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Posts Tagged ‘videos

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The easy thing to do with videos like these is to show them to students who complain about going to school and telling them how grateful they should be.

The more difficult thing to do is to draw out meaningful questions, generate discussion, and educate our students on empathy and action. 

There are legitimate reasons for opposing an idea, e.g., being the devil’s advocate so that the idea is better explored.

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One awful reason is opposing a good idea just to stay in power and even though you know better. The video above illustrates how a politician tried to use COVID-19 case numbers and the real-world effectiveness of three vaccines to argue against mass immunisation.

Another example is this ignorant response to how N95 masks work.

On the surface, there seems to be a logic to the numbers. But these belie how N95 masks work (see video below).

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I have cited the video before because it was illuminating. Proper N95 masks work like a layers of spider webs that trap particles. They also electrostatically attract much smaller particles. It is medium-sized particles that tend to pass through, hence the moniker of being 95% effective.

The person who tweeted might also not know that viruses do not travel on their own. In the case of COVID-19, they are in droplets of water that we breath, cough, and sneeze. This makes these particles varied but larger in size.

The good thing about the presence of shared knowledge that is valid and reliable is that we can overcome ignorance. The sad thing is that some choose to wilfully remain ignorant by focusing on flawed logic.

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Value systems are not just expressed in words. The best ones are modelled in actions. These Pixar shorts illustrate this principle perfectly.

Today I draw on two news reports to reflect on teaching and learning.

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If any student and teacher in Singapore complains about school, they should watch this short BBC report about a school in Yemen.

The teachers and students returned to their bombed out school building after rebels were chased out by the government. I am in awe of their desire to learn despite the daily dangers they face.

The teachers work for free because of the civil war. While I do not expect teachers to work pro bono, this could be a reminder for teachers elsewhere to remember why they answered the call to teach.

The news snippet also featured a blind nine-year-old child stepped in when teachers did not show up. Talk about an extreme form of learning by peer teaching!

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The second video was of a five-year-old boy who saved his mother because he called an emergency number that was printed on his toy ambulance.

In the interview, his mother revealed that she did not teach him how to use a phone, to remember emergency numbers, or even what to do in an emergency.

This is a three-part reminder about how we sometimes learn: We can do so by observation, we do not always require someone else to teach or model, and we best apply when there is an authentic need.

It should not take extremes of schooling during a civil war or a home emergency to remind us how to teach better. It is about focusing on what is best for our learners.

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When I was curating resources last year on educational uses of artificial intelligence (AI), I discovered how some forms were used to generate writing.

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YouTuber, Tom Scott, employed writing AI (OpenAI’s GPT-3) to suggest new video ideas by offering topics and even writing scripts. The suggestions were ranged from the odd and impossible to the plausible and surprisingly on point.

This was an example of AI augmenting human creativity, but it was still very much in the realm of artificial narrow intelligence. The AI did not have the general intelligence to mimic human understanding of nuance and context.

I liked Scott’s generalisation about technology following how AI worked/failed for him. He described a technology’s evolution as a sigmoid curve. After a slow initial start, the technology might seem to suddenly be widely adopted and improved upon. It then hits a steady state.

Tom Scott: Technology evolution as a sigmoid curve. Source:

Scott wondered if AI was at the steady state. This might seem to be the case if we only consider the boxed in approach that the AI was subject to. If it had been given more data to check its own suggestions, it might have offered creative ideas that were on point.

So, no, the AI was not that the terminal steady state. It was at the slow start. It has the potential to explode. It is our responsibility to ensure that the explosions are controlled ones (like demolishing a building) instead of unhappy accidents that result from neglect (like the warehouse in Beirut).

I am a news junkie in that I consume a variety of information from reputable sources. I have noticed how much scientific and newsworthy nuggets are packaged in satire.

Valid and reliable scientific information and findings tend to be dry or boring. So this game show makes things interesting by involving comedians.

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The same could be said about the delivery and processing of news. Many talkshows in the USA helmed by comedians do this.

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It is tempting to take these shows as sources of information and news. We should not because they are designed first to entertain, not primarily to educate or inform.

If consuming these sources can be likened to a meal, then the comedic science and news are like dessert — appealing and easy to swallow. But we cannot subsist on just dessert.

We might start with these tempting treats, but not stop there. If there is something I hear from a non-news or science source that I do not know about, I seek authoritative sources. But I do not have to do this often because I start with the latter and enjoy the former when they are reprocessed in funny form.

Rising above, I see a parallel between this phenomenon and teachers are trying to adopt edtech. They might have observed a vendor’s demonstration, participated in a workshop, or watched a snazzy YouTube video. This is like the comedic version of edtech because it has been reprocessed.

It is harder and more important work to plan and implement edtech from the basics, i.e., the pedagogy, the technological and social affordances, and the relevance to content. Doing this is not glamorous or exciting, but it is the difference between clumsy tinkering and masterful execution.

My favourite YouTube channel is Great Big Story (GBS). It tells human stories that are well conceived, shot, and edited. Their videos are so good that I use a few of them in my courses.

GBS videos were a staple of my daily diet of general knowledge. Yes, were. After watching the video below, I learnt that it was among the last that GBS would share online.

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A quick search confirmed the news. GBS was shutting down.

GBS then released a farewell and thank you video.

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Like most folk on Twitter and in the YouTube comments, I was disappointed. This channel is something I would gladly pay to watch. Imagine if their 12 million viewers paid just $10 a year to be informed and inspired.

GBS was like a spotlight that highlighted the best of humanity all over the world. I am hoping the folks behind GBS bring it back in some form in the future.

I watched both these videos yesterday.

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The first is timely given that one of my upcoming courses focuses on inclusive education. The second is generically useful given the context of masking up in the era of COVID-19.

As different as they videos might seem, they share a common purpose. Both provide answers to the WHY questions.

We might know what impairment conditions are and how to properly wear a mask. But we also need to know why people with impairments feel excluded and more precisely why we wear masks.

Teachers and educators love to use YouTube videos because they help with explaining the who, what, where, when, and how. We should not forget that they might also provide insight on why.

This BBC Chinese news segment featured an interview of comedian, Nigel Ng, and BBC cook/host, Hersha Patel.

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If you know the backstory, you might reflect on how Patel is a good example of responding positively to negativity.

If you do not know the backstory, this is the video that started the drama.

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Ng was just being a comedian roleplaying a character called Uncle Roger, some people were idiots and trolled Patel, but Patel bounced back quickly. In her own words:

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Ng and Patel have made peace (not that they were at war in the first place) and have actually started collaborating.

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This is something that is not really taught in school — how to react and respond to online trolls. Sure, there is what kids might do in theory. But putting that into practice is what takes the cake (or fries the rice in this case). Patel offers a masterclass on how to respond to negativity.

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They might be few and far between, but these teens are not waiting for permission to enact change.

If we wonder why kids seem to be passive or indifferent, we only have ourselves to blame for holding them back instead of enabling and empowering them.

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