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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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In the video above, Hank Green described a science fiction novel published in 1911 about “personalised news”. A century later, we now have news feeds.

The difference is that the personalised news in the novel was defined by the subscriber. The current reality of news feeds is that they are dictated by computer algorithms.

Neither extreme is healthy. If you choose only what you want to consume, you create a bubble. If you let something else choose what you read, you lose control. The latter process is also not transparent.

In the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica world, you stop becoming the customer being served products; you become the source of data and the product to be sold to others.

In between the novel and current Facebook fiasco is another reality. It exists only among those who take control. For example, I decide what I read with RSS. I decide who to follow and learn from with Twitter. Both lead me to reliable sources of information and carefully curated alternative points of view.

If you don’t control the feed, the feed is controlling you.

Here are two contrasting video answers to whether our phones are addictive.


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The first asks a question and provides answers based on what current models and research on addiction reveal.

The second already has an answer, likely one garnered from a straw poll or popularity contest. The outcome was assured, regardless of the facts. For example, it confused engagement with addiction.

The sad fact is that fewer people might eventually watch the first video and learn how addiction is defined. Instead, they might stick with the easy and lazy answers instead of the more nuanced and difficult ones.

You can never be too old to find your voice.


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Stephen Colbert recently interviewed Madeleine Albright on his show. According to Albright, she only found her voice at age 55.

The survivors of the Parkland shooting and Malala Yousafzai found their voices before they turned 18.

Age is not the barrier or criteria for fixing your voice. Your cause, purpose, and passion are.


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