in Crash Course’s Navigating Digital Information series (my summaries).

See for yourself. Decide yourself. But only after arming yourself with modern literacy skills.

It has taken me a while, but I finally used an old example to illustrate to future faculty how to start with the concrete to build up to the abstract.

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In 2015, this ill-informed lawmaker brought a snowball as evidence against climate change. But he is not a model for using the concrete to illustrate the abstract.

No, the video is the concrete anchor with which to start student discussion on the abstract principles of weather, climate, and the difference between them.

Why start with something concrete? It is relatable, easier to understand, or otherwise meaningful.

Why link the concrete to something abstract? Learners need to develop higher order thinking — conceptualising, linking, extending, and the like — and it helps to provide some scaffolding.

This week’s Crash Course episode on navigating digital information focused on evaluating evidence offered by online creators.

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Anyone who says anything online needs to back up any claim with evidence. But not just any evidence.

Some might offer claims as evidence. Host John Green highlighted a claim about a new and supposedly deadly spider that had already killed five people in the USA. That claim (in all caps, no less) was made without reference to any other resource.

Others might offer wrong evidence after making a claim. Green provided the example of a US senator who brought a snowball into the senate floor and offered it as evidence that there was no global warming. This was evidence of winter and short term weather, but nothing against long term climate change.

In Green’s own words, not all evidence is created equally. So what are we to do? Ask two questions:

  • Does the information make sense?
  • Does the information merely confirm my pre-existing worldview?

Answers to both questions require value judgements and this can be a subjective process. To make things more objective, we could evaluate evidence by finding out how valid and reliable it is.

Validity is about how relevant and credible the information is; reliability is a measure of how much or how often that same evidence shows up.

I do not know how often I have uttered this phrase — I enjoyed that video about mathematics — but my guess is not often.

But here is one video and it claimed to tell you where math symbols come from.

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I learnt a few things, e.g., the origin of the “+” and “=“ signs. There was no explanation for the “-“ and “÷” symbols. As a result, I also learnt that you cannot take a video’s title at face value.

Thankfully I had to figure out how to input the “÷” symbol in my reflection and a simple Google Search provided some insights.

It is fact that self-directed Googling is how many learn at work or at home today. It is also fact that this is still not how many learn in schools today.

So when I read articles like this…

… and pull quotes like this…

… I say that things do not add up.

The digital exams are not likely to mirror how we actually learn. Despite the claim that “students can more readily cut and paste, edit their essays, move paragraphs around. They can be asked to respond to an e-mail, write a blog or social media post”, I doubt that they will be encouraged to do this authentically in an exam.

In other words, they will not actually be connected to the Internet as we know it today or in the near future. They will not be allowed to “cheat” by Googling or cooperating or teaching. The medium for exams might change, but the method will barely budge.

During a visitation this lunar new year, a family member played a video of a gathering on an almost 30-year-old video tape.

Through the video “snow”, we watched a snippet of Singapore in 1991. Folks gathered around the TV screen to question their fashion and hairstyle choices, and to gossip about relatives who had since passed away.

Since the video featured the apartment we were in, some marvelled at how little had changed by comparing what was on screen with what was around us.

Only one part of the video caught my attention. While the adults in the video chatted in the living room, a girl busied herself by playing video games on an old console.

Back in the room, my son was sitting in the same place as the girl in the video. In between watching the video time capsule, he played video games on his iPhone. So much time had passed, but so little had changed.

I was not thinking about kids being kids. I was thinking about how quick adults are to judge kids as they explore and learn on their own. I was also wondering how oblivious adults are to the change process (or the lack of, in this case).

For me, the visitation video was a reminder that things might seem to change superficially. But if we dig deeper, things actually remain the same. The way to tell if anything has changed at all it to examine the history of a behaviour or practice.

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Part 5 of the Crash Course series on digital literacy focused on using Wikipedia.

Host John Green pointed out that Wikipedia was almost 18-years-old, and as it matured, was behaving more like a responsible adult.

Wikipedia has long policed itself with three guiding principles for editing articles:

  1. Content should be represented from a neutral point of view
  2. Cired research should come from published and reliable sources
  3. Readers and editors should be able to verify the sources of information

Despite these operating principles and research about the accuracy of Wikipedia [example], some still wrongly dissuade others from using it.

Green recommended that Wikipedia might be relied on for breadth of information and links for fact-checkin: Use it like “a launch pad, not a finish line”.

The depth of research and fact-checking could come from the hyperlinks from Wikipedia to other resources. One caveat: Resources are never perfect or objective because a) they were made by imperfect people, and b) they are used by imperfect people.

Wikipedia is not the problem; we and how we use it are.

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