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Posts Tagged ‘videos

I have not played Minecraft in a while. This is because my son has not played the game in that time. The game is beneath him as he is into various Steam games now.

Our Minecraft server resides in a Mac in the living room, but the software has not been updated. I checked and saw that the Java files sit in a folder dated January 2016 and the actual JAR file is from May 2015.

The Minecraft app on my mobile devices updates every blue moon, but I do not launch them. There is also still a bit of Minecraft paraphernalia in my son’s room, but it is covered with dust.

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Then along came this recent video by Vox about the artistic merits of Minecraft post-Mojang and dura-Microsoft. I was almost tempted to restart the game to see what was new.

Almost. I was dismayed to find out that Microsoft had restricted how Minecraft maps were used by others [video segment] [announcement].

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What was previously open for modification and innovation (just like the sandbox that was Minecraft) became walled and gated. A few partner companies of Microsoft survived, but my guess is that they are the exception rather than the rule.

Microsoft can (and did) do this because they bought Minecraft from Mojang. It had to make money like their Office suite. The education version of Minecraft relies on subscriptions.


I still have rose-tinted memories of Minecraft. The edu-Minecraft videos I created a while ago remind me of the fun I had with my son as well as the breadth and depth of learning I experienced. The artefacts and memories are like a diploma that remind me of an achievement.

I have been fortunate to be approached to give advice about leveraging on Minecraft in education. But since these seemed to head down the same dark Pro Bono alley, I decided not to take them because I would have walked out poorer from being robbed of my living.

I heed the ominous warning from the video:

When you’re playing another person’s game, night could come at any time. And then it’s always survival mode.

If you need inspiration or ideas, YouTube rarely disappoints. So why should Mother’s Day be an exception?

Kid President

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Kimmel staffers

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These videos are examples of thinking and operating outside the box.

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There are many ways to discourage people from using their phones while they drive. The Kiwis used humour.

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There are just as many ways to get people to obey the speed limit. These road designers used music.

Now switch gears to a child whose talent is arguably out of the box.

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This then six-year-old Japanese boy is a yo-yo master.

If he was in the Singapore schooling system, I wonder if he would still be levelling up his yo-yo skills or completing worksheets.

Are we helping kids open up their boxes? Or are we stuffing them into boxes?

What most people take away from April Fools videos is a reminder to be critical of what you see online.

As silly as some of these jokes are, we can draw valuable lessons from them.

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Poorly designed and ineffective technology integration looks like this. It is using new technology to do what old technology did. You can, but why would you?

It is ridiculous and wasteful to use slate devices as actual books. It is just as silly and excessive to simply make projections and worksheets more “interactive”, e.g., IWBs and e-worksheets. But many people still do not question such practices.

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Seeing how technology gets misused this way is like using this parody toilet paper. It is unpleasant to consider and painful to use. How this does not rub teachers the wrong way is beyond me.

If appealing to logic at the top end does not reach them, perhaps some parody toilet paper at the other end will sensitise them to the problem.

You cannot miss the headlines that the latest installment of the Star Wars saga is generating.

The movie is impressive and I watched it and its ecosystem as a fan and an educator. There were many creative efforts and here is a tiny sample.

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From my vantage point, I saw lessons for educators on remixing, reinventing, and recreating. These free lessons can be learnt by analysing the videos, or better still, by letting students take the lead.

This is Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

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I enjoyed this retake by the Muppets.

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Then I learnt from the BBC that this month marked the song’s 40th anniversary.

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Instead of dwelling on how the song has endurance (it does) and how they do not make songs like this anymore (they cannot), I embed the three reinterpretations of the song and suggest what this might have to do with educational technology.

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Reinterpreting is not simply translating content with old strategies with new tools. It means that that same content and using strategies that leverage on the strengths of the tool.

The one song was reinterpreted to strings, a choir, and dance. They remain true to the core, but they are distinctly strings, a choir, and dance. Likewise a lesson is not transformed by the integration of technology is not a good use of that technology.

I am using the last few days of 2015 to reflect on video-related lessons.

There is much that educators can learn from YouTube videos even if they are not designed with teaching or learning in mind.

This is what Hey Jude sounded like when Paul McCartney got several famous songsters to sing it with him.

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This is what it sounded like when Pink sung it with many, many amateurs.

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This is the same song sung in minor key.

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So what are the possible lessons for educational technology?

It is fun and meaningful to get everyone involved, even if they are not experts.

Sometimes you need to do something that creates a bit of dissonance while keeping things familiar enough for people to recognise what you are doing.

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